John Andrew and Amois Williams have been leaders in the coaching profession for over a decade. After meeting at Brown University, they both started their coaching careers and eventually launched one of the first Academic Life Coaching programs in the country.
Below, John shares the story of how Coach Training EDU became the training program it is today.
I started my career as a high school Latin teacher. Only the super geeky and brave become high school Latin teachers. When I was teaching, I saw a huge opportunity to equip students with a different kind of skill set.
In the right place at the right time, I developed the Academic Life Coaching program to redesign education and equip students to meet the demands of the 21st century. It was a journey that included trips to faraway places like Dubai, speaking at ICF conferences, and writing an education blog for Newsweek.
Since then, our Academic Life Coaching program has expanded into Coach Training EDU. Through our company, we offer Wellness and Executive Coaching courses, as well as advanced coaching skills. Today, thousands of people from over 50 countries are trained coaches through CTEDU.
The mission of redesigning education and crafting a new kind of educator training is gaining momentum.
Here’s our story of how it came to be.
I met Amois (pronounced Ahh-moise) on the first day of freshman orientation at Brown. We were waiting in line to get our university email addresses. A year later the stars aligned. We started dating in the fall of sophomore year. The year was 1999. She studied Art History. I majored in Latin and ancient Greek. We were geeks. We fell in love.
Amois found life coaching in 2002. I thought it was a funny name. She persisted, got trained, and established a coaching practice focused on health and wellness.
I got the only job that made sense given my study of dead languages; teaching others those same dead languages. I loved teaching. I loved working with students. I loved helping young people discover personal strengths and get excited about learning. In 2003, we moved from Providence, Rhode Island, to southern Oregon. I landed a job as a Latin teacher at St. Mary’s School in the Rogue Valley.
While in southern Oregon, Amois convinced me to get trained as a life coach. I remember the moment after a training session when I was back in the classroom thinking, what if every student had the experience of working with a life coach? I kept daydreaming about the impact coaching could have on education. In 2005, I decided to get trained and certified as a coach and launch a life coaching practice working exclusively with students.
We were living on love and scholarship. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we were happy and incredibly excited by the vision and opportunity to devote our lives to meaningful work.
I started designing the Academic Life Coaching Program in the Fall of 2005. I went to the head of the school, Frank Phillips, who gave his blessing on my trying out whatever life coaching concepts I wanted as long as I was still teaching Latin. I played with the coaching concepts. I invited students to try out different ideas from coaching to see what worked best. The result of this three-year period was the Academic Life coaching program, a 10-session course with nearly 30 coaching concepts and exercises, designed specifically for students.
In 2007, I told my boss that I wanted to leave teaching to become a full-time life coach for teens. He asked me to stay for one more year so that the school could find a Latin teacher. I agreed. I stayed for another year, and in 2008, Amois and I moved to Portland, Oregon. I launched my private practice and we made it work until 2010. I learned how to build an academic life coaching practice from scratch.
In 2009, Gina Halsted contacted me out of the blue to ask if I would train her as a life coach for teens. She didn’t find anyone else doing the work that I was doing and wanted to learn how to use the program I created with the students she was working with. Within the space of a few weeks, Rawan Albina from Dubai also contacted me with a similar request. My first training was on a Monday at 7am. Gina was in Boston on speakerphone, Rawan was in Dubai on Skype, and I was at my kitchen table marveling at the vision we were growing.
Soon others asked if they could be trained as well. From 2010 to 2014, I was slammed with coaching clients and people asking if I could train them to also be academic life coaches. I was working more than 30 hours a week as a coach and leading 10 hours of training calls. It was a hustle and a grind, but I loved the work.
In 2015, I realized that I had to do something to keep myself sustainable and continue this work. I asked a few participants who were in the training if they wanted to become trainers and lead the Academic Life Coach training program. Hayden Lee and Lindsay Helm were two of my first trainers and received RAVE reviews from participants. Their work helped launch the Academic Life Coaching Program to the next level. A huge turning point for the company was working with high schools and universities, and most recently Kathleen Shea Smith at the University of Oklahoma. Through her leadership and Academic Life Coach training, OU experienced a 33% reduction in dropouts among freshmen. The hard results gave the Academic Life Coaching Program a huge boost and led to other organizations and universities training their staff and faculty as well in the program. Kathleen is one of those amazing people who have the guts to put a vision into action and shake up the world of education and consulting.
Amois and I always talked about taking the leap and doing the crazy thing. We built our company on love and scholarship and taking crazy risks for the sake of our vision of spreading life coaching concepts. In May 2017, we set out on a cross-country trip in a 33-foot tiny house on wheels. The tour offered the opportunity to visit schools and universities that were on the cutting-edge of education practices. We wanted to visit our trainers who we had been working with for years, but never actually met in person (since most of our programs were offered as online training). The tour was absolutely fantastic! You can view our journey on Amois’s IG feed and our blog on Coach Training EDU.
It’s been a crazy ride these past years, and I feel like we’re just getting started. If you have a heart for students and want to change the world and believe in coaching, you’ve found the right place. The world is yearning for the coaching experience. As a company, we have helped thousands of students thrive and take meaningful action steps while increasing self-knowledge and awareness.
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Coach Training EDU