👋 Hi and welcome from Vienna! Are you looking for a safe container to explore yourself, tap into your resources and invite possibilities on how to improve your life? For a way to be seen and held, maybe like never before?
As a Certified Trauma-Informed Life Coach and dedicated “human service professional”, I’m here for you. I hold a deep belief in the qualities of professional coaching — in its observant holding of space, on-point inquiry methods and full-person approach. A trauma-informed lens is a non-negotiable addition to the practice. As a coach, I bear the responsibility for breaking through the stereotypes taped onto the “coaching” word, and blending all the bits of understanding it takes to better serve clients and avoid retraumatization. All while honoring my story of trauma, grief, life beyond the norms of society and transformation — so you may do so with yours, too.
Now, I’m going towards accreditation with the International Coaching Federation, the global non-profit upholding the integrity of the coaching profession. Will we work together?

Do you want to know what professional life coaching really is? And what about the trauma-informed buzzword? What does a session look like, what can a coach help you with (“can’t I just go to a therapist?”) and how does research back this up? I’ll cover all of these questions and more on this page, before giving a quick overview on how to receive coaching with me. Before we dive in: Are you neurodivergent? You’re most welcome here, cause I am too 🙂

I’m offering limited pro bono sessions in Vienna & online. Like life coaching — but better. Deep coaching questions; special expertise in grief (if relevant). I’m here for you. Just reach out. 


First things first: what is coaching?

Coaching is a co-created, creative process in which an individual is supported in gaining insight to shift their behaviour and create new results; or simply learn to show up for themselves in new ways. The process builds on a partnership between a coach and coachee  based on trust, full presence and confidentiality. Over the course of a session or (typically) a series of them, new self-awareness, connections, imagination, perspectives, pathways and/or action points emerge. Being with all that shows up, challenging self-limiting beliefs. Clients are held as resourceful, creative, unique and whole; cause no-one needs to be fixed. Coaches are open, curious, flexible and client-centered at all times. They ask, listen, mirror back and support. Coaching is much more than a technique in asking the right questions at the right time — it is a way of being. Caringly. Fully.

Trauma-informed coaching — a definition

Trauma-informed coaching is all about supporting the client to move towards 'mastery of their particular situation. Believing in their resourcefulness — even when they're unable to do so themselves. While different nuances exist worldwide, Moving the Human Spirit offers the following definition: "...the coach understands what trauma is, how it may show up in the session, and how to respond within the established coaching boundaries and contractual agreements. Knowing any obstacles that present themselves and practicing the ability to hold space in silence, trauma-informed coaching could create massive shifts for clients who have experienced trauma...". Highly agitated states or shutdowns in the moment can be handled with care. Shame can be discarded, and resourcefulness promoted as it starts to develop. Such a coach has authenticity, strong values and acute awareness of their limiting beliefs, since these can get in the way of a safe partnership. They are deeply committed to self- and co-regulation, thoughtful preparation, reflective practice and ongoing learning & development.

Please note that Trauma-Informed Coaches don’t diagnose or treat trauma. Instead, we are aware of what it takes to work safely with clients who have experienced trauma, differently from a conventional coaching approach.

Disclaimer: are you reading this from Austria? Life coaches require a qualified license (DE: Gewerbeschein) to offer their services in the field of “personal development” and concretely psycho-social support. This requires a diploma in life and social counselling (LSB), which I don’t currently have. I do NOT plan on opening business activities under the general title of “life coach” in Austria and am starting to offer exclusively pro bono support services to my network over the next few months. 

[image: Priscilla du Preez on Unsplash]
[image: Dan Meyers on Unsplash]
[image: Ben White on Unsplash]

Let's first clarify a thing about . . . trauma!

Trauma is the most intense stress we can experience. The threshold for this will be different from human to human. Please remember that you do NOT need to consider yourself a trauma survivor to benefit from trauma-informed life coaching, which is a universally valid approach. This is — a very non-exhaustive overview of — trauma in the words of some practitioners in the field: 

“Trauma is not the story of something that happened back then. It’s the current imprint of that pain, horror, and fear living inside people.”

– Bessel van der Kolk, trauma psychiatrist

“Trauma is not what happens to you, it’s what happens inside you as a result of what happened to you..that scarring that makes you less flexible, more rigid, less feeling and more defended.”

– Gabor Maté

“Traumatic events are extraordinary, not because they occur rarely but rather because they overwhelm the ordinary human adaptations to life.”

– Judith Herman, psychiatrist & researcher 

“Trauma is the result of extremely nerve-wracking events that shatter your sense of security, creating feelings of helplessness in a dangerous world.”

– Terri Samuels, Counselor for Children, Adolescents & Adults

“Trauma disconnects us from who we are, in the sense that coping strategies and adaptations aren’t fundamentally the real “us”. 

– Terry Baranski, Internal Family Systems (IFS) & Compassionate Inquiry practitioner

“Trauma impacts much more than just our thoughts and actions. Trauma is far-reaching and systemic—it cuts us to our bones.”

– Albert Wong, somatics clinician & former Director of Somatic Psychology at JFK University

These words by Terry Baranski (continued from above) hit home, reminding of the need to stay in the present and bring self-compassion into coaching practice:

We tend to identify with these behaviors, not realizing that our real selves are hidden underneath. Someone may say, for example, “I’m a very anxious person”. But their true self isn’t anxious – the anxiety is simply a trauma response.” Trying to modify or get rid of our adaptations in a top-down kind of way – resisting or fighting against them – is another way of not being in the present. We disrespect who we are right now by trying to force change upon ourselves in order to become “better”. In this way, we live in the future rather than the present. This fake future can entrap us when we focus on a healing destination (“I want to fix myself“, “I should be more developed than I am“) rather than the journey (bringing curiosity and compassion to one’s patterns, and having a growth mindset).” — CPTSD Foundation
And continued from Albert Wong: Trauma “can dissolve our sense of identity, diminish our capacity to locate ourselves accurately in time and space, inhibit our tolerance for interpersonal relatedness, disrupt the coherence of our experience, impair our capacity for emotional regulation, and so much more.” Somatopia
to be expanded 🙂

And where do we walk from here?

[image: Milada Vigerova on Unsplash]

And then we find ways to meet ourselves compassionately, understand, recover, heal. A long answer that I will attempt to cover elsewhere from the perspective of a coach and human. The short one: In her foundational book “Trauma and Recovery” (1992), psychiatrist Judith Herman defined three stages of trauma treatment: 1) Safety, Stabilization, & Education; 2) Processing, Remembering and Mourning and 3) Reconnection & Integration. While coaches are typically required to stay in stage 1 — holding and never pushing, further work can happen. Clients don’t come to a coach for healing. Yet, they might encounter solid stretches of it at the end of the day; and benefit from extra care, cause when we’re healing, we’re vulnerable. PS: See my booklist for inspiration on trauma healing. 

FAQs - About all things coaching

Now, time for the things you’ve been burning to ask someone (and have all the right to question & figure out & make up your mind on!). Here we go and please do reach out at if something isn’t clear. 

Even long before embarking on my journey towards becoming a coach, I started valuing coaching for its special qualities, protected by the boundaries in which a coach can work. Cause as professional coaches we’re balancing across a narrow bridge, in humility and integrity. When we start being an expert — an eagerly helpful dispenser of answers who has understood it all — we stop being a coach. The work of coaching struck me in its light, natural precision that I hadn’t encountered in counseling or other formats before.

This is my personal take on what changes the game, helping to improve many lives: 

1️⃣ The coach’s provision of guidance and tools — mainly through questions and observations —, in full detachment from any outcome or decision of the client. While a best friend or family member may have opinions and an agenda, a coach creates a neutral container and holds presence that allows the client to explore — without being judged in their being. And without their actions being weighed up against external standards; against others’ mirrors and models, stories and specifications, patterns and paradigms. We are expressely trained in doing so consistently. How could it be otherwise, when being fully at the service of the client?


2️⃣ The core belief in the resourcefulness & inner wisdom of every coachee — whom we hold as capable, resourceful and full of potential. Personally, I found a coach seeing me, and my potential & possibilities, the most powerful part of the experience. While I view the common definition of coaching as “focusing on the present as a way to change the future” as too restrictive, I do see a focus of coaching in tapping into resources & solutions available either now or in a different time. Just as I once witnessed being said: “You will always have weeds in the garden, so water the flowers in there.”


3️⃣ The recognition that the coachee is the subject-matter expert of their life — carrying valuable expertise, answers and insights inside them. With a little help of a skilled witness, they can see where they stand and what’s most important to them, to then explore action that would support them best. The coachee is responsible for their own choices. The coach helps them in accessing their resources — leading to a fuller range of perspectives and choices which might not have been available earlier, or that the client wasn’t able/ready to take hold of. (Please note that trauma-informed coaching does NOT require action to be present at all times; as a coach we challenge clients, we never push for results or give homework.)


4️⃣ The focus on the full individual (we coach the person, not the problem). Thus, even if a client comes in with a defined problem, transformational coaching will invite a deeper exploration. The coach will challenge softly to bring in a bigger perspective and facilitate forward movement, all while keeping a focus on what the person is in control of (see more in the next question).


5️⃣ The curious questioning — the special way of coaching. We investigate, we don’t interrogate. Every question is in the service of the client’s awareness and action; none is there to quell our own eagerness to know more. As a book I swallowed on my journey (Co-Active Coaching: The Proven Framework for Transformative Conversations at Work and in Life) puts it beautifully: Curiosity is open, inviting, spacious, almost playful…Curiosity in coaching allows coach and coachee to enter the deepest areas of the coachee’s life, side by side, simply looking, curious about what they will find.” 

Differently from (some? most?) counseling approaches, a coach will scrap the monologues and dive straight in, asking the right questions at the right time in reponse to the unique story presented by the client. Coaches are trained in powerful questioning techniques that uncover deeper insight, while also being aware of all the types of questions to avoid (and the moments when deepening isn’t the way). 


6️⃣ The training in & awareness of levels of listening, leading to a full attunement with the client — our attention fully with them and in our current environment.


7️⃣ The support offered by the coach in accessing inner & outer resources. While the coachee is the expert of their life, the coach can offer observations & tools inside the coaching session and – depending on the agreement – also as homework. Accessing outer resources may include truly simple things like drawing the attention of the client to something physical in their environment, when they are flooded and/or struggling to stay in the present. Cause there are more resources available to us beyond those inside our bodies 🙂


8️⃣ The comfort with change and the unknown. The coach doesn’t have all the answers, thus the coach-client relationship is meant to lead to eye-level conversations. 


I love how trauma-informed coach Susana Rinderle describes professional coaching: “the facilitation of a client’s self-discovery through provocative questions, insightful observations, and invitation to action”. By encouraging self-validation, connecting clients with their resources and providing powerful questions/tools, coaching prevents dependency (on a self-awareness level, not just in terms of action & tools!) and enables clients to support themselves beyond the coaching relationship. An effective coaching environment is safe enough for coachees to take the risks they need to take” and “is a courageous place where coachees are able to approach their lives and the choices they make with motivation, creativity and commitment” (Co-Active Coaching book, as mentioned above). 

As coaches we DON’T prescribe helpful pathways or instruct on next action steps. Coaching isn’t consulting, mentoring, advising or training; though coaches may be offering different services as part of their portfolio. 
Read on in the questions below to find out what constitutes high-quality coaching and which boundaries there are.

Unfortunately, a lot. A lot of retraumatizing stuff that is. I have extensively studied this subject, coming back to the question:How do we ensure that the client feels safe?”.  As a little clarification of terms, retraumatization refers to reliving stress reactions experienced as a result of a traumatic event when faced with a new, similar incident.

Here is an incomplete list for the purpose of understanding that if this happened to you, then it might be your moment to give trauma-informed coaching a try. Your experience is valid, and you deserve to feel seen & taken care of at all times. 

💥 Pitfalls of non-trauma-informed coaching, here we go (disclaimer: I know truly amazing coaches in the wider community doing very valuable work; this list has the purpose of normalizing the experience of clients with a history of trauma and doing a better job at serving *everyone* in a safe way): 


1️⃣ The coach may see a client’s behaviors as passive, self-sabotaging ❌ or escalating — when they’re actually normal, predictable, and adaptive ✔️ (hi, shame!). I personally don’t ever use the terms ‘self-sabotaging’, ‘inner saboteur’ & Co. and encourage others to do the same. Alternatively, I find the concepts of Internal Family Systems (parts work) extremely helpful, knowing that parts in us exist to fulfill a service. There is nothing to fight, numb or get rid of.

And language has always held the power to catch life in its magnitude — or clasp a narrative a little too tight; to stop breath — or help us breathe deeper. Remember that language isn’t just there. Language carries blur or clarity, translates into things, forges reality, and matters. Substantially.


2️⃣ When a coach isn’t aware of trauma and how it shows up, they can miss, dismiss or misinterpret a client’s cues — leading to the mention of oversimplicistic solutions that only address a symptom (if at all), or missing a flooded / overstimulated / triggered state altogether which then can create more overwhelm, insecurities, shame, distress etc. for the client. 

If the parts of the coachee that come up in the moment aren’t met with compassion, this can easily lead to the development of compensatory behaviours that layer on top. These represent unsustainable ‘solutions’ that may leave clients feeling like they’re not trying hard enough (= experiencing guilt), especially if the ‘solution’ loses its power after the session is over. The client can be left to face any underlying issues like fear of failure alone — cause the idea of failure & what they might do in the face of it to achieve a solution or an ideal image wasn’t even mentioned in the coaching. 


3️⃣ The survival strategies of the client might stimulate those of the coach, Once instantly dysregulated, the coach may then become intellectualising or a bit persecutory, feel helpless / stuck / disoriented / confused / controlled / distanced / dismissed and undermined, not know which question to ask next, rush in as a rescuer, use lots of tools to seem as if they are doing something, push too hard or stand back too much etc. They may cling even closer to the change agenda, determined to not ‘give up’. Or they may see their usually calm tone of voice turn towards a brusque note, a sudden harshness. In pushing too hard, the coach may fail to respect the ‘resistance’ of the client. 

As trauma-informed coach Susana Rinderle has already put into words, a well-meaning push like “I think you’re more capable than you realize. I believe you can push through and still take action!” can trigger a cocktail of high alert, a shame spiral and grief. On the latter, the client may then find one more confirmation for an experience and narrative in which no-one sees and understands them. They’re alone in the world.


4️⃣ The coach may unknowingly pull the client into a traumatic memory — leaving them dysregulated / flooded or even retraumatized. I like to keep questions open, without assuming that a specific moment in their past may be the one yielding helpful insights (this is a sign of professional, not necessarily trauma-informed coaching). Since coaches are less concerned with the story by nature, retraumatization is more likely to occur during in a different type of exploration — while raising awareness of bodily sensations and feelings

Asking the client to keep paying attention to their experience may not be what they need at times to move forward & stay in their window of tolerance. Quite on the contrary, this can activate & perpetuate the cycle of the trauma-stress response. «More isn’t better. We need to sometimes back off, moving out of the deepening» — in the words of trauma professional & coach David Treleavan.


5️⃣ The client may experience shame (belief about our unworthiness as a person), guilt (the feeling of responsibility or remorse for an act), blame (assigning responsibility for a fault or wrong) because of any of the reactions of a dysregulated and/or frustrated coach. In a state of activation, the things we need most to move forward are the ones to dwindle first: curiosity, calm, creativity and connectedness. The coach may ask less curious, more guarded questions. The trust, safety, intimacy may fade. The relationship may break.  

The biggest inspiration for this section has been coach & therapist Julia Vaughan Smith as well as online sources based on her work. Go read her seminal book “Coaching and Trauma: From surviving to thriving”! Another great resource is trauma-informed coach Susana Rinderle, whose views I fully support. 

Many clients just need to be held.

The trauma-informed approach walks the extra steps to offer even better coaching. Trauma-informed coach Susana Rinderle has said it perfectly: “A trauma-informed coach is better equipped to meet a coachee where they are, in the fullness of that person’s experience and context.” With a special lens to understand the coachee’s behaviour, and an advanced skillset to help them navigate their reality. The key is not only avoiding harm, but repairing it when it does happen — cause we’re all human. 

As of now, trauma-informed coaching is not an official standard in the coaching industry, but I can already envisage a future in which awareness of trauma (in everyone, very much including executive leaders) will be mainstream and expectations towards coaches will change. 

This is my own take, inspired by everyone I could learn from, on what makes trauma-informed coaching special and why it is necessary: 


1️⃣ THE UNDERSTANDING OF TRAUMA, how it may show up in the sessions and in clients’ lives, and how to respond as a coach within the established boundaries & agreements is key. Cause with trust and a safe safe, unhealed trauma and chronic stress will take the stage. 

As trauma-informed coaches, we understand that survival has a purpose, and that the trauma responses of the client are adaptive. We respect the survival self that shows up in coaching – in its bodily sensations, ‘resistance’, stories of unhealthy behaviours busting all personal boundaries or unreasonsable demands to others, and more. We know that the survival self helped someone get to where they are today. Coping mechanisms have a reason — often responding to unacknowledged pain. When there is shame around how our systems respond or react, we can help clients reduce shame by normalizing how our nervous systems put survival needs above everything else. 

Trauma and chronic stress may – or may not – be the focus of the coaching engagement, or any one session. Whatever the topic may be, we know that clients with a trauma story are especially skilled at detecting any hint of rejection – making a mindful regulation of our own responses even more indispensable (see last point). Whatever we do, we do with (self-) compassion.  


2️⃣ THE RELATIONSHIP in which the coach is deeply committed & trained to stay present (without emotionally drawing back, becoming entangled in their own survival self, triggering feelings of rejection through behaviour read as dismissive etc.) creates a space in which a client feels safe to experience discomfort and grow from it. This relationship has a profound, integral focus on safety, trust, equity and choice. If we’re ok with it all, anything that may happen, the client feels that. 

We do challenge our clients because we want the best for them — but we do it with the proper understanding and relationship. And we always, ALWAYS, honor their experience. In full empathy and compassion. 


3️⃣ THE HOPE in something different, something better; this is a ticket into the future. In my own understanding of trauma-informed coaching — which doesn’t require clarity in direction or goals from the client — I’m inspired by the words of grief therapist & expert David Kessler: “Until you can find it, I’ll hold it for you. I have hope for you.” I strongly believe in the power of coaching even in the darkest times (respecting all boundaries), cause I’ve experienced it myself. 

As coaches we hold hope and perspective, exploring possibilities without the need to always translate them into action. Deeper-than-usual explorations of meaning and purpose can fuel this hope. This is also about avoiding unrealistic expectations, e.g. when asking clients to imagine a better future they’d want. As a smart collegue once put it: the success lies in the client finding hope in their own imagination and initiatiave, which is a resource to draw on to find solutions to all the future trials along the way, and NOT in them walking out with perfect visions (to then struggle when they’re not reached or the road there is a tortuous one 😕)

This fits well with Hope Theory (by Snyder), which breaks hopeful thinking up into three key components — goals, multiple pathways to them & the belief in our agency. And agency is the most flexible resource there — one we also need to extricate ourselves from retraumatizing contexts, relationships, or roles. In hope, the person isn’t fortune-telling, but feels the agency to make an effort or keep going on their path — with resilience; and they believe that this can lead them to favourable outcomes. They feel their self-efficacy. We challenge clients to expand their field of vision, a view on what seems possible, without requiring a leap towards a far-removed ‘ideal state’. 


4️⃣ THE WILLIGNESS TO GO SLOW — cause in trauma, slow is fast. We don’t ever push. And since we’re trained to recognize trauma, we know how to help the client in the distressing moments and go extra slow in them, dropping any expectations. «This is here now. Let’s include that.» — in the words of trauma professional & coach David Treleaven. We slow down WITH the client. We remember that we don’t need to go anywhere, unless the client is ready to. Them showing up can be more than enough. 

We respect their ‘resistance’, know the obstacles that may present themselves and meet everyone where they are — in the fullness of their experience and context. The reality they go back to once the session is over. As we learned in coaching class: we co-create a safe space together (at the client’s pace) and move as slowly as needed” & “we utilize and introduce tools, techniques, and curious questioning to support the client in processing solutions for themselves”. Depth, speed and ways of processing will vary depending on experience, situation, neurotype and more. 


5️⃣ THE COACH’S COMMITMENT TO HEALING: A trauma-informed coach is on a journey ⛵— not only with you, but with themselves. They have strong commitment and skills around self-regulation and co-regulation. Ultimately, they help the client stay regulated themselves and swim back to land towards the end of a session, even after deep explorations requiring lots of processing (go slow! see above). And they are very aware of their own trauma and how it shows up; this is the healing they work on in their own lives — to then model a different, healthier way for their clients. As it happens. 


For me, trauma-informed coaching goes beyond safety, presence, relationship and a solid trauma lens. It is very much about providing a process of exploration that is maximally adapted to the client. I don’t believe in blanket approaches, replicating the medical model, and value a good understanding of the situation. Then I can dive into explorations and avoid subconsciously making assumptions or reaching for low-hanging solutions. 

In the trauma-informed coaching methodology, as taught by Moving the Human Spirit, the session is held as a reflective, safe and compassionate space in which the coach invites the client on an exploration and gives back what they see in them.

Usually, a session would include a clarification of a desired change (ensuring focus & a common understanding of the subject) as well as a closure with learnings, commitments and helpful steps to take. Thus the client walks away with a deeper understanding of themselves — be it resources, needs, emotions, the impacts of their past, nervous system regulation tools, values, aspirations, new possible pathways and much more — as well as a concrete focus and/or steps that they can take once the session is over.

A trauma-informed coach is trained to hold space through anything that may come up. Silences, spontaneous changes in direction, emotional expression like tears in the presence of the coach are fully ok. A session can expressely be on a trauma topic of the present (in my own view on trauma-informed); what happens usually, is that clients bring up topics from different areas of their life across the journey.   

Sessions typically run for 30min or more (up to 2 hours in my case) without interruptions; the depth and process will vary depending on the length. Typically a series of e.g. 6 sessions is recommended to dive into different aspects important to the coachee and circle back to key topics; all while allowing life and more exploration to happen between sessions. 

The ICF Core Competencies represent the gold standard in coaching. As defined by the International Coaching Federation, there are eight of them spanning across four topics: 

  1. Demonstrates Ethical Practice (Foundation)
  2. Embodies a Coaching Mindset (-“-)
  3. Establishes and Maintains Agreements (Co-Creating the Relationship)
  4. Cultivates Trust and Safety (-“-)
  5. Maintains Presence (-“-)
  6. Listens Actively (Communicating Effectively) 
  7. Evokes Awareness (-“-)
  8. Facilitates Client Growth (Cultivating Learning and Growth)

You can read more HERE.

As trauma-informed coaches trained by MTHS, we are required to demonstrate personal integrity and honesty in all interactions with coachees, sponsors and relevant stakeholders. We abide by the Code of Ethics of the International Coaching Federation and its Core Values, use appropriate and respectful language, maintain confidentiality.

We are sensitive to the coachee’s identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs. We avoid discrimination by maintaining fairness and equality in all activities while respecting local rules and cultural practices.

Also, we uphold the distinction between coaching / counseling / psychotherapy and other support professions. 

Meeting the ethical standards is a necessary behaviour for all coaches trained inside an ICF-coaching framework and is covered by the first core coaching competency (see the question above) — requiring the consistent application of standards

The ethical principles cover the responsibilities to clients, to practice and performance, to professionalism and to society. 

The Code of Ethics applies for any coaching-related interaction (of coaches, coach supervisors, mentor coaches, trainers or student coaches-in-training). 

You can read more HERE.

This will very much depend on the details of the situation, the relationship there is between coach and coachee, and the skill-level, specialization and capacity of the coach. When a trusting relationship exists in which much work has already been done, one would be more inclined to look for solutions inside of it — adding outside help as appropriate — instead of rushing to a referral as a first option. Personally, I was coached while receiving counselling at the same time. 

Ultimately our interest as coaches is always to ensure that our clients receive the best support possible; this includes referral to therapists, more experienced coaches or ther modalities. I would only refer to trauma-trained therapists, wherever the presence of trauma is evident, and keep in mind that therapy is NOT the right for modality for all; even when they are struggling. Instead I first see how a client could expand their relevant support options. A professional coach will be honest with themselves about what they can do vs what they don’t have the capacity / training etc. for. 


The International Coaching Federation has defined Top 10 indicators to refer a client to a mental health professional: 

  1. The client is exhibiting a decline in his/her ability to experience pleasure and/or an increase in being sad, hopeless and helpless.
  2. The client has intrusive thoughts or is unable to concentrate or focus.
  3. The client is unable to get to sleep or awakens during the night and is unable to get back to sleep or sleeps excessively.
  4. The client has a change in appetite: decrease in appetite or increase in appetite.
  5. The client is feeling guilty because others have suffered or died.
  6. The client has feelings of despair or hopelessness.
  7. The client is being hyper alert and/or excessively tired.
  8. The client has increased irritability or outbursts of anger.
  9. The client has impulsive and risk-taking behavior.
  10. The client has thoughts of death and/or suicide.

To the list of indicators
They are are called indictors for a reason; this means I will not automatically refer in these situations. 

This would require a longer answer. The short one: Being “trauma-informed” is usually associated with following the “Six Principles of a Trauma-Informed Approach“, known by the acronym SAMHSA. These provide a framework for organizations to develop a more supportive environment for those who may be affected by trauma; a trauma-informed workplace culture.

SAMHSA is grounded in four assumptions and six key principles: 

The assumptions:

  1. Realize the widespread impact of trauma and understand potential paths for recovery.
  2. Recognize the signs and reactions of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the organization.
  3. Respond by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices.
  4. Resist re-traumatization

The key principles: 

  1. Safety — creating an atmosphere of mutual respect & trust, assessing the environment for risks & dangers, sharing clear guidelines. Safety is both physical and psychological/emotional.  
  2. Trustworthiness and transparency — preparing people for changes that will affect them in the workplace. 
  3. Peer support — creating spaces for people with shared identities to connect. Educating or enabling people to access resources and support systems is also key.
  4. Collaboration and mutuality — committing to collaboration more than the outcome itself, especially when differences of opinion arise.
  5. Empowerment, voice and choice — providing individuals with the skills and resources necessary to speak their truth and make decisions about their experience at work. And bringing those to the table who will be impacted by the decisions to be made. 
  6. Cultural, historical and gender issues — understanding the history and experiences of groups of people. Eventually, this allows organisations to make better-informed decisions and prevent trauma in the workplace.

Key sources: Practical Guide for Implementing a Trauma-Informed Approach (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), Blog of the Trauma Informed Institute

PS: Please note that in and beyond coaching different definitions of ‘trauma-informed’, ‘trauma-aware’ and ‘trauma-sensitive’ exist. 

Professional life coaches are certified (or even accredited with a body like the ICF), have no agenda or attachment to the outcome of the coaching work, abide by high standards of ethics and competency, and are dedicated to ongoing learning and development. 

I don’t personally support — practise or explicitly refer clients to — coaching practices that are lead my persons without a certification in the field. Or that are promising specific, quick results. Or that derive implications for the clients from outside their inner resources, their life experience and their own awareness supported by psychoeducational tools (thus I don’t support charts, readings etc. as sources of awareness). This is my personal view, as a person grounded in science and logic also beyond my academical background. 

Since we hold every client — regardless of any presence of unhealed trauma, and setting our own view of the world aside whenever we coach — as a resourceful, capable, creative and whole individual, I trust that everyone will find the modality that helps them best in the current period of their life. 

I also believe that trauma-informed coaching approaches will become necessary prerequisites for all practising coaches, to serve every client best possible and avoid retraumatization. There’s big responsibility in this — on the levels of professional training and of personal development equally.

[image: Jodie Cook on Unsplash]

FAQs - YOU and trauma-informed coaching

As trauma-informed coaches, we are trained to hold space for whatever may come into a coaching relationship. In the end, it’s simply deeper and better coaching. 

And maybe it’s news to you that according to popular studies, 70% of people have experienced trauma (wider definitions will report that everyone will experience a degree of trauma in their lifetime —”While some people will have deeply traumatic experiences, at some level we all carry trauma in that not all our infant needs for safety are likely to feel met.” Thus, many people are not aware of the impact of unprocessed or unhealed trauma on their nervous systems, body sensations, emotions, identity & personality, thoughts incl. recurring ones (beliefs, worldview) and finally behaviours (incl. habits). This includes dysregulation e.g. easily growing restless during a coaching session, and goes up to addictions and debilitating mental health struggles. 

Trauma-informed coaches are aware of how trauma shows up, driving regulated & compassionate responses in sessions and helping the client gain awareness (of) themselves.

The short answer: take the trauma-informed as a bonus. You might benefit from it once you’ve boarded the journey. 

There’s this myth—that coaching is for high-flying achievers and those aching to throw the old out of the window to choreograph a new life.

The reality is that coaching is there to increase wellbeing, self-compassion, performance or anything else the client might wish for; incrementally, in the form of an exploration. A “good timing” will look different to everyone and depends on your willingness to be coached — that is to commit to a series of sessions unless a one-time session is offered, make time & show up punctually, build a trusting relationship together with your coach, take any emerging commitments seriously & communicate bigger changes / obstacles on your side, carry the learnings from the coaching into your life.

An acute crisis is usually NOT a good moment to start a series of coaching sessions, yet I believe that even there a skilled trauma-informed coach who already has a trusting relationship with a client can help contain the impacts of the situation, bringing the client closer to bits of their healthy self and to rediscovering inner resources.

You can already be in therapy/counselling and choose to receive coaching to look at a specific topic from different angles, or simply give a new approach a try to unlock self-awareness. You can equally be getting support from other modalities (from acupuncture to art therapy, or any of the mindfulness & meditation tools out there). If you consider yourself a trauma survivor, you’re NOT required to see a counsellor while receiving coaching. Trauma-informed coaches are trained to recognize how trauma shows up and stay on your side to safely navigate through the session — inside the boundaries of coaching work.

Should the coach notice that deeper work is necessary, the coaching seems to get “stuck” or that they are not fitting/experienced enough to help in the needed way, then they would approach a conversation on it and possibly consider a referral. Please do so, too, should you NOT be receiving the support that you would need!

I believe in being the coach that the person needs in that moment of their life, provided the coaching modality is helpful. Compatibility between the coach & coachee and the details of the process are set in a discovery call and questionnaire.  

See the answers on the question above. I would say that you are ready if you want something to change, are willing to take up agency and are curious to embark on the journey, committing to give your best in showing up for it (your ‘best’ is for you to define). You can come with clear questions / problems / ideas but you do NOT have to. You require time and commitment as well as willigness to offer your part towards an open and trusting relationship with your coach. 

As coaches we coach the full person. Thus, if you have any doubts or limiting beliefs that are famous for sticking around, your coach will be happy to listen to them without any judgement. Please know that coaching can be successful when the client doesn’t hide away or compensate for parts of themselves; you do NOT need to present your coach with a version of yourself that you want them to see. At the same time, I know how hard it can be to unmask for neurodivergent individuals, even more so in therapy and coaching; please know that I understand and we can have a conversation on the topic. Should you be aware of any trauma responses like people-pleasing tendencies or generally parts of your personality that don’t quite feel like “you” anymore — this exactly is a topic that we can cover in coaching together 🙂

A great many things are possible in coaching. Whether you have all the awareness and want a hand in jumping into action. Or whether you would benefit from first exploring all the angles of your present experience together, and get a little closer to an answer on: “what is actually happening?” (inside the boundaries of coaching work) 

Coaching is what you want to make it be.

This depends on the type of support you’re seeking, cause there are different ways in which we can get our needs met. Many clients combine approaches. If you’re already seeing a counselor, you can read into the special approach of coaching methods on this page and see how this may differ from – and add to – your experience. 

Professional life coaches are trained in a genuine and still very structured inquiry technique; this allows for very high precision and integrity in asking the right questions at the right time. No rhetorics, no questions prompting justification, no lanes to jam you into — clouded by the worldview of someone who isn’t in your world.

Trauma-informed coaches have an understanding of the nervous system and of trauma layered on top. Asking for permission and giving clients a genuine choice — prompting reactions of agreement instead of compliance — is a top priority for them. 

And sometimes the difference isn’t all that clear. Just like Susana Riderle, a trauma-informed life coach I admire, likes to put it: once you look more closely, the distinction between coaching and therapy starts to dissolve. “Some of the best therapists are coach-like, and coaches therapeutic.” I recommend you look past the formal qualifications and also take into account the demonstrated skills, ethics and personality of the support figure you’re considering.

While we’re not “trauma-trained” as coaches (this is the deeper work beyond our scope), we strongly recommend you see a trauma-(trained)-therapist, in case you’re looking into pursuing therapy separately from coaching. This is because counselors can by no means be expected to automatically know about trauma science — a still emerging field with new discoveries year by year. I would like to emphasize that you don’t need to go to therapy to ‘heal’ first, before trying coaching. Trauma-informed coaches are healing, too. We’re all a work in progress. 

If you’re aware of unhealed trauma, choose wisely with whom you share yourself and do get competent help that is good at co-regulation, respecting your choices, offering information etc. — giving you the space you need.

Depending on where you are, coaches can be more accessible or grant special prices / scholarships to low-income clients. BONUS POINT: Consider recommending coaching to someone you care about who doesn’t want to go to therapy for whichever reason, or for whom therapy hasn’t worked out so far. Not everyone will benefit from therapy and there are different offers out there through which we can get our needs met.

In coaching we typically honor the story without living in it. While some trauma-informed coaches will only bring in the past to derive supporting resources or learnings from it, others will draw connections between the past and current patterns (based on the story bits the client has shared themselves) — when it becomes relevant. 

A professional coach won’t ever tell you: “let’s go back to that event.” or encourage you to retell traumatic stories. Instead, they will support you in meeting a part that comes up, in a compassionate way. This is more effective than having you develop compensation that layers over the top — then triggering potential feelings of shame/guilt/blame or imposter syndrome and reducing self-worth. All due to the extra effort it takes to compensate, and the feeling of carrying around unhelpful or scary parts.

Personally, I do NOT ever use wordings like ‘self-sabotaging’ narratives and behaviours; your story is valid and its magnitude real. Your behaviours are perfectly adaptive in a (neuro-) biological way. Once we gain awareness, we can try to work with it all towards something that can support you better – or get in the way less – in living the life you deserve. 

Still, if you want to share something with your coach, they will listen and hold the space. And they will probably ask you which support you need or what you want to do with the story, what you want to bring into the present — if the situation is ripe for it. It is fully up to you if and how to share any of your story. Your coach can clarify any doubts! And they DON’T need any details before supporting you. Instead, they work with whatever is there. And they will always bring you back to the here & now.

There are several benefits of working with a neurodivergent coach — if you’re neurodivergent, and in many cases even if you aren’t. At the same time, there are not enough neurodivergent coaches out there to cover demand, so we need more neurotypical colleagues to stay curious and learn from those they serve. Together, we can make a paradigm shift happen, moving away from ‘blanket solutions’ that are expected to work for everyone.

If you are neurodivergent, or suspect to be so, I recommend you inform yourself about a coach’s lived experience and the language they use, check for any potentially ableist red flags and take your gut feeling (=intuition) seriously — regardless of what the coach may identify as publicly. If you feel safe and seen, this is a good start. 

Here are 5 reasons for neurodivergents to work with a coach of their neurokin, or a coach with a deep understanding of the neurodivergent experience: 


1️⃣ Curiosity about your personal profile by your coach & help in tapping into your strengths working with your brain instead of against it.


2️⃣ Feeling understood in your different thinking style, sensory needs, executive fuctioning, approach to routines and habits etc. (especially when misunderstood or stigmatized in societal contexts), with your coach adapting the coaching approach to neurodivergent needs. No more feelings of shame at not getting a visualization exercise, not understanding too abstract questions, not following through with a task. 


3️⃣ Referral to & recommendations of other support services, communities, books, online content creators etc. for neurodivergents to help you make sense of your experience, forge new connections or get all the support you need.


4️⃣ The option to unmask by dropping the eye contact, doodling as much as you want, bringing your fidget toy without having to explain anything etc.


5️⃣ Less energy used, no shame (that is the goal, cutting down on all insecurities), more genuine connection — so you can be yourself and use the space to the fullest for your growth.


4 reasons why neurotypicals can benefit from working with a neurodivergent coach (please note that this will vary individually; hence my own perspective:) 

  • A no-judgement zone: I don’t judge people, period. While we all have unconscious biases, there are ways to gain awareness of them and stop them from interfering when being at the service of people as well as in human interactions at large. As professional coaches we don’t jump to conclusions or weave together narratives about the clients; as neurodivergent coaches we do so even less. 
  • Deep sensitivity: I have a deep sensitivity towards the emotional states, energy and reactions of people as well the language they use. This is coupled with hyper-empathy (please note that neurodivergence is a lot about extremes, in whichever direction, and some of us are very empathetic) and allows me to pick up on details that others might miss.
  • Pattern-thinking: It comes very easy to me to connect the dots. In a coaching session this usually refers to key words & insights mentioned by the client throughout the session; things that are most important to them. All of this happens in a non-judgemental way, bringing to the surface the things that are already there.
  • Creative questioning: I ask brief but creative questions. As coaches we don’t follow a textbook-routine and instead ask the right questions in the right moment. 

And there are many more! PS: neurodivergents are often really open, candid, authentic people 🙂 

Yes, they can. According to the International Coaching Federation, this is no problem as long as the difference in relationship – with its boundaries – and the roles of everyone involved are clarified before starting coaching sessions. Please be conscious of potential conflicts of interest, attachments or stronger feelings. 

So, if you know me personally — I’m happy to coach you.

I also respect that you might want to avoid mixing relationships; in that case I can refer you to other trauma-informed life coaches from my international network (for online sessions). 

[image: Sekatsky on Unsplash]
[image: Eve Maier on Unsplash]
[image: Dollar Gill on Unsplash]

MY STORY: creativity. perseverance. movement. loss. pain. grief. love.

FAQs - What I offer & how to work with me

If you want to get to know me & my approach better, this is your place! 

Life experience taught me a few deep things about being soft and strong at the same time, to then support others in navigating their most vulnerable moment

[TW: loss] I chose to become a professional life coach because when my life as I knew it was skidding & toppling towards its end, being coached enabled me to whisper: I have myself

In 2022, I was lucky to receive transformational — even if not trauma-informed — coaching. Clad in the power of supreme sensitivity, concentrated care and curiosity. Being witnessed as a whole human being for the first time in my life allowed me to see the parts of myself that I was in dire need of making real. While keeping a fragile belief in connection alive, while time was burning up. At the end of time, and of the year, in agonizing anticipation of many months, I lost my mum to cancer (or she lost us). I would not be a coach tomorrow, if she was alive today.

This work is the legacy of everything that happened over these last long months. Of surviving the deepest loss, working through massive retraumatization from non-trauma-informed coacing, embracing my neurodivergence, learning to live again with every day that rises and building big things in spite. Fueled by my personal story, but by far not limited by it. I know pain and healing; I’m very real. And if I could rebuild my foundations while everything kept crashing down, then others deserve to do it, too.

The journey towards becoming a coach gave me something to pour my heart into, to show up as all that I am and want to be; to find meaning through the darkness.

Let’s turn back time for a moment.

It’s late winter of early 2023. When I read that the “TICC coaching model enables coaches to FULLY meet their clients where they are” — with courage, compassion and respect — I sign up for the Trauma-Informed Coaching Basics + Certificate of Moving the Human Spirit. “Believing in the resourcefulness of the client – even during the times when the client does not believe in themselves”, yes yes yes! Then months before the first class, I type: I want to have a superpower to sense when someone is sinking in” before an info call in which I’m told that I have landed.

And so the journey begins.
Today, I think that I carry this superpower in me. 

Along with being a coach, I continue spending a lot of my time as a communications professional, team leader and budding professional writer. Drawing connections where I can. 

“We are all worthy of telling our stories and having them heard. We all need to be seen and honored in the same way that we all need to breathe….I will allow myself to be seen.” – Brené Brown

I trained as a trauma-informed life coach, in a Canadian online training that ran from May through September 2023 and consisted of the two steps Trauma-Informed Coaching Basics (TICB) & Trauma-Informed Coaching Certificate (TICC).

While I don’t have a specialization in terms of coaching topics (e.g. like leadership or relationships or stress management), I have a special interest in improving the quality of life for people who are aware of having experienced one or more of the following: trauma, neurodivergence, grief, high-stress purpose work (social, environment, non-profits), dysfunctional backgrounds (e.g. a lack of a supportive family or social network, control & abuse). 

Through my diverse work experience and insight into the non-profit sector, I’m good at working with driven and entrepreneurial individuals who want to make a change without losing themselves in the process. I am also currently looking for further complementary courses to take based on needs, rather than the formality of showing off one more certificate. 

Please continue on to the next questions for more answers 🙂 

I’m just starting out and know that the trauma-informed coaching approach could benefit anyone who wants to try coaching and/or is not getting the resourceful results they expected in other modalities. Having said this, we could be a perfect match if you…

1️⃣ …want a young coach, either because you’re also a 20something human figuring out life or because you think it’s, kinda, refreshing; and/or…

2️⃣ …struggle with self-regulation, and the gentle holding and co-regulation with a trauma-informed coach can help you;

3️⃣ …are aware of the presence of a trauma story (recent or old), or have even witnessed it come out in other settings, and this has been holding you back from getting coaching before;

4️⃣ …have a story of grief or deep loss that impacts who you are and that you’re tired of having to hide away (please note that I’m not a grief counselor, but I know more about the topic than about any other & can hold space due to my own traumatic loss);

5️⃣ …are neurodivergent, particularly autistic or AuDHD, and are longing for someone who gets it, who knows psychological facts and adapts their coaching to neurodivergent needs (unmasking optional & welcome!);

6️⃣ …have a multicultural background or are generally juggling many roles, exploring your identity, caring about & exploring the world (plus point: you can express yourself in many languages, and I will understand);

7️⃣ …just read another section of this page (or site), found that it resonates and have the impression that it would feel good to be working with me 🙂 

I’m comfortable with any topic and I’m passionate about helping clients who would otherwise not receive coaching. Either because they’re not sure how it works, have had damaging (confusing / insecurity-inducing / retraumatizing) experiences in the past, can’t afford coaching or any other reason. Also, as someone who has volunteered in youth-led organisations for years, I’m a big fan of peer-to-peer support! Just bring yourself 🙂 
Trauma-informed coaching is a powerful and safe modality (of course when done well, I only take responsibility for myself), and no-one is too “broken” to benefit from it. “Broken” doesn’t exist. Still, if you are in psychological supervision / therapy or have a comprehensive health plan, please talk with your support figure about your wish to pursue coaching alongside other modalities. Thus you can get the best, aligned support.  

I’m a very genuine and gentle coach, so expect a coaching session to feel like a conversation — inside the coaching framework and relationship between coach and coachee. I do take notes, while I listen to what matters to the client, to then give it back and weave the threads together. I call it refocusing. 

By the way, did you know that many neurodivergent or autistic people (need to) take notes as part of processing? Let’s normalize that! 

Outside of coaching sessions, I’m very happy to share resources & tools (on trauma, neurodivergence, emotions etc.) with you. In our time together, I focus on offering questions and a reflection here & there; and more than anything giving you your own words back. Depending on your current needs and personality, a session can be playful and humourful, while holding space for the emotions and the pain that may be present. 

I’m there whatever may come up, in full presence with the client; in our trauma-informed coaching training, this was called immersed (Level 4) listening — sorting for deep meaning and being fully there in holding the space. 

Becoming a coach is a transformational journey that goes far beyond learning skills, simplifying complex research, practising in countless Zoom rooms across time zones and putting oneself out there. Soaking up, systematizing, savoring insights — mapping the territory. And it also goes beyond long conversations and WhatsApp chats sharing role models, discussing approaches, exchanging opinions grounded in experience. Nourishing our love for coaching. 

From my own story and conversations with colleagues, I found that a lot of it is about finding an authentic place in which to be a coach. Coaching is about someone’s deep rooted feelings; we’re taking that damn seriously. We have respect for the job and the people we serve. We develop an understanding of how fast we can go, what we’re able to do, which limiting beliefs and fears are getting in the way. And we always remember what made us come to to this place, in the first place. 

Becoming a coach is a curious ’business’, because since the work of coaching happens in the process, we can’t cheat e.g. by intellectualizing it. By laying out options, scripts, action plans. Instead, we learn how to show up fully.  

Maybe the question could have been “How did you make yourself into a coach?”, because it’s a conscious journey and we are modelling agency for those whom we serve. 

A lot — as an answer to all of it. As grief psychotherapist Julia Samuel says, everything in psychotherapy is about loss. And since as coaches we’re also working on a deeply human level, there will be loss. Pain. Grief. Stress. Trauma. Along with everything else. The skill is in telling them apart where needed, and most importantly holding space. Grief expert David Kessler sums it up well: “All trauma has grief.” So we better understand grief a little better then also as trauma-informed coaches 🙂

Seeing grief in people around us can teach us humility. “I know now that grief is a process, and that to move through it you must give yourself over to it.” And that’s a very big thing. 

As a close person once expressed to me: “Mum is important.” I have experienced that surviving one of the greatest personal losses possible has made holding space through anything second nature for me. (More about my story & motivation above in an answer to the question Why did you choose to become a coach?)

No, I don’t have a psychology degree; while I do read a lot of articles & books in the wider field (as an autistic human, special interests & hyperfocus are my friends to access info and integrate it to connect the dots). Having an academic background in psychology is no requirement for life coaches, while I do believe in ongoing learning to stay curious & informed about developments in the fields of psychology, trauma impacts & healing, neuroscience, body regulation, emotions, professional coaching trends & more.

This allows coaches to offer grounded & ideologically neutral psychoeducational tools for clients and constantly improve coaching practice — meeting everyone where they are in an inclusive & gentle way. I will pursue further educational programs in the next few years depending on the needs that arise for me and my clients. 

This is a fun-serious one, cause it’s a question I’ve been asked too often as someone who has grown up between countries, cultures, languages. Never quite fitting in. My strongest value is justice. Beyond it, I’m damn serious about love & care & empathy, courage, authenticity, honesty, creativity, curiosity, freedom and science. 

Some key bits of my identity that I want to share with you: 

  • My first language is Russian, and I feel at home in the Eastern lands of Europe. Please don’t call me Italian, Russian-Italian is fine 🙂 
  • Writing is second only to breathing for me. I’m a writer, wherever I go. A creative, with dance as a natural way of moving through life. 
  • I love communications so much that this has also become an identity of sorts. To regulate and reconnect with the world, I design. Comms is also the place where I grew into a solid leader and curious ’coach’.  
  • I have a neurodivergent brain, autistic and ADHD to be precise. Despite all its difficulties (autism can be seen as a disability, and doesn’t owe you any perks & superpowers in return for your respect), I couldn’t imagine being anything else!
  • According to one of those personality tests out there ( I’m an Adventurer ISFP-T introvert. From what I know, I can be the most extroverted person in the room or merge into the tapestry, depending on my mood and energy levels. 
  • My pronouns are she/they — which means that you can refer to me both as she and they, and I’ll be ok either way.

On a more universal note, identity is a key topic that can be untangled in coaching; along with personality, and the self sitting inside it all. Physician & trauma expert Gabor Maté talks about personality as an amalgam of childhood coping mechanisms & genuine qualities. This is a story for another place 😉 

To end, here’s a bit that’s dear to my heart. I’m not a ’blank slate’ type of coach, I’m a real person & a work-in-progress, and as a client you’re allowed to know me. I want you to have the info you need to be able to feel safe with me. This isn’t up to me to assume. So please don’t hesitate to ask me questions, outside of the coaching session itself which is fully about you (so e.g. during the discovery phase at the beginning of the journey or via mail). I will tell you myself, when I can’t or choose not to answer.  

To learn more about me: my education

🧭 COACHING TRANING: As of autumn 2023, I hold a Trauma-Informed Coaching Certification — offered by the Canadian professional coaching company Moving The Human Spirit and accredited by the International Cooaching Federation (ICF). It is the most respected training being offered in the field of Trauma-Informed Coaching and Trauma Recovery worldwide. Now, I’m aiming at receiving ICF-accreditation myself, starting with the Associate Certified Coach level next year and am thus going through the mentoring phase. Throughout the last intense months of weekly coaching training and countless hours of practice, I have also been gathering & synthesizing research across the sectors of trauma, coaching, neurodivergence, therapy approaches and the wider field of psychology tools. My primary goal in this has been to build my own trauma-informed and neuro-inclusive coaching approach, a mission I’m passionately working on right now in close conversation with other trauma-informed coaches across the Atlantic.

🌍 FURTHER BACKGROUND: At heart, I’m a creative — gazing at the world through the eyes of science and the arts. I have extensive experience in leading teams internationally, where “coaching” my team members & witnessing them grow sparked lots of experiments in doing things better. But my greatest teacher has been life. Losing my mum at age 25, after witnessing her go through terrible pain; volunteering as a translator on the emotional frontlines in support of people fleeing war; being there for people with severe mental health struggles; building connection, discovering who I am and just navigating life in between many different roles. I’m very real; and all that I’ve learned about life now enables me to show up fully for more people. Academically, I hold a degree in Environmental Management, and believe in self-study on most subjects (I have done supporting tranings in the communications domain i.a.). I have worked and volunteered — as a communications professional & project manager — in the fields of environment, youth, social entrepreneurship, industrial innovation, the artistic and the social. And I have remained true to my cherished focus on the organisational and personal realities of working in non-profits.

Ready? Here the practical steps you were waiting for

Please note, that as of now — due to legal reasons as well as the fact that I’m currently in mentoring & practice phase towards becoming accredited by the ICF — I’m offering all sessions free of charge.  

Here’s what happens if you’ve interested in working with me:

(if you’re interesting in a single coaching session only, then the process will be shorter)

1️⃣ Send me a quick mail at to get in touch 🙂 I usually offer to schedule a 20min (obviously, once again, free) consultation call in which to get to know each other, see if it’s a match & clarify any questions. Here, I also explain what coaching is and what it isn’t. The call can also be skipped, if you have no doubts about coaching and want to give it a try e.g. through one session together. Or if you prefer written communication instead.

2️⃣ You will receive a discovery questionnaire to complete before we meet. It will be helpful both for pinning down your own reflections before the start of the journey (a helpful place to revisit later on), as well as for me to inform the coaching. Thus, we can stay focused together and help you get the best results out of the journey.

3️⃣ I will schedule a pre-coaching session with you (30 min to 1 hour) to clarify expectations, set how we want to work together and set specific parameters of the relationship (logistics, scheduling, fees – not applicable for now, duration, termination, confidentiality etc.). Key coaching topics will probably emerge from this session, inspired by a look at the questionnaire answers.

4️⃣ You will receive a coaching contract to confirm and sign.
5️⃣ We will schedule a first proper session (if not done before) and off we go!

Important: We establish agreements for the overall coaching engagement as well as for each coaching session. For this reason, a coach will bring you back to your stated needs for coaching, desired change, measures of success or any other universal ‘truths’.

And now?

Do you have more questions, or are you ready to start coaching? Let’s talk. You can reach out to me via or LinkedIn. I usually coach in English, and German. Along with it, I’ll be happy to speak with you in English, Russian, Italian, French or German. And bits of Spanish. 

My favorite quotes, before you go >

“All of us get broken in some way. What matters is how we get up and put the pieces back together again.”

– David Kessler, in Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief

“But compassion isn’t about solutions. It’s about giving all the love that you’ve got.”

– Cheryl Strayed, in Tiny Beautiful Things (“You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life.”)

“I am a traveler, not a mapmaker. I am going down this path same as and with you.”

– Brené Brown, in Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. 

“Connection is the feeling of landing in the present tense. Fully immersed in whatever occupies you, paying close attention to the details of experience. Characterised by an awareness of your minuteness in the scheme of things. A feeling of being absolutely located. Right here. Regardless of whether that ‘right here’ is agitated or calm, joyous or painful.”

– Kae Tempest, in On Connection

“All of us want to know that what we do, what we say, and who we are matters. Like clockwork…”How did I do?” as they scan my face for a reaction. “Was I okay?” they always ask. The longing to be accepted and affirmed in their truth is the same for everyone. And beyond science, I know it boils down to this: how you were loved.”

– Oprah Winfrey about her show in What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing (with Bruce D. Perry)

“We are afraid of being alone and we’re afraid of connection. We are afraid to listen to what our hearts are telling us. We are afraid of change and we’re afraid of not changing. We are afraid of not having control and afraid of our own power. We are afraid of how briefly we are alive and how long we will be dead.” 

– Lori Gottlieb, in Maybe You Should Talk to Someone 

“I’ve always thought that art is about moving hearts and minds…I’ve also realised that revealing my darkness is just as natural a thing to do as revealing my light.”

– Baek Sehee, in her memoir I Want to Die But I Want to Eat Tteokbokki

“Autism is ‘takiwatanga’ [in Maori], meaning in your own time and space’. I find something in this definition that I’ve been craving all my life – the restless urge to live in the time and space that I was born to perceive, rather than to fit badly into the one that suits everyone else.”

– Katherine May, The Electricity of Every Living Thing 

“As the plane touches down something inside of me snaps. I have been unmoored, set adrift in the world. It’s the first time that my grief has made sense. Grief is like another country, I realize. It’s a place….If this is to be part of my narrative, I want to feel every minute of it.”

– Claire Bidwell Smith, in The Rules of Inheritance

Reach out to say hey!

In memory of my mum, Sveta. 

Please note that all the views expressed about trauma-informed coaching on this page are my own — of course inspired by millions of conversations, hours of practice and research plunges; if not cited otherwise. I’m eternally grateful to everyone who has been part of this journey and especially to Moving The Human Spirit for its transformative training.