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Meet Dr. Joanne Royer of Change Agent & Associates

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Joanne Royer.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Dr. Royer. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
As a young girl, I was always drawn to those who appeared most vulnerable. I think this had to do with the fact that I could relate to their experience on multiple levels. I wanted to help my school friends rise up against what they thought were adversities and shine the light on their strengths, even at the age of 10! In high school I realized I wanted to go into the field of social work and the next decade thereafter, received my BA in Psychology, my MA in Marriage and Family Child Therapy, becoming licensed. I spent the next 2 decades working with the most vulnerable children and their families in child welfare funded agencies. The one constant in my work was coming up against an on-going chronic theme that both the youth and their parent, were challenged with. Their mindset of thinking themselves as “not good enough”.

Not a good enough child, parent, friend, partner, employee, adult child. You name it. It did not matter to the youth or parent if I or others gave them accolades to the contrary. Why? Because they themselves didn’t believe it. They themselves held on to a belief that had become a habitual way of thinking about themselves. In 2006, I wanted to work less as a psychotherapist working to help adults understand the “why’s” behind their past and work more in a collaborative partnership, empowering adults through teaching them how to re-train their thinking. I wanted to work within a forward-thinking approach. Sure, our past brings us to where we are today, but working with our past to empower us to create our future – that’s the work I wanted to do.

In a world that we have no control over and is ever critical, the one thing we do control is our choice in how we think, feel and act. In 2006 a colleague had experienced my working philosophy and style and introduced me to fundamental foundation of Life Coaching principles.

This was “back in the day” as they say, before anyone heard of “Coaching”. After completing a 2-year program by one of the first Coaching programs recognized by the ICF (International Coaching Federation), I launched my private practice. Today, having completed yet another certification program, I bring a double-fisted approach to the table when working with a coaching client – I like to say that I provide psychologically minded coaching (you can’t take the clinical education and experience out of me). Although I have moved away from practicing psychotherapy, as a mentoring Coach, my clients get the best of both disciplines. Today I am increasingly passionate and receive great joy in teaching my clients how to re-train their thinking, get out of their heads so that they can get out of their way. Clients learn how to kick their inner critic to the curb once and for all and become more mindful of their thinking which ultimately leads to the results they want to experience.

Has it been a smooth road?
Working with another human being is never a smooth road. No matter how much training, education, and experience you have, if you are human, you have thoughts and feelings! That alone creates some challenges. I realize that I can only show up and do great work with my clients if I am equally committed to doing my own personal work. I teach clients a coaching model so that they can continue their process long after they hang up with their coaching call with me. I practice the same model as well. That’s all part of our wellness journey and I do believe that is why I am able to relate and resonate with my clients. What I generally write about on my blogs, what I am able to tap into in my work with a client – this all comes from a journey I’ve walked. My goal is to be at least 3 steps ahead!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Change Agent & Associates story. Tell us more about the business.
Change Agent and Associates is an online coaching collective. I specialize in psychologically minded coaching for women approaching 50 and beyond who are finally ready to kick their inner critic to the curb.

I work with women who may have experienced psychotherapy in the past (or not), feel their life is moving along but they don’t feel they are truly “living” their life. They have been dealing with a nagging feeling that there is something a bit more they want, they may know what that is or are in a place of exploring that through our work together. I work with women who have started to collect a few “I should have’s” or “I could have’s” and realize that if it weren’t for their critical thinking, they could step into different results. Perhaps their life is in some sort of transition – their children are being launched to college and it’s a time for creating their new chapter. Perhaps it’s a woman who knows they have been on a stagnant career path and wants to create a change. Perhaps it’s a woman who is ready to step into creating a new relationship and is ready to find a partner. What all these women have in common is not a lack of skill sets, intellect, drive or ambition – it is the critical inner voice that they have been challenged with for years and have learned to believe in, that has talked them out of pursuing their wants, pursuing an opportunity to create a different life result.

I’m most proud of the variety of coaching experiences that I offer. In doing so, I serve women who have different and individual working styles and needs. The majority of my work is online. Mainly via phone, but I also use a virtual platform if clients need to see me. My client can live anywhere in the US or Internationally. They can live virtually down the street but life is busy, and with all the demands during the course of any given day, why should traveling to me be one of those demands. My clients choose the time and location that is best for them. But, for the small percentage of clients who like the “in-office” experience, I have an office in Arcadia and weekend office hours in North Hollywood.

There are 4 coaching experiences I offer.

• One mentioned above is one-on-one in office or online.

• E-Coaching was designed for those clients that find it easier to take pen to paper and journal. Through writing, these clients can dig deeper and don’t want to feel the pressure of accessing their thoughts and articulating them in the confines of a 50-minute coaching hour. 3 weeks out of the month the client submits their journal, writing as they choose or if they need inspiration I help them come up with a topic. Within 48 hours, the client then receives my written coaching response filled with action plans, suggestions, and powerful questions to keep their process in a forward movement. 1 week out of the month, we have a coaching call to tie all the journaling together.

• Walk and Talk is coaching in motion and designed for clients that live within a 30-mile radius. I take our coaching outdoors. Walking helps the blood circulate through the brain which promotes clearer thinking and access to our emotions. You receive both a dose of physical and mental wellness benefits.

• Chapter 2 is a time-limited group where women meet with like-minded women, building their support community while learning coaching tools. Groups take place several times a year both in-office and online.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
During the next 5-10, I predict that Coaching will become regulated as the medical and mental health field is currently. More and more therapists are using the word Coach and adding coaching to their work.

There’s no question that the Coaching industry is huge right now. Almost every professional I know has started to use the word “coach”, i.e., nutrition coach, financial coach, beauty coach, wellness coach, etc… That being said, clients as consumers should know who they are working with, what are their credentials, what is their experience, what does their training look like and do they have references that speak to their work and the direct experience their clients received.

Coaching is not a credentialed industry. I have a number of training years in coaching fundamentals and principles but it is just as easy for someone to take an hour online course in Coaching to promote that they received training. That’s why I go to great length on my website under education and credentials to point out my experience and background. I want to provide a service of value and provide an experience where my client feels valued.

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