Coach Interview Series: Dr. Michele D’Amico

by Brandon

Dr. Michele D’Amico

Executive and Leadership 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 Dr. Michele D’Amico. Michele is an Executive and Leadership Coach based in Los Angeles, California.

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

Michele: It’s changed over time. I do some life coaching but I’m actually doing more executive and leadership coaching. These clients are looking for ways to improve their leadership skills, their soft skills, emotional intelligence, resilience, etc. I also still do some career and life path coaching, which incorporates a lot of work around leadership, resilience, and emotional intelligence.

NCA: Can you talk a little bit about what got you interested in this career path originally and on your way here, what kind of degree or certifications did you need to complete, if any?

Michele: It was happenstance, really. I was going to school to get a Master’s in Clinical Psychology and my plan was to get a PhD or PsyD in Clinical Psych. Along the way, I was a single mom so I had to work. I found coaching and I ended up getting certified as a professional coach and a leadership coach.

I continued on to get my PsyD in Clinical Psych, still thinking that that was something I wanted to do. The coaching practice took off and it’s been wonderful and I love it. I love coaching.

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

Michele: It’s two-fold. One is having my own business. To be honest with you, I love that. I love being an entrepreneur.

Two, and you’ll probably hear this from every coach, it’s also when I help somebody and they tell me “Oh my gosh, that was so wonderful. Because of our work together, I’ve been able to do this.” That is so extremely rewarding and it really helps me to know I’m on the right path. Those are just the most rewarding moments. Those Aha! moments that people get. Those are fantastic.

It’s so wonderful when something that you love to do helps other people.

On the other side of that, the most challenging is when people are not totally committed to it and don’t do the work. It kind of stunts the growth. I don’t come across that very often because I do try to weed those people out beforehand with some questions that I ask to make sure that they really are on board. But sometimes it does happen.

Sometimes, I come across different situations that maybe I haven’t come across before and that can also be challenging.

Some clients don’t really want to do the work. They just want it to happen. When I give them my program, they might say “Oh well, you know, I can’t commit to three months.” If you can’t commit to three months and this is your life, then you probably are not really ready.

NCA: Can you talk a little bit about that process of weeding out? What kind of questions do you ask that are effective at revealing that?

Michele: It’s a combination of questions and also my gut intuition. It’s based on years of working with people and really trusting that. I send a list of four questions before the consultation. Things like: “What’s the main thing you’d like to work on in 90 days? Within the first 90 days, what would that look like for you?” Those kinds of things to get them thinking.

In the consultation of course, some of the pointed questions I’ll ask are things like, “On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being ‘I need to do this. This has got to happen now.’ and 1 being ‘Eh, whatever,’ where are you right now?” If they give me anything below a 6, I typically won’t take them on as a client because that means that they a much smaller chance of hitting their goals. They’re not really committed at this point. And I had actually had people who said, “Well, I’m at a 5 or 6.” And I tell them, “That’s not good enough. I can’t do the work for you. I can’t make it happen for you. That’s just not good enough.”

Some clients don’t really want to do the work. They just want it to happen. When I give them my program, they might say “Oh well, you know, I can’t commit to three months.” If you can’t commit to three months and this is your life, then you probably are not really ready. I will even give them some things to do in the meantime. “Look, here are a couple of things you can do or a book you might read and then see how you feel.” I still firmly believe in the coaching process, whether they choose me or somebody else.

But if they get up into the 8, 9, 10 — and I’ve even had some people who come with “Oh, no. It’s an 11. I’m done. I’ve got to do this.” — then those are my people. That combined with just my intuition about how they answer certain questions, “What have you done so far?” That gives me enough information, and with a couple of exceptions, it’s worked.

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?

Michele: I do have a mentor that has helped me a tremendous amount. He’s another coach who coached and mentored me from the beginning until now. He’s been very instrumental for me in continuing to pursue this career and also my growth as a coach.

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

Michele: Find a coach. Find a coach and mentor who can help you navigate the path.

Figure out what kind of coaching you want to do and get certified. You don’t have to have certification to coach, however I think that we’re moving in that direction. Depending upon the kind of coaching you want to do, it’s a good idea.

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