Q&A with Jim Koehneke

Transformational Coach

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Jim Koehneke stands on the porch of his home in Essex Junction on Tuesday morning. OLIVER PARINI PHOTOGRAPHY

Jim Koehneke stands on the porch of his home in Essex Junction on Tuesday morning.
OLIVER PARINI PHOTOGRAPHY

Some may say Essex resident Jim Koehneke found his niche late in life, but Koehneke, who is a transformational coach, believes it’s not when you find it, but that you find it.

“Love your work today, and love your life forever,” is the motto on his business cards, underlining that this is someone who loves what he does.

But it took Koehneke, who moved to Essex four years ago, until he was in his later years to find what he wanted, get the education and set up a practice. The road was long, partly he said, because he always had to work and make a living. His parents lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s, and he grew up in a Maryland household where a job meant money and money meant security.

“I had no parenting about who I was and what I wanted to do,” he said during a recent interview, explaining that the idea of analyzing what would be a perfect job or career took a back seat to securing a stable job and making a go of it.

With an English degree from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., Koehneke began his career working for the AmeriCorps VISTA program. He worked in Baton Rouge, and in Detroit during the 1967 summer riots. Before finishing the program, Koehneke joined the Navy. He was stationed in Brunswick, Maine where he was involved in anti-submarine warfare.

Koehneke loved Maine and got involved in public education. He was working as an assistant superintendent when he “got excited about applied behaviors” and went to Whitworth College, in Spokane, Wash., in1979 for his masters degree in Applied Behavioral Sciences.

In 1982, he moved back to work in Bath, Maine. Koehneke worked for a ship building company, where held a variety of motivational management training positions. His position was eliminated and Koehneke went to work in human relations for a few years.

“At that point I was scratching my head, asking myself: ‘What is my career?’”

He moved to Ralleigh, N.C., in 1993 and worked for an outplacement firm — a company who helps transition employees who have been laid off or need restructuring — for 10 years.

In 2005, Koehneke branched out on his own as a life coach. Two years later he published his first book, “Creating and Living your Purpose.”

“That one took 15 years to birth,” he said. His second book, “Take Charge of Your Life,” (2009) went much faster. His third book project, “Soul Purpose,” is coming soon.

In 2010, Koehneke moved to Essex to be closer to his daughter, son and grandson who live in the area. A resident for the past four years, Koehneke is an active member of the Burlington Shambhala Meditation Center and loves to dance. He’s working on growing his practice locally as a transformational coach, and recently elaborated on what his work entails.

Q: What is your job as a life coach?

A: People who lose their job are often anxious and fearful. I help them find their strengths and what they are passionate about. I help them find their purpose and be successful in making it happen.

It’s my job to help people see and discover different strengths that they can then use and talk about in an interview. Confidence building and self esteem are also key factors.

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Q: Who do you work with?

A: My niche market is the over 40-year-old crowd. People who have maybe lost their job, or find that what they are doing just isn’t it, or those who are retired. I want to help them find meaning and purpose; to find who they are and bring that into reality. I think this is my niche because they have enough experience to know what doesn’t work for them.

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Q: How could your work benefit organizations, companies or teams?

A: I inspire and motivate employees to be more productive and engaged. I help management understand who their employees are and what they need. I help forge a stronger bond and dialogue between management and employees. This work can help employees love what they do. It can also help managers who need a little tweaking on style or communication.

It’s important to recognize employee value and invite them to participate. Giving employees more responsibility is a positive way to motivate them.

Q: How do you use spirituality in your work?

A: This is a strong component of what I do. I use the Law of Attraction to work with people; what you focus on is what you get. Insert your desire into the universe and out comes physical opportunities.

I help people do work internally, which helps them envision and create opportunities [externally].

It is very typical of the self-help community to have this kind of approach.

Q: What advice would you give to readers who may not be in their dream jobs?

A: It’s important to check out our limiting beliefs and shift the paradigms in order to manifest our dreams.

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-Elsie Lynn Parini

Editor’s Note: To connect with Jim Koehneke call 857-5641 or email jim@loveyourworktoday.com.