Coach Interview Series: Allison Goldberg

by Brandon

Allison Goldberg

Certified Corporate and Life Coach

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 Allison Goldberg. Allison is a Certified Corporate and Life Coach based in Houston, Texas.

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

Allison: My coaching practice is in Houston, but I do work with clients all over the country, whether it’s by phone, email, FaceTime or Skype. I have been a corporate and personal life coach for a total 22 years. I work with clients anywhere from ages 13 to age 80.

Generally, when people come to me, they come to me because they feel stuck or they have a frustration in their life. A good portion of my clients have been through therapy and have dealt with the mindset behind the who and why and then they come to be because they are looking for a clear plan, a strategy, and an accountability partner. I am that person for my clients.

NCA: Have your clients mentioned how therapy went for them and have you encountered any explicit retelling of the difference between therapy and coaching? I know it’s a topic that coaches talk about often. I was curious to know if clients have ever expressed to you that difference and their own personal experience.

Allison: I work side by side with a lot of therapists because therapists refer clients to me, and I refer clients to them. The reason that I brought up the therapy is because generally, people who are going to a life coach are in a relatively healthy state, meaning that they’re here because they want to do something about feeling stuck and take action, whereas a talk therapy helps the client understand why they are the way that they are.

While with my clients, we don’t really go in that direction. We go with “Where are you frustrated, what are we going to do about it, and let’s figure out a way — whatever it takes — for you to get to that point that you’re looking for to succeed in your life.”

Generally, the clients who have seen therapists have said, “I love therapy. I’m a big believer in therapy. I now understand the “why” and now I want to move forward and I need accountability.” That’s where I come in.

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

Allison: I went to college and got a degree in Communications from the University of Texas. I started out by doing the corporate coaching and then all of a sudden, a lot of the corporate clients would come to me and say, “Do you do private life coaching?” The more people that asked me, the more I thought, “Okay. There’s a lot of people out there who want one-on-one coaching and I need to do this.” That’s when I started doing the one-on-one coaching. I still do the corporate stuff but 90% of my practice is private one-on-one coaching.

Several years back, I decided that I did in fact want to get a certification. I went to California and I did an intensive life coaching course there just so that I could say that I had it. I can honestly tell you that there are people who have asked me about my background, but I’ve never really had anybody question more than “What’s your background?” I’m a huge believer that for your own sense of purpose and accomplishment and in case the question ever comes up, I’m a big fan of going ahead and getting that certification.

[Clients] who have seen therapists have said, “I love therapy. I’m a big believer in therapy. I now understand why and now I want to move forward and I need accountability.” That’s where I come in.

NCA: What are some of the most common challenges that clients are facing in your experience?

Allison: There are several different areas but one of the biggest ones that I see is that people feel stuck in their career. They are looking to either be in a different position within their own company or they’re looking to transition to an entirely different field.

I also have a lot of clients who have a fantastic job but don’t feel fulfilled in the other areas of their life. They’re thinking “What do I do? I have this great job and I make a lot of money, but what about actual personal fulfillment and what about the rest of my life? I suffer because I have no social life, or my romantic life isn’t going well, or I don’t have any sort of deeper meaning in my life.” People come to achieve work-life balance.

It’s usually one area that my client’s feel stuck in. It could even be their romantic life, marriage or their other relationships. I help them with the area they feel stuck but I have this strategy that I use where I help people look at all the different areas that make up their life and I have them continue to enrich even the areas that they’re happy with, so that when they feel stuck in one area or another, they have so much joy and balance in the other areas that that one area they feel stuck in doesn’t feel quite as bad.

NCA: What is the most rewarding part of your experience working with clients and on the flip side, what is the most challenging aspect of the work that you do?

Allison: The most rewarding part is seeing the client really believe in themselves. That is absolutely the reason why I feel like the luckiest person alive driving to work every day. I have the inherent gift of helping people see the best version of themselves and approach life in ways that bring out the best version of themselves. That’s definitely the most rewarding part.

The most challenging part is when people take longer to see just how incredible they are. Clients who have not done as well as they would like to before they start working with me and they start with me thinking they are not capable.— it takes a little bit longer with those clients. That’s tough. It’s more challenging for me to help clients whose self-esteem is a little bit lower, but I promise, I get there. Even the most challenging part is rewarding to me.

NCA: In cases where their self-esteem is a bit on the lower side, what kind of techniques or conversations do you typically go to to try to fix that issue?

Allison: Small successes every day — even if it means that I can help them to accomplish something sitting here in my office before they walk out. That helps with their self-esteem. Maybe it’s a dreaded phone call they needed to make. They can make it in my office with me right here beside them, so that they can get that done immediately. Maybe something they’ve been putting off can get done before they walk out of my office. It’s just a matter of helping them see what they’re capable. I have to encourage them and be an accountability partner for them.

NCA: Can you think of a mentor who was the most vital to your success as a coach and in what ways did this mentor help you thrive in your career?

Allison: There’s a few people out there who are sort of the gurus in this industry, Jay Shetty, Mel Robbins, Jonathan Fields. I listen to them all the time. I’m a huge believer in mentors. I encourage all of my clients to have mentors. I believe in constantly educating yourself by hearing what the experts in the field have to say and modeling yourself after those people but using your own flare and your own personality and your own gift. Having mentors helps you establish the mindset that giving up is not an option.

You can learn from every single person and when you are tuned in to somebody who you look up to or you admire, they give you the inspiration to be who you are and do it your way. That’s where the inspiration comes from.

NCA: What is one piece of advice that you would give to somebody who is just starting out in their coaching career?

Allison: My advice to somebody who is just getting started would be to just start. You have absolutely nothing to lose and being a life coach doesn’t require overhead in the beginning. I’m in an office now but when I first started coaching, I was meeting people at Starbucks because I didn’t make enough money to pay for an office. If you are effective and you can do it, it doesn’t matter where. Just start doing it.

If you’ve been coaching naturally even though you haven’t been paid, it’s okay because nobody that you’re in front of wants to know how many paying clients you have had. They may want to know how long you have been doing this. If you have been that person in your life and for those around you, the honest answer is that for years you’ve been a resource to those people. Just start. It’s like everything else. You figure it out as you go.

Previous post:

Next post: