Coach Interview Series: Jaclyn Hunt

by Brandon

Jaclyn Hunt

Autism and Special Needs Life Coach

This is Entry #1 of the National Coach Academy Coach Interview Series.

Our main objective here at the National Coach Academy is to enable aspiring coaches to reach their full professional potential. One of the most effective ways to educate students about the world of coaching is by offering them a window into the world of real, practicing coaches and showing them all the different ways coaches make a difference in the lives of their clients.

We hope today’s interview adds another insightful glimpse into the dynamic world of coaching.

Today we are interviewing Jaclyn Hunt, MA, ACAS, BCCS. Jaclyn is an Autism and Special Needs Life Coach based in Colonia, NJ.

NCA: Can you describe your company and the kinds of clients you typically work with?

Jaclyn: My company is based on providing life coaching services for adults on the autism spectrum. It is very difficult to find real life skills training for adults on the spectrum so I started my company with the belief that there is a great need for these services. For many with autism, services end when they enter adulthood. Many are also very much unprepared socially so I teach real life skills including social and communication skills.

I see clients from all walks of life anywhere from age 14-75. The majority of my clients are college age students who need help with navigating their social world as well as figuring out what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Besides that, we work on building friendships from the ground up as well as developing healthy romantic relationships. While our services are made for those on the ASD spectrum we see all kinds of clients regardless of diagnosis.

NCA: What initially got you interested in this career path and what kind of degree or certifications did you need to complete, if any?

Jaclyn: I was initially training to become a Marriage and Family Therapist. I hold a Master’s degree in the Behavioral Sciences with a specialization in Psychological Services.

Near the end of my studies I became very frustrated with the lack of education on autism and other related social disorders. As a trained therapist, I know that the majority of professionals out there today are only trained in the textbook definition of autism and not in the nuances of how the autistic mind works and how to best teach someone who struggles with a social and communicative disability. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in therapy for many, particularly neurotypicals, or in other words typically developing individuals. Therapy is wonderful and a necessary profession in today’s world. However, for most of the people I work with they need more specific instruction and guidance.

I obtained multiple certifications from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards or IBCCES. I am an Advanced Certified Autism Specialist Level 2 and a Board Certified Cognitive Specialist. You too can obtain certifications from this world renowned credentialing board at and use the code ASD20 for 20% off certification. It is a wonderful supplement for life coaches looking to work with the population of people I see on a daily basis.

NCA: What is the most rewarding part of your career?

Jaclyn: The most rewarding part of my career is that I get to see my clients grow into who they were meant to be and live up to their fullest potential. When a client finally gets that dream job or stops needing to see me as often because they are out with friends having a good time or when a client finally obtains a romantic relationship after trying so hard for so long, it is the most rewarding feeling in the world.

In some cases my clients are my age or older and I see them all as my children in some ways. The connections and amazing people I get to interact with on a daily basis keep me going. I was meant to do this and I am so happy to get to be part of so many lives across the country.

Don’t let anyone dictate your life. Design your life from the ground up. You are the best expert on yourself and a coach can help guide you towards your fullest potential.

NCA: What is the most challenging aspect of the work that you do?

Jaclyn: The most challenging aspect of what I do is often getting parents to understand that their adult children are truly struggling with these social issues.

Many of my clients are highly intelligent and do very well academically but seem to miss very simple social nuances. Parents sometimes think they do this on purpose or are being defiant or aren’t trying hard enough. The fact of the matter is that these young people are often trying harder than most. The autistic mind is processing so much information on a very constant basis and social understanding does not come as intuitively as it does for the neurotypical. It is sometimes a challenge to get parents, professionals and others to truly understand this and to become part of the solution rather than contributing to the problem.

The biggest challenge and struggle I face is getting people to understand that the socially awkward guy at work wants to be your friend. That the lonely quiet girl sitting at the bar who can’t hold a conversation with you is desperate for someone to have patience to get to know her for who she is. That the men and woman that I work with would make excellent companions if they were just given a chance and you could overlook their unintentional social faux pas. My clients are a delight, it’s the rest of the world that I struggle with in the work that I do.

NCA: Can you think of one client who challenged your beliefs or made you rethink the way you approach your clients or your work? (Obviously without revealing any identifying information.)

Jaclyn: I believe every client influences me in a profound way. I did have one client who opened my eyes to a very important issue. There are no rules when it comes to how we live our lives. Yes, society and families have expectations of us. We also hold ourselves to high expectations as well. However, there are no rules that say you have to have so many friends or this type of job or that kind of relationship. We make our own rules in this life as long as they are within safe and acceptable bounds of society.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you need more friends. If you want more friends then I can help you find them. Don’t let anyone tell you what career path is best for you. Decide your own career path and I can help you get there. Don’t let anyone dictate your life. Design your life from the ground up. You are the best expert on yourself and a coach can help guide you towards your fullest potential.

NCA: What advice would you give someone looking to get started in the career path that you chose?

Jaclyn: I get this question all the time. I’m always getting phone calls and emails from people asking how to get started in this very specific field. I always tell them to educate yourself. Look into certifications from IBCCES. Get involved in your community and find your audience.

Don’t be afraid to work for yourself if someone can’t hire you to work for them. Hard work, education and getting to know this growing population of people on a personal level is a must. When you come across a situation that is beyond your scope, refer out to a professional that can help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I tell my clients that almost every single day.

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