On this week’s episode

  • On this week’s episode of You Have a Cool Job, we talk to Marissa Jacobs, a life and career coach. If you’ve ever wondered what being a life coach really means, Marissa explains it all.
  • She specializes in working with two main groups of people–young women who have recently graduated from college, and aspiring entrepreneurs. She explains why this is important for her coaching style.
  • Marissa also talks about the field in terms of its progression and various credentials. While there is no required certification to become a life coach, Marissa chose to undergo extensive training to help her clients as much as she can.

About the show

You Have a Cool Job is a podcast hosted by Taylor Sienkiewicz from Peterson’s. The show highlights professionals who have a unique, interesting, uncommon, or otherwise cool job.

Our goal is to motivate you and show how interesting, fulfilling, and anything-but-average your career can be, and we’ll do this by talking with people who took a path less traveled. We ask these fascinating individuals how they got to where they are in their career based on their education, experience, and influences;  why they love their job; and lots more.

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Learn more about Marissa’s work here.

Marissa mentioned the International Coach Federation, or ICF. Learn more here.

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Marissa Jacobs’ website headshot. Photo courtesy of marissajacobs.com.

Transcript of Episode 9

HOST SHOW INTRO: Welcome to the show! From Peterson’s, I’m Taylor Sienkiewicz, and you’re listening to “You Have a Cool Job”, a podcast highlighting those who took their profession in a unique direction, and what they did to get there.

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HOST INTRO: On today’s episode of You Have a Cool Job, we talk with Marissa Jacobs, a Life and Career Coach. Marissa explains what this relatively new field is in comparison to similar professions.

HOST (LIVE): First, do you want to, because I feel like life coaching is kind of a newer topic but do you want to just explain what that is?

MARISSA JACOBS: Yes. So the way I think it’s important to talk about it with the difference of link coaching versus consulting versus therapy because I feel like this is kind of what’s confusing for people is what’s the difference and so to me consulting is you hire someone because they have an expertise that you don’t to tell you what to do about something you don’t know how to do so you know hire a brand consultant to teach you how to bring yourself or you hire a consultant for you know business development something like that and they have a trained skill set and they’re gonna tell you how to do that better and to me coaching is I’m not telling you how to live your life I’m not telling you what to do because no one knows your life better than you do and so coaching believes that you have the answers you have the information and it’s just drawing that out of you already and so it there’s no hierarchy in coaching like I’m the expert of your life and I’m going to instruct you on how to live it it’s more of you know the coach is your partner and shaping what you want things to look like.

HOST: Marissa says there are similarities between therapy and coaching, but the purpose and methodology is very different

MARISSA JACOBS: The difference between therapy and coaching is to me therapy is incredibly valuable by the way but just a different approach of more what’s happened to in your life what’s happened in and sometimes looking backward to heal the past to move forward and there is definitely some overlap between coaching and therapy but coaching is a little bit more I don’t really need to know your whole story I don’t need to know everything that’s ever happened to you I need to know where you are now and where you want to go and so it’s just a little bit more about goal-setting and accountability and looking into what’s next for you and instead of going backwards and looking at everywhere you’ve been so coaching is really just a partnership of two people working together and the client is responsible for deciding you know what they’re looking to get coached on I don’t tell someone you need coaching on this they say hey I’m looking to make a change or you know I’m unhappy in my career or I’m you know they come with a topic in mind and my job is to then work with them to decide what’s important to them and what they value what their life purpose is you know how they want their life to look and then some steps to get there and keep them accountable and building that.

HOST (LIVE): Right. So it sounds like therapy would be more like the healing process whereas coaching is the let’s make a plan for the rest of it.

MARISSA JACOBS: Yeah and there are moments that you know an emotion comes up or some past stuff is unresolved and coaching and it’s important to sometimes pause and say like you know what’s what’s in this for you like maybe there is something that kind of gets triggered from pasture and it’s certainly emotional but it typically is forward thinking and looking at how do you want to take you know these places you’ve been or maybe the experience you’re having right now even if it is emotion and learn from it and grow from it and and figure out how it can serve you and your overall life.

HOST: While there are many styles of coaching, Marissa explains what she believes her purpose is and isn’t as a coach.

MARISSA JACOBS: The most important thing about coaching is that there’s no really advice given or at least in in the way I practice coaching you know I know there are probably many different ways that people operate as a coach in the world the way I coach in the way I’ve been trained to coach is not from a place of power and balance you know where I have it all together and so I’m gonna teach you how to do that again that’s really more consulting and so coaching is the misconception I think is that someone figures things out for you and actually coaching is a lot of work a lot of work for the client a lot of work for the coach but it’s about you taking ownership of your life and coach absolutely partners with you and supports you and and is there with you in that and but they’re not telling you what to do because it’s not really what it’s about.

HOST: You may be asking when someone might seek out a coach well there are numerous answers to this question Marissa has two main specialties why do people usually come to you for?

MARISSA JACOBS: Great question. So I think my two kind of sweet spots which honestly are mostly just I think personal connection are two so one is young women especially entering into the workforce for the first time so post-grad looking to figure how to navigate the work world you know what exactly they want to do and or are pretty early on and their career and in their life so usually kind of early to mid-20s that’s a really special spot for me because I’m so I’m not that far removed from it where you know can’t relate to that time in life and honestly what drew me to that population was like I think back to myself and if I had had a coach 22 like what a value and to think more clearly about what was really important to me and look more holistically in the ways I took care of myself and the things I wanted to prioritize and I never had conversations like that until much later and I think you know I don’t have regrets about it but I just think like wow if I had been you know talking to someone who made me feel that empowered it made me more aware of what was really important to me like I probably would have saved a lot of time doing a lot of things that we’re probably not quite right for me and so I really loved working with that population and the other group that I work with our entrepreneurs so people who want to start a business and or you know it doesn’t always have to be a full-time thing but have some kind of passion project that they’re looking to take into the world so sometimes it’s it’s more of a societal or you know a side gig that they’re looking to do but they want some accountability and motivation into what does that really look like so those are the two populations I particularly work with and it’s honestly mostly just because that’s my experience you know I’m a young woman who has tried a lot of different careers who has started a business started several businesses actually and been able to sustain myself like that for the past four years and I love to share that experience and just encourage others to do the same.

HOST: Marissa works best with these two groups of people because she is undergone what they are currently in the process of I asked Marissa why this is an aspect of choosing a coach it’s always the relatability piece with coaching and I really encouraged any client whether they work with me or not is you don’t talk to a lot of different coaches see who’s a good fit for you because it’s just like anything you know someone might be an incredibly skilled coach but that doesn’t the right coach for you and so you have to find someone that you know you just gel with and you feel excited to talk to every session where you know you feel like will push you and you don’t want to coach that’s gonna let you get away with too much but you also don’t want someone that’s gonna make you not feel nurtured enough so it’s it’s really finding a sweet spot and I think that yeah people have to find the right energetic fit for them so we always encourage someone whether they’re coming to me or not to take your time you know find the right coach have six sessions with people before you pick one it’s it’s worth it to find someone that you really connect with.

HOST (LIVE): So when you also talked about like different misconceptions and how the industry has grown in a different way what are certain things that people don’t expect are a big part of your job like when I was looking at you on social media I remember seeing something about like how headshots are important so why is that?

MARISSA JACOBS: Great question yeah so whether you’re a coach are pretty much any entrepreneur I think one thing that is a little bit of maybe a slap in the face to people when they first start working independently is let’s say you want to start a business as you know a photographer yes you have to be an incredible photographer and take a lot of pictures but that is like a fraction of your business you have to be good at client relations you have to be good at marketing you have to be good at updating your website or paying someone to do that you know you have to do some kind of bookkeeping or pay an accountant and so a big part of coaching is running a business and I think that’s something that’s really important to know about this work is that yeah you know you have to have contracts in place and how are you gonna take payments from people and so before you’re like oh hey I’m a coach you know what what is it like to build a business and have all those pieces in place to be able to do your actual job which is coaching so I think sometimes whether it’s coaching or any industry people don’t realize that all you wear many hats I’m entrepreneur and that is a huge part of my day-to-day and yes of course the focus is always client work but you know I need to do billing and I need to keep up with I do a lot of Instagram I do I write a blog is really important to me and that takes time and so that is a big part of my day is the running a coaching business as well as coaching.

HOST: Because coaching is so new as a career many people are unfamiliar with it I asked Marissa what some common misconceptions are about her field.

MARISSA JACOBS: You know coaching is a very quickly changing industry it was I think considered kind of woowoo and previously if like a life coaches unfortunately I think has a little bit of connotation to some people of being like this Airy fairy kind of super touchy-feely like and and there is some of that and there are certainly coaches that are stylistically like that but the way the coaching industry is now is I mean there are coaches who are working with leaders and top level executives and you know who are doing extensive training to become coaches and it is a profession that is certainly has a ton of credibility that I think it didn’t in the past and it was really evolving into a true profession and not just something that people are kind of popping up as a coach and wanting to offer you know nuggets of wisdom yes I think coaching now is very different than coaching was even 5 years ago.

HOST (LIVE): And then you also own an event planning business so how do those two things coincide with your coaching?

MARISSA JACOBS: Yes so I that’s my background for the past several years so I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 26 or so knew I wanted to work independently I’m very lucky I come from an entrepreneurial family who has modeled for me that that is a in you know wonderful way to work in the world and so I was in a job that was under challenging and just knew like I’m ready to do something alone so I started an event planning company and did that for several years and part of what brought me to coaching actually because the connection I’ve had with my clients through that made me really realize that that one-on-one is so incredibly fulfilling to me and I ended up coaching a lot of people and a lot of ways in my life before I really call myself a coach as it often goes and so how I do it now so I actually don’t do that much event planning anymore because my coaching business has taken off but the way I use them together is to create experiences now so I’m working on for 2019 a set of workshops and then a longer retreat in the next year and so it’s great because I get to take my event planning background of you know facilitating all the details and all the things that go into planning an event and now use it in a coaching context of creating events for people that are about personal growth and about connections.

HOST: As for what really goes on when it comes to being a coach, Marissa explains the different educational routes people take and why she chose to do extensive training.

MARISSA JACOBS: Coaching unfortunately is not a regulated industry so you don’t have to have any kind of certification to be a coach anyone could wake up tomorrow and open up a coaching business it’s not like therapy where you have to have a licensure and there is certainly a huge shift going around it though about like you know what are the ways that we know that people are credible coaches because it’s such a popular field and so there is a governing body in the coaching industry called the International coach Federation, ICF, and they have done a ton of work to standardize coach training and actually do accreditation for certain programs to say like oh this is an ICF approved program because there are also tons of coaching programs that you know you could get a coaching certificate in a day and I took like almost two years so you know there’s like the range of what’s out there scary actually but pretty wild so what when I knew I wanted to be a coach I wanted to do it in a way that really felt like a lot of integrity for me and the way I operate is just I want to know what I’m doing I want to feel really really confident in the values I’m offering the client and so to me that meant training and training seriously and so I decided to do a ton of research so what trainings were out there you know talk to different people about what they had done and that’s why I chose the coaches training institutes I think the oldest training school units based actually in California but they have trainings all over the world now and how it works is its three-day weekends five times and so you do these kind of immersive three days at a time and learn a ton and you have leaders that facilitate that and you’re working with other coaches and practicing coaching and it’s probably one of the most enriching experiences I’ve done in my life and after that you can apply to go through their certification which is a six-month program that I just finished and you know you don’t have to do that level of training but I mean I wouldn’t I can’t imagine being effective as a coaching and not without the training that I’ve got so so again that’s called the Coach’s Training Institute and then I am also going through a training through ICF directly to become an ECC which is an associate certified coach they have several levels of coaches but they are kind of the first resource so anyone is interested in coaching if you’re not sure what training just go to the ICF website and they have you know a list of if you want an in-person training you can look where you live and see what might be there if you want you know all online they have resources for a ton of things out there that you can do so I think training to me is incredibly important because we want to do a good job for clients and know what we’re talking about and learn skills and really being a coach and there are so many incredible programs out there that and it’s worth investing in for yourself to really serve your clients.

HOST: Marissa shared what spurred her career changed to coaching and explained that these prior careers although they weren’t what she ended up doing were still able to serve her.

MARISSA JACOBS: There are probably people out there that somehow like wake up and know what they want to do with their life right yeah maybe at 18 you know get a job right out of college and do that for their life and and good for them I mean I wish that was the case for most people I don’t think that’s the case for everyone where they have this straight path and so I’ve had several careers which I think I’ve actually really served me and I think it’s this is one thing I work with a lot with people like there’s no kind of mistake you know sometimes you do a job and you think oh my gosh I I’m in the wrong career. Well isn’t that great that you know that now that you’ve learned that that’s not the right thing for you so for me I graduated with an art history degree totally unrelated to coaching I wanted to be in fashion so that my lifelong dream was to be a fashion designer sign moved to New York they worked in fashion for about three and a half years and it was just I think so idealized in my head has told me what it really was like so I got there and it was just almost pretty immediately not the right thing but it’s hard to let go of a dream and I think so I worked there for yeah like I said at several years before I was ready to move on and I just knew one I wanted to give back more and I work and that was not doing that and two I’m a hiker Runner skier like New York City was not the right place for you so I decided to move back I moved back to Colorado which is where I’m from and I live in Denver now and I started working for a non-profit so I did event planning for a nonprofit which is how I ended up in event planning and same thing just knew it wasn’t quite right I always use this term with people but like it’s you sometimes find almost but that’s not the same as it and so you have to hold it out for the it like this is it and yeah I just was really under challenged in that role but both of those roles taught me a lot of important things about you know the way you run a business about the way you want to show up for people about what isn’t important like I didn’t really know I wanted to be in a service kind of a helping profession I guess this is what to call it until I was not in one and realized that that was a big void that I was looking for so I knew I wanted to work independently which was kind of step one and that’s how I started my event-planning company and then from there I learned I knew I wanted to help people in a way that was different than that and that’s what brought me to coaching so I think each one was like a closer to you what I know I mean I think is you know my calling and I hope to be doing this work for a very long time so yeah I just learned along the way and you have to kind of let go of some things sometimes to move forward on to the next thing even though you know it’s hard to let go what you thought was what you wanted.

HOST (LIVE): Exactly and Marissa what’s your favorite part about what you do?

MARISSA JACOBS: My favorite part about what I do is just like the ripple effect enough coach so how I see it is when I’m working as a coach I’m working independently I’m living in a way that is my ultimate desire I’m showing up in a way that’s energetically right for me you know I’m living on purpose and I’m happy I’m engaged in the world I’m connected and then when I work with clients to enable them to live the life that they want you know to build the relationships that they want to find the career that they want then they show up like that in the world you know and they are energized and they’re on purpose and it’s just this incredible ripple of you know that they are better employees than they are better business owners than they are better parents and they’re a better romantic partner and I just think that when we can get in touch with what really matters and be in touch and all about the way we live the impact is so profound and so resonating into kind of every area of life and into the people that we connect with and so it’s just incredibly important and I think yeah humbling actually to imagine kind of that you know several layer out effect that coaching has on people and that’s out of my own life and hopefully many people.

HOST: As for final thoughts, Marissa shares a bit of coaching advice for us.

MARISSA JACOBS: Be intentional and don’t let life just happen to you, but shape it for yourself.

HOST: Coaching is a career undergoing rapid growth and changes and Marissa is part of it all with her own style and specialties. We hope you’re inspired by Marissa’s story to make the leap into entrepreneurship if it’s right for you. Thanks for tuning in, we’ll see you next week.

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