Coach Interview Series: Sonia Prado-Illescas

by Brandon

Sonia Prado-Illescas

Spiritual Life 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 Sonia Prado-Illescas. Sonia is an Intuitive Psychic, Holistic Healer, Mindfulness Meditation teacher and Spiritual Life Coach based in Wheaton, Illinois.

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

Sonia: My practice is based on the concept that I am dedicated to the growth and evolution of mindfulness and human consciousness. As a third-generation holistic healer, I deliver the message of faith, love, compassion and forgiveness. 

My clients usually come to me when they have a problem with love, abundance, relationships, careers or seeking out their souls’ purpose. They’re feeling very lost and they’re feeling like they’ve lost their inner peace.

I am in so much gratitude to be here and to answer my soul’s calling. I often ask and share with my clients and students: “What’s the difference between being broken and healing?” The people who are broken do not know they are broken. These are people who are broken and not in a good place in their lives. They are constantly triggering and lashing out at others. They are being led by their EGO. These are the ones who need our love the most. The people who are healing acknowledge they are a work in progress and are doing the shadow work every day.

We are all a work in progress. How we handle our stress is crucial to understanding how we handle our survival modalities. Are we in fight, flight or freeze? For some, they have lived a lifetime of being in survival mode they do not know how to get out. This leads me to doing energy work.

Part of our dharma is to learn how to deal with our energy and coexist with other people’s energies. This why I am certified to move and clear energy. As we acknowledge we are all energy it’s important to have our energy cleared on a daily basis. We have people who are dealing with all sorts of trauma. This energy can get stuck in people’s auric fields. People don’t understand the plasticity where we have trauma. I’d say the majority of trauma begins under the age of 5. If there was an incident where a child had surgery or was left by themselves or was abandoned, there’s that healing trauma. It’s called the Fight-Flight-Freeze response.

20 years later, I have clients who are still dealing with trauma when they were just an infant because they never knew how to let go of that victimhood of survival mode. Then there’s sabotaging limiting beliefs created from inner child trauma or father abandonment or the mother wound. And lastly there’s Past Life or Karmic lessons to heal from. We carry all of these emotions, and a lot of times, we don’t know we’re carrying them until someone like a life coach or a therapist points them out to us. A lot of times, we try to bury all that trauma.

We all get that one person who is continuously triggering us. I always tell my students or clients that the person who’s always triggering you is actually a gift. If they’re triggering you, that’s an inner healing within yourself that you need to do or something that you need to let go and reflect on yourself.

NCA: What initially got you interested in doing this kind of work?

Sonia: As a child my mother was very ill, and my grandmother helped raise me. In Peru, she was also known as a healer, a Curadora. She spent my younger years teaching me the ways of a healer. Five years ago, when my mother passed away, I lost my job that same week and I felt my life spiral. I was actually driving my daughter to school in my pajamas. I was not focused. I didn’t have clarity. I actually found my mentor at that moment in my life — some people call them gurus, mentors, or spiritual coaches.

She said, “When something happens to you, you need to look at it as either a blessing or a lesson and sometimes both.” I was able to come from gratitude that I lost my job so I could spend more time with my mom and that created a vibrational shift from gratitude.

I look at every situation whether it’s good or bad. It’s not that everything is happening to me, it’s happening for me—for me to grow spiritually, for me to help others, and seeing them as gifts instead of as punishment.

NCA: In working with your clients, what would you say is the most rewarding part of that process and on the flip side of that, what is the most challenging aspect of the work that you do?

Sonia: The most rewarding aspect would be that I’m making a difference. Sometimes, you don’t always see it in the present, but six months or a year from now, my clients come back. Just recently, I had a client who I helped last year and she called me up and she said, “You impacted my life.” I like to think that I’m just a vessel and I’m here to help and guide them. The help I gave her was sometimes we have to dig deep within our wounds of pain and not blame others, learn from the past, allowing ourselves to become vulnerable to the broken pieces of ourselves and begin to heal. When we can come from gratitude with a loving heart that these people or situations are gifts for spiritual growth, that’s when a vibrational shift happens.

The most challenging aspect is when I help people and they don’t follow through on what I’m suggesting. I’m really big on meditation. I tell my clients, “You can either deal with everything on the 3D, on the physical, or you can reach it in a higher state of consciousness, on the 5D.”

Buddha says that we all should not be experiencing pain and suffering. We create our own pain and suffering in this 3D realm. Why not go into a higher state of consciousness, meditate on your problem, your situations, get guidance from your higher self or your guides? That’s when you experience less pain and suffering.

I can tell when my clients have not meditated or they don’t follow through when they call me two weeks later and they’re hysterical. They are the distorted person asking themselves, “Why did this happen to me?” It’s coming from blame. “This person did this. This person did this,” instead of seeing it as a gift. Seeing all our failures, our trials and tribulations as blessings and as gifts for us to help grow spiritually—that’s just when you’ve reached the alignment and true bliss.

NCA: It’s interesting how you say you can tell when a client hasn’t meditated. It takes a high level of instinct to be able to know that. Are you saying that you just read their energy and you just know?

Sonia: Yes. My goal is to provide those placed on my journey with all the spiritual tools needed to connect them with their intuition and trust the guidance in mind, body and spirit. I am ever so humbled and in so much gratitude to acknowledge that I was born with all the clair-gifts: Clairvoyance (vision), Clairaudience (hearing), Clairscent (smelling), Clairtangence (tasting), Claireempath (feeling) and a Clair-channel for the Divine.  As we are all born with intuitive gifts it is meditation that strengthens and develops our gifts as they can be channeled through sight, hearing, thought, sensory and our feelings.

As an Intuitive, Medium, empath and holistic healer, we can all sense energy, so it’s really important to shield our energy to make sure you’re not absorbing other people’s energies. I always inform my clients that the unshielded empath is the one that is absorbing all of the energy in the room — that it’s clearing and filtering up the energy in the room. So, it’s very important for us to shield our energy and ground ourselves so then we’re not piling up energy form the day before, especially our children who are very sensitive to other people’s energy.

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

Sonia: There’s been so many mentors and I’m so grateful to have so many. My latest mentor, Julia Moustafhim, really challenged me, and I think that is a gift. She would push me when I was in a place that I wanted to give up and I would say, “I don’t think I can help enough people. I don’t think I’m the right one.” She actually challenged me to go within. Sitting in the stillness and the silence is where we get the clarity and the answers.

They always say that a good teacher or a good coach is someone who will give you what you need, but not always show you how to get to it. They’re giving you guidance. She would always come back to me and say, “Well, you need to reflect on it. You need to meditate.” It’s not always about giving the answer, it’s giving the lesson. I think that makes a really good mentor.

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?

Sonia: I would say honor your journey and your client’s journey. We are not here to judge anyone. When we can hold space for someone without judgment is when we allow space for healing. We have to have courage to be our true authentic self. If you’re in that imposter syndrome, your client is reading your energy and they’re going to sense that. They’re going to start feeling uncomfortable if you’re uncomfortable. They’re actually beginning to mirror how you’re feeling.

If I was ever struggling during a session, I would have to honor myself and re-center. Take a deep breath and close my eyes. Be still in the moment and ask my spiritual team for clarity, this would allow me to be the best version of myself. You have to take a step back, take control of the situation, and be raw and authentic. Thank you for allowing me to fulfill my soul’s purpose. May you always follow your heart and the integrity of your Divine light.

Blessings, love and gratitude,


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