Life Coach Encourages Harnessing the Power of Self-Fulfillment
by Sheila Julson
Long before life coaching became a recognized profession, Renae Cerquitella, founder of Start Here Coaching Services, discovered she had a knack for helping people get to the crux of their problems and move forward.
Despite being a good listener and a trusted source for advice, Cerquitella had her own challenges. She married and had her first child when she was only 19 years old. By the time she was 28, she was a divorced, single mother of two, struggling financially. Determined to provide a better life for her kids, she enrolled at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Her children spent their early years watching their mother get an education and slowly improve their circumstances. Both children attended college immediately after high school. Her son graduated from Washington University, in St. Louis, Missouri, and is now an engineer. Her daughter, a teacher, graduated from Columbia University, in New York City.
“They grew up seeing their mom going to school and working her way out of poverty,” Cerquitella says proudly. Still driven to be better, Cerquitella enrolled in the master of human relations program at the University of Oklahoma and achieved her advanced degree in 2011. Her program emphasis included interpersonal communications, conflict resolution and personal development—lessons that helped her grow independently and that she now applies to her coaching business.
Cerquitella found work in the fields of logistics, human resources and communications. Last year, she became interested in life coaching instead of her next career goal of licensed counselor. As a life coach, she could practice nationally instead of just in Oklahoma. Around that same time, she suspected she might be laid off from her job as an energy communications specialist.
In February, Cerquitella’s hunch proved true and she found herself unemployed. Seeing the circumstances as an opportunity rather than a setback, she enrolled in a coaching program and earned her coaching certification. This past March, she launched Start Here Coaching Services.
Cerquitella offers her clients convenient sessions via phone, Skype and FaceTime. In July, she opened an office in Oklahoma City to serve clients that desire a comfortable and familiar place to meet.
“When it comes to your life, you’re the expert. My clients know the answers to their problems. I just help bring their solutions to the surface,” Cerquitella says of her approach. “I help my clients tap into their talents, wants and longings they forgot about or gave up.”
Cerquitella refers to her coaching services as a safe, judgment-free place for clients to feel supported while discovering new ways to problem solve and discard thinking patterns that no longer serve them.
Life coaching is not a one-size-fits-all approach. “Imagine having one person in your corner, not a friend or family member, but someone outside your inner circle that is completely in sync with you,” she explains. “A coach can help you discover who you are, what you can become and put you on a course to make that happen. Coaching is solutions driven, and my goal is to move you forward in a powerful way at a pace that works best for you.”
She understands that not everyone grew up in healthy environments, and often, self-defeating thoughts become the norm. However, negative habits and thought patterns can be changed by realizing the power of one’s own thoughts and actions and understanding that we can’t control others. “When people are aware of the power of their thoughts and explore their own needs, they are no longer dependent on others for their happiness,” she says.
Cerquitella participates in expos and events and volunteers her services at the YWCA. For new clients, she offers a two-hour complimentary deep-dive discovery session, during which she gets to know them and determines how best to serve them. If the coach/client relationship is a good fit, she offers a customized program. For those needing different support or feel that coaching is not for them, she still views those sessions as wins. “My work is about building connections. I often hear from referrals or people I met months ago who need help. I’m happy to provide my services to them.”
Start Here Coaching Services is located at 2828 N.W. 57th St., Oklahoma City. For more information, call 405-246-6440 or visit StartHereWellbeing.com.
Sheila Julson is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.