Are you meant to be a life coach?

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00:00:40 Welcome to Master Coach Mindset™. My name is Rhonda Britten and I’m your host and we are in Season Three. I am so excited for Season Three because this Season we’re going to be talking about the making of a Coach, what does it mean to be a Coach, how to become a better Coach, and maybe some of the things that you don’t think about. I know for me when I first started coaching I was scared to bejeebers. I want to share my first session with you because I want to share with you what was going on in my head before I drove up to my first client’s home. Yes, you heard me correct, I drove up to my first client’s home.
00:01:16 I live in Los Angeles, California and I started my business in 1995. My first practice Client … well, I didn’t charge her that’s one, and two nobody knew about coaching. I didn’t believe that I had any value yet because I didn’t even know what I was doing. It was my first Session with my first Client. I drove on over to her house, and the thoughts that were going through my mind were, “I’m a fraud. I’m a fake. What am I doing? My life is disarray. It is a mess. How can I possibly think that I can Coach this person? Oh, by the way, she is going to discover it in this next Session. In this hour.”
00:01:56 That’s what I was petrified of. Before I went and met with my first Client and my first session, I had talked to my Mentor who was supervising my Sessions. I basically shared how I felt like a fraud and a fake. This is the advice he gave to me, and I’m going to give it to you.
00:02:15 “Number one. Rhonda, you know more and the person wants to get help. So remember, they’re more nervous and more concerned and more in fear than you are.” Okay. Okay. “Two. Rhonda, you are doing this, you are coaching because you care. Because it matters to you and you believe in people. Remember that. Most people don’t have someone that believes in them, so if nothing else, believe. Number three, you know more than you think you know. Trust yourself. Number four, if you don’t know what to say and you’re frozen and not sure what’s happening, just repeat what the client just said and ask for clarification. Simple, just do that and, oh by the way Rhonda, just finish the hour.”
00:03:12 That was the advice my Mentor gave to me, and that’s what I focused on as I was going up and down emotionally in my head. Thoughts were going through and I just stayed focused. That’s one of the keys to becoming a great Coach. Can you stay focused in the midst of your thoughts bombarding you and your feelings erupting? You need to stay focused on that client regardless of what’s happening for you. I learned that really quickly in that first Session. Of course, it took me many, many sessions to refine it and actually embody it. I realized the importance of getting out of my own way and being present to my Client. That’s what we must do.
00:03:46 If we don’t take care of our own emotional life, if we don’t take care of our own inner journey, if we don’t become awake and aware to what we’re doing and how we’re processing, then we are not going to be as fully present for our Clients. That’s one of the things that most coaching programs don’t talk about. See, because it is difficult and expensive to actually supervise Coaches, to train Coaches properly, to bring in their inner journey. Most coaching programs and most Coaches focus on the questions to ask and the content they want to deliver. Now, that’s awesome and fine if that’s the kind of Coach you want to be, but I actually don’t consider that a Coach at all. I consider that a consultant, or a teacher, or facilitator, or maybe even a speaker.
00:04:28 To me a Coach is somebody that’s in the trenches with your Client. That is there holding their hand until they can stand up on their own. Now, I don’t mean literally hold their hand. It might just be your voice on the phone, or you could be doing face to face on the computer, or on your phone like FaceTime, or Zoom, etc. Whatever software’s are out right now. So you could be eyeball to eyeball and you might do what I did in the past, which is person to person. But for me real coaching, when you’re really in the trenches, it is most important to become responsible for your own inner journey.
00:05:08 The good news is that if you’re a Coach most likely, you are probably already big on self-examination. You probably are very aware of all your stuff. Now we want to be able to process our things, process our inner journey, be in relationship to our inner journey, as well as be focused on the outer world, i.e., our Client. Those two things can sometimes be difficult because we don’t want to cut ourselves off we want to stay open.
00:05:38 The first question I want to ask is, “What type of Coach do you want to be?” I don’t care what type of Coach you are, Health Coach, Business Coach, Finance Coach, Basketball Coach, Manager or supervisor because some of those are considered “coaching roles.”. To me, to be an excellent Coach you must be willing to face your own inner journey. You must be willing to face your own process so that you don’t take on other people’s things. That you know the difference between them and you. That you have discernment about their stuff and your stuff.
00:06:14 When you’re a Health Coach and you’re talking about weight loss, or you’re talking about food choices, or you’re talking about water … I remember that a woman at a party came up to me and said, “Rhonda,” and she was a Health Coach, she goes, “Rhonda, how do you get people to do their homework?” In that moment I knew she didn’t know how to Coach. I knew she knew how to give orders. I knew she knew how to ask questions, probably, but she actually didn’t know how to Coach. Because coaching for me is actually “breaking down that resistance.” “Shifting their mindset.” “Changing their beliefs.” “Moving them into their emotional life as well as having them think differently.” Literally changing their neural pathways.
00:07:00 In order to do that as a Coach you must do that for yourself as a human being. That’s the good news. Part of the joy that I get as a Coach is that I am a big self-learner. I want to learn, learn, learn, learn, learn, learn, learn. I am a growth fanatic and I bet you are too. All of that growth and all of that learning is critical for you to actually make yourself and be that Coach that you were born to be. So far today we’ve talked about the first Session. I want to ask you how your first Session went? How did your first Session go? Were you nervous? Were you apprehensive? Did you have your five questions memorized? What did you do? What’s changed now? What’s the difference between that first Session and maybe your 12th Session? Or your 100th Session?
00:07:55 I know you may be a brand new Coach or maybe you’re even thinking about becoming a Coach and not a Coach yet, or maybe even a Coach for a decade. I know that the way you coach in the beginning is probably a little different than how you coach now. I want you to understand the process you go through and to have you cut out the difficult part or have you dived into the difficult part. Coaching is about complex relationships. It’s about the inner journey and the outer world. It’s about melding the two. It’s about fantasy and reality. Our Clients come to us with a dream, with a goal, with a mission, with a desire. They probably have a fantasy version of it. Not that we want to take that fantasy away from them, we actually want to ground it in reality. We also probably have a fantasy version of who we think we should be when we’re coaching.
00:08:47 Who do you think you should be? Do you think you should be calm, cool, and collected, and know every answer, and be able to share really deep, and be really thoughtful? Fantasy versus reality is a theme in coaching, and it’s about you as a Coach, and it’s about your Clients. What we get to do is actually take the dream of our own ability to coach as well as our Client’s dream out of the fantasy realm and ground it in reality. That’s the point I’m getting to, about asking the questions, being present to their inner journey so that you can be the best Coach that can be so that they can fulfill their dreams.
00:09:25 I’m going to go back to what type of Coach do you want to be? If you only want to be a Business Coach, or a Finance Coach, or a Health Coach and don’t want to get into your own inner journey, then I guarantee you’re going to be tripped up by your own inner journey. I guarantee that you are going to blame the Client. You’re going to feel frustrated with the Client. You are going to be irritated with the Client because they’re not going to get something. It’s one of the things that I hear all the time is Coaches talking about, “Why is my Client resistant? They’re paying me all this money and they’re resistant.” If your Client is resistant, that means they need coaching. They don’t need orders, and they don’t need direction, they need coaching. What is coaching? Being willing to dive into their inner life and in the journey.
00:10:11 I’m going to say this. Let me say it this way. Let me just back up from a minute. Your opportunity to be a Coach is to become really clear on examining yourself on what’s yours and what’s theirs. When you honor your own failures, you can honor theirs. When you can honor your victories, you can give inspiration and hope. When you honor those failures, the gift inside of that is that you expand, if you’re willing, your compassion and empathy and understanding. So that you understand what it takes for somebody to go from a seed of a dream to making it happen.
00:11:02 Let me just tell you the truth, you’re never done. As a Coach, you’re never done. Your opportunity to become the best Coach you can be is actually a devotion to your own inner world. If you want to cut off your feelings and only work from the head up, your coaching will be cut off from your heart. If you want to not talk about things that are uncomfortable for you but the Client needs to, again, it disses your coaching.
00:11:40 In Season One and Season Two I talked at length about the difference between a Therapist and a Coach, and there definitely is a line. I’m just going to quickly review it now, but I really invite you to specifically go and listen to Season Two. I have a whole Episode on “Therapy versus Coaching.” I am not saying to you to become a Therapist inside your coaching. What I am asking you to do is don’t be afraid to feel and don’t be afraid to talk about feelings. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that are difficult. Don’t be afraid to go to difficult places for your Client. Are you going to psychoanalyze them? No. Are you going to prescribe medication? No. Are you going to talk about somatic work, unless you’re a somatic therapist? No. You might refer it, but you’re not going to get into it.
00:12:28 Your capacity to coach equals your capacity to be fearless in your own journey. That is the most important thing that I want to talk about today is just to remind you that the making of a Coach is not just tools and skills. Those are important. You need tools, you need a toolbox filled with tools that you can whip out any time, and you need the skills, the communication skills specifically as well as coaching skills. Beyond that, you need the courage to face yourself. When you are willing to bring your inner journey, to bring your own process, your emotional process into your life, you’re going to be a better and better Coach.
00:13:24 Don’t turn away from your fears, and don’t turn away from your conflict, and don’t turn away from the things that scare the bejeebers out of you in your own life. Don’t cut yourself off from your neck down and just be thinking. Coaching is not thinking. Coaching is feeling your way through. And yes, you get to use your head and ask great questions and knowing when to ask those questions. We’ll talk about that in a bit.
00:13:52 First and foremost, the making of a Coach must include your dedication and commitment and devotion to your own inner world. If you say yes to that, then keep listening to this Season. If you’re saying no to that, then this Season may or may not support you because that’s what I’m going to ask you to do. I’m going to ask you to go deeper. I’m going to ask you to face yourself because this Season is all about the making of a Coach. Hopefully, you’ll join me in Episode Two. I’ll see you there.