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Meet Laurel Elders of The Institute for Integrative Coach Training in Tucson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laurel Elders.

Laurel, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My story became truly interesting when I turned 34. I was doing ok in life at that time. I had a bachelor’s in Organizational Psychology, was a Certified Coach working full time and was a divorced single mother to three kids.

My journey began with a leap of faith.

A year after I graduated from college, around 2009, I was driving past my college campus and the thought kept coming to me. “Prescott College needs a coaching program.”

I thought, “Well that is just crazy. I don’t have time for this.” I went on with my day.

Just like in the Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams, the voice would return, “Prescott College needs a coaching program.” This thought kept dripping through and getting stronger each time.

“Ok fine!” I conceded. “I will call Prescott!”

Mind you, I was working full-time, a single mother of three and had very little free time to consider silly things like dreams and callings.

I literally fought the calling. “You realize I have no time for this! I have the kids to provide for, my work needs me and what about ‘me time’?”

I finally decided to make an agreement with myself to just call, plant the seed, let Prescott figure it out and have peace that I at least took action. Hopefully, then this idea will leave me be.

I called the President and made the proposal, fully expecting her to say, “No thanks.”

“I like it.” She said. “I want you to talk to Cheryl, the Director of our Life-Long Learning Center, LLLC.” Oh, dear! Now what?! Ok, focus. I called my mentor coach, Sandy and we crafted a query.

I made the appointment to speak to Cheryl, the Director of the Life Long Learning Center. “Hi Laurel! It turns out we are looking to start a coaching program. I love coaching and am a certified coach myself. Let’s talk.”

It turned out not only had Prescott College been planning to start a coaching program, the Director of LLLC and I had attended the same coach training program. I thought, “Ok great, I planted the seed. My work here is done. Thanks Universe! High-five!”

Little did I know what life had in store for me.

A year after Prescott and I connected, I got the phone call from Cheryl at the LLLC. “Ok, we are ready to proceed and would love to have you help us launch.”

We completed our first coaching program in 2012. It was a huge success! We had an excellent team spearheading the program. We gathered to answer the question, “What didn’t we receive in our coaching programs that we wished we had?” We set out to create one of the most comprehensive programs out there and succeeded. A year later, we became accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and we started an amazing community of integrative coaches ready to serve.

Then in 2014, we hit a bump. Private colleges, like Prescott, started going out of business from the online school boom. Prescott College was hit hard as well. They scaled back all certification programs, but ours.

Ok, we are in the clear! Phew! We were in the clear… for a year, but there were still huge bumps. We had very little marketing budget and couldn’t make adjustments needed to enhance the program. This is what colleges and politicians call “red tape.” Red tape can be summed up as the policies that are put in place to help, end up creating unintended limitations.

I recall sweeping the floor one day when a very clear and pronounced thought came to me. “You will be the Institute of Integrative Coach Training.” Oh funny. “No, no, we are happy at Prescott College.” I countered the thought and consoled myself, “We were the only certification program they kept on, so all is well.”

“Hi Laurel.” That was all I needed to hear and my heart knew the rest. The college Provost called to chat.

It turns out they decided Prescott could not sustain the program after all. That day I was given full permission and blessings to take it and not let it die. This program had roots. This program had a vision. This program had heart. We were at the forefront of transforming lives. And, this was the moment life invited me to step out of my past full of my life’s story of struggles, triumphs, and strife and step into a new vision of possibility. Everything else fell into place.

We are now The Institute of Integrative Coach Training. We are transforming lives and hearts every day. I answered the call.

Has it been a smooth road?
There were three big struggles. It was not a smooth road at every step. First, I second-guessed my calling and fought it at first. To follow what is calling you, you have to eventually put doubt aside and trust yourself.

Second, to follow what was calling me required huge leaps of faith. I could not logically see the path ahead, so I had to trust it would be provided. It was. I don’t know how, but I was always provided for.

Third, I had to learn to listen to my heart. The Sufi’s say that fear is our biggest inner critic and tells us all the time what we don’t want. The inner critic is loud, fear-based and full of limiting beliefs. Yet, our heart is silently waiting for us to listen to it. Our heart has the answers to everything we do want. I have found this to be very true.

What do you specialize in?
I am most known for taking abstract concepts around self-mastery and breaking them down into easy to follow frameworks that are applicable to everyday life, empowered relationships and leadership.

I teach these frameworks through the lens of coaching because coaches empower hundreds of lives in profound and positive ways. Coaches are helping to shape a positive future.

What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of walking by faith, not by sight and being high-touch with my students. Any student that comes through our doors is very well cared for. My passion is our student’s success! Joining any of our programs is like gaining an entire success team.

What sets you apart from others?
What sets us apart is our thought leadership in Integrative Intelligence™. We teach professionals and new coaches how to take all of the human intelligences and combine them into one powerful framework!

I noticed that when we move people from linear thinking, yielding linear results into the new territory of Integrative Intelligence™, this yields the most rewarding and profound results.

I also noticed that current self-development models are great. However, the current models have you start developing with who you are now. In Integrative Coaching, we have the frameworks to introduce you to your Highest Self first and then have the Highest aspects of yourself inform your development.

Approaching self-development this way is profoundly more effective and life-enhancing!

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
Not to be cliché, but “integration”.  Any single human quality on its own is wonderul. However, when you take many human qualities and weave them together, integrating them, it is quite miraculous what people are capable of.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
There is a saying in the coaching world. We joke, “Oh, you caught the coaching bug too!” Coaching is a process where the coach points you in the direction of your own wisdom, potentials and expands your capacity for mastery. It is unlike any other modality out there right now.

Coaches do not give you advice. Instead, a coach is trained to put you in touch with your own empowerment. Consider the saying, “Give someone a fish. They are fed for a day. Teach them to fish, they are fed for a lifetime.” This is coaching.

Coaching also kicks this concept up a notch! With coaching, we go big-picture. “Teach someone to build a boat and they will travel to teach others how to fish.” Every person put in touch with their own power, empowers others in their life, naturally. Coaching is results-based and has exponential benefits!

For these reasons, coaching is exploding in popularity! When I first started out as a professional coach, people would ask me, “What sport do you coach?” This is changing. More and more people are learning about the efficacy of life and leadership coaching and falling head over heels in love with it!


  • Coaching Foundations: $3,000
  • Advanced Coaching Concepts: $4,000
  • Professional Certification: $2,700

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