Anita’s PCC Journey

Aug 3, 2021

Steps On Becoming a PCC
— Anita Rodriguez Cordero

When I began my coach training journey, the 100 hours of coaching clients required to complete  the ICF Associate Certified Coach (ACC) designation felt like climbing El Yunque – the tallest mountain in my native Puerto Rico.

But then, last fall, Ann-Marie had the audacity (!) to challenge me to skip over the ACC and go directly to the Professional Certified Coach (PCC)!  She had done it and told me I could too!  I accepted the challenge even though it meant 500 hours of coaching clients!  I was intrigued but knew that this would not be a graceful afternoon hike. I needed to shift my mindset and prepare my “supplies”.

Now ten months later I am almost at the “summit”!  Ann-Marie provided the vision and the belief that it could be done. But I also needed a meaningful “why” that resonated for me. This is how I made it work:

My why:  My clients have experienced difficult losses and challenges and completing 500 hours would help me become the coach they deserve and would help me feel confident in my new role. 

Mindset: To attract a large number of clients without spending time marketing I decided to remove the money barrier. But to work for peanuts, I needed to let go of potential feelings of resentment, guilt, or victimhood. I decided to label my work as unpaid internship

My steps: 

  • Purchase insurance – I like to play it safe! 
  • Prepare three documents: A client information form that is signed by the client asking permission for me to keep a confidential record of our work together for ICF certification. A coaching agreement (a hybrid of the ICF template and the one shared by teacher Phil). A welcome letter providing information about coaching, what to expect, and who I am. 
  • Brainstorm a list of past colleagues I like and trust. 
  • Create an irresistible offer: Six (6) coaching sessions for an introductory offer of $30 – My potential clients are Midwesterners in the US, and here you can’t pass a good deal. But I did not want the low fee to cheapen the experience, so I explained the purpose for the low fee – my feverish goal to complete the 500 hours by fall of 2021. 
  • Email my offer to 23 colleagues (11 accepted my offer). One asked me to coach her team of five (she would pay for their coaching), another shared my offer to her networking group of HR professionals. Clients made referrals – some people just love to help. One client brought six new clients! In just four weeks I had 25 clients, with additional ones joining over time.  
  • Set up simple systems such as payment options using PayPal or Venmo, prepare receipts to reflect small but taxable income, and an excel sheet to track clients, session dates and coaching hours. 
  • After the six sessions I offer my clients the opportunity to purchase another package of six for a slightly higher fee. Most clients engage in additional coaching and are now paying $20 – $30 per session. 
  • They are aware that my rates will change after my certification (but I will always extend a special rate to my first clients!) 

Unexpected gifts: I have coached a diverse client base – women and men from age 20 to 70, entrepreneurs to corporate leaders, healers to skeptics. This has helped me be clear about my niche and better understand perspectives very different from my own. I find joy in being exposed to the diversity of the human spirit. I have become less judgmental in the process, even of those who hold different political perspectives than mine. 

And it all started by a vision and a challenge from Ann-Marie! 


This class [Skillful Means] has been such a great growing experience. I’ve developed confidence using skills that had previously just been academic for me. I have especially enjoyed working with other students of such diverse backgrounds, and being able to see them use the same skill through their own unique perspectives. I hope to carry forward the creative and challenging energy I found here.
Ilse ThompsonStudent CoachAuburn, ME
I now have the skills and confidence to begin bringing on some clients. I am grateful to all those who work so hard to help educate others. [Skillful Means]
Jane Ellen DixonStudent CoachRoanoke, VA
Right Speech with Meg Hess is a wonderful class. I am grateful for the many communication tools I learned through the course. Meg, as an instructor, brings uplifting energy to the class, keeping the discussions engaging and memorable.
Cassandra CabreraStudent CoachFlorida
[STRETCH] offers an overview of the ins and outs of the multifaceted world of coaching. It was fluidly and efficaciously presented to allow for the most productive experience. I walk away as a better prepared and more confident coach!
D. Paul WilcoxStudent CoachFountain Valley, CA
When I initially signed up for Right Speech, I was skeptical that my communication skills could be improved by reading a couple of books and participating in a couple of class exercises but I was wrong. This class has drastically improved the way I communicate on a personal and professional level. I now have a full toolbox of techniques to better communicate with co-workers, family members, and practically anyone. The skills that I have learned have help me to improve relationships, facilitate meetings, and interact with others more effectively. I would recommend this course to anyone wanting to learn how to better communicate.
Keith BoegnerStudent CoachMaryland
It is important to practice what you preach. This course [S-T-R-E-T-C-H!] can offer the student an opportunity for goal setting, agenda achievement, self reflection, re-evaluation, clarification and, most importantly, pushing forward in a stretch to the next level!
Veronica ElzeStudent CoachThornton, Washington
I’ve studied with other coaching schools, and I’ve found Ann-Marie McKelvey’s approach to be much more dynamic and in-depth than the others. The school’s focus on mindfulness-based coaching is brilliant. Basing a coaching practice in mindfulness helps us as coaches to create a space in the coaching process for our clients to become even more creative, resourceful, and whole as they move forward with their agendas.
Renee HopkinsUse Your Words Writing Coaching and Consulting
The class Right Speech took me beyond the basic coaching skills into higher-level listening and mindfulness skills I now use regularly in my coaching practice and in my life. Meg Hess is a caring and knowledgeable teacher who creates an atmosphere of trust and passion for coaching.
Victoria FontanaCoach, EducatorSpain
All of the courses at the Mindfulness Coaching School take a student deeper into meaningful skills and personal growth. I am not the same person I was when I began this program. As a coach, the school has given me ways to own the skill set needed. As a person, classes like The Art of Engaged Mindfulness deepen my commitment to a lifestyle of awareness and centered gratitude. I am grateful.
Amy RitchieD. Min.Richmond, IN
I attended The Dynamic Trio with Ann-Marie at a time when I was certified on all three of the “Trio” (EMDR, Positive Psychology, & Coaching). I was curious as to how these would be blended and what new things I would learn; and I ended up learning a lot indeed. Ann-Marie has a unique style that makes attending the course worthwhile. The applications she offers do have a positive tone when used with clients facing different struggles. It certainly is beneficial to capitalize on strengths through the approaches she suggests, instead of just focusing on mending one’s weaknesses. I find it a “must attend course” for practitioners in the field of any of these approaches (& others).  
Dania Dbaibo DarwishPCC, Life & Career Coach, Psychotherapist (EMDR, CBT, & Hypnotherapy)Lebanon