What Kind of Person Does it Take to be a Trauma Recovery Coach?


One of the most common question's I've received since becoming a certified Trauma Recovery Coach usually comes in the form of "what kind of person does it take to be a Trauma Recovery Coach?"

And I'm always surprised when I get it because it seems so very clear to me that anyone who has a passion for helping others and their recovery is the exact kind of person it takes. I realize that's super vague and doesn't get at the specific answers these people are probably looking for. So I decided to break it down a little bit more, but as usual, these are just MY opinion and thoughts. There are exceptions, and this is NOT an exhaustive list. These are merely my observations since being in the program and mentoring other students.


Trauma Recovery Coaching is not easy. Like any medical, law enforcement and human-centered service — our "job" revolves around people. And there are so many variables that go into that. Having an open mind and expecting unpredictability is an absolute must. If you have a weak-stomach or prefer not to talk/think/read about extremely unpleasant things, this is not the type of job for you because it's almost guaranteed that you'll encounter awful, tragic, terrible stories from the survivors you're working with. The truth is, humans are capable of doing so much evil to one another, and as a Trauma Recovery Coach, it's imperative that you're prepared for that. That leads into the understanding of trauma. One of the hallmarks of Trauma Recovery Coaching is that we approach working with survivors under a Trauma-Informed model. (Not sure what that is - read this post!). Trauma is complex and complicated so having a strong understanding of it is so important when working with survivors.

It should go without saying, but I'll just throw it out there — compassion and empathy are requirements for this job. If you don't have either, you'll never be able to connect, understand or help a survivor and that's precisely why they're coming to you. Along with that, having a collaborative and holistic attitude is extremely important. As Trauma Recovery Coaches, we do not diagnose, prescribe or mandate anything. We work with our survivors to create an action plan that works for them and their needs. This can be a hard way to work with others if you're used to being in charge of or having control over a project. It's especially difficult when you desperately want to help someone, and their progress is going slower than you'd like. But this exercise in patience not only helps us become better/stronger coaches but also seeps into other areas of our lives.

One of the most essential characteristics of a Trauma Recovery Coach is the ability to see the future recovery of a survivor and then helping them understand all the possibilities for their recovery. And from the ability to see their future recovery, we can then provide survivors with the resources, support and "homework" they need to get there.

Getting to Certification:

There are other areas I think are important to focus on when it comes to Trauma Recovery Coaching and that is actually getting through the program. I know a lot of people who say "I'd love to do x, y, z, but I just don't have the {insert reason}." Unfortunately, that's not something you can do if you want to be a Trauma Recovery Coach. In order to achieve certification, it takes time, energy, a passion for learning and financial investment. There are the classes, group participation, required reading, homework assignments, tests, practical application of what we'd learned, portfolio creation and much more. It's basically the equivalent of the first year of college. If the thought of going back to school and doing homework gives you hives — then this is probably not the job for you. A huge staple of this job and industry is continued education. We're always learning, always teaching and always growing to understand trauma and the impacts on individuals. The drive to learn is an absolute must-have personality trait if you want to become a successful Trauma Recovery Coach.

After Certification:

In my opinion, this is the most "fun" and "exciting" part about being a Trauma Recovery Coach because the possibilities are endless. The most obvious path to take is to start a Trauma Recovery Practice and coach survivors in either a 1-1 or group setting. That comes with its own pros and cons (see below), but it's not the only path you can take. Some Trauma Recovery Coaches go into workplaces to teach employers how to take a trauma-informed approach to leadership. Some go to schools to educate teachers on how to teach with a trauma-informed approach in mind. Some become educators. Some write books and create content for other coaches to utilize and learn from. Honestly, there's so much you can do once you're certified that whatever passion stems from it is most likely an option.

The caveat?

All of this requires work. It's not a passive type of job. The marketing, business savvy, outreach, education, and connection are all important components of what we do. We're still a relatively new industry as far as coaching goes and we have our discoverability issues as much as other industries. This requires us to be constantly educating when we can. It also means that if it's your goal to turn Trauma Recovery Coaching into a full-time job, you have to "hustle" as they say in the business world. It's a universal truth of any business these days — to succeed, you HAVE to be marketing and putting yourself out there. So if the thought of that makes you itchy and yucky — then this won't be your kind of job.

In conclusion — everything I've laid out here is nothing new. It mimics almost EVERY job or professional requirements:

  • Passion

  • Hard Work

  • Compassion

  • A desire to learn and/or teach

The best way to see if this program is a fit for you is to look over the International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaches website. Feel free to email me at contact@jadeebycoaching.com if you have specific questions.