Are you meant to be a life coach?

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00:00:51 Welcome to Master Coach Mindset™. My name is Rhonda Britten, and I am your host and Master Coach. For this podcast, it’s about building your confidence as a Coach, learning new skills and tools so that you make more impact with your clients, have more influence in the world of coaching, and of course really be that true, authentic Coach that you want to be.
00:01:12 I’m all about purpose and destiny and being fearless. When you listen, and more importantly, embody and integrate what I’m sharing with you on a Master Coach Mindset, then not only does your coaching practice shift, grow, change, expand, but you as a human being do the same thing. You can’t do one without the other. If you grow your coaching business and you don’t grow as a person, it’s going to end up failing. It’s going to end up going backward because you want to shift, you want to grow; you want to be more of who you’re meant to be. That’s my personal passion.
00:01:51 My personal intention is: am I being who I’m born to be? Am I being who I meant to be? That is what how I want to live my life. I don’t want to live a half-baked version of myself. I want to be fully bagged. I want to be fully me, and that doesn’t mean I have it all together all the time. It doesn’t mean I always have peace of mind. It doesn’t mean I’m always got everything going on. It just means that I know who I am, i.e., in the moment and accept myself in the moment and love myself in the moment. The same thing for me, I believe is what your clients ultimately want. They may come to you with a problem. They may come to you with an issue that they want to solve.
00:02:26 They might come to you with obstacles. They may come to you with a negative mindset. I don’t know any human being that doesn’t want to live more true to themselves, wants to be more authentic, wants to live their purpose, to contribute, give back to share who they really are, to be heard, to matter. That’s what we do here at Master Coach Mindset. We may call it building our coaching practice, which of course is critical and important, but more importantly, we must become the Coach that we know we’re meant. To be to be the best Coach we can possibly be. Each and every week I share with you tools, techniques, skills, philosophies, anything to support you in seeing you as a Coach, a little bit differently, more expansive.
00:03:04 We’re in Season Two right now, and I’m going over the Eight Coaching Skills that I teach my Certified Fearless Living Coaches™. This is the first time I’ve actually taught them beyond my four walls of my Fearless Living Institute™. It really became clear to me after I met Coach after Coach. They kept asking me the same questions, “How do you get your clients to do homework? How do you get clients to do this and what about that?”
00:03:28 I was like wow. The coaching programs out there do you a disservice. Do us all a disservice. They’re watering down our industry and making it so that anybody and everybody can call themselves a Coach. I am attempting to put some standards in some places that we can all agree to that matter if you’re a Coach. We’re going to be talking about the Eight Coaching Skills, and today we’re on Number Six. We’re on our Sixth Coaching Skill, and that is: “Speak to Actions Versus Stories.” What the heck does that mean? “Speak to Actions Versus Stories.” We can all get stories. People are storytellers. Even those that are shy or introverted that don’t necessarily want to share their stories. We all want to be heard. We all want our stories to matter because our stories in their own way make up our lives.
00:04:31 The stories create impressions, create memories, create insights, create ahas, and create the fabric of our life that we’re conscious of. Stories are critical to our evolution. We’re meant to tell stories, and we’re meant to share our stories. There’s a little bit of a difference in coaching because stories are nice, and stories are important, and stories are valuable. I want to hear everyone’s story, and yet our clients come to us telling us stories of “why” they can’t move forward or “why” this person doesn’t like them. They tell stories that are virtually excuses, lies, and half-truths. Things that they tell themselves over and over again to justify and validate their inaction, or justify or validate their beliefs, or justify or validate their filtering systems. When our clients come to us with their stories about why they are the way they are, they’re wanting to be understood.
00:05:37 They want to be validated. They want us to say, “Wow, that must’ve been hard. Wow. I’m so sorry. Wow.” They want us to react to their story so that they have validation of their pain. They have validation of their past. They have validation of what’s going on. That is critical and important. We must do that as Coaches. There’s another side to that. I started saying earlier it’s that some people use stories as their rationalization, their excuses, the lies they tell themselves, half big truths, and then they live out. They create their lives, they live their lives out of those half bake stories, those stories that actually keep them disempowered. Stories that keep them less than. Stories that they prove to themselves that they can’t, they shouldn’t, that they won’t, that they’ll be abandoned, that they’ll be rejected.
00:06:31 They tell stories that disempower them. We want to coach to actions versus the story they’re telling. I want to share briefly what stories I listen to and what stories I don’t. In order to move people from stories into action, there must be a skilled developed called interruption. I have to tell you that for my Certified Fearless Living Coaches, while they’re in the Life Coach Certification Program™ training to become Coaches, one of the hardest things that my Coaches learn is to interrupt gracefully. To interrupt in a powerful and impactful way. Most people are afraid to interrupt because they’ve been taught that it’s rude, they’ve been taught that it’s mean, and they have a streak of people pleasing inside of them. They don’t want somebody to reject them or hurt them or tell them they’re being rude or mean, etc.
00:07:26 Our clients and we as coaches listen to stories that need to be interrupted. We don’t not listen to stories because they’re too painful that need to be heard. Let’s talk about stories that need to be heard versus stories that need to be interrupted. Where does action come in? If somebody’s telling me a story for the first time about their life, maybe they were raped, maybe they got a divorce, maybe they went bankrupt, maybe they lost their parents, and maybe they lost a spouse. They lost something that something or impactful happen to them. Something dramatic and traumatic happened to them.
00:08:13 I want you to listen to it the first time they tell it to you. Do you have to listen to every single moment of every single word of every single thing? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know. If they’re an introvert and very rarely tell you a story, yeah I listen to every single moment. If there’s somebody who tells stories on a regular basis and they tell story after story then yeah you’ve got to interrupt. The first time that somebody tells you a story about their rape, about their divorce, about flunking out of school, or leaving college and it’s applicable to what you’re talking about. Do I want you to listen to it? Sure. I don’t necessarily want you to listen to every single word of every single moment of every single thing. You have to be willing, and have the courage to ask and interrupt to get the purpose and the fullness of the story that really needs to be told.
00:09:03 You probably know by now that my story, my big story, is that my father murdered my mother and committed suicide in front of me when I was 14. If I just said that to you and I was your client, and somehow we talked about parents or something that brought it up. I started sharing that to you, and I said to you just that simple kind of a matter of fact, “When I was 14 my father murdered my mother committed suicide in front of me. That’s why I don’t trust relationships.” I might be like, “Okay, wow. I’m so sorry that happened to you. So where were you that day?” I may not ask every single question, but I kind of want to get the gist of what happened maybe to her to me. How long ago that was that? Has she had other relationships since then?
00:09:57 If I was telling you that the reason I can’t have a relationship is because of something that happened to me at 14, we want to bring it to the present. We want to bring it full circle. We want to bring it to the now. “So tell me how that has impacted your relationships? Tell me how many relationships have you been in? How long have they lasted? Tell me. How did your parents’ murder-suicide, how did that impact that relationship that happened 2 years ago, 5 years ago, 10 years ago? What did you say to yourself? How did you take that on and are you willing to be wrong about that?” You want to honor the story that’s being told especially if it’s a traumatic, dramatic story and they’ve never shared it with you before.
00:10:43 You want to honor that story. If I told you something really frank like, “Oh yeah, my father murdered my mother, and she committed suicide when I was 14.” You’d probably know that I was disconnected to the story. That I wasn’t feeling the story, I was just telling you kind of for wrote. It was just something like, “Oh, it’s time to tell the story about my father murdered my mother and she committed suicide.” You as a Coach want to support your client to move in their heart. When your client is telling you a story from their head, you want to move them into their heart. Asking questions like, “So what did that feel like? So they both died?”
“Yes. Correct. Yes.”
“So that made you an orphan? Yes? Am I correct on that?”
00:11:28 “So how did that feel?”
“Well, I felt crappy. Of course, it felt crappy.”
“Yeah. And how long did crappy feel?”
“Well, it’s felt that way ever since. I’ve felt crappy ever since.”
“Oh, okay. So tell me how it feels when you think of your mom and dad?”
“I feel horrible. I feel disconnected. I feel pissed off. I feel enraged.”
You start asking questions, and your client might be rolling their eyes, “What do you mean? How did it feel?” You’re actually finding out where they are inside that story. Are they still reliving it every day? Have they dropped part of the story? Have they let go part of the story or are they reliving it every single day and 40 years later, 30 years later, 20 years later, have they forgiven? Have they let go? Have they released?
00:12:13 What work have they done in relation to healing from this story to moving past this story? How much of themselves identify with this story? I know for myself, I did for 20 years. From the time I was 14 to 34, that story ran my life. Did I want it to run my life? No, I did not want it to run my life. Did I purposely let it run my life? No, I didn’t. I didn’t have the skills. I didn’t have the tools. I didn’t have the awareness. I didn’t know how to get beyond my story. I needed support in order to get past it. I needed to come up with exercises to get past it. It’s one of the reasons I created Fearless Living®. I went to therapy, I went to workshops, I did a whole bunch of things, inner child work, course of miracles, you name it, and I’ve done it.
00:12:55 They were all really wonderful and impactful, and shifted me, etc. That work never made me feel like I was okay. I always felt fundamentally flawed because of what happened to me. Fearless Living is the one thing that got me past that. I want to really help you here and want you to hear. Do you want to hear their trauma and drama that’s impacting them today? Yes, when it’s the first time. Let’s say I came to you to work on relationships and anytime it’s about dating or a date didn’t work out, I bring up my story of my parents again, “See it’s not working out just like my dad didn’t love me then. Nobody loves me now.”
00:13:48 If I keep repeating the story over and over again, then two things have to happen. One: my Coach, i.e., you, better get good at interrupting to start shifting that mindset. Shift that perception. Change that filter. If my client is continuously bringing up the same story over, and over again when they’ve hired me to move past it, to move into that area that they want to heal, solve, change, grow. Coaching may not be appropriate therapy might be appropriate. We talked about that in Season One. Season One, I believe it was Episode Three; we talked about “Coaching versus Psychotherapy.” If you want more information on that go to Season One Episode Three, and listen to that podcast about when you send a client to therapy and when you keep them on as a Coach. One of the skills that you must learn regarding actions versus story is interruption.
00:14:43 Let’s go to actions and then we’ll go to interruption in just a minute. What do you mean, Rhonda, “Speak to Actions Versus Stories?” Let’s say I say the story again to somebody, “Oh, my father killed my mother when I was 14, murder, suicide, blah, blah, blah.” I tell the story. Then as the Coach, I can say, “Well, what did you do after that? What happened? What do you do today when that comes up?” I’m moving them into the present moment. “What are you doing? What do you do today when that comes up? When that story starts moving through you again, what do you do? What actions do you take? What happens then?” I’m moving them into: there’s a story, but then you do something about that story. You don’t get to wallow, sit in, stay stuck in.
00:15:34 I hate to use the word “wallow” because we must wallow on our stories for a certain period of time. I say that very hesitantly the word wallow. You and I both know that if I was still talking as if my parents died yesterday and it happened 40 years ago, I was you could say indulge, wallow. I wasn’t doing it purposely. Going back to our first skill in Season Two, which was “Speak as if They’re Innocent.” No, I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how not do that. For 20 years I didn’t know how not to indulge, wallow, ignore, pretend, avoid. I didn’t know how not to do that. Your client doesn’t know how not to do that either. The beginning step of that is for you to focus on action. Asking questions about what they’re doing, what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling, what they want to do about it.
00:16:26 You get them into the present moment, so they don’t re-traumatize themselves about that story from the past. Do you have to hear every single moment of the story? No. Does your client need to tell every minute of the story? Maybe the first time. When a client is telling me the same story the third time, the fifth time, the sixth time I tell and ask the client, “I’m a little confused. I know you’ve told me this story. We both know you told me the story again before. Tell me what it is that I’m not hearing or what it is that you need me to know because you’re telling me the story for a reason. What’s the purpose behind telling me the story again?” That’s one way I could ask it.
00:17:12 Another way I could ask it is, “Tell me the most important point of the story.
What is the thing you want me to get? Tell me three bullet points? Tell me the most important part of the story? Tell me this part of the story that you don’t want to face? Tell me the part of the story that you want to ignore? Tell me the part of the story that you haven’t healed, haven’t forgiven, haven’t let go of?” All these types of questions can help the client integrate that story and allow that story to move through them to heal and get to the other side of it. When we’re just listening and not interrupting and not asking the questions that need to be asked in order for them to move through that story, they just again stay stuck in the story. They wallow in the story, they indulge in the story, and they just stay stuck in it because we as the Coach are not helping them move through that.
00:18:01 “Speak to Actions Versus Story” is critical for you to support your clients in moving forward in their life. I’m going to repeat myself here because it’s so important, but the first time your client tells you a story that is really traumatic, and they have PTSD, or it haunts them, or they haven’t been able to feel their way through it, or they haven’t gotten past it, or forgiven, or let go of it. Yeah, you’ve got to listen, and you’re going to listen like nobody’s business because it’s that important. You’re going to say, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry that happened to you,” and you’re going to say, “Oh wow, I’m right with you. I’m right with you. I’m right with you, and I’m so sorry.”
00:18:46 All of us want to be validated. All of us want to know we’re okay. All of us want to know that it’s okay to cry, and be upset, and be angry. All of us want to know it’s okay that we ignored it and avoided it. It wasn’t because we were weak, but it was because we just don’t know how to deal with it right now. Giving your client permission to process through their trauma and to process through their “stories” is going to help them integrate their story so that it’s not the story that’s leading them, the story that’s deciding their life, but that story just becomes a part of them. It’s not who they are anymore.
00:19:25 It’s not what they wear on their sleeve, it’s that they have integrated that story as part and parcel of their past. That story does not necessarily make their decisions for them anymore. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t come up once in a while. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come to visit for a new level of awareness, a new level of healing, a new level of integration, but that that story moves through so people can hear you, people can love you, people can feel connected to themselves. “Speak to Actions Versus Story.” You must get good at interrupting. I’m going to tell you a little secret.
00:20:01 It’s going to be really hard. If you’re not good at interrupting now, the first time you interrupt, you are going to feel so rude. You are going to feel so mean. You are going to think you’re doing the wrong thing because it’s going to be very uncomfortable for you. If you don’t know how to interrupt now in a graceful way, in a fearless way; the first time you start doing it, it’s going to bring up all your concerns, all your worries, all your fears about what interrupting means. It’s going to break up all your crap. This is the good news. This is the good news because you want to face all your crap as a Coach. In Season One, we talked about the Master Coach Manifesto™ and doing our own internal work is critical to evolve, critical to be the best Coach you can be.
00:20:55 Interrupting. How do you do it gracefully? One way to do it is to say something like, “Excuse me. I just need you to hold on for a second. I’m a little confused. You’re telling me this story, and I know that I think the third or fourth time you’ve told me this about this particular exact same event. I just really want to understand that one thing that you want me to get out of it because I’m not sure if I’m hearing or seeing what you need me to see. So just need to interrupt. I’m confused.” “Excuse me. I just need to hold you for a second.” “Excuse me. I’m a little confused.” “Excuse me.” You literally say, “Excuse me.” “Excuse me. I just need to stop you for a minute.” “Excuse me. I need to understand something.” “Excuse me, I’m confused.”
00:21:47 Saying you’re confused is appropriate as a Coach. You do not know what they’re thinking. You do not know how they’re defining things. You do not understand every point of the story. The minute that you do not understand what’s going on in the story, you must interrupt. You must interrupt because you’re not going be able to coach the story if you don’t know what’s going on in the story. I see this over and over with Coaches. They don’t have the courage or the skill to interrupt, and then they lose track of the story. They lose pieces of the story and then, of course, they don’t feel skilled to coach it. Then they kind of let the person tell the story and then move on. They dropped the story. It’s like the client never said the story.
00:22:35 Talk about feeling ignored. Talk about feeling invalidated. Talk about feeling misunderstood. We’re authority figures, and we talked about this in Season One. As authority figures, our clients will have a tendency to just go along with what we’re doing and what we’re saying because they don’t know better. You’re the Coach. They think you know better. Some clients will have the courage to do it, but most won’t. If you bypass their story, most clients won’t say, “Well, wait a minute, I just told you my story. Aren’t you going to say anything?” Most will go along with where you’re going.
00:23:09 They’ll get on the train with you and just move on. Can you imagine telling somebody the hardest story of your life and because they didn’t keep the thread, they didn’t follow the story completely. They just let the story go, and they didn’t validate it. They didn’t affirm it. They didn’t say, “Wow.” They didn’t ask a question about it. They didn’t apply to the present. They didn’t move you forward. They just let it lie there and just talked over it like it just went on. Just think about that for a minute.
00:23:51 You finally had the courage to tell the story, and because the Coach doesn’t really know what to do, they bypass it. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen this over and over again because the Coach doesn’t have the courage, the skill, the tools, the understanding. “Speak to Actions Versus Stories.” Let me get to the question of the day, and there’s of course so much to say about actions versus stories. So much more to say. Actions versus stories. Here’s the question for today.
“I have clients who often have actions, thoughts, and words that are not at all aligned. I ask questions to clarify and mirror to them that they’re saying two opposing things, but they insist that both are correct. How do you navigate that? Give an example, Rhonda, of a client wanting to travel and have kids because she thinks they’ll make her relationship closer and bring joy and wants to live in a big house with a pool, but she’s also afraid of being alone or the only one awake in the big house.” She wants to be in a big house, but she’s afraid to be alone in the big house, and she wants to travel, but she also wants kids, and she wants kids because she thinks her relationships get closer bring her joy.
00:25:19 The Coach question says, “but they insist that both are correct. How do you navigate that?” Well, both are correct. I think you’re confusing alignment because the question talks about, “I have clients who often have actions, thoughts, and words that are not all aligned. I asked to clarify and mirror to them, and they’re saying two opposing things, but they insist both are correct.” Well, that doesn’t mean they’re not aligned. Words, thoughts, and actions aligned or not aligned are one thing. Then clarify and mirror that they’re two opposing things, “I want to travel, and I want kids to bring my relationship closer. Oh, but wait, I want a house, but I’m going to feel alone in the house.” All that is true. I mean this happened to me once I ended up living in this 5,000 square foot house, and it was gorgeous, and amazing at five bedrooms, six bathrooms. It was just amazing. It was beautiful and gorgeous, and I lived in an idea like, “Yes, this is where I belong, 5,000 square feet.”
00:26:36 It was always my dream to live in a beautiful home like that. Yet when I lived in the home, I was scared. I was living alone, and I was scared in that house by myself. Other people wouldn’t be scared, but I was. It’s like the way I lived my life became different because now it became all about filling up my house with people. I would have people over all the time. I mean I ran my house like a hotel. I had so many people in it.
00:27:03 Even though I had this dream and desire to have this beautiful big house, and live in this amazing place, and had this amazing view. When I actually lived in it, sure, it gave me joy when people were there, but if I was alone, I was scared. When I would go to bed at night, I’d lock myself in my bedroom, and I’d make sure I got in my bedroom not too late. I’d always be nervous. Walking around the house didn’t bring me the comfort, and peace, and joy that I thought it would. The big house represented success, but that big house really didn’t fit what made me feel cozy, comfortable, and safe. Maybe if I had a husband and three kids that would have been different. I was living alone, so it was different for me.
00:27:44 Did I want the big house? Yes. As you investigate it further, that big house really didn’t serve my ultimate intention, which is peace of mind, safety, comfort, etc. Those two opposing things can live inside, and they do. The cost and benefits, pros and cons, benefits, cost, all those things live inside of it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re out of alignment. What you mean when thoughts, words, and actions are out of alignment, we can get that in our next Episode, but alignment is a little bit different than what you’re saying and what you’re asking. Yes, those things are opposing. I want to travel, and I want to have kids. I want to travel, and I want to have a house. Yeah, I want both of those things. Then you as the Coach, help them suss out what their real goal is, what their real dream is, what their real intention is.
00:28:39 People have desires and wants all the time. If they are questioned and asked and help to clarify, they realize that this one isn’t really what they want. They really want this, but they don’t know that, so people are going to come with this whole plethora of dreams and goals that conflict with one another. They’re not necessarily going to be “aligned,” but that’s your job. They’re going to come with a basket of conflicts, and you’re going to help align them. That’s your job as a Coach. I look forward to seeing you in our next Episode talking more about alignment and actions versus stories. I look forward to that day.
Until then, Be Fearless.