1 on 1 Coaching
  • Home
  • 1 on 1 Coaching
By Peter Schulte profile image Peter Schulte
9 min read

1 on 1 Coaching

Hi. I'm Peter Schulte. I help aspiring leaders find their purpose, share their gifts with the world, and live a life they can fall in love with.

Welcome! I'm Peter Schulte. I'm a leadership coach.

Feeling stuck, burnt out, overwhelmed, lost, or jaded in your career or personal life?

I help aspiring leaders cultivate a deeper sense of peace, passion, and purpose so they can better share their gifts with the world and lead a life they truly love.

What we can work on together

I'm here to be your thought partner, sounding board, guide, and confidante as you dream up the life and career that makes you feel your most healthy, alive, impactful, and authentic. This might include:

  1. Cultivating peace, passion, and purpose in your existing roles & relationships
  2. Transitioning into a new chapter of your life or career that better expresses your gifts and values
  3. Unearthing and embracing who you really are and what you are here to create

A few specific exercises I offer

  • Experience and claim your unique creative essence
  • Acknowledge and let go of your core limiting beliefs and shadow behaviors
  • Craft a powerful purpose statement that offers you clarity and focus
  • Identify and eliminate non-essential roles, projects, and obligations

Frequently Asked Questions

What is coaching?

In the past decade or two, the field of coaching has exploded. Instagram, LinkedIn, and conferences are now littered with people like me, introducing themselves as "coaches" who can help unlock your untapped potential.

And yet, despite the growing prevalence and acceptance of coaching, many people (sometimes myself included) still wonder: What exactly is coaching?

The reality is that coaching is many different things and can mean different things to different people. It is a huge umbrella under which many disparate practices and modalities can fall. So here are some key distinctions that might be helpful.

Coaching vs. therapy
Of all well-known professions, coaching probably most resembles talk therapy. It's usually a 1-on-1 setting where individuals get support that helps them experience more fulfillment or success in their lives, whatever that means to them.

Therapy tends to focus on processing and healing from past experiences and understanding how they inform present feelings and behaviors. It's about integrating the past. The ultimate goal is to get insight that helps move through troubling emotions or toxic behavioral patterns.

In contrast, coaching tends to focus more on the future: getting clarity on the life and career you most want for yourself, and identifying and transcending whatever might be standing in your way. The ultimate goal is often to envision the future you most want for yourself and take meaningful steps toward realizing it.

Another way to think about it: If an athlete tears their ACL, they will likely hire a physical therapist to heal and recover their flexibility and strength. But even after they heal from their injury, they will likely still have a coach who helps them realize their full potential as an athlete.

In short, coaching is typically a support system that helps you envision and realize whatever future you most want for yourself.

Transferring knowledge vs. unlocking wisdom
Perhaps the most common misconception is that coaching involves an expert in a specific field transmitting knowledge to someone so that they can sharpen and expand their practical skills. And in fairness, this is often the case. For example, you might hire a marketing coach to learn specific, concrete marketing techniques. This form of coaching is mostly about learning from someone who has had success in a given field.

But this is not actually what many, perhaps most, coaches do. In fact, coaches certified by the International Coaching Federation are trained to work in an entirely different paradigm. Rather than transferring knowledge and expertise to their client, the coach's primary job is to help the client tap into their own innate wisdom. Coaches in this paradigm (like me) firmly believe that the client already has the answers they need. The coach's job is simply to create the conditions in which the client can identify, deconstruct, and replace whatever limiting beliefs or perspectives might be blocking access to that wisdom.

Expertise coach vs. life coach vs. executive coach
There are now a billion different types of coaches: life coaches, career coaches, executive coaches, leadership coaches, purpose coaches, productivity coaches, mindset coaches, transformational coaches, and on and on. For me, it's most helpful to think of three basic groups.

Expertise coaches are those with knowledge and experience in a specific field. They largely transfer knowledge to their clients. They probably don't call themselves expertise coaches, but rather a "[their field of expertise] coach."

Life coaches are typically those who help clients tap into their own innate wisdom so that they can expertise more fulfillment in their lives and careers.

Executive coaches may fall into either (or likely both) of these camps. But they focus specifically on professionals at or near the top of their organizations or founders/entrepreneurs trying to build a business from the bottom up.

Would therapy or coaching better support you right now?

When people ask me what coaching is, I often use therapy as a comparison. Most people now seem to know what therapy is and how it works. And coaching is similar in many ways. At its core, it's (usually) an intimate 1-on-1 relationship where people get support in their lives and careers.

With that said, as I explained above, coaching has some key differences. So how does one decide between therapy and coaching?

Coaching and therapy are not mutually exclusive
There are a lot of ways to answer this. My favorite might be that coaching and therapy are in no way mutually exclusive. You don't actually have to choose. In fact, many might be best served by having both a therapist and a coach, perhaps switching off every week. I have some clients who do this and it seems to offer a nice balance between looking back and moving forward. Something special happens when these two modalities work together.

The case for therapy
Let's assume you have to choose either therapy or coaching. When might therapy be best?

First and foremost, in all cases of acute emotional distress or where depression, anxiety, abuse, or mental illnesses are a central factor in your immediate circumstances, therapy will almost certainly be a better fit. Therapists are trained to work with these issues and most coaches are not.

But even in situations where there is no acute distress but still a nagging feeling of discontentment or meaninglessness, therapy is often a good place to start. In fact, as a general rule, if you've never gone to therapy before, try that first. Nearly all of us have significant unresolved childhood pain standing in the way of the lives we want. Therapists are trained specifically to help you process and move through this. Going back to the sports metaphor, it makes no sense to go to a tennis coach if you've got a broken leg. You need to heal first.

The case for coaching
There are many circumstances where therapy is more helpful than coaching. Likewise, there are many circumstances in which coaching might be more helpful.

If you have a clear vision for what you want your life to be, but can't quite seem to develop a plan or put your plan into motion, a coach is probably your best bet. Or, if your life is generally working fine, but lacking a clear sense of direction, purpose, or aliveness, a coach might serve you best. Coaches are trained to help you get clear on what you most from your life, identify what's standing in your way, and create the structure and accountability needed to move forward until you have what you want.

Or perhaps this describes you: You've been to years of therapy, read several self-help books, and done quite a lot of personal work. And yet something still feels missing from or empty in your life. You can't move past a certain type of behavior or relationship. Or you have a nagging sense that you aren't living life to the fullest. Or perhaps the prospect of talking about your mom and dad issues once again now feels boring or unproductive. In short, for whatever reason, therapy is no longer feeling as alive or helpful for you as it once did. You've reached a point of diminishing returns.

In my mind, this is a great time to consider coaching. While similar to therapy, coaching is an entirely different modality and might help you tap into different insights or possibilities for your life. And it may simply be that you've gotten to a point where you've done enough healing, at least for now. You want to see what comes after all the healing. You want to be your most alive, your most actualized, your most you.

Many people in this situation either don't know that coaching even exists or haven't considered it as a viable alternative to therapy. Does that sound like you? If so, drop me a line and let's explore if coaching might support you.

How to get started

If you're curious about coaching with me, you have a few options.

Complimentary coaching session
I offer introductory coaching sessions to anyone interested - no charge, no strings attached. This is your opportunity to get a taste of coaching and my style and to explore what you might want to create or transform in your life and career. Schedule.
1-on-1 office hours
Some people prefer a more informal chat before they dive into coaching. You can use this time however you want: get to know me, pick my brain, tell me about a creative project or vision of yours. Up to you! I'd love to connect and see where it takes us. Schedule.
Send me an email
Have any questions you'd prefer to explore in writing? Contact.


"I have been privileged to work with multiple coaches throughout my career, so I don’t say this without perspective: Peter is a remarkable coach. He brings a rare balance of deep understanding of human behavior and leadership dynamics, coupled with an empathetic and supportive coaching style."
— Maren Keeley, Founder & Co-CEO, Handprint
"In the short four one-hour coaching sessions with Peter I have had profound breakthroughs that I have spent years in therapy attempting to gain. I really appreciate the openness and non-judgmental coaching style that he provides; it allowed me to really be open to myself to dig deeper into what I didn’t know I was seeking, which was self-love, clarity and a sense of self understanding."
— Amber Leger, Mni Sota Fund
"I've worked with at least five different coaches over the years. I can confidently say that Peter has been in the top tier of my experiences. His reflections back to me of what I'm working through are crystal clear - clearer than I've ever experienced with a coach. He's empathetic and connected in his coaching, but also with a healthy level of challenge of my perspective and invitation to explore other perspectives. Coaching with Peter has been well worth the investment for me."
— Cameron Miller, Chief Executive of Business Strategy & Innovation, Non-GMO Project
"I better understand my purpose, my relationship to masculinity, and my role as a leader because of Peter’s coaching. Peter listens deeply, identifying important threads and teasing them out with his thoughtful questions. In one conversation he can patiently hold space for me to explore and tactfully challenge me to probe further. Peter’s support has helped me to cultivate a greater sense of awareness and, ultimately, has facilitated and accelerated my personal and leadership growth journey."
— Sam Humphreys, Peak Sustainability

About Peter Schulte

For the first decade-plus of my career, I worked in the non-profit sector collaborating with the United Nations and some of the world's largest companies on corporate sustainability practices for water and climate. I have a B.S. in Conservation & Resource Studies and B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA in Sustainable Systems from Presidio Graduate School.

I'm now the founder & Executive Director of 501c3 nonprofit Spark of Genius and a leadership coach supporting anyone yearning to help build a more sustainable, just, and peaceful world. I recently co-founded Bellingham Men's Circle.

I live in Bellingham, WA USA on the lands of the Lummi & Nooksack peoples with my partner Sara, children Owen and Asa, and cat Winnie. I like to sing, play guitar and piano, write songs, and explore the beautiful Pacific Northwest and beyond. I'm (slowly) writing a book called Humanity Is Beautiful: A New Story For A World On Fire.

I use either he or they pronouns.

Coaching Scholarships

Many of those who could most benefit from and leverage coaching for the greater good can't afford it. Our Emerging Leaders Scholarship Fund helps us offer coaching at reduced rates for those with a compelling vision for social change but limited means.

By Peter Schulte profile image Peter Schulte
Updated on