A road to ACC - Karolina Herbut

Money management “beyond numbers” - Karolina’s elegant way of combining coaching and financial education

If you ask people around Karolina Herbut about her professional and personal story - you can have the opportunity to dive into amazing world of constant growth, learning from failures and boldly development, and also pioneering and promoting of a specific and sometimes unconventional financial education, consulting and coaching services. This story could start by describing “how a countryside girl, from a working class family, member of national minority, can grow into a successful business women and not to be defined by the given circumstances”. Karolina’s journey takes us from graduation on Enterpise Management studies in Novi Sad to moving to Belgrade. From office assistant job at a multinational currency exchange company, advancing to the Director’s position in the same company leading more that 70 employees and coordinating 20+ offices in Serbia and to the role of a President of the Association of Currency Exchange Dealers of Serbia. All those experiences (and also one failure when trying to set up her first own business) brings us to a present moment - role of an educator, consultant and coach in field of finances with a mission to help entrepreneurs and company employees increase their financial literacy, well-being and to achieve their goals.

For some it seems as a straight line, those who know her more - know that every milestone in her life required not just professional educations and experience, but also persistence, courage, a lot of inner work to step out of her comfort zone, to break through the blocks, limiting beliefs. Also this all happened thanks to the support of great women in her life: her mother, grandmother, friends and mentors, for what she is grateful. And, if you wondered by now how all of this is connected to coaching - our story continues and we let Karolina explain. :)

How coaching came to your life?

When I started my business in field of financial literacy and wellness I educated clients about how they can take control of their finances, how to save more, I informed them also about investment options and I also shared with them tools like: income-expense tracking spreadsheet, financial plan – budget etc.

All these are very practical tools and will immediately help people to have more control of their finances. On other hand, talking with more and more clients, I saw various topics, thoughts, prejudices, underlying beliefs about money and relationship with money emerging: „I am not good with finances”, “I will never be”, “I cannot save money”, “I always spend all my money”, “I am giving away many of my time for free”, “money is not important to me”, “money is “dirty””, fear of poverty, “I have to work hard to earn money”, “it is not fair to charge money for something I do easily”, “how much I can charge for my services?”, etc.
So besides education I wanted to support my clients on a wider and also deeper level, so we can address these topics beyond the “numbers” - surface also.
I decided to finish an education in coaching. Then I have included coaching in my work with clients to enrich my 1:1 and group sessions with various tools and techniques that will facilitate their insight and learning and bring them added value.

What are your learnings from the process of enrolling to the first coaching training to gaining an ICF credential?

I had experience with psychotherapy and various educations in field of personal development, so I would say that I was somewhat “prepared” for what the coaching training can offer me. I was wrong. :)

Now I would say that without enrolling in a coaching training and without being coached for a number of sessions by a professional coach it is hard to see through what coaching can offer. So it is important by whom and in what way we are coached.
On my first coaching training I truly understood what coaching is (and is not) and I just “clicked” with coaching.
The training and the credentialing process helped me to get a deeper understanding of the coaching standards, ethics, to explore various case studies. It also helped me to become aware of some topics I would like to work on with my mentor coach.

During the credentialing process I had some blocks and some of my limiting beliefs came to light. So the process to get accredited took me almost 5 years. I mean, the ICF process was overall less then 3 months, but my journey and the decision process to make the accreditation took me almost 5 years.
The learning from the process: it is OK to go slower. You can get you accreditation sooner or later. :) The insights I gained about myself through the process of training and accreditation process were itself worth.

And what were some challenges on this path? Having in mind that you provide mentoring, training and consulting services in specific area of business - what were the main thing you had to unlearn in order to accept coaching mindset?

Oh, yes. I postponed for long the coaching certification because I was not sure how to make a clear distinction between coaching, mentoring, training and consulting services I provide to clients. I was stuck how to communicate what I offer, as clients were used to me as a financial advisor-educator.

Because of my previous position being a company director, where I had to make many decisions myself, it was challenging to swich to a partnering mode. I had to unlearn that I have to came up with the solution for the clients. And to accept that I am not responsible for the clients work, but I am there to make the most out of the coaching session.

What would be your message for all people considering starting their own coaching journey?

Enjoy the journey! Work with as many clients as you can and enjoy. :)
Surround yourself with a support network. In the credentialing process, individual and group session with fellow coaches, where we have shared our dilemmas, what we are struggling with also helped me to preserve.

Tell us more about your future steps in coaching and further development.

I plan a bigger presence on international market and I focused my services more on coaching services. Probably will go toward ICF PCC and EMCC accreditation.