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Today’s Guest Blog Story is provided by

Cathy Liska, CMC, CDP, ACC

How does anyone find an ideal career? I’m frequently asked how I decided to become a coach and offer coach training.

My journey started long before I heard the term ‘coaching’. In my world, it applies to business, career, life, wellness, or executive coaching. Empowering others was something I learned from my family. My parents modeled it by encouraging and supporting each of us 13 kids to explore and find our own path in life.

Realities in the Workplace

As a young adult, I experienced the difference between a manager who empowers versus one that micro-manages. When I moved into management, I experienced how empowering employees will:

  • Increase engagement
  • Create a positive company culture
  • Enhance bottom line results.

The jobs I held varied. Initially, I was supporting my children as a single mom.  Later, I became a military spouse and relocated. On a positive note, I had wide exposure to different types of work and people. I became adept at flexing. In each job, I focused on what people wanted and how my work supported their goals. The power of this approach has proven to be effective.


I once hired a manager for an apartment community who was living in a shelter. She had the skill set and just wanted a chance. By giving her that opportunity, I earned a loyal team member who did an outstanding job for the company.

As a restaurant owner, I learned how adapting to individuals created positivity on the whole team. We had a cook who required accommodation for height to reach the stove. It was so easy to have an extra platform, and it increased employee loyalty.

At another company, I provided financial counseling and training. The process supported the individual choosing their own budget and actions. It worked very well. Clients successfully paid their debts and started saving money.

In another position, I helped a client create and grow a nonprofit. The process was based on what she and her colleagues wanted the organization to become, and offer. Their success continues to this day.

Because I was a mom and a military spouse, I moved into a career of working for myself for the flexibility. One day, my husband shared a write-up on mediation and mediation training. The idea of learning techniques to support people resolving their concerns, and making their own decisions, was exciting. Onto a new career, I became certified in conflict mediation. I then began to train others. The impact of empowering people to figure out how they want to handle their conflicts is incredible. 

The Unexpected Ideal

When my husband retired, we again relocated.  I became a trainer and traveled all around the country. The classes I gave included:

  • Management
  • Team building
  • Communication

Teaching became an opportunity to pull all my experiences together and solidify my knowledge. When I trained, people ask me if I was willing to coach them. I didn’t know what they meant. After being asked multiple times to be a coach, I figured it was time to learn more about what it entails. I quickly realized that coaching is a natural extension of my previous career experiences. I fulfilled the certification and began to coach clients.

The power of coaching was my motivator to become a certified coach trainer. The gold standard for coach training is the International Coach Federation, ICF.  The organization has strict standards for membership:

  • The 11 Core Competencies
  • The Code of Ethics
  • A process for approving coach training
  • Accountability for member coaches
  • A proven method for credentialing

All of the above contributes to the Federation’s wide recognition. And all of the elements legitimize the profession. Learning about the importance of specific content for coach training and the subsequent requests motivated me to launch the Center for Coaching Certification. 

A Coach Training Business

To complicate the challenges of a new business, the first coaching class offered was in January of 2010.  It took place during a down economy and competed with hundreds of other coach training programs. A full year was needed to build the program, increase attendance, be accredited as a CEU provider, and get approved by the ICF.

Coaching and offering coaching certification is an ongoing journey of learning, engaging, and focusing on the future. Coaching is a privilege, because I partner with my students and clients on their journey toward what they want to achieve.

The Future of Center for Coaching Certification

The Center for Coaching Certification continues growing.  I’m adding trainers and coach certification programs.  At the same time, I am working with companies to provide coaches, coaching program support, and tailored coach training options. My focus now is to ensure the sustainability of the organization after I am gone.  I want to be a distant memory in the company. I am on track with the development of a customer service team, a team of trainers, and a business development team.

My goal for The Center for Coaching Certification is to continue offeing coaching certification, excellent resources, free continuing education, and ongoing support for graduates.


Cathy is the Guide from the Side®, and her personal mission statement is “People”. She is the founder and CEO of the Center for Coaching Certification with a mission to, “Enhance your coach training experience with quality, professionalism, and support.


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