Are you meant to be a life coach?

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Welcome to Season Four of Master Coach Mindset™. Hi, my name is Rhonda Britten and this Season I’ll be opening up my archives and sharing the most popular questions I’ve received over the last two decades from Coaches just like you. Whether it’s about the “Art of Coaching” or addressing your Clients’ questions about relationships, career, and self.
Plus, I’m going to be answering your questions that you have right now about your practice and your Clients. So go ahead and ask me anything at In today’s episode, I’ll be sharing my answers straight from the archives. The topic today, your Client and their relationship to self.

Rhonda: Is Maureen on the line?
Maureen: Yes, I am. This is Maureen.
Rhonda: Hey, Maureen. This is Rhonda. How can I support you?
Maureen: Hi, Rhonda. What I wanted to discuss with you was … I find that I tend to let the story go on a little bit long with my Clients.
Rhonda: What’s the value of that?
Maureen: Well, I really came to coaching because I am a place where I feel like people can be really heard and they can hear themselves. And so I find sometimes there’s just lots of value there. And then I feel like sometimes I’m falling into the “good friend listening to someone’s story” roll and hearing the reporting of what they did in the last week. But, in that time that we had together, it’s not the most valuable use. But, I’m not sure it’s some of my own fears that keep me interrupting. I just wanted to talk to you a bit about that, getting a little better at trusting when to jump in, and interrupt, and ask.
Rhonda: Well, for instance, is it okay to ask clarity because you’re their Coach?
Maureen: Yes.
Rhonda: Okay. Can you think of it as asking for clarity?
Maureen: Asking for clarity. Yeah.
Rhonda: Because let’s say they say, “Well, Tom was really mean to me,” “Well, what would you mean by that?” “Well, he told me that I wasn’t smart.” “Does he do that often?” Now, you’re taking a little bit of a story and you’re seeking clarity.
Maureen: Right.
Rhonda: Because, do they know what they’re saying? No. 99% of the time, people that are storytellers have no idea what’s coming out of their mouth. Your job is to reflect back to them the ways that they keep the story alive and the words they use, the inconsistencies so they can find meaning in their own stories. Now, I’m going to preface this with if you have somebody that never tells a story and then they all of a sudden tell a story, I keep my mouth shut and listen because this is the first time they’re actually sharing one.
Maureen: Right.
Rhonda: I am going to be hooting and hollering no matter what they tell me.
Maureen: Got you.
Rhonda: But, for the people who are storytellers, your job is to help them gain value from their stories. Just telling the story has no value per se in the big picture.
Maureen: Right.
Rhonda: People that tell story after story after story-
Maureen: I guess I didn’t phrase it … there are some Clients like that but not too many. But, sometimes, the initial part of the call-
Rhonda: How do you start your call?
Maureen: “What do you want to focus on this week?” is how I usually try to start it.
Rhonda: Okay. Well, focus on this week, then that does not reflect last week. So how do they start telling you stories about last week?
Maureen: Well, sometimes I don’t get that out in time or I haven’t prefixed it enough. I think that’s what happens is they just kind of launch, “Oh I got all these great things to tell you.”
Rhonda: “Okay, tell me one of them.”
Maureen: That’s how you would like …
Rhonda: If they’re storytellers, I’m going to say, “Tell me one and tell me the essence.” I’m going to start training them on communicating powerfully because them telling me a long story is watering down their message. And they’re not actually using their full potential in communication with their friends and family if this is what they do. So you’re going to support them and getting to the essence. So the next time you might start a call, your coaching call and you go, “I want to hear one thing and I want you to tell me the essence of the one thing that was significant for you last week, Or was insightful last week, or transformative last week,” or whatever word you use. And therefore they can only tell you one and then they also have to tell you the essence. And if they start telling you this long story you go, “I’m sorry, I’m not understanding how this is the essence. Could you just clarify for me.”

Rhonda: “Well, I got to tell you this before that.” “Well, I don’t think so. Why don’t we just go to the essence and let me ask the questions in case I need more information.” “Well no you’ll never understand because …” I go, “You know what? Let’s just try this one time.” Or “go ahead and trust me,” or “go ahead and give it a shot.” Most people preference what they say to give their essence more meaning. So their essence of a standalone, they help us tell the whole story along with it to make sure it’s really valuable. And you could say to them also, “Well isn’t your essence enough?” “Well, you wont understand it.” “Are you sure?”
Maureen: Yeah that’s a great way of looking at it. Just really training them because it’s so valuable in life because we all know people that take too much time. Sometimes with something if we went right to the essence it would be so much easier discussion.
Rhonda: Well because one, for most of the time for most people it’s showing their security about how they have to have a lot of things happen and how it can add value. So if they tell the whole story, one they get to be heard, of course, but two they also get to explain why it’s important rather than it’s just important because it is. So it’s actually when you’re doing this, it’s a confidence builder because you’re teaching them that because they think it or because they feel it or because it’s important to them, it has value. They don’t have to explain it.
Maureen: Well, that’s really big. So it’s kind of the same way we were helping them see their own significance in life.
Rhonda: Exactly.
Maureen: Yeah, it’s like the same kind of thing of, you don’t have to give of supporting data.
Rhonda: Exactly. I’m notorious for asking people, “Are you telling me a story because …”
Maureen: And that’s telling me from … I mean, I hear it from you in a really good way. There’s something I think I’ve got my mind wrapped around. If I said something that like it sounds kind of mean or something. I don’t know.
Rhonda: Yeah. So you’re into people pleasing, so you’re more interested in being like then actually changing lives.
Maureen: Right.
Rhonda: See, one of the main components of me being a Coach is I’m not interested in being like, I don’t care about it. If I care about being liked, then I want to be their friend, I don’t want to be their coach.
Maureen: Right. And I knew this stuff but, where I was pushing around it, by the way. Because I remember I used friend earlier, but it’s like I just knew that I was … like there’s that kind of waffling from side to side.
Rhonda: Yeah, it’s like, that’s the seduction of coaching. A lot of us go into coaching because we transformed our own lives and we have so much love for it and so much passion for it because it worked for us and we really want to have that connection ourselves. And so we want to facilitate somebody else in their growth and yet … so it’s more of that, we’re needing the connection. And so that’s why I got to be their friend. I got to be nice. I got to be liked because I need the connection.
Maureen: I need the connection.
Rhonda: So it really has a sense of … it really points the finger back at you about where’s your confidence level on how you can transform? Do you really believe you can transform people’s lives?
Maureen: I do.
Rhonda: Well then, are you really willing to put your money where your mouth is and-
Maureen: Right.
Rhonda: … and actually … if you transform lives now listening to story, imagine what’s possible. Because I don’t know about you, because awareness is everything. And if I let a person go on with the story, that is the 10th story I’ve heard in the last three weeks, I’m not doing them any service.
Maureen: Right. I know I’m not, yes.
Rhonda: I’m not building their awareness. I’m not shifting their language. I’m not altering their communication skills. I’m not supporting them and understanding how they process information. I’m not doing my job. So you transforming lives and doing your job maybe 30% of the phone call, imagine if you’re doing it 100% of the phone call.
Maureen: Yeah. Oh, that’s really what I want to step up to. And I know that it’s like standing on this new threshold. There’s so much more that could be happening if I was willing to just jump in there more.
Rhonda: Well let’s come up with a couple of ways to support you in that because it’s nice to say, “Let me just jump in.”
Maureen: I know.
Rhonda: But it’s scarier than the bejeebers, right? When you’re a people pleaser, when you’re wanting to be liked or when you’re wanting … when the main reason you got into coaching like you said is to help people be heard. Now this is going against “your theory” right? Is this true?
Maureen: Well, tell me more about that going against my theory. Like my theory that if I just listen, something will happen.
Rhonda: Well you said to me, one of the reasons you went into coaching is you really want to hear people. You want to really listen, you want them to be heard. That’s what you told me. Is that true he told me that?
Maureen: Mm-hmm, I did.
Rhonda: So your whole premise of coaching is to here to listen.
Maureen: Right.
Rhonda: Well, now you’re realizing that’s not the end all be all.
Maureen: It’s not.
Rhonda: And this is really valuable because your whole essence was, “Oh, gosh, I want to hear people.” Now I want you to be … so you’re learning that that’s not necessarily really what it is you want to do. You really want to hear people from a place of, are they empowering or disempowering themselves? Or are they being consistent or inconsistent? Or are they being confident or are they beating themselves up? Whatever you’re hearing, because you’re still going to hear, but you’re hearing-
Maureen: Right, like not giving up that but it’s like getting back to them with what I’m hearing.
Rhonda: Right. Because Aren’t you to coach?
Maureen: Yeah.

Rhonda: Aren’t you the one that’s supposed to go, “Okay, what I heard is blah, blah, blah.” Or, “Could you clarify something for me?” Because one of the most powerful things I think Fearless Living coaches do is, how I train my coaches is we listen for things, the inconsistencies. We listen for those seconds of breath. We listen to the things that I think most coaches don’t even have any knowledge of or awareness of because they’re focused on tasks. And they’re focused on results, and they’re focused on certain things that they have a hidden agenda. Well, we don’t have a hidden agenda. Instead, what we do is we listen. That’s what we do, and that’s how we coach. Of course, we have to build ourselves on all that stuff. But our basic premise in every coaching situation is can you listen and can you hear what’s unheard and can you follow your intuition because what I’m also hearing is that you don’t trust your intuition. Because when you know you should speak up and you’re not doing it, you’re not trusting your intuition.
Maureen: Yeah. I think that’s true and I’ve worked with Susie I think, is one of your Fearless Living® Coaches.
Rhonda: Love Susie.
Maureen: Yeah, I did a Fearbusters™ group and I’m thinking of doing yours. And I do think that sometimes I really trust it and I can see how things happened very differently when I’m trusting and going for it, speaking my truth and what I’m hearing. And then other times I do think it’s that people pleasing part of me that’s still winning out.
Rhonda: Well and you have to honor the fact that you’re people pleasing because you have a fear underlying that, and there’s some corny that you’re trying to get fulfilled based on this. So it’s not just black and white and beat yourself up and oh, I should get over this.
Maureen: Oh, I know, yeah.
Rhonda: It’s much deeper than that. It’s much more critical to your well being. So shifting from a mind frame of, I want to be their friend or I want to be liked or what I hear, moving into a place of service and a place of honoring, you’re going to honor their story. But you’re going to honor their story by transforming their story and going, “Okay, is it more important for me to go for it and clarify or is it more important for me to entrust my intuition or is it more important for me to have my needs met right now, call the Coach by being connected to this person from a place of just being with them?”
And you know what? Sometimes that can be true and that’s okay too. It’s just the level of how present can you be to the conversation, and how present can you be to them? Because if you’re focused on them, you have no problem interrupting because it’s not about you.
Maureen: Say a little more about that, Rhonda.
Rhonda: It’s like, if I’m focused on the other person, my feelings and thoughts that go through my mind are really not at the forefront. They may be going on, but I’m not present to those because I’m present to the other person. You know what I mean? It’s like my be present to them. And focusing on them is overriding.
Maureen: Right. It’s so tuned into what they’re experiencing.
Rhonda: Exactly. It’s like you’re making a necklace or you’re sewing something and you come across a problem. You don’t sit down and go, “Oh, I feel so horrible.” You just go, “I’m fixing this”, because you’re so focused. You’re going to make that great no matter what or you going to make that necklace because you’re focused. You’re going to solve that problem with no problem. But when we get into the emotional life and we’re uncomfortable we come across a problem making a necklace and doesn’t make us feel good but we like, “Yeah well, I’m going to fix this, I’m going to do this”, and we just go with it. But when we’re person to person we get caught on, “Oh, what about that?.” And they can read that and therefore they go, “Oh she’s somebody I can do this with.”
Now, for the Clients you have been doing this with, you can actually say, you know what? You can actually preface this. You can actually preface your next Session with them and go, “You know, I want to up level our coaching today.” You’re not going to talk about you like, “Oh, I’ve been people pleasing.” It’s non of their business. “Today, we’re going to turn up level the coaching. Are you ready?” They are going to be like, “Oh, yeah, I’m ready.” “Okay, this is what I’m going to do. When you start telling me stories, I’m going to ask the clarification and interrupt you much more than maybe you’re used to so I can really understand what you mean because I want to reflect back to you how you process.” But you can preface it to let them, oh okay, yeah okay. Mm-hmm, okay. I’m ready, okay.
And then if they say at the end, “Well, you weren’t listening.” And actually I don’t know if I’ve ever had anyone say that to me but let’s say they do. And you can say, “Well remember at the beginning of the Session I told you we’re doing it different this time.”
Maureen: Right. That is so helpful, Rhonda.
Rhonda: You’re welcome. That’s good, I’m glad it’s helpful for you.
Maureen: Thank you so much.
Rhonda: You’re welcome.
Maureen: I really got what you said about the corny thing. That I’m going to really be with a bit more. I think there’s a lot in this.
Rhonda: Yeah, and if you need support with that you can always call Susie, Fearless Living Coach or anyone of my other Coaches to get more grounding on that. You might want to practice it over the next week with your Clients. See how it goes, and then check in with one of the Coaches.
Maureen: Okay.
Rhonda: Alright?
Maureen: Right.
Rhonda: Great. Thank you.
Maureen: Thanks so much Rhonda. Bye, bye.

Rhonda: How can I support you today?
Speaker 4: Hi there. Yeah, I have a question around … it’s two part onboarding. One part is when a Client starts really shifting and that they’re used to a high drama life. How do you get them to shift to a life they think of as boring?
Rhonda: Well, you know what? What the wonderful thing you get to do is to help them know the difference between drama and passion. What’s the difference between drama passion, and what is it that makes their “life boring.” They’re used to the ups and the downs and that makes them feel alive. But the fact is you get to support them and finding new ways to feel alive. The subtleness, the essence of it. So first they’re addicted to drama, we want to move them into their passion which is much more even keeled, which is much more all the time. So you get to support them and being grateful moving to their acknowledgments and really refining those moments. And even if it takes them doing a life-log literally every half hour seeing what they’re grateful for just to move them into the present moment because boring again is … they’re not wanting to be present, not wanting to invest. So what’s the other part? Does that answer … does that support you?
Speaker 4: Yes. The other part is in relationship when someone says that their partner is boring or they’re going out on a date and their date is boring.
Rhonda: Okay, great question. When somebody is boring, I love this one because people come to me all the time to go, “Oh God, they were so boring”, and I go, “Well, where were you in the conversation?” If you’re in a boring conversation, how are you contributing? Usually when people are bored by somebody else it’s because they’re wanting to be entertained, they’re wanting to be activated, they’re wanting to be stimulated instead of investing fully. So again, when people say that to me, I would say, “Great, well what questions did you ask? What did you learn about yourself? What did you do to make the conversation, to make it more deep conversation?” Because the same thing with boring is people say shallow. “Oh, we’re so shallow.” Well, did you ask a deep question? So it’s really up to us. Us individually to have passionate, present, depthful and shallow. We’re going to have depthful and shallow conversations with human beings and to eliminate the word boring ’cause boring is just an excuse to not take responsibility for your life. Bottom line, that’s the name of the game for you. Does that support you?
Speaker 4: Yeah, thank you.
Rhonda: You’re welcome.