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Taking Clients From Surviving To Thriving – Exclusive Interview With Jon Kessler

Hello! I am Jon Kessler, CLC. In July 2017, a tumor was found in my colon during my 1st colonoscopy at age 50. I had surgery in September 2017, and the second biopsy confirmed that I had Stage 3A colon cancer. What followed was 3 months of chemotherapy. Although I had the love and support of my family and friends, something was missing. I did not have someone who understood what I was going through. The fear, anger, and other emotions I was dealing with. I also had many questions that my loved ones could not answer or help me face. In 2021, after years of working in the corporate world, I decided to become a life coach with an emphasis on clients who are dealing with the daily struggles of having cancer. I received my certifications in Life, Health and Wellness, and Spiritual coaching from the Life Purpose Institute. My practice takes a holistic and empathetic approach to help you with managing your day-to-day life. My goal is to empower my clients to thrive physically, emotionally, and spiritually! I help those who are in the early stages of cancer treatment to feel empowered to thrive after their diagnosis and continue managing their full lives, maintaining financial stability, and feeling like themselves again. My motto is “taking you from surviving to thriving”! Earlier this year, I completed my 5-year post-diagnosis follow-up program with my oncologist and have been deemed “cured”. I live in Randolph, NJ, USA. I was recently married, and my wife and I have six kids between us. The range in age is from 23 to 31. We love to travel, ride our bikes, and go to concerts and theaters. We have done two cruises together and have two more planned for 2024. I am a big soccer fan, and you will find me watching different leagues on the weekends!

photo of Jon

Jon Kessler, Cancer Coach

The mission of Cancer Care Coaching

The mission of Cancer Care Coaching is to help recently diagnosed patients regain control of their lives. When we are told we have cancer, the bottom drops out of our lives. We do not know what to do, what to feel, and what to say. What I do with my proprietary program is to work one-on-one with clients taking them through the fear they have after diagnosis across the bridge to survivorship and writing the next chapter of their lives. My goal is to provide my clients with the tools to overcome those negative issues and move past them to have a life as “close to normal” as it was before.

I was inspired to start the business during COVID. I was thinking about how I could make a difference in the world. At the time, I was working from home and had time to think about making changes in my life. I was sharing this with someone and they suggested that I would make a great life coach. I thought about it for a few weeks. Then one day, I woke up and I heard a voice saying, “If you are going to be a coach, then you are going to work with cancer patients”. And here I am today. I started Cancer Care Coaching to offer my experience and knowledge to patients throughout the world.

What is different about Cancer Care Coaching?

I think what sets me apart from other coaches is that I have created a program for my clients that spans over 8 sessions. As each cancer patient’s journey is unique, I leave it up to my clients to schedule their sessions as they feel they are needed. The program starts with “Fear” and how we can overcome the unknown. Then we go into “Education”. What I help my clients with this session is to empower them to learn as much as possible about their type of cancer, treatment, and available resources. Knowledge is power and that is how they can stay in control. The next session focuses on “Self-Advocacy” and the importance of asking for what you need and what is going on without feeling like you are being a burden to anyone. The fourth session deals with our “Spirituality”. Clients learn how to rely on their faith to find the strength they need instead of blaming their higher powers. After these sessions, we turn to focus on self-care. The fifth session deals with “Diet and Exercise”. It is so important to stay physically strong. Clients may not be able to eat the same foods or work out to the same extent. Whatever they can do, is beneficial to their overall well-being. Next, we turn to “Rest and Sleep”. As clients go through their treatment cycles, they will find themselves tired and run down. They need to recharge as often as possible. I encourage all my clients to monitor all of these things and share them with their medical teams to adjust anything if necessary. Clients need to remain optimistic and think about things that will make them happy and normal. The seventh session deals with their “Dreams”. During this time, we talk about what dreams they have and what they feel they can achieve while going through cancer. Moving forward and working toward something helps them avoid the pitfalls of negativity. Lastly, we end with “Survivorship”. They are towards the end of their journey or have finished treatment. We discuss what they would like to do next in their lives and what they need to achieve. As I remind anyone I speak with, cancer is just a chapter in your life story. You have the opportunity to write the rest of your life. Anything is possible now that you have beaten cancer.

I feel what sets cancer coaches apart from other life coaches is that most of us have gone through our cancer journeys. We have experienced what our clients are dealing with. Empathy is such a powerful tool and clients feel so much more comfortable talking about their issues because I understand and have experienced a lot of what they are. I am one of them!!! One of the other services I provide is to offer workshops to cancer organizations, cancer support groups, and medical institutions. These workshops involve 3 keys to living as close to normal as possible. These keys are Education, Self-Care, and Survivorship.

The sessions offer participants a taste of my program and hopefully lead them to sign up to work together. Lastly, I offer my clients and workshop participants a resource guide free of charge. This guide includes materials I have gathered from different sources and provides patients with one place to find resources, monitor their self-care, and gain inspiration. How do I make clients feel at ease?

First and foremost, it is about making the client the leader of the discussion. They choose what they want to talk about at each session. Before our meeting, I send each client a form to fill out on that specific topic. They are to return it to me before our session. This allows me to get a “preview” of what issues they are having difficulty working through on their own. When we do meet, I will ask them what they want to talk about during our time together and conduct the session accordingly. Another way to make my clients feel comfortable with our work is to acknowledge their feelings. I do not negate anything they are struggling with or that is blocking them from where they want to be. I learned a long time ago that one’s feelings are one’s truth. No one should deny another person that their feelings are not real. When I repeat things back to them that they have shared, it shows them that I am truly listening to them and am 100% present in that conversation. Working together in the sacred space we create is impactful on my clients as they feel safe and validated. Being a cancer survivor myself allows me to treat each client with empathy and understanding of what they are experiencing. Many of the blocks and issues preventing them from thriving are all things I dealt with myself, six years ago when I was diagnosed with Stage 3A Colon Cancer. I know what it is like to be overwhelmed physically and emotionally. I also questioned why this was happening to me. I had to learn to advocate for myself and learn as much as I could about diagnosis, surgery, and treatments. When my clients hear parts of my story, it helps them feel that they are not alone. They let their guard down and are willing to open up and share their truths.

Why do I do this?

I became a cancer coach mainly to be there for anyone who wanted to avail themselves of what I have to offer. When I went through my cancer journey in 2017, I did not know about cancer coaches and what they could do. I made a vow that I would avail myself to anyone who wanted to work with me. When I started my practice, I decided that I would conduct sessions virtually. Anyone from anywhere who wanted what Cancer Care Coaching offers could find me. Cancer is not limited to a certain type of person, from a certain place.

My motto is “taking you from surviving to thriving”. I do not want cancer patients to just live their lives based on their circumstances. They can have a life where they are in control. When they feel they are in control again, that’s when the thriving begins! Clients begin to change their mindsets. Their paradigms shift from negative to positive. When I see that change in them, that is when I know what I do is worth it. I believe that if we can make a difference in one person’s life (big or small), we have accomplished what we need to do to make the world a better place.

photo of Jon

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!



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