Life Coaching Saved Her Life: An interview with Sandy Tremp, IAC-CC

by Linda Dessau

"'Mr. Tremp, hello, I'm Dr. Morrison. I'll be Sandy's psychiatrist'… 'We have just spent the last few hours examining and evaluating Sandy. She is in a very delicate place, as you well know…

As he continued to explain Sandy's condition, my anxiety mounted, making it difficult to concentrate, let alone comprehend his psychological jargon. The doctor's words jumbled in my mind. Desperate for him to get to the point, I boldly interrupted, 'Doctor, is she going to be okay? When can I take her home?'

'Scott'—he paused, as if to soften the blow—'you need to prepare yourself, because Sandy might never be the same again.' His words slammed into me with the force of a freight train. I was glad I was sitting down because if I wasn't, I think I would have fallen over."

Surviving Life, page 20

In October we heard about the youngest coach to become certified with the IAC. This month we meet a coach who had a very dramatic journey to certification. Sandy Tremp was certified in 2007 and when she saw her name on President Bob Tschannen-Moran's column in August, she got in touch to share her story with me.

Journey to Certification

In fact, both Sandy and her husband Scott have shared their story in a book they co-wrote, called Surviving Life. It is a uniquely styled faith-based self-help book focusing on five coaching principles (choice, personal responsibility, telling yourself the truth, looking for the good, and acceptance of what is). As Sandy describes,

"Our story opens the day I collapsed with a severe mental/emotional breakdown in November of 1991 and takes the reader on a powerful journey as my husband, our three little boys, and I struggle our way back to health. After eight long years of fear, harassment, and instability, we ultimately find ourselves living in forgiveness and a deeper level of health, faith and authenticity, thanks to God's work and our decision to hire a life coach."

You can read Sandy and Scott's full story in their book, but we'll pick it up here when she graduated from Coach U and was drawn to IAC's focus on foundational coaching proficiencies (the skills that the IAC used to measure coaching mastery. Since then, the IAC has developed the IAC Coaching Masteries®). She saw that it was the proficiencies that really make a coach a coach. You can be a great marketer, but still lack the qualifications that the proficiencies draw out.

Still, Sandy didn't feel ready to pursue certification just yet, or even to launch fully into a coaching practice. "Having come from a mental breakdown where the doctors didn't think I'd ever be normal again, it was really important for me to develop myself before I passed things on to others and got involved in people's lives through coaching."

While she passed the IAC's written exam on the first try only one year after graduating, she waited until 2007 to continue on with the process. In the meantime, she worked with Mentor Coach Barbra Sunquist and it was Barbra who encouraged her to submit her recordings for the oral exam. Again, she passed the first time. "My husband was so proud of me," she remembers, "especially after what we'd been through."

Here's what Sandy wants other coaches to know about the IAC certification process: "If you wait until you really have the proficiencies down, and you're already coaching from them on a daily basis, it's not so scary. You can do it."

Sandy also notes how important her support system has been. She still maintains her friendships with the buddy coaches she worked with while she was preparing for certification.

Thought Sandy still deals with word-finding difficulties, negotiates daily with fatigue and pain and rarely puts in a full work week, she doesn't want to focus on that. To others who may be struggling with their own health issues and feel like they could never be the coach they want to be, she says that it IS possible to have what you want, even when you are given less than perfect circumstances. "The key is to never give in and never give up!"


Sandy Tremp is an author, speaker and certified coach. As an Adversity Coach, she helps clients move gracefully through their challenging times in life. She works with her husband, Scott, an Adversity and Relationship Coach, through Life Changes Coaching based in Phoenix, AZ. Their book is available from


Linda Dessau, CPCC, is the author of Write Your Way to More Clients Online. She offers ghostwriting, editing, training and consulting. If you want better results from your online writing, visit to discover Linda's content marketing secrets.

5 thoughts on “Life Coaching Saved Her Life: An interview with Sandy Tremp, IAC-CC”

  1. This is so true Adelaide. Learning to overcome and to see life as a series of opportunities rather than being victimized by our obsticles is a huge step in moving forward. There are those times we need to dig deep and find our “grit,” pull ourselves up by our boot-straps and plow forward. I’m just grateful we don’t have to do that alone but have Someone much greater than ourselves by our side.

  2. Sometimes to keep us in check, we need someone to help overcome our trying times so that we can be strong again to face new challenges in life. Life will always be filled with trials and we must survive them to live life. I really admire people who can overcome trials on their own…

  3. It is great to hear we have found a fan out there! How humbling! Thank you Linda for your rave review. It was kind of you to take the time.

  4. I have read Scott and Sandy’s book “Surviving Life” and besides it being a riveting story it has been helpful in many ways!
    I highly recommend it for everyone whether you have a big problem or small problem or just want to read an exciting well written true
    life account of when their life was turned upside down and what they have learned from it.

  5. Linda, I want to thank you for this opportunity to hopefully offer inspiration encouragement to those on the IAC journey! Most of us daily walk through not-so-perfect circumstances even if it is as miniscule as burnt toast and spilled coffee in an attempt at a quick breakfast on a hurried day. I’d love to hear of your mountains or molehills. What do you do, think, say, or pray to make it through?
    I look forward to being inspired and stretched by your journey. And if you are feeling frustrated and stuck please share, we’ve all been there!

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