Coach Interview Series: Olga Pérez

by Brandon

Olga Pérez

Life Strategist and Self Empowerment 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 Olga Pérez. Olga is a Life Strategist and Self Empowerment Coach based in Philadelphia, PA. She is the founder of The Charge Station™.

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

Olga: My clients come to me because they’re not happy. They’re frustrated.

My youngest client right now is 21 and my oldest client is 65. It’s been a struggle for me because everyone asks, “What’s your target audience?” Honestly, according to my analytics, my target audience seems to be between 25 and 45, with male and female being split 50-50. That’s the most narrow I’ve been able to get.

At the end of the day, everybody comes to me because they want answers to their issues.

“I don’t know if I’m studying the right major in college.”

“I’ve been trying to break up with my girlfriend for seven years and she won’t let me go.”

“I’ve been trying to get pregnant and I can’t.”

It’s really that extreme. At the end of the day, it’s people not getting what they want and wanting to have control over their outcome and their future.

The one thing that we all know is that the only constant is change. I help people come to adopt that mentality. You have to be resilient because the only thing that’s constant and the only thing you have control over is your reaction to the elements. If the only thing that’s constant is change, then what are you doing?

I have another client right now who’s being sexually harassed by her boss. I go, “You can quit your job. Nobody needs to tell you that. You can just do it.” But everyone wants that security. Everybody wants to know that if I knock on door B, I’m going to win. Nobody wants to fail. And yet most people that are successful and happy have failed a thousand times, including myself. Everybody wants a guarantee. They want to win.

You’re the captain of your ship. No captain was born a great captain. You got to go through different seasons, different oceans, and different forms. But when your core is straight, when your core is cool, when you know that you’ll deal with it, it’s not a question of pass or fail. I have to basically erase everything society has given to them.

My clients come from all over the world—Afghanistan, Greece, Japan, all over Europe, United States of America. I deal with people with a lot of different cultural backgrounds and a lot of different religions. I happened to travel a lot in my lifetime growing up and I read a lot, so I can use parts of the Quran when working with my Muslim clients. I can use stories like Little Red Riding Hood or Cinderella to relate to people. That’s how we connect. Through stories and through relation.

At the end of the day, it’s showing them who you are. You’re human. Everyone is afraid of dying. Once you teach people and you strip them from the fear of death, they become more powerful because there’s no longer this fight to stay alive. The fight should be to live and to be alive.

I’ve been treating miserable people my entire life and that’s my credo. If you’re miserable, I can hear you for five minutes, maybe even an hour, maybe even a week. But I need to see something in you that’s trying to get out of it.

NCA: What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of the work that you do? What hurdles have you had to climb that you didn’t expect when you first came into this field?

Olga: The biggest challenge was that at first, I wasn’t charging. When everyone started flooding to my house and my doorbell was ringing at three in the morning, that’s when I started charging for it. I thought that would make people go away. And it didn’t. People actually stayed. So I was like, “Okay. This is weird.” That was cool and then I quit my day job and whatever else I was doing.

Here’s another challenge: most people want your advice, but they don’t take it. A lot of the business model is to keep people dependent on you because if you heal them, then you don’t have a client anymore and you’ll lose business. My perception is, there’s billions of people here on Earth. I don’t need you to come back to me. I don’t want you to. I feel like I’m not serving you if you have to keep coming back to me.

I have a client that has been coming to me for 15 years now and every time she comes to me, it’s for a different reason. I realized that just because I did help someone doesn’t mean they can’t come back and go, “What do I do now? What do you think I should do now? How can I better navigate from this circumstance right now?”

Another challenge is that most of the people that want me, that need me, and want to hire me will say that they cannot afford me because they don’t realize how much time it takes for me to be there for them all the time. They don’t realize that it’s not like I can charge you $5 an hour. But if people don’t spend the money and don’t invest — like they do for college, for example — they don’t put skin in the game.

Sometimes I have parents that hire me to help their kids. I always tell my clients not to do that. I tell them, “I don’t think you want to do this because you’re going to waste your money. Because if your kid is not coming to me personally, he or she is not ready for change. They’re not ready to put skin in the game or sweat and do the work.”

I want to help everyone. I want to be there. But 9 times out of 10, they say that they need me one time. As if after going to the gym once you’re going to walk out with a six pack. It doesn’t work like that.

Sometimes clients say, “Oh my God. I’m totally ready. But I can’t afford it.” I have accommodated them years ago. I did scaling systems and all this stuff. Guess what? They just kept showing up and not doing the work. they thought coming in once a month was enough. Their idea of being helped is just that somebody understands and listens to them.

I’ve been treating miserable people my entire life and that’s my credo. If you’re miserable, I can hear you for five minutes, maybe even an hour, maybe even a week. But I need to see something in you that’s trying to get out of it.

It’s an existential issue. Everybody wants a pill. It’s a problem in our society. Everybody wants a quick fix.

NCA: One of the most common challenges new coaches face is self-doubt. Some coaches call it Imposter Syndrome, where early on they feel somehow inadequate to take on the role of coach. What is one piece of advice that you would give to somebody who is in the beginning stage of their coaching career and dealing with these doubts in their mind?

Olga: I do events and I have a lot of interns. Some of them, on their own, made me their mentor. They will come up to me all the time during their internship and say, “Olga, thanks to you, I’ve learned how to do this and that. I want to be a coach.” Some of these interns are 20, 21 years old.

I’m not saying that somebody at 20 can’t be helpful. But if you’re living at home and you’ve never even had a full time job and you’ve never completed anything, what will you be coaching? I have clients say to me, “Hey, I went to this convention. I met this young coach. He was very bright, very smart, very confident.” But then they’re like, “I’m in my 50s. Why should I listen to a 22 year old?”

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been this way since I was young. Age is just a number. I had emotional intelligence that has nothing to do with age. I agree with most of it. It’s very noble and it sounds very magnanimous to say that you want to help and serve. But trust me, the ego is always in there. Not to sound religious, but it’s like a demon behind the curtain. Most people don’t even know that. They really genuinely think that they’re do-gooders. But the truth is it’s their ego wanting acclamation, validation, and praise.

I listen to people that have told me that I can see people and their energy if they have crawled where no man has crawled. They had eaten shit that no one has ever eaten. For me, that’s the one that I would say, “You know what? I could definitely see you being a coach.”

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