Coach Interview Series: Anne Kosem

by Brandon

Anne Kosem

Certified Professional 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 Anne Kosem. Anne is a Certified Professional Life Coach based in St. Louis, Missouri.

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

Anne: I am a personal and a professional coach. While I mainly work with individuals, I also work with corporate teams mainly on conflict resolution and communication. My clients range from 15 to 65 — it’s a pretty wide range. I’d say the bulk of the people I see are 25-55. They may seek me out as a means of support during a difficult transition either at work or in a relationship, like a divorce. Or they just feel stuck. They are tired of putting energy into quick fixes that don’t work. They want a more fulfilling life.

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

Anne: I had a roundabout way of getting into coaching. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Interpersonal Communication and worked in marketing for a few years after college. I went on to get my MBA and partnered in the start-up of a family business. Then I had twins which was very exciting but also all-consuming at times. It gave me the chance to reprioritize and look for a career that allowed a better balance with work and family.

I started taking on projects where I consulted to get businesses off the ground. I did this with a life coach who was starting a new practice. I loved it, so much that I never left. I stayed on with her and I ended up going back to school and getting certified. I did all of my training and logged all of my coaching hours and eventually went out on my own. That was about 10 years ago.

NCA: What I find so fascinating is that no one has yet been “born into” coaching. Because the field is so new, everyone has their own unique story as to how they got started in this field.

Anne: Right! Our society is finally starting to allow for some vulnerability so people are more comfortable asking for help. It’s okay to say, “Things aren’t working. I need some help. I need some support here.”

That’s the most important part of being a coach — finding your own style, being yourself, being authentic, and inviting other people to do the same. You have to be able to do that if you’re going to ask someone else to do it, too.

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

Anne: The most rewarding part of the process is definitely seeing people make meaningful life changes. Seeing them surprise themselves with what they’re capable of doing and the changes they’re able to make in their lives. The resiliency of the human spirit amazes me. No matter how discouraged one might be, they are still able to rise up and get to where they want to be. People don’t stay down for long with support.

The toughest part for me is when people don’t fully commit. When they come in and they work with me for a short time, and once they start making some significant progress, they think they’re pretty good, so they just stop coming. They end up falling back into old patterns, and they aren’t able to maintain all of their hard work. They aren’t able to really make those changes into lasting habits. That’s probably the most frustrating part for me. I want them to get where they want to be. I want them to stick with it.

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

Anne: I’ve had several mentors — some that I’ve never met. Byron Katie is definitely a mentor. Brené Brown. Some of their work has really inspired me. There’s a lot of work I have done around their techniques that I’ve been able to bring into my coaching, which has been really powerful for me and for my clients.

There was a life coach that I worked with when I first got started. Her name is Susan Cotter. She really helped me to settle into myself as a coach. How do you take all of these techniques that you learned and incorporate them into your coaching in an authentic way? How to be myself, basically. That’s the most important part of being a coach — finding your own style, being yourself, being authentic, and inviting other people to do the same. You have to be able to do that if you’re going to ask someone else to do it, too. I feel blessed to have had that support when I needed it.

NCA: One of the most common challenges new coaches face is self-doubt. Some coaches call it Imposter Syndrome, where early on they feel somehow inadequate to take on the role of coach. What is one piece of advice that you would give to somebody who is in the beginning stage of their coaching career and dealing with these doubts in their mind?

Anne: I would encourage new coaches to think about the parts that they worked on in themselves when they went through their training. What was transformative in their life? Where were they excited to apply that they learned? I would encourage them to focus on those things in the beginning, so they can build confidence and feel comfortable leveraging their own experiences. Whatever you can do to make a niche out of your passion and experience. I did more professional and career coaching in the beginning because I was more comfortable coaching in that arena. Sometimes coaches try to do it all. It’s just too broad of a spectrum if you don’t narrow your specialty in the beginning. It’s like a book. Write what you know.

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