Here’s how I remember the start of Recovery Coaching. I had been a Life and Small Business coach for several years (since 1997) when I heard that coaches needed to specialize and have expertise. We need a niche. Having a niche, I was told, is essential to getting referrals. If you want to be taken seriously you must find your niche and become an expert!
For several weeks I learned studied niches and pondered. I was told to look for my tribe and for the place where I naturally fit. I was stumped. Was my niche coaching creative types? I was coaching several painters and had hung out with artists in my youth. Was my niche coaching alternative healers who owned their own businesses? I was coaching an acupuncturist, a massage therapist and an energy worker. I had my own massage practice and new a lot about running a business. But nothing felt quite right so I wandered about looking for my tribe.
I found my niche one day when telling my friend Dan about my trip to Kentucky (where I lived for 30+ years and where Dan went to college). As I talked I realized that every person I had seen on my visit was a friend I used to drink & drug with or a friend from 12-step meetings. In that moment it all clicked: I knew my tribe—alcoholics and people in recovery. This is where I naturally fit. This is where I could be an expert. I decided to become a Recovery Coach!
The next day I googled “Recovery Coach” and and “recovery coaching” and got nothing. Nada. No hits. I realized that a) I would need to invent Recovery Coaching and b) I could not be the only person in recovery whose life was greatly improved by coaching. There must be others and I wanted to find them.
The first step I took was to create the “Great Life in Recovery SIG” in the hopes of finding other coaches interested in addiction recovery. GLR is a special interest group sponsored by the International Coach Federation that meets once a month to bring in speakers and ideas that support Recovery Coaching. (Honestly, we haven’t met lately-my fault- but will start up again in May or June.)
Through the GLR SIG I met Andrew Susskind. He and I worked together to found Recovery Coaches International (RCI). Andrew was RCI’s first president while I worked on writing the first Recovery Coach Training. The first training was an 18-hour program only available to coaches.
Now Recovery Coach Training is 84-hours long and available to coaches, to persons in recovery, and to addiction professionals. We teach over the phone and will be teaching face to face for the first time this fall. Over a hundred coaches have been trained.
RCI now has over 40 members and a full board. Soon we will apply for our 501c3 tax-exempt status. I just googled “recovery coaching” and got over 7 million hits. The immense growth of this niche affirms the power of supporting addiction recovery with Recovery Coaching. It is a great fit not just for coaches in search of a niche, but for persons in recovery who want to upgrade their life, and of course for those leaving treatment who don’t want to relapse.