Alejandra Rivera’s work takes her around the world. She lectured in the international business program at Mexico’s Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, then moved to Australia to teach at the University of Melbourne. Working closely with students gave her the idea of becoming a professional life coach.

Rivera loved her instructors in the Professional Life Coaching Certificate program: 'You can see the passion they have for coaching. That’s what I liked the most.'

Rivera loved her instructors in the Professional Life Coaching Certificate program: ‘You can see the passion they have for coaching. That’s what I liked the most.’

“A life coach is someone you can count on to help you get from point A to point B,” Rivera says. “Someone who is a companion in your self-transformation.”

Rivera searched for a life coaching program and concluded that the United States had the best ones in the world. She didn’t want an exclusively online program, valuing face-to-face interactions with fellow students. But, living in Australia, she also couldn’t afford to spend too much time away from work.

Rivera found a solution in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Professional Life Coaching Certificate (PLCC) program, which blends in-person classes and teleconferences over the course of nine months. It offers a cohort model in which students go through the experience together and gain a sense of community. Best of all for Rivera’s purposes, the program is accredited by the International Coach Federation, meaning that her credential would be recognized anywhere in the world. That’s an advantage for a woman who moves in international circles.

The cherry on top: the PLCC program is offered by UW-Madison.

“I chose the program because it’s based at a well-recognized university,” Rivera says. “I knew I was going to find high-quality courses and instructors.”

A passion for coaching

Rivera was not disappointed with her choice. She loved the people she met in the Professional Life Coaching Certificate program, both students and instructors.

“People in the program are very interesting, with amazing careers and backgrounds,” she says. “They’re really intelligent and are willing to be open. As for the instructors, you can see the passion they have for coaching. That’s what I liked the most.”

Rivera also appreciated the program’s structure.

“Coming from a university background, I could see how well-thought-out the program is,” she says. “The instructors and administrators really know how to teach and structure classes. Even at a distance they were always in communication with me and always very supportive.”

Asking the right questions

As for the skills she acquired in the Professional Life Coaching Certificate program, Rivera is most pleased with her newfound ability to listen.

“I love to talk but was a bad listener,” she says. “After what I learned in the program, I try to pay attention to what people say, as well as what they say nonverbally. When you really listen to a client, you can ask the right questions.”

Rivera is eager to help people reach their potential. She wants to introduce life coaching to organizations in Australia with the goal of improving their workplace culture.

“Coaching can change people’s lives,” she says. “It helps them move forward and achieve things, and that’s really rewarding.”

For more information about the Professional Life Coaching Certificate program and other life coaching courses at UW-Madison, see here or contact Aphra Mednick, aphra.mednick@wisc.edu, 608-265-8041.