Coach assists with game plans for life

John Pesciallo’s coaching sessions help other people help themselves.

John Pesciallo, right, consults with former life coach client Owen Frost.

John Pesciallo, right, consults with former life coach client Owen Frost. Photo by Donna Lasater.


MILTON-FREEWATER — Whether you’re sprinting or running in a marathon, sometimes you just need a coach. Life occasionally takes some coaching, too.

Life coach John Pesciallo, owner of Life Coaching for Success, is motivated to help others help themselves.

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For more information, call 541-938-9659.

“There are so many definitions of a life coach,” Pesciallo said.

Coaches are not the same as counselors, unless the coach is licensed for counseling, he said. A counselor or therapist will help you solve a mental health problem that interferes with you meeting your daily life demands and needs, whereas a coach can help you carry through to reach your personal or professional goals.

“Counseling is when you can’t meet needs, and coaching is for someone who is already functioning but wants to do better,” he said.

A Valley native, Pesciallo’s grandparents were here in the early 1900s. Pesciallo was raised Catholic, and his mother was a Seventh-day Adventist. He said he had strayed from a spiritual way of living into a world of partying and problems. Then, in February 1993, he experienced what he called a “rebirth” to Christianity.

“It made a night-and-day difference in my life,” he said.

Because of that spiritual transformation, he now had a structure for making beneficial, life-enhancing choices. He went back to college in 1994. Thanks to his rebirth and dysfunctional past he could focus on personal development and spiritual growth through Christian coaching.

Although running his own business is a new experience, Pesciallo has been in the human services area for many years. He earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Walla Walla University in 2000, with an additional counseling certification in 2001. He has worked for the Walla Walla County Department of Human Services, Lourdes Counseling Centers and Serenity Point Counseling Services. He’s counseled many with addiction problems.

Although he enjoyed his work with the various agencies, these programs are usually funded by grants. When the grant runs out, the program and the employment usually do as well. However, he gained a wealth of experience to utilize in transitioning to his own business.

The stress of cutbacks and disappearing grants was not beneficial to him, so he decided to make a change. He trained at the Baraka Institute’s Coach Training World and was certified as a Whole Person Coach.

The processes a coach uses depend on their training, education and personal experience. Each coach uses different tools and psychological models to assist clients in reaching their goals.

“There are all kinds of tools,” Pesciallo said. “Values, dream scenarios, a hero’s journey.”

Each coach usually specializes in a focused area, a niche. Pesciallo’s emphasis is on personal and spiritual development. Rather than being punitive, his approach is more of a motivational, individual approach.

Although each person’s situation is different, he looks for unity between values, strengths, abilities, personality and learning styles.

“As a coach I do not tell you what to do,” he said. “I do not give you advice.”

He does provide feedback to help clients find what will work for them, and find the right tools for that person to guide them through exploration. Since change creates discomfort, it’s beneficial to have someone there who can offer encouragement and support while the client works to achieve change with stability.

“I’ve seen the advantage of having a coach,” he said.

He likes to reach people who are fearful of personal development.

“It takes strength to ask for help,” he said.

Pesciallo does individual sessions and presents educational lectures. He also coaches business owners in personal development for the worksite and helps them coach their own staff.

He said the key is to help the client discover who they are, where they want to go and how to get there.

Karlene Ponti is the U-B specialty publications writer. She can be reached at 509-526-8324 or


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