What Made Me Want to Be a Coach?


For a long time after I started learning languages, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my languages for work.

Many of my friends and relatives of course said things like: "Wow! You know/You're learning so many languages! You should be a translator/interpreter/teacher!" By teacher they meant a classroom teacher, which I thought sounded nice, but it didn't completely fulfill my passion for learning and sharing and helping people with lots of languages through any of those traditional language professions.

I even got suggestions that I should work for the FBI, CIA, or other U.S. government organizations, but the amount of regimentation of my schedule involved in working for them didn't suit me either. 

I had an interest in teaching languages, but not in a conventional classroom setting. However at the time I graduated from high school, I didn't know where to turn to fulfill my passion for teaching and learning languages. So I decided to focus on linguistics because I thought that linguistics would let me teach all languages. However I later realized that linguistics is the scientific study of languages and how they develop. I thought I could fulfill my passion for linguistics through getting a Bachelor's in linguistics, but where I went to university there wasn't a linguistics degree available. I decided to choose the next best things available, international relations and anthropology, though I had no intention of becoming an anthropologist. 

I thought that getting a career as a linguistic anthropologist would satisfy my desire to learn and help people with more languages and that I could use that passion to travel around the world but my professor told me the hard truth. He said that life as an adjunct professor in the United States is very hard and they are under constant pressure to "publish or perish", they had to deal with an unwieldy university bureaucracy, and they were overworked and underpaid for the sheer amount of work they do. The more he described the profession and its realities to me, the more I started to question "What am I doing this for? Is this the right path for the kid of language career I want? Or am I not realizing my full potential? Is THIS what I really want???"

Fortunately during my time in university while searching for videos on YouTube about languages I stumbled upon well known online polyglots and language enthusiasts, such as Moses McCormick, Benny Lewis, Steve Kaufmann, Susanna Zaraysky, Tim Doner, Mike Campbell, Judith Meyer, Richard Simcott, Luca Lampariello, and various others. I found that the way each of the ways these people explained language learning to really resonate with me and it made me feel that I wasn't alone in my language passion, and I was inspired by all of them to learn lots of languages and help other people with learning languages in the way I wanted, so I learned about each of their methods and put hundreds of hours during my university and post university years experimenting in language learning methods, language exchanges, and collecting resources for lots of different languages, trying out various languages and testing their methods on these languages through trial and error (especially with Spanish), seeing what worked and what didn't for me. I wanted to be like them. 

At the same time I decided to search for jobs, read a book called "What Color Is Your Parachute?" to help me decide the career path I wanted to choose, but I felt dead when I read that book. Completely uninspired and demotivated because it just recommended traditional career paths, none of which resonated with me. 

However just after finishing that book in the summer of 2012 I stumbled upon two life changing books by Chris Guillebeau, "The $100 Startup" and "The Art of Nonconformity". "The Art of Nonconformity" ended up becoming one of the most inspiring and influential books in my life because it challenged the entire way I looked at life and career paths, it challenged me to create my own career path, live the life I wanted, travel anywhere, and change the world. I answered with a resounding YES!!!!! 

After finishing university and getting my bachelor's in anthropology and international relations in 2013, I decided I wanted to start a blog, learned about blogging, and got a Wordpress account and set up a website. However I got into a post-graduation dilemma wondering what I should do with my life. Though I thought about being a language coach, I originally wanted to be both a travel blogger and a language blogger, and got the Marie Forleo B-School course (definitely check it out if you're interested in making an online business or improving your online business!!! I'm going to attempt it a second time.) and ended up spending nearly a year of my life until late summer 2014 trying to build a language travel business, but that idea fell through and I was wondering what I could do next. So then I realized that I was passionate about language coaching and felt that that's what I needed to pursue after listening to language coaches and consultants Luca Lampariello, Moses McCormick of Foreign Language Roadrunning, Aaron Meyers of The Everyday Language Learner, and Irina Pravet of Language Catalyst talk about language coaching and what it meant to each of them in each of their YouTube channels. Helping people take charge of their own language learning and become self-directed language learners, I KNEW that coaching was my calling INSTINCTIVELY. Through Marie Forleo's B-School I also stumbled upon Tony Robbins,whose books "Unlimited Power" and "Awaken the Giant Within" I later read, and these books really inspired me to be a coach as well. Joining Toastmasters also reinforced my desire to become a language coach and to really see that I could combine language learning with personal development quite easily. 

Then I met a fellow B-School graduate and life coach Ramona Fellermeier in January, who I exchanged many ideas about coaching with and became fast friends with after several coffee and lunch meetings, a workshop she did, and a couple of Couchsurfing meetings. She recommended me the coaching book "Co-Active Coaching" which I read, and then I started devouring everything I could read about coaching and about personal development from there. When I went to Chris Guillebeau's event The World Domination Summit just this July, I ended up networking with a large number of coaches and entrepreneurs and travelers, making many new friends and professional contacts. Through that event I joined as a member of Live Your Legend and as part of the coach Jacob Sokol's Sensophy Inner Circle, which will help me continue to build my skills as a novice coach and novice speaker and leader even further. 

Thus that's my journey so far in becoming a coach. 

So for those of you interested in coaching, including language coaching, what do you think a language coach is? What does being a language coach mean to you personally?  Let me know in the comments and until next time, Enhance Your Voyage, Learn A Language!!!