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My Transition from Postal Worker to Life Coach | Inspirational Story

Woman smiling enjoying a fulfilling career as a life coach

Charting a New Path: My Transition from Postal Worker to Life Coach

As with many of my life journeys, my life coach journey had a few different moments I think of as the beginning. Three of those moments stand out today. 

The first moment was when I was desperately searching for a new career. It was in the 90’s and I was in my late 30’s going through a life transition.

My kids - who had been at the center of my life – had become teenagers, independent and self-sufficient much of the time.

I had worked for the US postal service for over a decade. The work was fine but not particularly fulfilling.

I had immersed myself in personal growth and spiritual awareness by attending workshops, reading books, and journaling.

 I was ready for a change. A big change!

My kids didn’t need me as much anymore; my job was lackluster and, at times, it was soul sucking.

In the moment I’m talking about, I picked up a magazine and read the cover story with increasing excitement. The article was about a new profession called Life Coaching.

The article described a profession that focused on helping people have a better life, reach their goals, and find fulfillment.

 It also painted a picture of the lifestyle possible as a coach - freedom to travel, set your own schedule, and make good money. 

Sign me up!

At the time, my work with the postal service was twofold. I was on an executive committee whose job it was to oversee the communication between craft and management employees.

This committee was a direct report to the head of my district and very closely aligned with the postmaster general. We had a lot of responsibly, the potential to really make a difference to the postal workers we served who had lot of trouble working together as a team.

My other role was that of conflict resolution. I was brought into individual post offices when there as a personal conflict between a manager and a subordinate.

I would meet with the two parties and get the gist of the problem.

Then I would coach them to discover what they each really wanted and help them get past the usual resentment and entitlement barriers to find a resolution that worked for both of them.

I was good at both of these roles and it felt great to be helping people. I was frustrated, however, with all the politics that intruded on the work I did on the committee and it was exhausting to continually be dealing with what were often petty grievances.

So, the Newsweek article about coaching sparked an interest. I knew how to help people and I liked it a lot.

 Helping people move toward something positive sounded like just the upgrade I was looking for.

The second moment that sparked my interest in coaching happened a short time later. It came when a coaching team was sent in to help my committee.

The coaching team met with the committee as a group and as individuals.  We each got our own coach for a short time and I loved the experience!

The big aha came for me after the 6-month professional coaching program had ended. We had our monthly meeting as usual and - not as usual - the whole team worked together with a positive attitude.

We achieved more in one meeting than I would have thought possible!

I was hooked.

I wanted to learn more about life coaching. I wanted to become a life coach myself.

I told everyone I knew about my new dream. I even signed up for a private 6-month coach training package with the team who had coached my committee.

 It was helpful, but I was seeking something that went deeper, that brought transformation, lasting change and expanded possibilities.

Then the third moment came.

I was talking to my acupuncturist about my dream and the work I imagined I could do as a life coach. She surprised me by announcing that she actually had a life coach herself! She told me that this coach had brought the kind of transformation for her that I was talking about.

She told me the name of the organization her coach had been trained by. The Coaches Training Institute (which evolved into the Co-Active Training Institute).

I signed up for the first CTI course as soon as I could!

I had no idea what I was in for. The very first day I was blown away by the coaching I witnessed and the exercises that, in a short period of time, gave me fresh insights into myself and helped me to see others in a brand-new way.

It didn’t take long for me to know I had found the right place for me to grow and learn how to be the coach I had been dreaming of.

Those three moments set me on the path beginning my journey as a life coach. They led me to the land of life coaching and got me through the right coach training door.

This was just the beginning. To actually become a life coach, it meant all kinds of training, practicing, failing, working hard, enrolling my first clients, learning how to set up a business and then making it a sustainable career.

For over two decades, this has been the most amazing journey of my life.

As I went through my coach training courses at the Co-Active Training Institute, my life began to change in ways I had never expected.

 I was not just training for a new career, I was experiencing internal changes that came about from the coaching I was receiving and what I was learning in the courses.

My own personal and spiritual growth path expanded beyond my wildest dreams.

I was awakened to a way of communicating with people that was open and authentic. I learned how to access my own feelings and experience my life and the people in it more fully.

It was a time of great joy as I continued to learn how to be a better coach and got to know other coaches who shared my passion for this work. Every course I took brought new awareness of how to enjoy my life more fully and how to help others to do the same.

It was also a time of uncertainty. Some of the people I had known for years didn’t care about my transformation and had no interest in hearing about my new career. They liked the OLD me better.

Most people I knew had never heard of life coaching and, to them, it sounded flaky. How would I be able to reach them in a way they could understand so they, too, could experience the transformation that brings fulfillment?

Having this new awareness changed many of my relationships. I no longer hid my true self, no longer tolerated things I didn’t like, spoke up where before I would remain silent.

Now that I knew my highest values, I was honoring them and sometimes by expressing myself in ways that people close to me were not used to. They did not welcome the change.

This new awareness also brought me greater clarity on what was not working with my job. The soul sucking feeling intensified. I knew I wanted to make coaching my career… but how?

What would it take to remove the golden handcuffs of wonderful benefits that included a flexible work schedule, generous vacation and paid sick leave -  even a pension?

Now that I had found my dream career, how was I going to make money and support myself?

How long would it take me to learn this new craft and become a real professional?

I was tempted to just walk away from my full-time job at times! I loved life coaching so much and it was all I wanted to do. But with a full-time job and a family and all the rest of the responsibilities that came with my life, I felt I never had enough time to devote to my coaching.

Between a rock and a hard place.

I am forever grateful to my coach Phil Sandhal, co-author of the book, Co-Active Coaching, who helped me navigate those uncertain times.

I also had a spiritual counselor who helped me to see that I would only be causing myself unnecessary stress by giving up my salary before I was ready.

For a full year and a few months, I went all out to do my job and to build a life coaching business. I made some changes to my lifestyle as well, so I wouldn’t need to replace my salary all at once.

 I sold my house and bought a small apartment building, so I would have rental income that covered my mortgage. I cut up the credit cards that tempted me to buy things I didn’t need.

I stocked up on things that I did need to get me through a few years of business startup. I pushed myself way out of my comfort zone in order to market my coaching services.

 Talking to everyone I knew about how coaching could help them, setting up sample sessions, going to networking meetings and seeking out organizations that I thought might need a coach the way my team had needed one. 

There were many people who came through for me during this time.

An acquaintance, who owned the local bookstore, allowed me to put up my business card along with an invitation to join my book club featuring a self-help book the store sold.

My acupuncturist put my flier up on her bulletin board and told some of her clients about my services. My yoga teacher allowing me to make an announcement after every class about my services.

I received help from a teenager I knew who was willing to do some admin work at a very low wage. My sister offered her accounting services to help me get my business set up.

I could never have done it without all that support!

It seemed like it took a very long time, and it wasn’t easy, but it was exciting to be aiming for my dream. I had no uncertainty about this new career and no doubt that I could make it if I just kept moving forward!

Then came the moment when the numbers worked!

I had enough marketing that was working to bring in new inquiries each week, enough clients to pay my pared down bills and the time was finally right to take the leap into full time entrepreneurship!

I left my postal service job, took off those golden handcuffs.

I opened up my life coaching business full time on August 16th, 2001. I still remember how, on that day at about 10:05am Eastern time, my phone range with a potential client on the other end. I was in business!

As I mentioned earlier, my journey since has been the best of my life.

It has included:

  • Learning about leadership and myself during the year-long CTI leadership program
  • Continued training in relationship coaching and business coaching
  • Going to seminary and becoming an interfaith minister
  • Creating a card deck to help people communicate more openly that was almost purchased by the US Army!

It has also included:

  • Having my own AM radio show and internet radio shows
  • Having my own group coaching programs
  • Writing a popular blog
  • Publishing two books: The Soulsearch about a spiritual manifesting process and Evolve Your Coaching Business that integrates all my learning from creating and sustaining a successful coaching career to help other coaches in their quest to make this amazing profession their career.

The Not So Fun Things my journey has included were:

  • Ending a 25-year marriage
  • Moving across the country
  • Moving a few more times
  • Losing friends
  • Failing at many of my marketing attempts
  • Losing my father, sister, and brother-in-law along the way (nothing to do with my coaching business but part of the whole life experience of a coach)

And although these were painful experiences I was able to navigate them better than I could have imagined. 

Because this journey also included meeting new & wonderful friends and helping my family in ways I never could have done without my coach training.

Working as a leader for the Co-Active training Institute teaching their Certification program and Core curriculum has been extraordinary.

On this journey, there have been many iterations and an evolution of my own coaching business.

I have been a Relationship Coach, Spiritual Coach, Women’s Leadership Coach and Business Coach.

My latest joy as a coach is my current iterations of having my own business academy and community of coaches who I support to succeed in business in a way that is soul driven and fulfilling to them.

It has been an amazing journey and, after two decades, my passion has only grown and matured. I love where I am right now and am open to how my coaching business will grow as I continue.

There is a Maya Angelou book title  that comes to mind as I wrap up this message.

“Wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now”

It has not been an easy journey, nor a hard journey, but a full journey. It supports me financially, spiritually and with the richest relationships and deepest connections that I have ever known.

Changed the title a bit since this one was very similar to a recent post titled “The Transformative Journey of Becoming a Life Coach”

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Written By

Kat Knecht

Kat Knecht is an internationally known business coach who has helped thousands of coaches achieve their dream of professional success through her Business Academy and as a leader for the Co-Active Training Institute. Kat believes wholeheartedly in the human potential and has made her impact on others through her work as a coach, trainer, author, interfaith minister and inspiring speaker. She brings an expertise gained from 20 years of success as a professional coach, which she shares in her new book Evolve Your Coaching Business. Kat lives in Ojai, CA, with her husband Curtis and kitty Coconut.

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