Throughout our lives, we all experience a barrage of small “t” traumas, and when facing a crisis, we do whatever we can to get through it. However, once that crisis has passed, people often continue trying to deal with the trauma to re-establish their stability.

In March of 2021, amidst all the challenges of the COVID crisis, I had the privilege of interviewing the remarkable Dr. Kemia Sarraf. In our discussion, we dove into the reality of trauma, and Kermia explained how to mitigate its impact. That interview was one of our most popular and impactful interviews ever. This week, we revisit it. 

Kemia, also known by many as Dr. K, is a physician, educator, and leadership coach with a sub-specialty in leadership and coaching on severe burnout, toxic stress, and trauma. She is the founder and CEO of Lodestar, a professional coaching and consulting firm using a 360-degree trauma-aware container for coaching, coach training, leadership training, and justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion facilitation. 

Join us today to learn from Dr. K’s profound insights as she weaves her personal stories into her extensive coaching experience to navigate the delicate balance between coaching and therapy. This interview will enlighten you and hopefully leave you feeling lighter and more empowered!

Show Highlights:

  • Kermia shares her personal experience of trauma and explains how it impacted her life and her work
  • What coaching teaches us
  • How the effects of burnout go far deeper than just the symptoms
  • How toxic stress impacts individuals and communities
  • The importance of recognizing and addressing small “t” traumas
  • What is the difference between coaching and therapy?
  • Why it is essential to understand trauma without necessarily having to know every detail about its cause
  • How grounding techniques can help people in the midst of a crisis regain control
  • Kermia shares her personal experience with ACEs (Adverse Childhood Events)
  • Why is trauma-informed counseling essential for healing?
  • How trauma mitigation coaches help people recognize their agency and develop the necessary skills to manage traumatic encounters


Dr. Kemia Sarraf – or “Dr. K” as she is most often known – is an internist, educator, and physician & leadership coach whose subspecialty paradigm focuses on leadership and coaching in and beyond severe burnout, toxic stress, and the trauma of these times. She is the founder and CEO of Lodestar, a professional coaching and consulting firm that utilizes a 360° trauma-aware container for coaching, coach training, leadership training, and Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion facilitation.

Dr. Sarraf received her Medical Degree and Master of Public Health at the University of Utah School of Medicine and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine. She serves as Adjunct Asst. Professor at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine where she works in the office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion.

A gifted storyteller and much-sought speaker, Dr. K’s communication style is deeply intuitive, rooted in both the power of connection and the knowledge that intratraumatic growth is not just aspirational, but possible. Weaving her background and deep understanding of trauma and the multivariate ways in which it “shows up” with her skills as an executive coach, Dr. K’s trademarked coaching paradigm has a lens tuned to the vicarious or secondary trauma that is a part of daily life for high achieving, hard-driving, highly skilled professionals in any industry.

Blending extensive experience with balance, humor, and endless empathy, Dr. K has helped countless physicians and professionals across industries (re)discover their professional pride, joy, and internal balance. She is an expert strategist who assists clients in discovering and naming what is essential and setting a path for their True North.

“In the end, it’s really very simple,” she says, “we all need a deeper bench.”

Kemia and her physician-husband have been married for more than two decades and live on a small, working farm in Central Illinois, where they are raising four sons and too many farm critters to count.


Links to connect with Dr. Kemia Sarraf:

On her website

Visit the STaR Coach Show YouTube Channel!

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