E012 How To Become a Life Coach PhD? How To Deal With Pains and Struggles While Leaving Academia?

July 19th 2020

Dr Alessandro Montalto holds a PhD degree in Statistical Data Analysis applied to neuroscience awarded by the University of Gent, Belgium. Before his PhD program, he completed his Master’s degree in Physics at the University of Federico II in Naples, Italy. During his PhD, he developed a Matlab toolbox called MuTE to detect directed dynamical links among brain regions. 

After the successful project in Gent, Alessandro moved to Sydney for a Postdoc project dedicated to complex systems. A few months into the project, he was hit by an overwhelming epiphany: he was pursuing an unfulfilling life, and the academic path wasn’t for him. He went through a tough time during which he came out of burnout and depression. 

Alessandro then decided to quit academia and start doing what he loves: connecting, sharing, and helping. Thus, he went through an inner journey that led him to certification in life coaching. Alessandro envisions his life as a promoter and a facilitator of change. That’s why, after 15+ years of working remotely, Alessandro now helps other fellow remote workers create the most burnout-free and fulfilling remote work experience by sharing his life journey in combination with CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy) coaching tools.

 

Furthermore, Alessandro freelances as a marketing consultant to help companies engage with their clients in a more human and team-oriented fashion. In this episode, Alessandro told us about his long and painful transition beyond academia, his strategies to deal with pain, and his approach as a Life Coach. He also explained how to become a Life Coach, and which qualities you need in this profession. 

Alessandro’s website: https://alemontalto.com/ 

Alessandro’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alessandro-montalto-phd-12494747/

Please contact Alessandro if you need some advice concerning (1) Life coaching, (2) Help with remote work, and (3) Introducing more modern, human- and relation-oriented marketing practices to your team. 

The episode was recorded on July 26th, 2020. This material represents the speaker’s personal views and not the opinions of their employer(s).

Natalia 00:11 Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Sunday open webinar by welcome solutions. Today, we have Dr. Alessandro Montalto with us. Alessandro was studying computational neuroscience in his PhD, and he graduated from the University of Ghent. He also moved for a postdoc to Australia. But recently, he took a life decision to change his career path. He went in a direction that many PhDs dream of being one. He became a coach. And it’s really interesting because I see that there is a lot of demand both for coaching services and for a job of a coach. This is a dream job to many PhD graduates. It’s great that we have you today, Alessandro.

Alessandro 01:19 I’m very happy to share it with you guys. And thanks a lot for having me here. I’m very happy to share my story. If I can help other people to clarify what you’re going through, or maybe clarify where they are headed, then I will be very happy to do that. It’s quite a long story. Let’s say that is the story of a guy who desperately wanted to belong to a research team that he could call family. That’s what I really dreamt of being part of a research team to find solutions end to end and come up with cutting-edge solutions.

I longed. I actually don’t force stability, meaning a set of immutable conditions. For me, stability was a comfort zone. My approach to whatever choice I made, I aimed to create the stability that never came, and that’s impossible to obtain since life constantly evolves and changes. What I did is to spend a lot of energy trying to create a utopian lifestyle so that I ended up having severe burnout and depression. In the end, because you asked me, how come you left academia. I got very disenchanted with academia. At a certain point, when I got my depression and burnout, I was in Sydney and realized that the more I was involved with academia, the more of a politician I needed to become because that’s unfortunately what happens now.

It’s quite unsettling because I said, Okay, I want to work on real problems and help real people. But unfortunately, academia is quite disconnected from the real world. I’m not generalizing here, at least. I’m talking about what happened to me. It was something like I don’t want to become a politician. I don’t want to become a professor who is constantly busy asking for grants and for funding. I want something completely different. I decided to leave academia and it was really a step into the unknown. I was having burnout and depression on my shoulders.

What helped me was my curiosity. I started my inner journey. When I started my PhD, I deepened it to get out of depression and burnout. What I learned was that I was avoiding processing my painful experiences. When I started to become a life coach, I realized how much being able to look straight into the eyes of the pain can make us free. Now, I look at life with different eyes. I know that stability balance needs to be nurtured and built daily. Every evolving state of mind is dynamic.

I can say that I went through a lot in the last seven years. I realized that being able to process pain is such a powerful process that I think everybody should be able to experience it. And processing pain enables a person to be more fulfilled to experience a deeper sense of belonging, and gather the courage to do whatever he wants to do and whoever he wants to be.

Natalia 05:35 Fantastic. Thank you very much, Alessandro. As per my knowledge, you are also writing a book about your experience, is that true?

Alessandro 05:46 It’s true. I decided to put everything into written words and to carving a compelling story out of it to show that change is possible. We don’t have to be scared of change. Of course, it’s scary. It is scary to be able to step into the unknown, but it’s possible. It’s something that we want to do before it’s too late. And then we’ll be talking about severe burnout, depression, disconnection with other people, or disconnection with ourselves. This can bring us towards a discomfort that we don’t want to experience. It can be something amazing because we have to hit the rock bottom before we can go up again.

But why not go through the same process without experiencing something so extreme? That’s why I would like to further help other people in recognizing themselves, resonating with what I experienced, and helping them face difficulties before it’s too late.

Natalia 07:14 Okay, great. Could you share with us what is your personal secret to success? How did you deal with your pain?

Alessandro 07:24 That’s a very good question. It’s a very interesting topic. One of the most interesting parts is that you don’t actually have to do anything. You just have to be willing to sit with pain, to just be willing to listen to the pain and not push it away. This is something called the Boomerang Effect. The more you push it away, the stronger it will backfire. Unfortunately, I did. I pushed the pain away for so long, then it was impossible to not bump into it and have big consequences. I faced those consequences and I said, okay, now I really have to do something about it. I have to stop for a second. And I have to listen to it. Of course, I reached for professional help.

Because it’s something so big that we must have the illusion. I had the illusion that I was able to do it all by myself. There is something official that I also recognize in other PhD guys. We are so trained to be proactive to always be full of solutions that we think we can also manage that are actually those kinds of problems, but depression is not a problem that can be solved with an equation. They’re just emotional problems and emotional problems don’t require a thinking process. They require more feeling than thinking. Just sitting in the bed and absorbing and letting it go that we passed through was what really helped me.

Is it easy to do that? Not at all. It’s not easy. That’s why I would strongly recommend reaching out for help. Because it’s not easy to go through there. There are a lot of things that are going to worry us on a daily basis. Sitting with pain seems too scary. It seems too much overleap and we probably don’t want to do that. But it’s unfortunately, the only way to grow.

Natalia 10:05 That’s great of you that you don’t promise fast and easy solutions because this is what the internet is packed with. First of all, guys, please ask the questions in the chat. We are looking at the chat all the time. We’ll get to your questions as soon as they appear. Okay, please tell us more from a practical point of view, how did you become a coach? What do you need to do to become a coach? because that’s also a question that many PhDs have.

Alessandro 10:50 To become a coach, you have to follow some courses. You have to go there by yourself. First, there is no way that you can help other people if you don’t experience something firsthand. In my case, I’m helping remote workers dealing with burnout situations, depression, being on a team, learning how to better communicate, and learning how to be in a team productively and efficiently. I was at a point where I want to do everything by myself. I needed to learn how to be a team player. That’s the point. Do follow a course. I can also recommend some courses that I follow.

There are several courses out there. Watch it carefully. Find a course that has a community behind it because you can also train as I did within the community. It’s a safe space. It’s a safe environment. Then you can start helping other people. You have to go there by yourself. You have to work a lot on yourself emotionally and psychologically. You have to be there. You want to be there for other people and you have to exercise a lot of active listening. Active listening means you just don’t have to be like a poker face. Whatever the other person says, it’s fine. You just ask a question, it needs to be a dialogue. You need to be willing to get to know the other person. You need to be curious about the other person to refrain yourself from giving tips and tricks.

That’s the main process of becoming a coach who is more like guidance. He guides and leads the other person to discover his or her own strengths and to come up with his own strategies. That’s who a good coach is and that’s what a good coach does. It depends on whatever kind of coach you want to be. I’m more of a life coach. I’m more towards a psychotherapeutical approach. You can also be a career coach. And there are so many specializations. 

There are more business coaches or RTC coaches. It really depends on what kind of people you want to get in touch with to help. After you follow these inner journeys, after you study a course, and after you get in touch with a community of other coaches, you can train each other and then you start reaching out to other people. You are going to understand what your niche is. That’s basically how you become a coach.

Natalia 14:24 Okay. The first question I have here is how much effort do you have to actually put in because to become a professor, you need to study for like six years and then practice for another like five years or so. In most countries, to become an independent researcher in physics or in neuroscience, you need to study master’s and then study PhD and then graduate. And to become a coach, what do you need? Because it’s a bit worrying if that’s just a matter of one course.

Alessandro 15:15 Yes, that’s why I said. Unfortunately, there are fewer people who are willing to go to a coach. Nowadays, there are a lot of coaches out there. I hear from some people that as soon as they hear the word coach, they associate it with a charlatan. That’s not how it works. You definitely need one course to guide you. But then a lot of it is a personal experience. You have to work on yourself a lot. I followed two courses, mindfulness and life coach courses. They are like 35 hours plus all the hours that I spend training with the community.

I’m not counting the number of hours that I spend working on myself, following my own psychotherapeutical journey. I don’t count how many books I’m reading, how many exercises I’m doing. My whole life is spinning around self-improvement. Self-improvement seems tricky. It’s a tricky expression because what does it mean? What does self-improvement mean? We are already good as we are. It’s like getting to the point where we want and we’re not there yet. I’m constantly busy with it. It’s not a matter of one course. It’s really about the commitment to understand yourself better, and to help other people understand themselves better.

Natalia 17:35 There is a question from chat. Can I read the question? Shady is asking, how do you combine the two roles of being a life coach and a marketing consultant?

Alessandro 17:46 That’s an amazing question. It’s very challenging, but a beautiful process. Because being a life coach is guiding other people. As a marketing consultant, what I do is work with my clients. They can approach marketing from more of a human point of view, a human perspective. 

My clients are going to work as a team with their clients. They need to work on communication skills, being in a team and working with their clients to understand what their clients want. To do that, you have to exercise active listening. I’m coaching my clients even related to my marketing consultant activity to be more patient. People who are more open to themselves and life can be open to their clients as well.

Shady, tell me if you’re happy with my answer. If you want me to answer something more in-depth, please feel free to write it in the chat. I follow more the approach of Seth Godin. That’s my guidance to be much more human, to not try to convince people that they have to buy your product. I don’t want to have clients who are just focused on selling. I focus on clients who want to help people and start from the problem that people are experiencing, then build a solution. They’re constantly listening to the people.

Natalia 20:04 Okay. All right. Please, guys, ask more questions. That’s your good chance to talk to Alessandro today. My question would be, how do you see yourself now? What do you put focus on like in your own development for now? And what are your plans for developing your activity online and offline in the near future?

Alessandro 20:32 I’m focusing on Acceptance Commitment Therapy. I’m really studying it. I’m practicing it on myself and with my clients in order to improve the number of tools that I have at my disposal to be able to help clients in the best possible way. For growing my business, I’m keeping my blog alive with my posts and I’m focusing now on writing this book. That’s what I’m doing. I’m here today in reaching out to people and trying even with a small intervention of one hour to try to help and give my contribution to other people.

Natalia 21:43 Okay, great. From all your experience so far, what are the tips and oldest advice you could give to early career researchers, those who are still in academia, and those who are already thinking of changing careers?

Alessandro 22:01 That’s a very nice question. I would say that keep having an open mind. Whether you want to shift your career path or you want to continue in the academic field, whatever your life choices are, talk to as many people as possible. You want to be a professor, talk to as many professors in your field as possible because what you really want is to understand the kind of lifestyle that you are going to have. 

It’s very tricky to think that once you are going to be a professor, you are going to do things differently. If you are in a mechanism that is going to squeeze you after a while, either you survive, or you change your career path, and maybe it can be too late. It can be too frustrating and it can be too much.

Above all, if you are at the very beginning, talk to as many people as possible and try to understand their lifestyle, try to understand what they do and who they are, try to understand whether that life is for you. It’s very easy to get into this treadmill of needing publishing to do your job. It’s fine to spend four years or six years of your life devoting your time to a certain project, a project that you really believe can change the life of people. Don’t stop asking yourself, why am I doing that? What am I going to accomplish with it? Am I going to help other people?

In my case, you see what I’m doing. My PhD work is only one small cog in the whole mechanism. I will probably never see anything applied in real life. Continue to question everything and try to get a really good picture of the whole life in academia. Then you try to make an educated guess according to your feeling about who you are. That’s the first tip. And the second tip is don’t give up your passions. A person is shaped by his experiences. It’s not only about hard skills. 

It’s not about how fluent you are in coding, or how many programming languages you know. But more often than not, getting a job that you want and you’re passionate about is how to use your soft skills, how you communicate, and how good you are at teamwork. Usually, a PhD is a solo project where you learn how to be very proactive, looking for problems and solutions.

This attitude can be a drawback when you work for the company. You have to change your mindset. You have to adapt. Are you willing to do that? Let’s define. I would strongly recommend taking those two tips into account, talking to as many people as possible, and never giving up your passions.

Natalia 26:05 That’s very good advice, Alessandro. If I can add something to this is, I also see that people like in a long perspective, who choose. It sounds trivial. It sounds like the Tony Robbins type of philosophy. But it’s true. And people who in the long run choose what they feel passionate about over the things that are currently preferred on the job market, always win. Going for one year in the right direction gives you more than going in for 15 years in the wrong direction. This is like very simple calculus. A professional career is the longest journey of 30, 40, and 50 years of your life.

You have to really play a long-term game here and just not think about short-term rewards because the scope of professions might change within 10 to 20 years. Who knows if a data scientist is well paid, in 20 years from now. It might get automated and no longer be a good profession, maybe 90% of the jobs will be taken over by codes and computers.

If you only make decisions based on that, then in the long run you might be bitter and disappointed because you will end up with a job that you neither like nor are paid well for. I totally agree and with evaluating academia on whether or not it’s worth it, I also totally agree. I think in every job, there is some balance of pros and cons. It’s never that there are only pros, or there are only cons about the job. It’s always a balance. And you have to just know one of these problems about the job are no goals for you and which are still acceptable.

Indeed, you have very good programming skills after your PhD program. I actually am familiar with the scientific literature from the lab where you were doing your PhD. I know that this is a very good methodological lab. You have really good technical and programming skills. My question is, weren’t you at any point tempted to try to monetize your skills? Because there’s so much space for software developers and data scientists these days?

Alessandro 28:51 That’s a good question. I tried to build my own startup with my toolbox, an entire toolbox that I developed during my PhD project. It has eight methods in order to detect transfer entropy among variables. It was nice. It also had pretty fair success in literature. And I tried. The point is that when I realized that building a startup meant really being part of a highly competitive world, where I needed to work like 14 hours per day to accommodate the needs of the early clients.

I needed to sooner than later start hiring people and new programmers to develop my toolbox even further because it’s a code. Code can be copied. If Google needs my code, they already have teams of excellent programmers working on that. They can reproduce it in like a couple of months. And I have my whole code already on GitHub because it was probably from our university.

It would be very easy for them to just copy paste and translate it into another programming language. To survive as a startup, I needed to work like hell on programming, coding, investing money, resources, and time. That was my point. But what am I doing? I wore out the best years of my life, sitting in front of a PC, just doing coding to earn money. I learned that the aim of earning money is not enough to make anyone feel fulfilled. I’ve talked with a lot of people. And nobody told me that the act of making money made them happy or fulfilled.

I said, no, I don’t want this. I want to follow my passion. My first question to myself was, okay, imagine that I don’t have any problems about money, imagine that I can do whatever I want. What would I do? My answer to that is, I will talk to people. I will be in touch with people. I would look for connections with people. And if they have a problem, I want them to know that they can always come to me. That led me towards the path of a life coach.

Natalia 32:28 I would disagree with you on one point. A few people like making money. You should do what you liked in your life. But some people like this game. It’s just the same as the video game. You just score points. But the difference is that it’s not just points. you can buy real stuff for it. You can improve the quality of your life for yourself and for the people close to you. It’s an even cooler video game. 

I think people like that walk around and there’s nothing bad with that. There are also people who honestly just enjoy programming. For them, this is an enjoyable thing. I was just curious if you are one of these people or if you just need some other motivation. The other people for whom programming is just means to an end and not a goal.

Alessandro 33:43 That’s exactly the point. To me, it was just a way to go on with my PhD. It wasn’t really what I intrinsically enjoyed. And I agree with you that there are a lot of people who just like making money. I don’t have anything against them. What I’m saying is that our culture is pushing us to think that the more goods we own, the happier we can be. But unfortunately, it’s really not true because if you check the numbers, more and more people are suffering from burnout, anxiety, and depression.

It’s like a clash of things. And I agree with you that there are those people but then I would question whether those people are truly intrinsically happy with what they do or not. They are truly fulfilled or not.

Natalia 34:57 I can tell you then. Alright, I think we can proceed to another question from Shady. Thanks for your answer, then I would have a second question, if possible, how companies are eager to get help from a life coach compared to a business coach. I’m interested to know if it has been challenging for you to convince the companies. Your approach is promising and highlighted for them. I’m trying to know because we are in a state of business. People could understand and appreciate the difference between your work and what a business coach does.

Alessandro 35:39 Thanks a lot for these questions. I have a hard time convincing companies that my services are good for the whole company because there is a lot of resistance. There is a lot of being stuck on this kind of treadmill, you know, like, Okay, I have to produce and perform. And it is very little time to really pause and say, okay, where exactly am I going? It’s a challenging and scary thought. It’s a scary question to reverse because of what he said.

But if I continue to do exactly what I’m doing right now, what kind of point am I going to get in 30 years from now or even 40 years from now? Imagine that now I just jump into a time machine. And they go in the future and 40 years from now. When I look back at whatever I did, during my life, would I feel happy? Would I feel fulfilled? That’s a scary question. A lot of people cope with that question by just not thinking, by just ignoring it. That’s why a business coach promises tips and tricks to improve productivity and income revenue in the short term.

But then, what about people being in burnout, and need some serious support. There will be a lot of them who are going to skip a lot of working hours, and they don’t work in a team. The whole team is disrupted. Everybody is not very happy. There is a lot out there about statistics telling how often a company has a whole turnover. There are a lot of people who just work for the company for one year and then they leave because they don’t find a good nurturing work environment where they can feel fulfilled, they can feel heard, they can feel nurtured.

That’s the point. Okay, it’s fine to hear the Tony Robbins tips and tricks, but then in the long run, how are they going to impact your life?

Natalia 38:50 I can see the points. These different types of coaching might work on different timescales. I would like to ask you what’s the profile of your clients and how do you normally find your clients? Because you know, once you make a decision to become a coach and you take a course and that’s your initiative. This is more or less algorithmic. You make a decision. You go to a course. You finish a course but I know that the real difficulty is actually to find the first client, especially in this type of profession where a lot depends on personal branding.

Usually, once you work like any form of a coach, or advisor, typically people come to you through recommendations and because they chose you recommended by friends or trusted people, and not from the street because there are just too many services online to stand out. This is typically the only way. My question for you would be, how did you start? It’s a really competitive field.

Alessandro 40:14 It’s a very competitive field. It’s also because sometimes you have to go against the stereotype that another coach is another charlatan. You have to break that barrier. I started it by just being myself. You can be the perfect coach for everybody. It’s choosing to be yourself, and you will resonate with a certain niche with a certain group of people. That’s how it works. You start reaching out to people, that’s what I did.

I started asking people, whether they were in distress, whether they were experiencing some problems, what kind of problems they were experiencing without pushing, just listening. And then if they asked me for some help, I could reply. That’s it. I think I’m missing parts of your, of your question? Or did I reply to everything?

Natalia 41:33 I was just asking how you started. How do you basically get this initial momentum to keep on going? From what you’re saying, you were very proactive, and you were offering your help to other people, and just getting into a conversation and first offering your help for free. And if there is some long-lasting collaboration going out of this, then you were also proposing some business relations. That’s how it works.

Alessandro 42:13 I offer the first session for free. It’s an assessment session during which we can have a normal friendly conversation and at the end of the session, the client knows what his strengths are and what he needs to work on. My niche is remote workers. I started working with remote workers, in October or November, last year, because I’ve been a remote worker for more than 15 years. I found that niche close to me and I think that remote work is a great opportunity for us to take the lead in changing our society. It’s a great way to not only our future but also the future of the whole planet and future generations.

I believe that remote work is something great. And now, in the Corona crisis, we have the opportunity to test it on a global level but we should be careful to not screw it up. Because if we don’t learn how to work remotely effectively and productively without ourselves burnout, then the whole experiment can be a disaster. We have to learn how to work remotely properly to get the most out of this opportunity because it’s a great opportunity.

It’s a tragedy but it’s also a way to look at things from a different perspective and to say, okay, what if I look at it as an opportunity, then we can think about it as a way to reshape our future and our way to work and to deal with ourselves, with our colleagues, with our relatives, with our beloved, and with everybody.

I know that there are a lot of PhD guys who work remotely. I understand that remote working and remote workers is a very broad niche but in this niche. There are a lot of PhDs for some specialties or just starting working for a company. They have to settle or they are managers or they are employees and they have some problems with the company culture. All those kinds of problems, issues, and distress, can be taken. And it needs to be addressed properly with some professional support to really go in the right direction and to work properly.

Natalia 45:33 My question for you would be, from your current perspective, if you look back, is there anything that you would maybe do differently up to this point? If you had the choice?

Alessandro 45:53 No, I wouldn’t do anything differently because whatever happened, made me who I am today. I’m fine with it. I’m at peace with it. I would lie to you if I told you something that has always been like that. No, not at all. I was very angry at myself. I was very angry at the choices that I made. I regretted those choices a lot. But then deeply my inner journey has made me realize that everything was an opportunity. Whatever happened, paved the way for me to become who I really wanted to be. And so I regretted it. But then I also made peace with it. It’s really an awesome feeling.

Natalia 46:53 One more question that is more towards how you feel about your job in general because as PhDs, we often have a very strong association with our jobs like we really live and breathe what we do. But actually, a few coaches I know personally, have this policy to actually keep some distance because if they absorb too much of the emotions of the people they work with, then they really suffer from it.

They told me that initially that they were very mentally close to their job. They thought about it the whole day but then it was never really healthy for them. They’ve had to really change their thinking. How does it work for you? Are you able to really segregate this in your mind? Does this work or not? Do you really distance yourself mentally from your clients? Or is it very easy for you?

Alessandro 47:58 I’m completely committed to knowing my client and listening to my client. And in the very beginning, it was also very heavy for me, like, absorbing all of that. But then I realized that I wasn’t absorbing anything. It was just that their pain resonated with my pain. And that’s the scary part. That’s what makes a coach very tired. We can never pass emotions on. If you are happy, I can be happy for you. But I will never be able to experience your level of happiness. And that holds true for pain as well. But what happens?

What happens is that if you’re suffering and I have some unresolved pain in myself, your pain is going to resonate with mine. And then I feel my pain. But if I go as I did that I’m still doing it, and I’m not there yet. And this is a never-ending process, so I will never be there. But I’m working constantly to process whatever pain is still within me. 

Then it’s much easier to empathize with other people to listen to their pain because it doesn’t resonate with mine anymore. After all, there is nothing to resonate with. I don’t need to say something like, okay, I have to mentally be far from my client. It’s the opposite. I need to completely find a tune on my client to understand what’s going on and to guide him.

Natalia 50:00 Okay. There’s a question from Emily. If your main driving force was to help people, how do you address customers who cannot afford to pay? Normally coaches cost quite a lot. That’s true. When it comes to this topic, does it not interfere with your main goal or desire of helping people?

Alessandro 50:25 That’s an excellent question. Thanks a lot, Emily. In the very beginning, I also needed to go to a business coach to understand what was going on in my own business. One of the things that I needed to rearrange was my relationship with money. We as PhDs and people in research have a very biased stereotype that money is evil. I’m not saying that everybody has it but I had it. Money is evil, or we are used to putting everything we do out there for free on a journal or archive. We are always willing to share for free. But how’s it possible that for recent journals, one wants to be paid a lot for something that is supposed to be free.

There is also a conflict there. Now, the point is that we can always do something for free. We can always try to do something for free. We have to think that we are putting our time out there. We are putting our resources out there. We are investing a lot in only other people. And if we are not sustainable, then we can’t have anybody. I understand your question about money. But money is about building trust. 

When a client pays me, it’s because he’s trusting me that I can help him. He pays me bills because he trusts me that I can help him. He builds the trust relationship and he is sure that I’m putting out there 100%. And I’m there for him. And I’m going to help him. I’m going to do whatever it takes in order to help him. But imagine that I don’t do it for free as I did at the very beginning, then people didn’t take me seriously. People said, okay, I can think about it. They didn’t do the exercises. They didn’t reply to the questions that I asked them.

While I was talking to them, they were thinking about something. There was no commitment. I don’t ask for an enormous amount of money. I asked what I think is a fair price. But that commitment is represented by money from the client-side and by my energy from my side. That link must be in place. Otherwise, if I talk, the other person doesn’t listen. If the other person does listen, I’m not motivated to further talk and help the other person. You have to always take into account that you can’t help people. You can’t help people who don’t want to be helped.

Natalia 53:58 Can I add something to this? I have one comment here. I think that researchers have their own view on what money is. It’s like this culture of open science, you can afford it if you pay a salary from public resources. That’s how it works. This is the business model. You’re guaranteed an income and then you can share as much as you want. If you are an independent professional, you have to stop being sorry for charging for professional services because you can’t keep on explaining why you would like to be paid for your hard work. At some point, you have to be like well, this is my worth.

I have the market worth. This is what I’m doing, professional service. I do it at a good quality. This is what it costs. And at some point, I also think that everyone has to pass this threshold and finally stop feeling sorry for actually charging for the hard work. This is hard to cross this threshold, but at some point, you have to, otherwise, you will never be dependent on the job market. 

One more comment I would like to make would be, what I also think is the problem here is that people who need your help the most often are the people who don’t have money. People who need help because they have trauma, they don’t have jobs, they are dysfunctional in some way, and they cannot make up for living even for themselves.

Those people typically need your help as a coach, and maybe people who have jobs as well. For some other reasons, they don’t afford this cost. In many countries, this can be somehow overcome by building a business model in a little bit different ways. In many countries, the unemployment office gives some vouchers to people who are unemployed and need help from a professional coach. Sometimes, coaches also can work with medical services, like private medical practices, and public medical practices. It depends on the country. In every country, it’s a little bit different.

But this is also an often model that coaches try to find the structure in which people who need their help the most, can find additional another source of funding that is public, that can cover the cost. I would recommend it to every coach. This is the best way. And if you also have that option, then I would also recommend looking for those types of funding sources.

Alessandro 57:08 Thanks a lot. That’s something I’m doing at that time to help as many people as possible to be in touch with them and to say, Listen, I can offer these for a much more affordable price.

Natalia 57:27 Okay. Let’s come to the end of this webinar. If anyone else has questions, then please let me know right now. And if not, then we would like to cordially thank Alessandro, for joining us today. That was a very informative session. I really enjoyed it a lot. And thank you so much for sharing with us, Alessandro.

Alessandro 58:14 Thanks a lot to you guys.

Natalia 58:16 Lastly, we have a very quick question. If people are interested in your services, could you tell us very briefly what you currently offer? And what types of problems and questions would you like to be conducted?

Alessandro 58:32 What kind of problems remote workers are experiencing with respect to communication, teamwork, productivity, work-life balance, setting boundaries, and being able to take some deserved rest, they should contact me. For much more, I would just suggest jumping into the first conversation for free. They can get an assessment for free and they can see whether they want to work with me or not. It’s perfectly fine. I’m always open to getting to know and meeting other interesting people.

Natalia 59:20 Okay. Thank you so much, Alessandro. I hope to see you soon on some other occasion. I’m looking forward to where you go next. Thank you, everyone, and have a nice evening.

Alessandro 59:33 Thanks.

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Please cite as:

Bielczyk, N. (2020, July 19th). E012 How To Become a Life Coach PhD? How To Deal With Pains and Struggles While Leaving Academia?? Retrieved from https://ontologyofvalue.com/career-development-strategies-e012-how-to-become-a-life-coach-phd-how-to-deal-with-pains-and-struggles-while-leaving-academia/

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