Coach Interview Series: Carolyn Gross

by Brandon

Carolyn Gross

Health and Wellness 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 Carolyn Gross. Carolyn is an Award Winning Speaker, Patient Advocate and Health and Wellness Coach based in Escondido, CA. In 2019, she published a book called Rise Above the Chaos: How to Keep Positive in an Unsettled World.

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

Carolyn: With my research being helping people in life transitions and managing chaos, I typically attract either executives, small business owners, or even medical professionals and artists that are in life transition. They might be taking on a new project where they’re just feeling overwhelmed, or they maybe ending a project, or a job where they’re feeling lost and needing to rebuild their adequacy and strength to move forward.

Life crisis, transitioning, lifestyle changes, medical. I worked with cancer patients for over 12 years. Crisis and chaos comes in all different shapes and sizes! [laughing]

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

Carolyn: I experienced burnout before the information age. Before we were all walking around following our cellphones. And because I had to rebuild my ambition so that I’d be able to function and be healthy, I started doing my own research on health, work-life balance, leveling up, taking chances and going to the next level. I already knew how to do that, but I didn’t know how to do it and take care of myself. So that’s how it started.

I actually went more towards the health arena and I became a craniosacral therapist and then eventually, a consultant coach and patient advocate. I’ve been counseling for over 25 years and coaching and consulting. The three Cs. And in working with cancer patients — by the way, I got into that work because I’m a 16-year survivor of stage 3 breast cancer and I healed it without a mastectomy, without any surgery 16 years ago — what I learned in that life experience was that you really can have a stronger impact if you’ve actually walked through the problem yourself rather than being a cheerleader from the sidelines. If you’ve actually been on that trail that the client is walking, the breadth and reach, it is so much greater.

The reason I got into coaching besides everything else I mentioned was people saw my potential before I did. And that’s another thing that’s so rewarding about this kind of practice. Some people are so talented and they’re just busy working hard and pleasing others they don’t even see how talented they are.

NCA: What is the most rewarding part of your career? And on the other hand, what is the most challenging aspect of the work that you do?

Carolyn: The most rewarding part is when you offer a solution, the client engages with it, and their lives change. That’s a pretty powerful feeling. When you are able to help somebody out of what might be a chaotic or difficult situation and into really gaining a lot of richness and lessons.

I would say the harder part of the job is sometimes the client will have this idea that they’ve already gotten everything they need and then they’ll start to sort of not be as receptive and you can feel when that shift happens. And sometimes, if they’ve been with you for a number of years, you don’t want to — I’ll say “lose them” because you’ve become fond, but you have to let them go and realize even as much as you’ve enjoyed helping transform their lives and seeing their experience manifest, they might not be inviting you to the wedding [laughing]. I mean, some of them are going to but others, they wouldn’t even own up that they had a coach. And so, you wouldn’t be part of their circle. That letting go process.

NCA: Can you think of one client or mentor who challenged your beliefs or made you rethink the way you approach your clients or your work?

Carolyn: One of my mentor’s birthday is today, so I think I want to shout out a mentor. The reason I got into coaching besides everything else I mentioned was people saw my potential before I did. And that’s another thing that’s so rewarding about this kind of practice. Some people are so talented and they’re just busy working hard and pleasing others they don’t even see how talented they are. I think what happened for me was my mentors awakened me to the fact, “Oh, you’re a born communicator.” or “You’re just instinctively a problem solver” and they opened that avenue for me to believe that I could get paid for that because I was just giving that away forever.

Want to hear what age I started coaching business owners and executives? 8 years old. [laughing] My father was an entrepreneur and for some reason, I was the ears he could tell those challenges to. So when I did coach people that were making bigger salaries than my company was netting in terms of our growth, I just knew I was born to it.

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

Carolyn: If somebody is getting started, I would say if you’re giving it away for free already, in life, we will eventually make the most money at the very thing that comes the easiest to you. If you’re already helping people and you need to get your credentials or get your brochure or get your niche market, figure it out and start marketing. Step boldly into the direction of your dreams.

Lessons are learned along the way. There’s a lot of different ways that coaches charge and it’s a lot of range. But one thing I would say about rates is the bigger the task or ask of what you’re going to offer to that client, the more that you can expect the pay for it.

NCA: In terms of the bigger the task, are you referring to the amount of time or the issue at hand that the client has?

Carolyn: Both. I mean, for example, if I’m coaching a cancer patient, I did 12 years of medical research, so I better be charging a fair rate for what I already had accumulated in my knowledge. I’m never going to tell somebody what to do specifically. It’s always going to be laying out options and letting them decide. But still, I’m going to have access to options they wouldn’t be able to know about.

Previous post:

Next post: