VIRGINIA BEACH — While doing facials on clients several year ago in her hometown of Lynchburg, Va., Kessley McCormick began cultivating her purpose in life—which was not doing facials.
She found that her purpose wasn’t previous career in fashion, although she still loves aesthetics, nor was it her next career as a respiratory therapist in Virginia Beach, where she still lives.
What McCormick loved about doing facials—and what stuck—was connecting with clients, being their ear and support system.
“They would make comments like, ‘This is much more than just a facial,’” McCormick said.
McCormick took that skill, or intuitive gift, and parlayed it into a brand-new career as a life coach. Last January, she was certified by the World Coaching Institute, a life coaching training and certification organization based in Miami Beach.
McCormick did several hours of online coursework and phone coaching—a fitting approach to her education, since unlike most life coaches, she does her own coaching via text and phone calls.
“These Millennials—they can’t get the gadgets out of their hands,” McCormick said, adding that she herself is ‘old-school.’ She is only 32 years old, but she calls herself as “an old soul.”
“I like to wander. I like to read a book in my hands,” she added.
Her tech-savvy approach is reaching people. While she doesn’t yet have clients in every state, she has clients from many states—as well as a large following in London.
“Anyone who has a phone and speaks English, I can reach,” she said.
Life coaching—what is it?
The dictionary definition of a life coach is someone who counsels and motivates others to achieve personal goals.
According to the 2016 International Coaching Federation Global Coaching Study, there were 17,500 certified coaches in North American in 2015. The field is estimated to be growing at 18 percent annually, according to Market Data Enterprises.
The reasons for this are thought to be varied: the move away from traditional work environments towards remote work, a shift in work values towards prioritizing highly-rewarding careers and striking a good work and life balance and the onset of office politics and other obstacles that traditional education doesn’t prepare people for, are just a few, according to an article in PsychCentral.
McCormick landed on the life coaching career path after a lot of soul-searching. After quitting her job doing facials, she went back to school and became a respiratory therapist. Again, what she enjoyed most about her job was connecting with patients on a level that went beyond their physical ailments. Once a patient told her, “God always send you an angel right when you need one.”
That stayed with McCormick—just like her conversations with her facials clients. At that point, McCormick dove into spiritual and self-help books.
“You name it, I read it,” she said.
“Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur” is the book that really spoke to McCormick. She contacted the author, Cara Alwill Leyba, who is also a life coach, and then followed in her footsteps.
From calling to craft
“My real calling has always been serving others,” McCormick said.
And the gift of life coaching is that it’s truly about the clients, she added.
“If we look so much towards our support system, it is really emotionally connected to us and what [other people] want for themselves,” she said. “I am an unbiased, non-judgmental person to come to.”
During phone sessions, McCormick only does about 20 percent of the talking—contrary to the perception that life coaching is about “giving people advice all day,” she said.
Instead, she rarely actually gives advice, but lets people come to their own conclusions about their own lives.
“People start to be liberated,” she said.
Unlike traditional therapy, life coaching focuses on the present and future—not on overcoming past obstacles and their carryover in our lives, McCormick added.
“We do talk about the past but we don’t stay there,” she said, adding that it’s not in a “get over it” sort of way, but rather assessing the lessons from past in order to move on. Life coaching bridges the gap between who you are right now and where you want to be, she added.
Perhaps surprisingly, most people are looking for the same basic things in life, she said.
“In reality, we all kind of want the same things: peace, love, feeling secure,” she said. “Some of my clients are women in really high positions, and they just want to slow down.”
One woman was director of cardiovascular services at a large hospital in Georgia—a career path that her father had pressured her into, McCormick said.
“She had a very cushy job, but she wanted to open up a yoga studio in Colorado,” she added.
She worked with McCormick to identify a plan that would work for her. The client took an extended leave from her job and found a nine-week program to study yoga.
Most of McCormick’s clients are women, and many are in their late twenties and early thirties.
“They really seem to just be finding themselves, and they are under a lot of pressure to be successful,” she said. “Eighty percent of the time they don’t know what their tangible goal is. A lot of the first few sessions is rambling.”
“Then they start having these ‘aha’ moments. When they have those, that’s really where the self-growth happens,” she added.
McCormick provides a free first consultation for potential clients. She offers coaching by phone, as well as a texting package that includes 10-12 hours of texting with her for $100 a week. All other details on her services are available at her website.
On Friday, May 5th, McCormick will hold “mid-afternoon soiree” at the Vintage Wild Orchid. There will be a Q&A and gourmet snacks.