Are you meant to be a life coach?

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00:00:27 Welcome to Master Coach Mindset™ podcast. I’m your host, Rhonda Britten. We are in Season Three and Season Three is all about the making of a coach. Today’s Episode is all about deep listening and getting centered. Now, there’s a new phrase that I’ve been hearing, this deep listening, and what I really think deep listening is listening beyond words and having effective communication and effective coping skills includes that “listening beyond words,” but we’ll get there more in a minute. Today’s Episode is all about deep listening and staying centered because that’s what your coaching Session must start with is centered, focused, listening.
00:01:10 Your ability to stay focused on the topic at hand is critical to keep that through the line of integration, and embodiment, and awakeness, and not get the Client off base but to keep that thread going. So your ability to stay focused on your Client rather than listening to your own thoughts and paying attention to your own feelings and really being able to stay focused on the Client is critical. Staying centered. Staying centered in your body and staying centered in the Session, again, essential. And then, of course, listening to beyond what the Client is saying. The literal words even though those are important and we’ll get to that in a bit, but listening beyond the words so that you hear for intention and you asked those questions, and you wonder what they mean those definitions as we talked about in Season Two.
00:02:00 How do we define words? What is our Client really saying? In Season Two, I talked a lot about listening. So make sure you go back to Season Two, and there’s a whole Episode just on listening. Because today’s Episode, like I said, is about staying centered, deep listening, and your ability to stay focused. Get centered. Let me give you some tips in order to help you stay centered. One: arrive in your office five minutes before your Session. Don’t rush to your Session. Don’t get there at getting in by the seat of your pants. Make sure you’re there prepared, have your white piece of paper, have your pen ready to go.
00:02:38 Think of the five minutes before your Session as a time to relax and get centered. To really focus on releasing you from the past and moving you passed your day and stopping your distractions and actually getting into the moment and being present and centered. One of the ways to help you do this is immediately be attentive to the space around you. I train my Coaches in my Life Coach Certification Program™ to start paying attention to their office because wherever you’re having your Session, whether it’s in your car, and hopefully you won’t have too many there, or it’s an office, or your spare bedroom, or your kitchen, or your living room, you’ve got to create an environment to help you stay focused.
00:03:19 I train my coaches to take every single thing off their desk. The only thing I want on their desk is a white piece of paper and a pen. I don’t necessarily want them to be typing. I find typing distractive for many Clients, and again, you can test this with a friend to see your typing keyboard if it’s loud and may distract from the Client, and it also can distract you depending on your ability to type and listen at the same time. I invite you to pay attention to that, and really it’s about creating an environment where it enhances naturally your ability to stay centered, stay focused, and be attentive to listening. What does your office look like? Where are you having your Sessions? What can you erase? Is your son walking in the house?
00:04:04 You’re in the middle of your daughter’s bedroom and starting to get distracted by what she has on the wall? Be Attentive. How you set yourself up helps your Client feel safe. I’m going to say that again because that’s super important. Your ability to stay centered on your Client is determined many times by the environment for which we live, which we’re hanging out when we’re having our Sessions, and your ability to stay centered will increase your Client’s trust in you and their ability to feel safe. I want you to go through your environment where you have your Sessions with a fine tooth comb. What is catching your eye? What is distracting you? What are you getting focused on? Where’s your phone? Put it away.
00:04:50 Don’t even have it in your presence. Don’t even have it on the table. Do you know that research has shown that, I can’t remember the stat exactly, but let’s say 72%. It’s a crazy number. I wouldn’t even say it’s higher than that, but I’m making it up right now because I don’t have the stat in front of me, but it’s like 72% intimacy is decreased with a phone on the table even though it’s upside down. Well, you will also get distracted by your phone on the table even though you’re not looking at it, but it is within eyeshot, like you can see it. It will distract you. It’ll have that thought go through you wondering if I’m missing a call, oh wonder what I need to check. Put your phone away. Put it in a drawer so you can’t see it.
00:05:32 Also, what I really encourage you to do is have snacks, drinks, whatever you need in order to make yourself feel safe and comfortable in that environment. I don’t want you to have to run to the kitchen to get a glass of water if you start coughing. I want you to have everything there that you need. Whether it’s Kleenex, water, chewing gum, which by the way I don’t advise, but for some people, they need it as some soft snacks so that right after the Session you can feel rejuvenated. Because not only is the office for you during your Session, it’s also in between your Sessions. Let’s say you have three Sessions back to back with 15 minutes in between.
00:06:06 Those 15 minutes, what are you going to do to prepare? How are you going to take care of yourself to help you stay centered in the middle of those Sessions? I think new Coaches, and I think Coaches that have been around for decades, don’t necessarily give their time in between Sessions to do what’s needed. You’ve got to find a way to support yourself, to feel nurtured, to feel cared for, to feel centered in between Sessions to relax, to connect with yourself, to reflect so that you can be fresh and present with your Clients. Put some things where you’re having your Session so you don’t have to necessarily run out.
00:06:48 Let’s say you go late with a Client because of an emergency, they want to talk about something, and it’s going over. You don’t want to have to for sure go into the other room to get the things. Make sure you have everything you need where you are. Setting up the office is actually quite critical and supportive and proactive for you to stay centered. Again, go through your office wherever you have your Sessions whether it’s the kitchen, whether it’s the living room, whether it’s the front of your car, and go through with a fine tooth comb; what distracts you and eliminate it.
00:07:20 Like I tell my Clients, white piece of paper and a pen, that’s all I want them to have. And sure, when your first training you may need your cheat sheet of three to five questions and I’ll be sharing those three to five questions that are really the “easy” things you should memorize no matter what to have at the tip of your tongue in case you paralyze or freeze. You want to be able to pull out one of those five questions. That should really be the only things on your desk or on the surface in front of you. Otherwise, you won’t stay centered on your Client. You’re going to get distracted, and your Client knows, feels it, may not say anything but can feel the disconnect between you and them.
00:07:58 I mean just imagine what happens in your own family when you are distracted. When you’re talking to your son or daughter or mate or partner, you’re distracted, and they know it and what do they do? They walk away, or they clamor for your attention, or they say, “why aren’t you paying attention to me,” and you know what? They’re right. Your Client probably won’t say, “why aren’t you paying attention to me,” but they’re going to feel it and they’re going to fire you. Again, one thing to help you stay centered is pay attention to your office.
00:08:32 Second thing I want to discuss today is first impressions. They always say, you only have one chance to make a first impression. And that impression for your Client is going to automatically start the trust, automatically start the connection, automatically going to support them in feeling connected to you or not. The first impression. I want you to go to your website as if you are the Client. Not you. Not you looking at your site going, “Oh, it’s a great picture of me,” or “Oh, I hate my site,” whatever your thoughts are. I want you to really look at your website as if you are a first time Client and know nothing about you. Is there something about you on your website that makes them feel connected or is there some family photos or photos that put you in an environment that looks like you’re centered, relaxing, caring?
00:09:17 Do you have something revealing on your website? Something intimate? Something transparent so they know that you’ve done some inner work? Again, it’s not about spilling every story you have or spilling your guts. It’s about having something on your website that includes a level of connection and trust. And also that phone call. How do they reach out to you? Is it on your Contact Us page? Is there a button to schedule an appointment? How do they reach out to you? Be attentive to that. Many times a first time Client, until they’re a Client, won’t click that button to schedule an appointment. That’s still too scary.
00:09:53 They actually want to just connect with you whether it’s via email or via text and you have to ask yourself, wait a minute, what do I have available? Do I have email available, text available, or do I just have my link on there, so it’s an anonymous scheduling? Be attentive to that. That can feel cold for some people. They don’t feel connected to that. I want you to look at your website and really see through the eyes of your Client whether you feel that warm, focused, compassionate, connected, and whatever your “brand” is, whatever your style is. If you’re tough love, great. Make sure it says tough love all over it. Not literally, but it gives that feeling. Gives that connection.
00:10:33 Also, I want to pay attention to the first impression of the first time you get on the phone with them or through an email, or through a text. You don’t get another chance to make a first impression. I’ll say it again and say it again and say it again. You don’t get a second chance. I want that first impression, your tone on the phone, to be the same as it is in therapy. Excuse me, I’m going to say that again. Your tone on the phone, I want it to be the same as if you were in a coaching Session.
00:11:04 I want them to feel that warmth, that connection, that respect that you feel confident that you’re there for them. And ask them questions like, have they ever had coaching before? What is their experience with coaching? What do they want to get out of coaching? What is it they’re looking for? What is the problem they’re trying to solve and haven’t been able to solve? What have they tried to do to solve it? Get to know them. This first Session, and I mean this first conversation because it’s not even a Session yet, this first conversation of just the first impression is critical for your Client to feel connected and trust you, so be attentive. It’s not a time to be distracted.
00:11:44 Don’t call somebody when you’re eating a burrito at Taco Bell to try to return their call real fast and don’t make up the excuse of like, “Oh yeah, I’m in the middle of blah, blah, blah, and I’m just going to call you real fast,” because that’s how they’re going to feel. They’re going to feel that they have to be fit in and that you don’t have the time for them. Be attentive. Get yourself in a centered, committed, loving place before you make that first impression call. Same thing with an email, same thing with the text. One of the key things that I hope you heard about the office and making that first phone call, or that first email, or text is I want you to tune out distractions.
00:12:22 So many times our ability to stay focused is the difference between our Client trusting us or not. Your job is to actually increase your ability to be able to be distraction-less. Not get distracted. What is your capacity to tune out distractions? How easy is it for you to get distracted by the phone, distracted by the TV, distracted by what’s going on around you? You want to increase that in yourself. Remember in Episode One of Season Three I talked all about your inner journey. And your inner journey about admitting to yourself, again Episode Two is about the path of ignorance, to admit to yourself like, “Wow, I get really distracted by my phone. Wow, I get really distracted if the TV’s on. Wow, I get really distracted if somebody walks in the door.”
00:13:08 You’ve got to know that about yourself. You’ve got to know that about yourself so that you can start increasing your ability to not be distracted. Again, you’ve got to tune out distractions, be able to stay focused and centered, whether it’s on a Session call or whether it’s on that first call. What you’ve given that first call translates to the first Session and everybody wants your time, attention, warmth, commitment, and compassion. Number three: labeling. Your job, remember Episode One where I talked about your inner journey, you must be attentive to no labeling, no bias. Is that going to be easy? Of course it’s not, and that’s where deep listening comes in.
00:13:49 Your ability to listen beyond your own judgments, beyond your own labeling, beyond your own bias, and the job you have. The opportunity you have is actually to wake up to those biases, to wake up to those labeling that you do, wake up to your judgments so that you can put them to the side and be focused on your Client. To be centered with your Client. To be there for your Client and who your Client chooses to be, and wants to be, and is born to be. Rather than judging them, labeling them, and putting your biases upon them. When you do that, you can’t listen because you’re listening to your own filters, your own judgments, your own labels, and your own bias.
00:14:28 Again, I want to just reflect back in Episode One in this Season Three is that this is an opportunity for you to grow. Your Clients are giving you the huge opportunity to become awake to where, “Oh wow, I am distracted. Wow, I’m not centered. Wow, I got discombobulated.” That’s an opportunity for you to grow, not an opportunity for you to beat yourself up. I’m going to say that again. It’s not an opportunity for you to beat yourself up. It’s an opportunity for you to become awake. “Wow, my awareness level. I thought I was an eight but I’m really a six. Wow, I thought I was really focused but really I’m a two.”
00:15:07 Know that about yourself. And then as I shared in a previous episode, move from comparing yourself from six months ago to now and start seeing your growth and transformation. Just like your Client. It’s not about going from zero to 10 and living in a fantasy of who you think you should be as a Coach, but to be really clear in the reality of how you’re showing up as a Coach so that you can grow and learn and be that centered, focused, attentive, warm, compassionate Coach that everyone seeks. Regardless if that’s for health, or business, or finances, or for life. Everybody wants compassion. Even if they want tough love, they still want that tough love. Not tough, but tough love.
00:15:48 They want it straight, but they want compassion. Which brings me to the fourth thing I want to talk about which is: be straight. Don’t go on and on when you’re listening. We get caught up in, “Oh, now I’m going to say what I think or I’m going to reflect back what I heard,” and we go on and on and say this big old, long sentence that’s for, “Well, what I’m really hearing right now is that you’re really scared to move forward in your relationship with your boyfriend because it brings up what your mother feels and you’re worried about your mother’s judgments, and then it reminds you about your father’s abandonment.” Okay, they’ve lost you. Boom. They’ve lost you. Instead, you can just simply say, “Wow, it sounds like you’re scared.” Be simple, be direct, and be loving.
00:16:37 Remember, it’s really important that you pay attention to your biases, your judgments, your labeling because we do not want to label our Clients. It puts them in a handy dandy place to save ourselves some energy, but it does not help them. Then we want to be able to be present and centered with our Clients, to be direct with our Clients, and you know it if you are. You know if you’re a talker, right? I can totally be a talker, right? I can say one sentence and I can make it ten sentences as you’ve probably gathered sometimes, and your opportunity is to start practicing and honing that in. Can you say what you need to say in one sentence, or two sentences, or three sentences rather than ten sentences, or a paragraph, or a page?
00:17:25 The clearer you are, the more your Client can have the awakening, the insight, the aha. You want to give them the opportunity to have that rather than get lost in your long reflection back to them. And I just briefly want to talk about readiness, your Client’s readiness. Your Client has paid you some money to work with you and they say they’re ready. And let’s just say between me and you, we know that they’re really not. Now, don’t get me wrong 10% of our Clients, they’re totally ready. They are born ready, they’re going to be amazing Clients, they’re going to do everything we say, they’re going to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, they do other homework, it’s going to be Amazing.
00:18:04 Ten maybe 20%, maybe 25%, maybe even 30%, but pretty much everybody else actually needs coaching to get themselves ready, to move them forward in why they hired you. Just because somebody hired you and said they’re ready doesn’t mean they’re actually ready. Just like probably you said when you decided you were going to become a Coach. You probably were like, “I know this was meant for me. I know I want to do it,” but then as you started your training or maybe like I said, you’ve been a Coach for three to five years already and you’re starting to realize, “Oh my God, coaching is way more than I thought it was.” Exactly.
00:18:42 Every single Client of yours can only come in with what they know, what you’ve told them, what’s on your website, what you’ve discussed, but that’s all they know. And they don’t really know what they’re getting themselves into, and they don’t really know what’s holding them back, and they don’t really know all the beliefs, and feelings, and memories, and sensations that are going to be moving through their body, and heart, and mind as you’re coaching them. Again, going back to be centered, be focused, compassion, and listen. They want to be ready. They just probably aren’t. Not because they’re lying to you, but because they have no idea what’s been holding them back. Be gentle, be gentle, be gentle.
00:19:23 Let’s talk about silence. Your ability to live and be in the silence with your Client. It’s a reflection of how much in silence you can be with yourself. How comfortable are you in the silence? If you’re having a difficult conversation with those you love, or those you care about. Can you sit in the silence and allow the silence just to be until somebody is ready to speak? Or do you get anxious and uncomfortable and feel like something needs to be said? Well, that anxiety and that discomfort is going to show up with your Clients. I want you to practice expanding and extending your ability to sit in the silence.
00:20:01 Bill, one of my coaches, always tells the story about the length of time he has sat in silence with his Clients and I think he was telling me about a time that it was about seven minutes. Imagine asking your Client a question and you not saying a word for seven minutes. That sometimes is the greatest gift you can give to a Client, the silence so that they can be with their own experience. They can be with their own thoughts and feelings that they don’t feel rushed, that they can go up and down, and be thinking and feeling, and just all over the place and then land somewhere and share that landing with you.
00:20:41 All I’ve experienced is that 99.9% of the time I sit in the silence, my Client is grateful for that silence. It allows them to self-discover and come up with their own solutions, and come up with their own insights and awarenesses. If you want to be a deep listener, you must be able and willing to sit in the silence no matter how long that is. So that, my friend, is a great place to practice.
00:21:09 QUESTION OF THE DAY:
The question of the day is: how long can you sit in silence? How long can you sit in silence? And I want you to test yourself this week. Have some conversations and not say a word and see what people say. Again, some people that know you will be like, “What’s the problem? Why aren’t just picking up?”
00:21:27 Well, make sure you ask a question, and not say anything, and let the other person speak. And then ask a question or say something and let the other person speak, and allow that space. Again, your uncomfortableness with the space will show up with your Client, and we want to be comfortable because we don’t want to be in our stuff. We don’t want our neuroses, fears, anxieties, worries, uncomfortableness to decide our Sessions. We want our Clients and their process to be in the lead, not our fears, and anxieties, and worries. Today, I’ve talked a lot about little tips and tools and skills about listening, and I really invite you to go to Season Two and grab the Episode on listening as well.
00:22:13 There is so much information about listening and I’m going to just say right now. Probably in every Episode of Master Coach Mindset, I talk at some point about listening whether it’s giving a tool, or a tip, or a skill because listening is so critical. And we’re also bad at it because the world is filled with distractions. Your capacity to meditate, your capacity to do a repetitive chanting, maybe a mantra, maybe go outside and listen to the wind with no music. But to be in the silence is deeply healing to your own soul and to your Clients.
00:22:51 Listen. Listen beyond words. Next Episode we’re going to talk a little bit about intuition and knowing the difference between when to speak up, when to interrupt, etc., when not to as well as, “Is intuition the way to run a Session?” I’ll answer that an Episode Four.
Until then, always, always Be Fearless.