by Robbie Pangilinan
Four years ago, she felt burnt out – with her job and her life. Her mind and body were telling her to stop and reassess where her life was at and where it was going.
“I asked myself these three questions: How am I? Is where I am the best that I can be for myself and others? Do I see myself in 10 years doing what I’m doing now? And my answers were ‘Not so good, No, and No,” recalls 42-year-old Charissa O. Cacnio.
It was then that she took the mission of seeking for her passion and purpose. She treaded a path unknown to her – life coaching. She trained with the International Coaching Federation and ventured into a service to the most complex, intelligent and unique creation – humans.
“I experienced the birth pains of going into a fresh and unfamiliar industry in our country. I realized that many has little to no concept of what a life coach is, unlike in progressive countries where coaches are very present especially in the lives of successful people. Then, there’s the challenge to prove that coaching does bring about tremendous results in one’s personal and professional development,” says Cha.
Cha, whose clients are from teens to 50’s, defines a life coach as a catalyst to move you from point A to point B which inevitably transforms a person from inside out.
“A life coach is someone who partners with you in your quest for clarity and direction, as an accountability partner, to encourage and empower you in goal setting and move towards achieving and exceeding it,” says Cha, adding that goals can be in the area of personal relationships, business, career, purpose, health, and well-being.
Cha also differentiates a life coach from a psychiatrist, psychologist, and guidance counselor.
“A coach is a process expert. The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Also, trained to listen, to observe and to customize the approach based on individual client needs for the purpose of enhancing the quality of their lives. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and guidance counselors are subject matter experts. They all give advice. A psychiatrist is a doctor that gives diagnosis, treatments and medication. A psychologist gives diagnosis and does therapy. A counselor gives advice and provides guidance,” explains Cha.
Her clients, mostly from the Philippines and some from abroad, experience constant anxiety attributed to current or past conflicts, anger, fear, confusion; a sense of emptiness or feeling that life is going nowhere. She helps them get over self-doubt, anxieties, stress; quiet the inner critic, improve their spiritual life, create and stick to better habits, and have a positive mindset.
“In a nutshell, I get to be a perpetual student of the human race, give back through my profession, and receive compensation as a form of reward,” declares the working mom of two young children ages 10 and 5.
But her highest form of reward is in the joy she feels when she sees her clients’ eyes light up, smile or laugh when they realize that the answer is right under their noses and all they needed was a shift in perspective, their amazed faces at how something finally made sense, tears shed which mark the beginning of healing, the confidence gained realizing a dream/goal they never thought they can experience. Cha says all these are priceless.
Cha says that all people may experience the need for clarity, connection, direction, expression, transition, and others at some points in life. Seeking a trained/professional life coach provides a safe place to express and find clarity that may lead to a sense of peace, wholeness in identity and purpose.
“Since each one of us is created unique and authentic, the sad truth is that growing up, many if not all have experienced being molded, labeled, judged, and pushed to be something or someone that they are not, otherwise, criticized, discriminated, shamed or other form of rejection. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. And we are here to help,” ends Cha.