Coach Interview Series: Jon Zieve

by Brandon

Jon Zieve

Life and Executive 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 Jon Zieve. Jon is a Life and Executive Coach based in Austin, Texas.

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

Jon: As a coach, I help people who are not achieving their potential and not achieving their dreams. I help people that don’t feel like they have the ability to dream big and to allow themselves to embody their dream — to feel the dream and to let go of whatever’s blocking them from giving themselves permission to experience that dream. That’s the high-level view of what I do.

I coach entrepreneurs, executives, sales and creative professionals. It really doesn’t matter what their field is as long as they are committed to breaking through the barriers that hold them back from going after their dreams.

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

Jon: I was in the corporate world for 34 years and in management for about 32 of those 34 years. I got to the point in my career that I had reached my goals and I chose to change the way I manage people. I started managing the person, not the task. I realized by doing so, I was having a lot more fun, I was less stressed and the people I was managing were performing better. I had a pretty good sense that that’s what coaching was, so I decided to shift my career and become a full-time coach.

My first certification was with an organization in Arizona called Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. Beyond that, I got certified as a HeartMath Coach/Mentor. HeartMath is an organization in Northern California that studied and documented the science of the heart. They’ve been at this for about 30 years. The heart actually has a brain separate from the brain in our head. I’m certified to coach people on how to reestablish a connection between the heart and the mind and the head, so that the heart is leading, not the brain in the head which is not designed for that purpose. It’s designed to execute what the heart wants us to do.

That led me to the latest certification I got, which is in a proprietary assessment tool called MindScan with a company called ProAdvisor Coach. Their specialty is coaching financial advisors but they also coach other executives in other fields. That assessment tool essentially measures how we think and what we value in six different dimensions.

[Clients] come to me with problems with pain, low energy, or fatigue, and once they understand the perspective of why that’s happening and they understand what part of themselves they’re hiding from sharing with the world, the pain starts to go away and the energy level comes back. It’s amazing. It’s really magical.

NCA: It seems like you felt the need to do coaching-specific training not just taking your experiential knowledge and applying that to your practice, is that right?

Jon: Yes, right. I think what you’re referring to is there’s a lot of coaches out there that are using their own experience and advising people based on their experience. I don’t try to do that. I try to do the opposite. I try to help people by what I perceive real coaching to be: meeting them exactly where they’re at and helping them to come to their own conclusions and actions based on their uniqueness and their goals. That’s not a lot of advising. That’s more helping them understand their strengths and learning how to leverage their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. And that really has nothing to do with my experience. It has everything to do with coaching.

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?

Jon: The most rewarding part is when I have a client who just thrives. It’s just amazing. It’s so rewarding. They overcome their fears. They overcome their self-limiting beliefs and they open themselves up to what they love and the universe responds. It always does. It’s just so rewarding to see them change and even their entire body changes. They can come to me with problems with pain, low energy, or fatigue, and once they understand the perspective of why that’s happening and they understand what part of themselves they’re hiding from sharing with the world, the pain starts to go away and the energy level comes back. It’s amazing. It’s really magical.

The most challenging part of what I do is that I’m so busy that I just don’t like to say no to people. That’s my biggest challenge.

NCA: You mean like turning down clients?

Jon: Yes. Sometimes I have to be careful about taking on new clients because I want to make sure I’m available. The most challenging part is making sure that I am able to handle my workload and being able to fulfill my dreams personally, which I need to prioritize. It’s just the balance of the two.

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?

Jon: Three come to mind. I took an advanced class with a coach within the HeartMath organization. In that class, I learned that everything we’re experiencing is about our relationship with ourselves, and not what it seems like, which is our relationship with others. I would say that person was a great mentor because I wouldn’t have learned that otherwise.

The other would be a famous doctor, Dr. Sarno, who published several books about the topic of healing back pain. His research led me to an understanding of the mind/body connection. I didn’t have the proof until I read his books.

The third would be the CEO of the company I’m working with now. His name is Rich Campe. He’s got about 20-year career of helping teams become highly performing.

NCA: What is one piece of advice that you would give to somebody who is just at the beginning stage of their career of becoming a coach and they need a little guidance on how to move forward?

Jon: I would say the best advice I would give them is to mentor with other coaches that have been through the learning curve because you can’t do it on your own. You just cannot do it on your own. You have to work with someone who’s already done it.

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