ACC Certified Coach, International Coach Federation

Board-Certified Coach, Center for Credentialing and Education

Master of Business Administration, University of Texas, Austin

Bachelor of Science, Texas A&M University

Sky-diving, Scuba-Diving, Private Pilot (VFR) Certifications

This is my story

Hello, I’m Kristi, and I am a Life, Health & Wellness, and Leadership Coach here at Ama La Vida. So glad you’re checking out the awesome Ama La Vida team! A little about me… I’m an adventurer, a morning person, and an explorer. Living here in North Carolina, I enjoy hiking in the Appalachian mountains and rowing on Lake Davidson. My yellow lab, Chief, loves it too! I’m a former triathlete / Division 1 college athlete, and I’ve lived in OH, AL, CO, AR, TX, NC and WA, as well as Cuernavaca, Mexico. So, connecting with clients from across the country and beyond comes naturally to me. My favorite adventures in life have been traveling throughout South America on my own for a month after getting my MBA, and learning to fly a plane, scuba dive, and skydive one year before my three kids were born. Working at Dell, Procter & Gamble, Illumination Research, and Deskey Integrated Branding before becoming a Life Coach was quite an adventure as well.

I love working with passionate, energetic, authentic people who are ready for a life change, going through a transition, or just feeling stuck during an unexpected challenge in life.  I offer clients a safe place to pour out their stories, to explore possibilities, and to start moving in a new direction. Before coaching, I spent 7 years traveling the country listening to thousands of people’s stories through ethnographic and market research for clients in Fortune 100 companies. Another thing I enjoy is talking with my coaching clients about their career aspirations, and their small business start-up ideas. This year, I had several clients successfully pursue small business dreams that had been on the back burner, as well as a client who started writing a long-awaited memoir. So rewarding to see!

My Coaching Approach

My coaching style is to start with open-ended listening to hear the whole picture of what my clients are facing and where they are right now versus where they want to be. We’ll explore exactly where you’d like to see change and growth. Then, by asking questions and making observations, I’ll walk the journey with you as you take steps forward with the many tools available through Ama La Vida, in addition to your inner wisdom and self-awareness. If you dive right in, you will experience positive momentum before long, and will leave each session with better clarity and specific action steps. Of course, this won’t happen on its own. You’ll work hard to build this life you’ve dreamed of, and to see those dreams come to life, but it will be worth it.

I do believe that sharing your true self with your coach is the starting point for growth, since our career and personal lives are completely intertwined. I appreciate that clients tend to easily open up to me, and I truly care about the details and nuances of each person’s journey. I never judge, because I’ve been through many changes (ups and downs) in my life and career as well. I find joy in all things story-related…including listening, exploring, and discovering, witnessing your journey unfold. On the side, I lead purpose workshops, writing and discovery workshops about ‘telling your story,’ and co-lead a meditation group about learning how to find flow and joy in times of struggle.  

Finally, though I am trained as an International Coaching Federation certified coach, I believe my life experience allows me to go much deeper with clients. Since clients are whole, capable, creative, and competent people, I also believe they should do most of the talking in our session and have key takeaways to work on in-between sessions. So, if you’re ready, let’s get started!

What my clients say

“Kristi Leonard was born to be a life coach. She is empathetic, kind and an easy conversationalist. More importantly, she is an amazing listener who keeps everything you’ve said in her head and is able to pull it back out at the most important times to remind you (gently) of what you previously said. Before I met with Kristi, I was nervous about seeing a life coach because I wasn’t sure exactly what I needed. I was afraid that a life coach would be bossy. Not Kristi! She adjusted her style to work with mine seamlessly and, before I knew it, she had helped me map out what I needed most. She pushed me when I needed it and stepped back when I needed a listening ear. I would highly recommend Kristi to anyone who needs not only a sounding board, but a coach and mentor. I trust her guidance and judgement and would recommend her to anyone who is looking for coaching on career, health, relationships, family life or life balance. I’d give her 6 stars if the rating allowed!” – Marya Howell ’91, Director, Alumni and Family Engagement, Davidson College 

“When I started working with Kristi, I didn’t know what a life coach was, and I wasn’t sure I needed one! But I had just started the biggest project of my life, the writing of an epic story, a memoir of sorts. Little did I know, Kristi’s guidance was exactly what I needed. Kristi has a keen ability to connect the dots, keep my eye on the ball. Her perspective, and especially her ability to put into words what is seemingly just out of reach—all of this has helped to propel me forward! That everyone should be so lucky to have a guide such as Kristi.” – Leslie Keller, author

“The questions Kristi asked when we were working on my purpose were thought-provoking, and I love that the StrengthFinders, Enneagram work, and Purpose work were all connected and sequential.” – DP 

“Kristi, keep doing what you’re doing! It was a wonderful, eye-opening experience to write my Purpose statement after going through the process with you.” – DP 

“As a person who knows myself fairly well, each test and exercise (in the purpose work) was not a surprise. But when you put all the info together, the story becomes more complete.” – JB 

“Kristi’s passion is contagious! I’m so thankful for the opportunity to work with her in this capacity. Helping people and watching them grow is her strength.” – DP 

“Kristi is an amazing coach. Her excitement at discovering my God-given talents and gifts was contagious. She truly feels joy when helping others unpack their purpose (like watching your child open a special Christmas present.)” – JB 

“Kristi has a gift to be able to listen and observe, then understand and assimilate the strengths and gifts you might not already realize are within you.” – KP 

“Wow – Kristi allows space… space to really hear what a person is saying. She is caring and intuitive, offering valuable direction and reflection.” – TC

“Kristi has been truly AMAZING! I am so grateful for my time with her. She has helped me work through a lot of personal awareness during a challenging time.” – Christen Z.

“Kristi’s enthusiasm for coaching me during my career change was contagious. Her kindness, positivity, and encouragement helped me move forward with confidence and ease. Kristi was always full of ideas and suggestions. Each session left me energized and believing I could meet the goals we set. I attribute much of my success to her, and I highly recommend Kristi as a life & career coach.”  – Debbie L.

“When I started working with Kristi, I was overwhelmed with all of the paths I could take in my career. Kristi helped ground me to my values and ensured that they were aligned to every job I applied to and interviewed for. Working with Kristi was a game changer for me! She helped me bring my confidence to the forefront, and was always sure to empower me to follow what felt right. In the process, I ended up getting a job at Google! Kristi was beyond critical when it came to helping me prepare for interviews, as well as negotiate my salary! I found that her services and coaching was and will remain invaluable to me in my career!” – Erin P.

“I have been grateful for your support during the last few months. Your coaching has been a great combination of nurturing support and challenging work, and has taught me so much! Believe it or not, much of what you do would work well in a classroom setting—something I’ll be excited to apply to my next role. Thank you for being so encouraging, valuing me as a whole human being, and always ensuring that our sessions are comfortable. I was definitely feeling overwhelmed as I looked ahead to what was next for us, but having you to walk alongside me through the process made all the difference. I can’t wait to share with you the amazing opportunities I’ll get to take part in as I start this new role… and perhaps sharing baby pictures soon, too 🙂 All the best to you and yours! I look forward to seeing you again soon.” – Ryan

“My experience at Ama La Vida has been life changing! My career coach Kristi was so patient and involved in my personal growth and being as this was my first experience with a career counselor, I was blown away at the professionalism and personal attention. I went from not knowing what I wanted to do for my career to working in an industry that I love and find endlessly exciting! I would highly recommend Ama La Vida to anyone who is struggling to see through the muck of finding themselves and a career path during times. 10 out of 10!” – David V.

“These two words don’t seem like enough, Kristi, but THANK YOU for preparing me for this process. I gained so much insight and confidence from our sessions that I know I will carry with me for years to come. You helped me identify my values and the career direction that I want after teaching, and you gave me the tools to pursue it. I cannot believe where I stand today. I believe God had His hand in this from the start– from the moment we were matched– and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the ways you are using your God-given gifts to serve people like me.” – Madie A.

“Kristi and I clicked automatically. Kristi not only helped me find myself, but she also helped me hone in on my talents and desires, and helped me to clarify my goals. She understood EVERYTHING I said and was kind, caring, compassionate and so well-informed on myriad subjects. I trusted her immediately and knew if anyone was going to get me out of my rut, it was going to be Kristi. There was hard work involved, but after every single meeting, I felt a sense of hope and excitement I had long forgotten. All that matters to me now is I am back to the old me…no, I am a better version of myself, the best I have ever been, thanks to Kristi!” – Nicole M.

“I really appreciate Kristi’s positive and relatable personality, and how she fosters creativity and grace towards her clients to help them succeed at their own pace even when life gets a little bumpy.” – Lola O.

“I joined ALV at a vulnerable time of life and my coach Kristi was so supportive and honed in on my need for more joy in my life and immediately got to work with me about how to create that.” – Rosalind K.

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