I’m a professional coach, author, educator and speaker on the topics of Positive Psychology, goal-setting, and addiction recovery.
How would you describe what you do?
I work on the phone with individuals all over the world as a coach in helping them to set and accomplish meaningful goals. I have a Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, so I’m an expert on the science of happiness, and particularly how it relates to goal-setting theory. I use this knowledge to teach in the University of Texas-Dallas School of Management in their coaching certificate program, and I keynote at management and motivational conferences periodically. I have published six books and I speak about them and do media appearances frequently, which can all be seen at http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnCz-KBRtSEGVcQ0Q77RFzQ
What does your work entail?
I work on the phone, travel to speeches, teach via webcam or on person, keep up to date at conferences by attending and presenting, and I write books/blog/contribute chapters to anthologies.
What’s a typical work week like?
I work from 7:45 am on Monday morning until about 4 pm or 5, and that’s how I usually spend Monday through Thursday. Friday is a day I try to save for writing, networking and catching up with colleagues.
How did you get started?
I have been writing books and giving interviews/speeches since my first book, “My Name is Caroline” (Doubleday 1988) was published. In the intervening decades, I became a trained and accredited professional coach, and when I returned to the University of Pennsylvania in 2005 to get a Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology, I developed an expertise in Positive Psychology at that time and have been teaching, writing and speaking about that since that time.
What do you like about what you do?
My work is meaningful and fulfilling because I work with motivated individuals who want to pursue goals that will leave behind a legacy they are proud of, and will also leave them with no regrets. I also love to touch large groups of people so writing books and being in the media allows me to have a bigger impact on people who are hungry for this new knowledge. I’ve created a flexible and rewarding career that has allowed me to juggle raising three children with advancing my education and career in my own time and on my own terms.
What do you dislike?
I often work alone, and have to compensate by getting together with people in-person at the beginning or end of each day, and from Friday through Sunday.
How do you make money/or how are you compensated? (salaried, hourly, commission, bonuses, etc)
Speech fees, book royalties, coaching clients, licensing course materials, and book advances.
How much do you make?
How much money did/do you make starting out?
It varied but was always healthy.
What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?
Having a coach education and a Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology separated me from my peers in the coaching world in a unique way.
What is most challenging about what you do?
Juggling the constant demands of running a business that requires accounting, scheduling logistics, lots of writing, traveling and continuing education makes the day far too short and my inbox always full. I have a virtual assistant and a bookkeeper, but it’s still a lot of paperwork and logistics that can eat up precious time.
What is most rewarding?
Knowing that I am making a positive difference in people’s lives.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
Get the best education you can get, and then hire an established coach who will mentor you into the practice you went – whether you are a solopreneur or joining a practice within a company or with other professionals.
How much time off do you get/take?
It’s completely up to me. About a month a year in the most recent year.
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
That anyone can coach. It’s a skill that needs to be finely honed, and you need to really care about people to make the right connection. Coaching is also not therapy, and all coaches need to know the line and be able to refer when appropriate.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
I’m hoping that one of my books becomes a TV movie, that I continue to write more books that make an impact around the world, that I give a TED talk, and I continue to grow and improve in my skills.
What else would you like people to know about your job/career?
This is a wonderful career, but it requires focus, discipline, hard work and attention to detail. It’s not “easy,” but once you have the right training and tools, the job can begin to feel effortless!