Kelsey Wiechman’s professional pivot from an established HR and Supply Chain professional to becoming a certified life coach and a co-author of “Soul of an Athlete: Stories and Lessons on Life Post-Athletics” is not just a career change, it’s a testament to her evolving personal mission. I sat down with Kelsey at Caribou in late 2023 for an interview where Wiechman unraveled the essence of her journey, highlighting her dedication to supporting athletes transitioning to life after sports.
Wiechman’s mission is to “Create awareness to the challenges of ending an athletic career, and empower clients to use an ‘athlete mindset’ to succeed in life.” This mission statement encapsulates the essence of her work, dividing her focus into two pillars: awareness and empowerment. Both are critical to do the work of supporting former athletes.
The book, “Soul of an Athlete,” fits perfectly into the first part of her mission. It raises awareness about the often-overlooked emotional and psychological challenges athletes face when they retire from sports. By sharing stories from various athletes, including her own, the book puts a spotlight on the experience of ending an athletic career, a time often marked by uncertainty, sadness, anger, and identity loss. Her hope is the vulnerable stories shared in the book are a reflection of the reader’s own journey of transition. By reading other people’s journey, it normalizes the struggle of any transition.
In her life coaching practice, “After the Jersey Coaching,” Wiechman addresses the empowerment aspect of her mission. She leverages the skills, discipline, and mindset that made her clients successful athletes, helping them apply these attributes to new arenas of life. This approach not only aids in their transition but also ensures that they continue to excel and find fulfillment in their lives and careers after they no longer identify as a competitive athlete.
Wiechman also acknowledges the discomfort that comes with putting herself out there, especially before things feel ‘perfect’. She understands that by stepping into the unknown and embracing imperfection, she’s modeling behavior for others who may be hesitant to take risks or try new ventures. Her willingness to embrace this vulnerability is a powerful lesson in itself, demonstrating the value of moving forward despite uncertainties and imperfections. It normalizes the challenges and bumps along the road, encouraging others to pursue their goals even when they don’t feel entirely ready.
Incorporating these thoughts into her narrative, Wiechman emerges as a figure who is not just coaching others but also continuously learning and evolving herself. Her journey from a successful career in corporate America to an entrepreneur, life coach and author, underscored by her personal mission, exemplifies her commitment to growth, both for herself and those she guides. Her story is a beacon for former athletes and anyone facing significant life transitions, showcasing the power of resilience, adaptability, and the courage to embrace imperfection.
In further articulating Wiechman’s coaching business, “After the Jersey Coaching,” the following key principles emerged that guide her approach to coaching:
- Utilizing the Athlete Mindset for Success: Wiechman focuses on helping her clients use the mindset and experiences gained from their athletic careers to succeed in their post-sport lives. This approach emphasizes leveraging the discipline, resilience, and goal-oriented nature inherent in athletes to find success in new endeavors.
- Long-term Coaching Relationship: Wiechman’s philosophy, “I will be your coach for life,” reflects her commitment to forming lasting relationships with her clients. This long-term perspective allows for continuous personal growth and support, recognizing that life’s challenges and transitions don’t adhere to a set timeline and that success is always evolving.
- Passion for Helping Former Athletes: As a life coach, Wiechman’s passion lies in assisting former athletes in working through life’s challenges. She provides support in navigating the complex process of developing a new identity outside of sports and figuring out the next steps in life.
- Supporting Identity Transition: “After the Jersey Coaching” is specifically designed for athletes, focusing on helping them discover who they are beyond their athletic identity. This aspect of coaching is crucial, as athletes often need guidance to explore and embrace aspects of their identity that were overshadowed by their sports careers.
- Guidance Through Transition and Goal Setting: Recognizing the difficulty athletes face after they stop competing, Wiechman guides the client to reestablish who they are and what their new path in life is. She helps her clients use their athlete mindset to set and achieve goals, providing a structured approach to navigate this new phase of life.
Incorporating these key points into the narrative of her career transition, Wiechman’s move from an established corporate career to launching into entrepreneurship with “After the Jersey Coaching” showcases her dedication to making a meaningful impact in the lives of former athletes. “I’ve had to take my own advice. And it hasn’t been easy,” Wiechman jokes. Her unique approach blends the standards and methodology of coaching with the attributes learned from sports, such as drive, discipline, resiliency, and goal-setting. Her business is not just about coaching; it’s about empowering people to redefine success and find fulfillment in their lives beyond sports, using the strengths they have cultivated throughout their athletic careers.
Learn more about Kelsey and “After The Jersey Coaching” by checking out her website www.AfterTheJerseyCoaching.com and following her on Instagram @AfterTheJerseyCoaching.