My Story


My Story

Straight to the point

I’m Pam, originally from California and now living in Germany since 2008. I coach in English and German, in person or via Skype or phone. Direct, informal, open – that’s who I am and that’s what coaching with me is like. When we work together, we design a coaching relationship in which we are equal partners. I stay by your side as we explore your personal and professional goals together, and reach them – step by step.

pam kowalski leadership coach

What helps me in my coaching and training

(you can also check out my LinkedIn profile)

  • PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Masters of Health Science / Behavioral Sciences (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Bachelors in Psychology (University of California, Santa Cruz)
  • Extensive experience living in other countries: Peru, France, Togo (West Africa), Albania, Romania
  • Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CTI)
  • Co-Active Leadership Training (CTI)
  • ACC – certified member of the International Coach Federation

My strengths as a coach

Enthusiasm, intuition, empathy, intensive listening, unlimited trust in my clients, lighthearted humor and a rich, hearty laugh.

My story

My path to coaching has been long and winding, and exactly where it was heading was not at all clear to me until more recently. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, as they say.

First adventurous steps

From early on, I was adventurous and ambitious, but also tended to go with the next best opportunity that crossed my path, whatever seemed to be the “right thing to do,” and I poured myself into that until the next thing came along.

Fortunately I was presented with some interesting choices, especially overseas. I lived in Peru for a year as an exchange student in high school, in France for a year during college, and for two years I did volunteer development work in Togo, West Africa. These international experiences were really rewarding to me – I loved learning about different cultures and what’s important to people living in them – and they also set me apart from your average American. I feel pretty globally-minded, as a result.

Empowering others to help themselves also became a common theme in my story. It started in college, with AIDS prevention volunteer work in the neighborhoods of Santa Cruz where Spanish-speaking migrant workers lived. I also taught First Aid for awhile.

But I really got addicted to “helping others help themselves” with the community education work I did in a rural region of Togo, West Africa. I rode to remote villages on a mountain bike, taught people to boil water, set up baby weighing and nutrition centers, and did more AIDS prevention. I was overwhelmed by the generosity and openness with which I was met everywhere I went. My local partners taught me a great deal about the drive to overcome obstacles, and about patience and trust.

The winding road

Studying Psychology, and then Behavior Change, seemed to fit with my curiosity about why people do what they do, and how they might be encouraged to make better choices for themselves. During my studies I worked for the US Government, managing projects designed to support people living with HIV/AIDS, which then led to my dissertation topic on “Sexuality and Condom Use Among Albanian Youth”.

Yes, it’s been an interesting journey…

I conducted my dissertation research for a year in Albania, and I finished the project while living in Romania, where my husband’s work took us for six years. I figured I’d continue on the international development path, because that was the path I was already on. It seemed to make sense. And then I had my two boys, relocated to Germany (which doesn’t need much in the way of development), and sort of lost my way altogether.

Losing and finding myself

That was when I let the inner critics in my head dominate my thoughts, to the point where I thought I wasn’t qualified to do anything. I couldn’t see past my long “to do” lists, and I couldn’t remember what exactly those things were that I love – which for me includes connection to others, service, growth and development, authenticity and laughter.

It wasn’t until embarking on a journey with a coach of my own (thanks, Bonnie!) that I found my way back to self awareness and – for the first time in my life – to self-love. I was amazed at all that opened up for me as a result. I became more trusting, patient, energized and fulfilled. And more fun to be around.

Finding my purpose

I then realized how the journey to self-love is key for everyone, not just me. Only once I started valuing myself, could I recognize that I’m exactly where I should be, and that me being who I truly am I makes a positive difference in other’s lives. I longed to share this awareness with others – or better yet – to help them come to it themselves.

This is when could I finally see how my education and training, all of my experiences and skills – and my failures and “flaws”, too – lined up perfectly to make coaching the most fulfilling profession imaginable for me. I had finally found the path to feeling passionately alive, and to serving others at the same time.

My next steps took me through the Co-Active Coach training program, after which I got my CPCC certification, and then my ACC international certification. The big leap for me, however, was Co-Active Leadership Training. This intensive year-long process opened my eyes to how each and every one of us is a leader, and how it is always our choice how we impact the world – and our responsibility to be mindful of what that impact is.

Why I do this work

The impact I want to have on the world is to spread more love, one person at a time. Starting with self-love, we expand our capacity to love others, which ripples out exponentially and creates more love in the world. And a world full of love is respectful, joyous, free.

This is the world I want to live in, and the world I am creating everyday – through self-love, and through the coaching and leadership work I do.

The coaching process woke me up to my own power, and helped me to choose to use it for the sake of something greater than myself in the world. This is also what coaching does for my clients, and what it can do for you.

I would be honored to accompany you on your journey.

Are you ready to start?

“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and to be loved.”

– George Sand

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