Coach Interview Series: Kari Petruch

by Brandon

Kari Petruch

Life Coach and Motivational Speaker

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 Kari Petruch. Kari is a Personal Development, Life, and Relationship Coach and Motivational Speaker based in Georgetown, Texas.

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

Kari: My coaching practice is called Highest Intent Life Coaching. Through my coaching program, I help people to fix their relationships and get closer to one another so that they can have a happier relationship. Mostly I deal with couples — any kind of couple that there is and any kind of age.

Another part of my coaching practice is helping soldiers to transition from military life into civilian life. I help them with plans for transition and I help them to get the resources that they need to address possible PTSD and help lift them up.

I would watch soldiers go to war and come back and they weren’t well. There weren’t enough resources to help them. My hands were tied. I didn’t know what I could do to help them. Then I realized that I was very good at coaching people to reach their highest goals and I wanted to learn more. So I decided to stop working and go into a coaching program and learned all kinds of strategies and tools on how to help people, then I started my business. I have a lot of clients and they seem pretty happy!

It’s really lovely to see a couple that thinks that things are over and there’s no hope and to teach them with the tools that I have to try a different way and to watch them fall in love again. It’s just magic.

NCA: Can you talk a little bit about the kind of coaching that is necessary with veterans facing PTSD and the unique challenges of that task?

Kari: When someone goes into the military, they go through training that teaches them how to defend and kill. When they come out of the military, the civilian world is completely foreign to them. They have to live with flashbacks, nightmares, guilt, and remorse for all that they went through. The civilian world does not understand and doesn’t comprehend what they’re going through. They leave the military without the knowledge of how to transition back into civilian life. They may have gone in at 18 years old and never even had an adult experience in the civilian world.

What I do first is get them to the resources that they need to get that help — whether it’s a psychologist, a support group — anything they need. I spend my time trying to find all the resources that can help them to get through the PTSD.

How do you write a civilian resume? How do you present in an interview? How do you get back into talking to regular people again? Because there is a military language that they’ve been taught to speak, civilians sometimes look at them like they’ve got a horn growing out of their foreheads.

If they need help financially, there’s all kinds of organizations around that will help them get on their feet. If they need to go to school, I find a resource that can help them to find the right school to go to. They have VA benefits but they don’t know how to do it. I help them get there and find out what it is that they would like to do with their lives.

If they don’t get help, we lose them. They often turn to drugs, alcohol, or suicide because they don’t feel like they have any choices. I try to give them the choices they need.

For veterans, I don’t charge for my services. That is my passion and that’s what I do. If I can help them in any way, all they have to do is call and I will. It’s just what I do.

NCA: Is this passion for your work with veterans born out of personal experience, perhaps in your own life or your family’s life?

Kari: Yes. My husband was active duty for a long time. I was in military life for 27 years and I worked in a deployment center in Germany for 4 years and I saw the soldiers go out and soldiers come back in. I have a really strong connection to the military. If I can help save them, save their lives, then that’s what I’ll do. Anything I can do that’ll help to save them and keep them around because we love them.

NCA: What 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?

Kari: The most rewarding part of my career is seeing people be successful at relationships and seeing soldiers be successful at life. Those two things are so important to me. It’s very rewarding. It’s really lovely to see a couple that thinks that things are over and there’s no hope and to teach them with the tools that I have to try a different way and to watch them fall in love again. It’s just magic. The love was always there, it’s just that things get in the way. It’s very rewarding for me to see them fall in love again and stay in love.

The most challenging thing for me in my line of work is to have people come in that were abused. I cannot help these people who were in an abusive relationship. I try to refer them to therapists that can better help them with that. That’s challenging for me when people come and ask for help and I can’t help them.

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

Kari: Mark and Magali Peysha. They have been a stronghold in helping me and influencing me. They are just an amazing couple. They founded a program called Strategic Intervention and they have been there all along for me. They’re just incredible mentors.

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

Kari: If you are not financially able to quit your day job, don’t do it. It’s really important that the business is set up and you learn about business, marketing, social media, and all of those things before you decide to hang your shingle. The Small Business Administration is incredible for information about how to run a small business.

Coaching school is great, but when you decide to do it as a business, you need to learn how to run a small business before you do that. It’s about reputation and it takes time to build that. It’s not something that’s you magically put up there. Coaching is like any helping profession. People aren’t usually going to come see you just because they see you online. Usually, it’s a referral. This friend said, “Hey, have you…?” and it just goes on and on like that and it takes time for it to grow. It can take a couple of years to grow a coaching business and whoever wants to do it needs to be prepared for that time to happen.

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