How did middle school counselor Jennifer Henriquez cope with COVID and the stresses of school counseling? She became a Life Coach and says this process can help others, too.
This Week's Storyteller
Jennifer Henriquez started her counseling career in 2015 first as a SAPIS counselor then becoming a school counselor in 2018. Both positions are based in Brooklyn, NY and have been within the New York City Department of Education. Jennifer truly enjoys helping students but wanted to expand her expertise and therefore became a Holistic Life Coach in 2020. Helping others become a better version of themselves is truly her life’s mission and passion. She started her own coaching business Coaching with Grace LLC in January of 2021. She enjoys bike riding, watching the cooking channel, and traveling.
Though she does not have a website at this time, anyone wanting more information may email or message Jennifer via Instagram.
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Welcome to the last Encouraging Words for School Counselor podcast of the 2020-21 school year. I’m Matt Fleck with Inspire Success.
A huge congratulations to those of you who have wrapped up your school year or will soon be doing so. I saw some educators out celebrating last night and they said what I believe to be true, that so many people don’t realize how much of an accomplishment it is to just get through the school year – and this year especially. So hats off to all of you.
Jennifer Henriquez is one of many middle school counselors who is wrapping up a tough school year. Jennifer loves being a middle school counselor in New York City, but a little over a year ago she started to get a nagging feeling that something wasn’t exactly right.
Early on in my career, I felt almost a little empty. Like I felt like, okay, yeah, I got the degree. I got the job. I thought that was it. Like, what else is there? And I did feel a sense of like, maybe I’m supposed to do more. And I think that’s what I’m fulfilling with my coaching. I feel like that’s the “more” that I needed because it allows me again to be creative and to just talk to people that I don’t think I would have interacted with had I not started this.
The “coaching” Jennifer’s referring to is not coaching a sport but coaching others through life coaching.
Funny story, I was watching a reality TV show and underneath the subtitle, they were talking to their life coach and I’m listening to this conversation and I’m like, I do that. Like, I can do that. And so when 2020 came in, it was one of my goals for the year to become a life coach. When COVID hit, I was like, this is the time. And it was a really great experience. And yeah, so I started my own business.
Jennifer works quite a bit with other women who, in her own words, want to “get out of their own heads” or get “unstuck.” She finds that life coaching actually complements her work as school counselor, providing a good balance to the time limitations and other restrictions of working in a school.
Coaching is a little different than counseling. So coaching is more just goal-based, thought provoking questions that just allow the person to work on themselves versus counting, you know, giving advice or getting too deep into feelings. Coaching is not that. And then I think it allows someone like me to become a little bit more creative, especially with adults, because with kids it’s a lot more structured. And when you’re working within a school, it’s definitely a lot more structured. So coaching kind of gives me like that fun time to really allow someone to just speak and be themselves.
And I’ve been trying to get into actually coach educators, because I feel like the pandemic, we really didn’t have anyone to talk to. We kind of just spoke to each other and I find a lot of teachers kind of blame themselves or take it personal when a student is not doing anything, not showing up to class. And I think it was the first time that we had to work at home. So not only are you teaching kids on a computer, you’re teaching your own kids. So it’s been pretty difficult. And I feel like if educators were able to just kind of get out of their head and just realize that teaching is just one aspect of your life, it’s not your whole life. And if you were to really, like, embrace who you truly are, you would bring that towards your work. And kids would really know who you are and they would love it.
Jennifer is looking forward to the summer and working on her newly created online course called Six Weeks to a Better You for Educators. You can find out more on our website at inspiresuccess.org/podcast.
That’s all for this week. If you’re travelling over the summer or just planning to stay home and relax, we hope you’ll take us with you. And because you’ll have the time now, we hope you’ll drop us a line or go to our online soundbooth and record one of YOUR touching or humorous stories from your school counseling experiences. You can find us at inspiresuccess.org/podcast or inspiresuccess.org/soundbooth.
We’ll also be at the ASCA National Conference in Las Vegas this summer so please stop by and say hello if you’re going as well.
Thanks again for listening. Have a great week.