Are you meant to be a life coach?

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00:00:43 Hi, Rhonda Britten, Master Coach Mindset™ podcast, and I am so excited that you’re here in Season Three: The Making of a Coach. Today is Episode Two: “The Path of Ignorance.” Yay, because as you are walking into the journey of becoming a Coach, the making of a Coach, part of that journey is actually a surrender to ignorance, your ignorance. What you are ignorant of, and maybe what you don’t want to face, but the path of ignorance is something that you are going to get to know very well in your decision, and your commitment, and your devotion to be a Life Coach.
00:01:25 Now, like I said before, there’s all different types of Coaches, but this podcast is devoted to coaching the “Art of Coaching.” Ignorance is one of our lovely things we get to face every day, because one of the ways that we become better Coaches is to actually admit that we do need supervision. That we do need that perspective from somebody else. We do need that experience given to us and heaped upon us by that supervised mentor. I want you to, perhaps, admit to yourself like I did. I eventually did when I finally realized that becoming a Coach was maybe something that I wanted to do even though for the first year I was going, “No way, I can’t be a Coach, who do I think I am.”
00:02:13 When I finally surrendered to it, it became imperative that I had supervision. That I had a mentor that had walked this path before me many, many times and maybe perhaps many, many years. Somebody who was trained at creating more transparency in my life, more openness and of course to create a feedback loop so that I wouldn’t fool myself. That I didn’t pretend I knew what I didn’t know. I think that’s the trap of any self-help and healing professional is you get in the trap of, “I have to be an expert,” or, “I should be an expert,” or “I’ve got to pretend I’m an expert.”
00:02:47 When you are acting like an expert, you lose the ability to say, “I don’t know.” One of the ways that we help our Clients the most and stay in our own lane, i.e. in our own self development, in our own learning, is to admit what we don’t know. It’s not about knowing everything and it’s not about being an expert at everything, it’s about the courage and the ability to say, “I don’t know,” when you don’t know.
00:03:12 One of the tools that you can use to move from out of the “expert” mind into the “I don’t know” mind, is actually compare yourself. This is a little exercise I’m giving you. You can actually compare yourself from how you coach six months ago to how you coach now. Using the model of comparison can support you in acknowledging your growth and transformation as a Coach, but not fooling yourself into thinking that you’re an expert and you have to know everything.
00:03:43 I think that is one of the ways that Coaches, Therapist, and any healing professional sets a trap for themselves. When you consider yourself the expert and you’re the best of the best of the best and nobody knows more than you do, then you can’t learn. You cut off that ability to connect. You cut off that ability to learn. I’ve been in that trap, absolutely, a few times in my career. I mean, I’ve been coaching since 1995 and there have been times when there was me and three other people coaching, and I was the most well-known Coach in the world since I was the first Life Coach on television. I could have easily and at moments definitely got caught in, “I know more than everybody else,” but in fact I never knew more than anybody else and I still don’t know more than anybody else. I just know a lot and I want to share it with you.
00:04:32 I also want to share the pitfalls of where I’ve gotten trapped as a Coach in my 20 plus years of being one. It is so easy to get caught in a trap of what you think you should be as a Coach versus where you really are as a Coach. A tool, I should say, that you can use is instead of looking for, “I’m an expert,” or, “I have to be the best,” instead, just look at the comparison of where you were six months ago to where you are now. Use that to boost your self-esteem, to increase your confidence, and to know that you are learning and that you are growing and that you are on that path.
00:05:09 I want you to get very familiar with the words, “I don’t know.” I don’t know. I don’t know. When your Clients ask you questions and you don’t know the answer, “I don’t know.” And then turn it back on them and ask them to do research. I don’t give answers to my Clients. When they asked me, “Well, what do I do?” I turn it back on them, because part of our opportunity as Coaches is to give our Clients the pride of self-discovery. I’m going to say that again because that’s really important. We get to give the gift of the pride of self-discovery. Our Clients. We’re not here to give our Clients answers, we’re here to actually have them discover themselves and by our questioning, and by our willingness to listen, and by our willingness to stay centered, and respectful, and warm, and focused, they have permission to self-discover. That’s one of the gifts that we give them, and we receive ourselves when we go through coaching or therapy, or work with any helping, or healing professional.
00:06:13 “I don’t know.” I want you to become really familiar with it. Go ahead and say it now. “I don’t know, Rhonda.” “I don’t know, Frank.” “I don’t know, Jonathan.” “I don’t know.” Get comfortable with it. If you are a perfectionist and if you’re afraid of looking stupid, saying “I don’t know” will be very difficult for you. So, start using it in your everyday conversations and admit, “Where do you want to go to dinner?” “I don’t know.” Even though you do, practice saying, “I don’t know.” The more comfortable you are with “I don’t know,” the more you’ll avoid the trap of expert and perfectionist and you can actually be present for your Client.
00:06:54 Here’s some questions to ask yourself to check to see if you were in the “I know everything” rut. Number One: are you rejecting supervision? Do you think that you don’t need feedback on your Sessions? Has anyone ever listened to your Sessions and gave you feedback? If you’re not open to feedback and if you’re not being supervised by a trained mentor, I bet that you might be getting caught or lured in to the “I have to be an expert” rut. If you do that, I’m telling you, your coaching will be compromised.
00:07:26 Number Two: do you believe that how you live your life is the right way to live? Now, I know all of us are susceptible to that at some level, because we’re living our life the way we are, correct? We want our life to be the right way so to speak, but if you believe that you’re living your life the right way, you’re not going to have a lot of room for your Clients to choose their way. Remember, we’re not here to give our Clients our opinions or have them become clones of us, we’re here to support them in becoming who they’re meant to be. What their soul intends.
00:07:57 Number Three: do you believe it’s your job to wake up your Client, to see things your way? Do you believe that it’s your job to get them off the evil path or the wrong path? When you think that way you are in judgment, and of course you’re once again thinking you’re right and they’re wrong. Oh, by the way, if they just followed you and lived the way that you lived to justify your existence, oh by the way, that’s all about you, not about them. Then you’re not coaching. You’re actually kind of a form of bullying, and you are definitely judging your Clients.
00:08:31 It’s not about having your Clients see the light. If that’s what you think your job is, then you’re not actually there for your Clients, you’re there for yourself. And I have to tell you, you’re probably having a savior complex, wanting to save people. Now, we’re all susceptible to saving people because we want to make a difference, but be attentive. If you’re trying to be somebody’s savior, you’re not actually supporting them in becoming who they’re meant to be. And you’re actually treating them that there’s something wrong with them.
00:09:06 Number Four: do you feel like you’re a failure if you don’t get praise from your Client? Like if they don’t go, “Oh my gosh, Sally, you had just asked me the best question.” What if your Client never says your name or thanks you the whole Session? Are you okay with that or do you leave that Session feeling a little unseen, a little invisible, a little like, “What the heck, don’t they know I did all this work for them?” Well, if you’re doing it that way and want to get praised by your Client, then you’re probably not there for your Client, you’re actually there for you.
00:09:39 Remember, not that we’re not going to get, let me put it this way, not that we’re not going to get benefits from coaching, of course we do, right? We must be there in service to our Client, not to our service, to our own ego. So, be attentive. If you’re having a bummer of a Session, or don’t feel seen, or don’t feel appreciated after a Session because your Client didn’t thank you, praise you, say something about how great this work is, then you’re probably coaching to build up your own ego. To build up your own self-importance. You’re not really there for your Client after all.
00:10:27 As a Coach, you must be always be willing to re-examine your feelings, your thoughts, your behaviors. Because remember how I started this episode, was ignorance. This Episode is called, “The Path of Ignorance.” We actually want to admit that we’re ignorant, and we want to actually be excited about discovering where we are ignorant. When we have those ahas and insights, and when we’re willing to re-examine our feelings, re-examine our thoughts, re-examine our beliefs, re-examine our actions, then we’re actually admitting to ourselves, “You know what, I didn’t have all the information I needed.” “You know what, I didn’t know this about myself last week.” “You know what, I didn’t realize this.” And then you can incorporate all that new learning and all that new awakening and be able to use that as you move forward.
00:11:13 This is the trick, right? As most of as have self-help junkies, again self-examination, again, that perfectionism that I know. Actually, this is where it hurts us, it haunts us. Your Wheel of Fear is always trying to lead you to safety. The problem is that safety of the past, safety of what you know. Remember, this Episode as I just said, is “The Path of Ignorance.” We want to embrace ignorance. We want to embrace the “I don’t know.” Because the more that we can embrace the “I don’t know” and actually feel the feelings and experience it, the more we’re going to open our hearts, have compassion, be transparent and be able to be there more fully and completely for our Clients.
00:11:51 We’ll have more empathy, we’ll have more compassion, we’ll have more openheartedness. Your job is to be curious about your beliefs, and feelings, and thoughts. And not so much so because I know there’s probably somebody raising their hand right now thinking to themselves, “Rhonda, I do that all the time. I never trust myself.” Well, that’s a different situation. Right now I’m talking to the people or talking to you in your life where you do want to be the expert. And maybe you feel confused, and all the other parts of your life, but maybe you’re coaching. You want to be the expert. Be Attentive.
00:12:24 It’s great to be an expert. It’s great to know a lot. But always every expert, everyone that’s at the top of their game knows that they know nothing because as you learn more, the more you know, the more you know absolutely nothing. So, the path of ignorance is one you must embrace and be excited about. I know for me, this is a constant stream of excitement for me, because I love realizing, “Oh my God, I never had that thought before. Oh my God, I never had that feeling before. Oh my God.”
00:12:54 I mean, I remember the first time I felt jealous in my life. I was in my 30s and I’m sure maybe I felt jealous a little bit growing up, but jealousy wasn’t a feeling that I probably was allowed to feel or that I could feel, so I just never felt jealous. At least I never admitted it to myself. And then one day I had been coaching and I wasn’t a Coach yet, there was no such thing as coaching. I had been helping a friend of mine, basically learn her process before I ever did what I do today.
00:13:31 We were both actresses and we’re sitting at a café. For six years I would meet her and I would explain what I was learning about myself. What I was learning in therapy, or books, or workshops, or what I was doing. And introduce her to consultants, or tapes, or whatever was whatever I was doing. About six years after we’re doing this, she looks at me and she goes, “Oh, I’m going to start teaching a class,” and I went, “Excuse me.” I mean, I’d been basically beating my head against the wall for six years trying to get her to get this, and she’s looking at me going, “Yeah, I’m going to teach this class, because I really realized that I know this stuff and I’m going to teach a class on it.”
00:14:12 Okay. I saw red. I was insane. I was like, “What! I’ve been teaching you this for six years. What are you talking about you’re going to teach a class?” It made me realize I was just jealous beyond belief. I realized that my jealousy was actually pointing to me, pointing inside of me to a place where I was really unhealed. I think the difference was, for me, is in that moment when I was so jealous, I had the awareness, thank God, to not beat myself up for it.
00:14:51 I think in the past what I would’ve done is, I would’ve said to myself, “You should not be jealous. Jealousy is bad and you should be grateful for what you have, and the fact that you’re feeling jealous just shows how small minded you are.” And I would have beat myself up, put myself down, and made myself wrong for feeling jealous, and I would have told myself not to feel it. I wouldn’t have learned what I needed to learn from it.
00:15:19 Instead of beating myself up, and putting myself down, and telling myself, “Don’t you dare be jealous, that’s a horrible thing. You’re a horrible person for being jealous,” I said, “Wow, I am jealous. This is crazy.” What is jealousy trying to tell me? What jealousy was trying to tell me, it was pointing to something that I wanted to secretly do, but I didn’t have the courage to do. And my friend in her blind ignorance, just decided to start teaching a class on it, and I was like, “Excuse me, I taught you that, I want to teach a class.”
00:15:51 I didn’t have the confidence, the courage, the wherewithal, the ability to give myself permission until I got jealous. And when I got jealous, I was able to look at myself and go, “Wow Rhonda, you’re waiting for some external permission. You’re waiting for some magical miracle to show up to give you permission. You’re waiting for some moment.” I mean, in some ways I didn’t even know I wanted to teach the class yet. I just was helping my friend and I thought that’s what I wanted.
00:16:22 Only until she said she was going to teach a class did I recognize that there was something here for me that I wanted. So, jealousy was a great teacher of mine, and jealousy and all those other feelings and thoughts that you have, those beliefs that you have and our Clients have, are great teachers. When we get stuck in refusing to self-examine or refusing to get feedback or refusing to look at ourselves with clear eyes, we will put ourselves down and blame ourselves for those feelings, thoughts and beliefs that we’re having.
00:16:56 Instead of going, “Wow, what is this teaching me?” Jealousy has been one of my greatest teacher and I’m so grateful that I got super jealous because it gave me a new understanding of what mattered to me, and what I was really meant to do. It actually gave me a little push towards coaching. I wasn’t a Coach yet, but it gave me a little push, gave me a little push that way. And when everything fell in and I started moving towards that, other things happened. But, jealousy was one of the key factors for me to start noticing that maybe teaching was in my future in some way. So again, you have to be willing to look at yourself, examine yourself, examine those feelings and not run away.
00:17:39 It’s the same with beliefs. Beliefs are based on, many times, incorrect, faulty information and we create a whole belief system. In many ways, those beliefs really are cemented into place to keep ourselves feeling and believing we’re right. And that’s not just because we’re doing it, it was taught to us by our parents, our culture, our education, our religion, etc. Because feeling right, feels safe. Well, we as Coaches want to walk the path of ignorance, and that means we have to be willing to be wrong about everything.
00:18:14 Remember, you’re not the savior of your Clients, you’re there to support your Clients. To give them compassion, to have respect, to help them stay focused, give them warmth and acceptance and love. That’s our job, and they will then self-discover on their own through our questioning, through the feedback that we give them, and through our connection.
00:18:36 And lastly, I’ll end here. The more that you accept yourself, the more that you are okay with this, the more you’re going to be able to accept your Clients. In the sacred space of acceptance is where our Clients can take off the burdens of their past. Where they can reveal what they really want in life, and they can let go, and let loose of all those things that they’re hanging on so desperately for to keep safe. They can truly go for their dreams, and they can truly get what they want, and they will no longer be held back by fear. So the more you accept yourself, the more you accept your Clients, and the more you’re creating that sacred space that they can bloom.
I am so excited to be talking to you next week in Episode Three of Season Three of Master Coach Mindset podcast. And as always, Be Fearless.