Jul 24th 2021 | Career Development Strategies SE003 How To Become a Life & Business Coach? An Interview With Ewa Roszak
Ewa Roszak is a psychologist, life & business coach, trainer, and author offering career guidance and building career development strategies for businesses and individuals. She graduated from SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities with MA in Psychology from SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw, BA in International Relations, University in Lower Silesia in Wroclaw, with Erasmus Exchange at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
She then worked for international organizations on behalf of international relations, and worked as a therapeutist for a few public institutions. Today, after an over 10-year-long odyssey, she is gradually moving towards her final professional goal: a private practice. She authored the book: “The Road Is More Important Than The Goal” (“Droga ważniejsza niż cel”, ISBN 978-83-948717-0-3) dedicated to career development strategies for anyone who has dreams and open mind.
Ewa, How Do You Treat Your Job? Are You And Your Job, The Same Thing?
Ewa: I am not my job. I do not think that it is healthy to fully fuse yourself with what you do. This would violate my basic value—which is freedom. For me, a job is an opportunity for developing my potential. When I work, I feel like I was in an open field where I can freely move and create.
Why Is Developing a Private Practice As a Therapeutist So Hard?
Ewa: Developing a relationship with a patient as a doctor—and especially, as a doctor responsible for your mood or emotions—requires trust. And, building trust requires time. Most people only trust a psychologist recommended by their close friends or relatives. Therefore, building a base of clients who are willing to trust you and choose your services over other specialists in the field, requires long years of self-development and high service quality from the early beginning.
So, How Did This Long Journey Start For You? What Were You Dreaming About in Childhood?
Ewa: Actually, from the very start I wanted to work with people—honestly speaking, I do not see myself doing anything else. Even as a child I had this clear image in my mind. I knew that I was going to get there in one way or another—I just wasn’t sure which steps to take on the way.
Did You Ever Have Any Doubts About Your Plan To Work With People? Did You Also Consider Other Career Development Strategies?
Ewa: No, rather which way to choose to implement the plan.
Every meeting with a client is a personal journey – everyone has their own personal story behind, so I follow her/his life path very carefully. In my opinion, this is a kind of art.
Why Did You Choose To Study Psychology At SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities? Did This Study Help You in Getting Where You Are Now?
Ewa: Actually, initially it was a bit of an accident. I did not qualify to study psychology at the public university I was applying for. The only option left for me was to go to a private university. The tuition was very expensive but it was by all means worth it. SWPS was the first private university in Poland, and they had a completely different approach to the student than their public counterparts.
They were hiring the best specialists in the country as teachers, and they gave their students more room for creativity and individuality than the public university would ever do. Well, this scenario also had its downsides. Namely, after graduating, I had to go to the job market with my open mind, and then face the sad Polish reality on the job market [laugh].
But Then, You Also Decided To Study International Relations, Right?
Ewa: Yes, following my dreams from childhood, I was determined to help people from a broader perspective – international. That’s why I also enrolled for studies in International Relations, with a specialization in international safety. My thesis concerned the influence of international corporations on peace in the world.
After finishing my studies, I went on to work in a few organizations for human rights. I worked in Stockholm, Sweden. The job was concordant with my personal views. I worked writing reports about (dis)respecting human rights in factories for about 1.5 years. At some point, I started feeling some fatigue though. Although I enjoyed the subject, I had always been dreaming about working directly with people rather than writing tons of documents. That’s why I eventually decided to change.
So, Where Did You Go Next?
Ewa: I tried to start working as a psychologist but it was hard at first. If you do not have enough working experience in your resume, you will not get enough patients and generate earnings decent enough to meet ends. At some point, I registered my own company, and I created a website. This strategy paid off. All of a sudden, public institutions started treating me much more seriously than before. And so I worked in prevention for the army, police and other public forces. I was training the officers to increase their mental strength. I also worked with them to decrease the probability of alcoholism and other stress-related by-side effects of this job. I was in this space for about 2 years.
What Happened Then?
Ewa: I used to work on really emotionally heavy topics related to alcohol, drugs, and such. Plus, some of the institutions that had hired me were lagging behind with payments—which was causing me additional stress. That’s why at some point, I felt that I needed a longer break. While waiting for my earnings, I turned to online coaching and therapy sessions and started building a base of future clients. I also traveled and just enjoyed life! It took me about 1.5 years to rest properly.
Then, I got hired in a public clinic as a therapeutist. I used to work part-time, and I was giving around 20 hours of therapy per week. Other than that, I was giving private sessions with clients as a coach, and a few times a year, I was also giving group workshops. I chose this model as it is hard to jump straight to private practice—you need to build the base of trusted clients first. This was always my dream though.
What Is Your Working Scheme Right Now?
Ewa: I am on my way to opening full-time private practice. I always felt that the patient should be my boss, rather than someone hired to be my boss—as it occurs when you are employed by public healthcare. Working in the public sector is really restricting for me. I prefer only high standards in my job and I can take full responsibility for that only in my private practice. I now accept a maximum of 6 clients per day, and I make sure that my weekends are free. A few times a year, I also give group workshops.
What Are The Most Common Problems That Your Patients Come To You With? What Type fo Career Guidance Can You Offer To Them?
Ewa: Interestingly, I encounter more cases of anxiety, fear, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms than cases of depression.
I also often get visits from women who are torn between the societal expectations towards them, and their own dreams. I also have plenty of visits from people who are tired with their current life situation: they have a job that restricts their development, they are mobbed at work, they lost their partner, they miss the sense of purpose in their life. Some of my clients are in grief after losing some of their family members.
Given What You Do, Do You Classify Yourself More As Therapeutist Or a Coach?
Ewa: In principle, I am hired to do therapy. I highly prefer therapy based on resources and concentrated on finding solutions—rather than digging into childhood traumas. I always smuggle some coaching into my therapy as well. In principle, I aim to do therapy for the first ten sessions and then switch to coaching. It often happens that clients who first come to me are full of fears and struggle to function properly, while at the end of the process they not only regain their peace of mind but also get themselves better jobs, get a raise, or score some other substantial professional success.
How Do You Make Sure That You Do Not Absorb The Moods and Fears of Your Clients? What Are The Career Development Strategies For a Coach?
Ewa: I take care of my mental hygiene every day. I do not cross my limits of 6 meetings per day. I take care of my free time, and use to spend this time on regeneration (mountaineering, travels, reading books, meetings with friends).
You should also remember that coaching/therapy does not involve going into the client’s emotional states. It involves listening to the client’s story about their current problems and demonstrating other perspectives of the current situation to the client, to extend their field of influence, so that the painful situation can be improved on the level of thoughts, emotion, and actions.
Have You Ever Had Personal Mentors Who Could Show You The Way In Your Career and Share Their Career Development Strategies With You?
Ewa: Not really… I used to conduct group therapies that involved peer-coaching. In these sessions, I was both coaching and getting coached by other training participants. These were the only occasions to get some mentoring that I could think of right now.
Is There Anything You Regret Doing in Your Professional Career? Anything You Would Have Done Otherwise If You Were Given Another Chance?
Ewa: In my professional career? Nope…
What Are Your Professional Plans For The Future? Any New Career Options On The Horizon?
Ewa: I have lots of career options at the moment. I am planning to further develop my private practice. Ten years from now, I see myself as a top expert in my field of expertise! I am planning to still work as a psychologist, coach but in the field of international relations.
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Please cite as:
Roszak, E., Bielczyk, N. (2021, July 24th). How To Become a Life & Business Coach? An Interview With Ewa Roszak. Retrieved from: https://odyssey-careers.com/career-development-strategies-se003-how-to-become-a-life-business-coach-an-interview-with-ewa-roszak/
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