Case Study

Balancing IT Code and Coaching: Meet Lou, Software Engineer and Coach

Discover what it takes to find clients and make the move from software engineer to personal growth coach, and how Lou made the jump to a more fulfilling career

In our Case Study series, we're diving into the personal journeys, the real-life ups and downs, and the unique paths of Lumia graduates. Discover how real coaches found their way to coaching, built their businesses, and get clients!

Every interview is a window into the life of someone who has embraced coaching as a way to not only change their own lives, but also to impact others. These conversations are about connection, growth, and the diverse ways each coach brings their authentic self to this meaningful and important work. 

Balancing IT Code and Coaching: Meet Lou, Software Engineer and Coach

Today’s interview is with Lou (they/them), a coach and software engineer from Los Angeles who works in a variety of ways with clients – from one on one sessions to large scale community dinners. Lou creates meaningful, nurturing experiences to promote collective and individual identity in pursuit of a more equitable and compassionate world. You can connect with Lou at their website,

Please introduce yourself and describe your niche as a life coach.

My name is Lou Reese. I use they/them pronouns. I am a life coach, still kind of describing the exact niche, but what resonates now is a growth and success coach, rooted in identity empowerment.

What’s your professional background?

I have been a software engineer for seven years with various size companies, as big as PayPal to a small startup.

I'm a full-stack developer. I've been able to work across multiple industries within software, which I think is really fascinating to see the way technology can help our everyday life. 

I entered into the industry through a boot camp after teaching myself to code for a few months. I originally went to school for environmental science and Spanish. Software became an option unexpectedly, and it was neat to find it and not necessarily put the pressure on it being my “purpose and vocation.”  

How did you discover coaching and decide to pursue it as a career?

The pandemic put things in perspective and really forced me to confront what my values were and if I was living in line with those in terms of how I'm spending my time, the effort that I'm putting out in the world.  

I'm very thankful to have this chapter of life with software. Now I'm looking for something a bit more soul fulfilling, consistently. What I'm finding is calling me more is this interpersonal deeper dive into the purpose people want to create in their life and what that means in this sort of super evolving, very virtual world.

I found coaching actually by being coached. Being a recipient of coaching, I very much believed in the power of it. It just shifted the way I thought about my life and my relationships and my stories and how I got to where I was. I looked for more structured learning, like I did with the boot camp with software. 

I found Lumia even a few years before I got to this point with coaching, where I was ready to dive in. It probably took me six months to be ready to make the investment.

What challenges did you face when thinking about becoming a coach?

In today’s world if something doesn't have any kind of immediate pay off, it's very hard to prioritize it. 

I was excited about coaching and wanted to do it. But, any amount of financial or time commitment when it was solely “for me” was kind of a hard thing to bite off. 

What was your impression of Lumia?

What stuck out to me about Lumia was obviously John's presence but also seeing Noelle as the co-founder, she's just a super badass person that had a heavy hand in shaping what it is today. 

Lumia, the program and the people are so consistent with values and how they show up. 

How have you found coaching clients?

A lot of finding my client really is like person to person. And so it's going to be a little bit slower, which I know and I'm okay with. It feels a lot more personal and intentional and pretty central to the type of coaching that I want to be doing. 

I think it's helpful to lean on your network and your friends and family and friends of friends – that's a cool way also just to practice and see if a niche reveals itself rather than pushing so hard to declare that first. 

I think always just finding yourselves in conversations where you're able to talk about coaching and serving others with coaching presence is really important. 

For me it's been important to meet people in person versus on social media. I've not been interested in using social media as a marketing tool. I want that to be maybe where folks can get a sense for who I am if we've never met before. 

How have you built your coaching business?

I've worked with business coaches as well to help me learn what works for me. For me, I think there was a lot of resistance to even use social media at all. As I'm willing to try different things, I'm finding what works and what feels authentic.

Another thing that I'm excited about doing is within the network that I have, and being able to use coaching skills within my job. 

Do you feel like you have to “be” a certain way or have a certain personality to be a coach?

I think it's very easy to get the idea that things should look a certain way. And especially with social media, obviously people are going to be really drawn to these sort of very obviously charismatic types of people.

The way I want my coaching to show up in people's lives is to create a space for them to relax and feel safe. More outgoing people are going to attract people that want to work with that energy. Other people want to work with another kind of energy. It has to do with how people feel safe and feel seen. 

How are you approaching your coaching business now, and what are your future goals?

Coaching for me now is something I'm building on the side of my 9-5. I have the goal of coaching full-time and having one-on-one clients. 

I've been developing community dinners too. I’ve been thinking about what communities are and how they're built and also hearing more and more about how the world is like suffering from loneliness pretty intensely. 

These community dinners are something that I'm really excited about because I want to provide a space where people are feeling nourished in body and soul and having these deep conversations they might not get normally, with people they might not meet day-to-day, especially living in a city like Los Angeles.

What’s your best advice for someone who’s considering becoming a coach?

At the end of the day, we're here to serve our clients. It's not just about a transaction. It's about transformation and that's always rooted in the purpose and the impact. 

Get really clear about the impact you're trying to have. It's easy to think about finances first and then that becomes the priority, but – Who are the people that you're trying to work with and what are you really trying to do for them? 

The impact you're trying to have will dictate the financials as well. You'll also be able to track or decide if something is working if you're really clear about the outcome you're trying to create.

It's so easy to get lost in things like the “shoulds” and the marketing and the way things look. Get rooted in why you're doing it and do the soul searching. Do the depth of work yourself to be really clear about what you're wanting to do and then how that might be created. Then, think about how you might be able to iterate to make it better. 

If you're just focused on making money, there are many ways to make money. If you're focused on making a positive impact and helping people transform, that's a different game. And that's where the heart of coaching really is.

Want To Be A Coach?

A lot of talented people like you dream of having a coaching business, but aren’t quite sure how to get there. We train and certify adventurous coaches, making sure you’ve got all you need to build a business you love and transform lives, on your terms. If you're ready to learn more, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training

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