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Meet Holly Katz of Confident Calm



Today we’d like to introduce you to Holly Katz.

Holly, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m a former human resources executive, Northwestern MBA graduate, and was a Big 10 tennis player. I understand from personal experience the toll that anxiety and self doubt have on feeling confident and calm, and ultimately fulfilling potential.

My experience combined with a passion for helping people, led me to get a Masters and License in Professional Counseling. I began my work in this arena as a career and executive coach in my own business about 10 years ago including serving as a “go to” consultant at JPMorgan Chase and executive coach. I also worked with corporations to help professionals and teams perform at high levels.

Two years ago, I added to my portfolio, leveraging my background as a competitive athlete with expertise in sports psychology, to help clients fulfill potential in sports, music, at work, and in life.

I’ve been so grateful for the opportunity to work with elite musicians, athletes, and executives at a deep level and watch them grow both in terms of performance but also in general. The father of one of my clients who is a renowned musician himself, wrote the testimonial below about my work with his son.

This past year, I continued to expand and in addition to coaching, I also work as Licensed Professional Counselor at North Shore Counseling helping clients from all walks of life from adolescent to adult manage and overcome anxiety, depression, life transitions, and grief/loss.

Here is the testimonial from Wayne Gordon, Band Director at Wood Oaks Jr High School in Northbrook, about my work with his son Matt, who is one of the top Euphonium Players (Euphonium is a bit smaller than a Tuba) in the country:

My son is a talented young musician with designs on a career in performance. He has been very successful in international solo competitions, but he also battles, as do many musicians with professional aspirations, with performance anxiety. Holly Katz has truly helped my son realize his potential! Holly has a deep understanding of the cognitive and emotional sources of anxiety and stress, and how they can be crippling to someone in a high-pressure performance situation. Holly’s one-on-one work with my son was specifically tailored to identify the sources of his anxiety and the nature of his physiological response to stress. Armed with this knowledge Holly introduced my son to research proven techniques he could practice to assist him in managing his anxiety in performance situations. Holly even made herself available by phone and email during a recent international solo competition when unproductive thoughts began to creep back into my son’s preparation. We truly feel blessed to have met Holly, and she has been instrumental in my son being able to inch closer to his dream of a career in music performance.

Wayne Gordon, Band Director
Wood Oaks Junior High School
National Board Certified Teacher
Co-Founder, All-Illinois Junior Band
Illinois State Chair, National Band Association

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I believe to be effective as both a coach and/or a counselor, one has to work through their own struggles to be effective. I’ve worked hard personally to clear out grief and loss in my life so I can be there fully for clients. In addition, my journey to where I am now has been a long and winding road through banking, human resources, career and executive consulting, HR consultant, and finally now coaching in my own business, Katz Performance Coaching, and counseling at North Shore Counseling. I’m at the point now though, where I believe I am fulfilling my true purpose in helping others feel confident, calm, and fulfilled in their lives.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Confident Calm – what should we know?
As both a coach and a counselor, I pride myself on using a warm, caring approach, client focused approach. I believe that clients heal through the relationship established in our work together.

In addition, I have a unique background because I am not only trained as a coach and counselor but also am able to leverage expertise as a consultant, human resources and recruiting executive, entrepreneur, and expert in sports psychology and career development.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My personal warmth and ability to develop trusting relationships with the clients I serve is my biggest strength.

Article link:

Shout Out: Holly Katz, sports psychology expert




Holly Katz, a Deerfield resident of more than two decades, is a sports psychology expert and high performance coach. She said she helps athletes, musicians, performers and test takers thrive under pressure. Katz and her husband Harold have two children, Lori and Jenny. We caught up with Katz at the Starbucks in Deerfield near Waukegan and Deerfield roads.

Holly, what’s the desired outcome of what you do?

I help my clients to overcome freezing and choking under pressure and help them feel confident and calm instead of anxiety and self-doubt.

Tennis anyone?

I’m a former nationally ranked tennis player. I’m more passionate about golf these days.

What did tennis teach you?

I know what it’s like to face intense pressure myself and I know the toll that anxiety and self-doubt have on limiting potential. I’m dedicated to helping people overcome these same barriers.

How are you embracing your career path?

I love it, I absolutely love it! I love working with teens, not only by helping with their pursuit of sports and the arts, but by making a difference for the rest of their lives.

Holly, what’s your shout out to the world?

I feel that compassion for one’s self is key to overcoming performance anxiety. And if compassion and kindness were obvious in the world in general, we’d all feel so much healthier, happier and connected. Compassion and kindness is key. It’s my underlying mission of what I do. It’s my purpose.

Karie Angell Luc is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.

Copyright © 2016, Chicago Tribune

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