24th March 2023

Coaching with man's best friend

A burn-out in 2018 was for Josée Thyes an opportunity to rethink her lifestyle. Interested in coaching and supporting people for a long time, she decided to change her career and launch her coaching practice with a four-legged friend as facilitator. Happy reading!

Meet Josée

I'm from Luxembourg and I'm 57 years old. I've always been attracted by human diversity on all levels, by nature, animals and by personal development. I have an economic background and over 30 years' professional experience, including management of a semi-state SME, banking, development aid and continuous professional development.

The idea of creating a business

Since 2014, I have been dreaming of doing a coaching course. After a burn-out in 2018, I left the workforce to become an entrepreneur and professional coach.

I believe that coaching allows the coachee to find his or her own solutions and thus achieve his or her objectives. My goal is to accompany my clients on their journey to well-being and to help them reconnect with themselves, among other things through nature.

The stages of business creation

The training courses needed for my career change

At the end of 2019, I was certified as a professional coach by ICN BS after 11 months of training and practice. My dissertation is based on my career plan which is dog-assisted coaching.

Before I started training, I looked for a dog breed, then a major dog breeder and in December 2018, I found my puppy - an Australian Shepherd called Cooper. In fact, he chose me. "The contributions of animal mediation in coaching" is the subject of my dissertation.

I am changing my career to achieve my life mission


The dissertation allowed me to verify my hypotheses and to go out into the field, to make contacts, and to get a feel for the market. My personal conclusion from this field survey is that my offer will be innovative and fun. In 2019, I followed this up with a year-long in-depth “companion dog” training course with Cooper so that he could attend my coaching sessions.

Cooper is a kind of facilitator

Cooper and I coach my clients to independently find their own solutions to their personal and professional challenges. This is a creative and playful method that can provide me with valuable input. Cooper's presence also makes it easier for me to build trust with my clients and for transitions and projections to take place naturally. Cooper can be a guide to emotions

All knowledge, the totality of all questions and all answers, is contained in the dog.

Franz Kafka

The tools needed to become an entrepreneur

Offering the luxury of consuming locally

First observation: "I don't have the know-how to launch myself as an entrepreneur."ADEM allowed me to take part in the various courses of their Fit4Entrepreneurship programme, which lasted more than 6 months. The programme consists of different parts to be presented in front of a jury after each course: the Canva Business Model and Financial Business Plan, the Vademecum with the description of my mission and vision, the detailed description of my services, the market analysis and the definition of my target clientele, the competition, potential partners and my marketing strategy etc. I conducted numerous interviews.

Also, I developed a close friendship with some of my fellow entrepreneurs who I exchange with on a regular basis. I have even developed a collaboration with some of them.

For me, everything will be new and a big challenge: my new job, the presence of a dog - a novelty - and entrepreneurship!


I officially launched in January 2020 and continue to develop

On the recommendation of the Fit4E programme jury, I found a part-time job that enabled me to launch my business without pressure and without worrying about the financial side. At the same time, I took part in a programme for mental fitness coaches based on the Positive Intelligence® working method. This was a real discovery that allowed me to develop a second part to my business and become a full-time entrepreneur from January 2021.

I have been practising mental fitness myself on a daily basis ever since.

In May 2021, I developed a mental fitness programme combined with coaching that enabled me to support my clients for several months. I adapt this programme as I go along.

Difficulties and challenges are my gifts

Every challenge, every "failure" - an experience that didn't work out - allowed me to follow my life mission, to find my "mark", my uniqueness. I find the clients who are meant for me, who want to reconnect with themselves through nature and animals or who want to get out of their mental autopilot.

Being able to support young people in coaching assisted by Cooper, and people of all ages in mental fitness, gives me a lot of energy and satisfaction.

Making a decent living is a daily challenge.  Mental fitness helps me to stay calm, to find solutions if the income is not there and to take care of myself because a burn-out leaves traces.

Josée's advice to future entrepreneurs

Do some soul-searching to find out if you really want to make your project a reality.

Be aware that it takes an average of 3 years for a new business to get up to speed. 

More information about my background and my work:

or via our association ICN :

Nyuko has signed a partnership with Spuerkeess, in order to foster entrepreneurial spirit and strengthening the bank's position with company founders from the start of their businesses. More info in our article: https://www.spuerkeess.lu/en/blog/experts-corner/nyuko-fostering-entrepreneurial-spirit/.