Coach Interview Series: Brenda Bomgardner

by Brandon

Brenda Bomgardner

Professional Counselor and Certified 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 Brenda Bomgardner. Brenda is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Board Certified Coach based in Denver, Colorado.

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

Brenda: My coaching practice is based on an evidence-based theory that’s called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or Acceptance and Commitment Training. The type of clients that are attracted to me and call me are people looking for career transition or career clarity and also, people that feel really stuck — whether they’re stuck in a relationship, stuck in a job, stuck being single, but they want to change something in their lives and become more fulfilled. The age group is normally between about age 30 to 60, so pretty broad.

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

Brenda: My path into coaching grew organically out of being a therapist and a lot of people that came into therapy had already completed quite a bit of therapy work and they were looking for more achievable goals that were well spelled-out. They were looking for coaching before I realized that I was going to become a coach. In my education for coaching, I have a Board Certified Coaching certificate from the Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE).

Before I became a therapist or a coach, I worked in human resources at a Fortune 500 company for 17 years and a lot of that included training, goal setting, and coaching as well.

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

Brenda: The most rewarding part of my career is when I see people find clarity with their dreams and then fulfill them in ways that are meaningful to them. It’s fulfilling to see that they feel they have a purpose in life.

The most challenging part in getting to clearing the mud out of the water when things are murky. Things quite often are murky and people get stuck and then don’t know how to find their way out. That is the most challenging piece to coaching.

There are some clients that come in want me to give them answers, they want help, they want direction, and then present a bottom line of “Yeah, but.” This to me is a challenging situation because I need to offer solutions or paths or a way out of “Yeah, but.” The “Yeah, but” thinking often keeps a person stuck. This to me feels more like a personal challenge. To help somebody become aware of getting past the “Yeah, but I don’t think that’s going to work for me.” That’s really challenging for me on helping them out of that kind of thinking trap.

I am in my encore career. A lot of people have never even heard of that but I had completed a full career in a corporate 500 company before deciding to go into therapies and coaching. It’s never too late.

NCA: What are some of your favorite strategies or techniques that you use to move past those self-limiting kinds of beliefs?

Brenda: I encourage people to use the word ‘and’. To think of ‘and’ versus ‘but’. It allows for people to be hesitant and skeptical and afraid and still take steps forward. It’s not an either/or. You can have all these ideas about things not working and you can still try it and see what it’s like. It’s like being a curious scientist and seeing what might not work and what might work because both ends of that gives the person information that they can use in moving forward.

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?

Brenda: My main mentor is Kathy Bauer. She was my supervisor in my training program and I ended up hiring her as my own coach in growth and in turn, she influenced my style of coaching and continued to be encouraging. She influenced my style and she’s my biggest cheerleader, as well.

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

Brenda: The best advice I give to people in the way of fear and apprehension is take tiny steps. Any step is still a step forward. There’s a saying “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” That’s my advice. [laughing]

The other thing that might make a difference is I am in my encore career. A lot of people have never even heard of that but I had completed a full career in a corporate 500 company before deciding to go into therapies and coaching. It’s never too late.

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