STRASBURG – On July 4, 2016, Kelly Kirschke graduated from a program as a certified life coach. Three years later, Kirschke is sitting in her own office, carefully tailored to create a welcoming, empowering environment for her clients.

“Life’s tough,” Kirschke said. “Life beats us up pretty good sometimes. Nothing has to be drastically wrong in your life to hire a life coach.”

Kirschke’s path to becoming a life coach went through years of pain and struggle of her own. She said she stumbled on the idea as she was going through therapy herself. Her own pain and experiences, she said, are something she uses to connect with the men, women, children and couples who walk through her door.

“What I really like about it is that not one person that has sat on my couch I cannot relate to some way personally,” Kirschke said.

Relating to people starts with answering the same question for everyone, she said. Everyone wants to know what a life coach is. What will a life coach do for them that they can’t do on their own?

Kirschke said it’s exactly what it sounds like — she helps people with “life stuff.”

In the same way that a football coach is an empowering, motivating force for his players, Kirschke said she is someone who is helping give people the tools to make life easier, but she isn’t doing the work for them.

“They do all the work,” she said. “I don’t fix people or save people or anything like that.”

The main problem people face in their lives, Kirschke said, is a lack of understanding of how to balance their natural tendencies and boundaries. Kirschke’s business, Balance Elevations, was named after the core theme of all the work she does with clients — helping them find the happy medium that leads to success.

“A lot of people have porous boundaries and rigid boundaries and what you want is a balance in the middle,” she said. “Balance is the key to everything.”

Before she started in as a full-time life coach, Kirschke also had an in-home daycare. She said the 60-hour work weeks were wearing her down, highlighting her own lack of balance.

Unlike therapy, Kirschke said, life coaching does not spend much time “digging around” in people’s pasts. The past is important, Kirschke said, for understanding the present but her role as a life coach is to help clients make plans for the future.

Part of making those plans is the ability to be assertive, she said. Being assertive is not the same as being pushy, Kirschke explained.

“A lot of people mistake assertive for pushy,” she said. “A lot of people fall into the passive category or the aggressive category … assertive is a balance”

“Assertive is good,” she continued. “Assertive means I’m calm, I’m confident. I’m able to tell you what I need.”

Once Kirschke found out how to be assertive herself, she decided to teach others to do the same.

“It makes sense to me now,” she said. “I had to go through all the things I went through to be able to empower other people because someone helped me and I feel great that I can give back.”

For more information about life coaching, contact Kirschke at 540-327-1571

– Contact Max Thornberry at mthornberry@nvdaily.com