Are you meant to be a life coach?

Listen to the full episode here.


Hi, Rhonda Britten here from Master Coach Mindset™ and I am so excited because the comments that we’ve received about how Master Coach Mindset is shifting the way that you see coaching, and helping you to get more confidence as a Coach and I could not be more thrilled. I’m so excited for all of the folks that have joined our membership and are getting access to our surprises and special webinars and the worksheets. I love the comments that you’re leaving. It makes me just so excited and that’s the reason why I started this podcast.

I realized that being a Coach for over two decades, I have coached thousands and thousands and thousands of people. Not only in my private practice, not only at workshops, but of course on TV. I’ve coached on over 600 episodes of televisions, and inside those episodes, I was coaching one, two, three, four people a day. So, I have had the good fortune to Coach almost any kind of problem.

I mean I’ve coached hoarding, I’ve coached sexual dysfunction, I’ve coached weight loss, I’ve coached, “I want to become a stand up comic.” I’ve coached, “I’ve lost my memory and who am I?” I’ve coached people to heal from 9/11. I’ve coached so many different types of scenarios, different problems that people come with, and so to know that my commitment is to share everything I know about coaching, so that I pass it on to you. Right?

I pass on my legacy of all my work that I’ve done, I’ve passed it on to you. And it’s so exciting to get all the comments that I have. So I just want to thank you for sharing your comments. And the other thing I want to thank you for is sharing this podcast.

Thank you so much for sharing this podcast with other Coaches, therapists, parents, people who really want to get better at communicating and connecting. So thank you so much for sharing this podcast. It’s getting bigger and bigger every week because of you, so thank you so much for sharing it.


The other thing that I want to mention just off the top of this episode is people have been asking me about my glasses. Yes, yes, yes, my glasses. Well, I get all my glasses, including the ones I have on today at Fabulous Fanny’s in New York City. Now you can go to Fabulous Fanny’s online, they actually have an online store. And if you go to the store physically, if you can get yourself to New York City, well let me just tell you what Fabulous Fanny’s is like. I mean, I love that place. What you do is, it’s this little tiny store and there’s drawers…drawers, and drawers and drawers. Like 1950s black plastic frames, 1980s black, 1980s metal, gold, silver. They carry vintage glasses. And not only vintage glasses, they also have their own line of glasses and carry a few well-known other lines. They really specialize in vintage glasses and that’s why I go to them.


Get over to Fabulous Fanny’s. If you love my glasses, and I know so many of you do, I get comments all the time so thank you. Go to Fabulous Fanny’s and I know you are going to find the most exquisite pair. More importantly, I have got to tell you this, they are also less expensive than any other glasses store I’ve ever been to. You can find an incredible one of a kind pair of glasses at a really reasonable price. No they’re not sponsoring this podcast. This is just me telling you where I get my glasses because so many of you have asked. Again, thank you so much. First of all I’m just going to repeat myself, thank you for sharing this podcast, thank you for your comments, thank you for becoming a member, and yes, go grab some glasses at


Now this episode, as the last ten episodes, we are going through line-by-line of the Master Coach Manifesto. Now, if you have not read or listened to the entire manifesto, go ahead to Episode 00. In Episode 00, I go through line-by-line of the Master Coach Manifesto. I created the Manifesto to really support you in becoming a better Coach, to remind yourself what are the basics, the foundation, the needed and necessary qualities and components of being an excellent masterful Coach.

Without it you’re just going to learn a little here, learn a little there, learn a little here, learn a little there, and really not embody and embrace who you need to become, who you need to be, the skills that you need, the tools that you need to gather in order to become the best Coach you can be. Because that’s what I’m devoted to. Moving you from a beginner Coach to a good Coach, good Coach to a best Coach, best Coach to a Master Coach.


Wherever you are in that line, whether you’re a beginner or Master Coach, I’m knowing that I’ve something to contribute to you and your coaching practice, so you can create more confidence, create more influence and more impact with the people that you Coach as well as in the world. So let’s get to line 11 of the Master Coach Manifesto. Now remember last week we did line 10, and line 10 … Gosh am I going to remember it? No it’s not here. Wait, here it is.

So last week remember we went over, “A Master Coach isn’t afraid to ask how much money a client makes, when was the last time they had sex, or any other relevant question. It’s not nosy, it’s coaching.” And remember I always answer a listener’s question. If you have a question for me, you can go to and there’s a place to ask me a question right on the side or on the bottom. Go ahead and hit the record button and I will look forward to answering your questions about coaching because I’m here to serve you.



Let’s go to line 11 because that’s what this episode is about. “A Master Coach listens beyond words and asks layered upon layered questions to get to the heart of the matter, working within the flow of what’s happening now.” So what are layered questions? We’re going to talk about that in just a minute. Let me read it again. Go ahead and shut your eyes – if you’re driving please don’t – let’s just listen to this phrase.

“A Master Coach listens beyond words and asks layered upon layered questions to get to the heart of the matter, working within the flow of what’s happening now.”

So does that mean I’m going to ask layered and layered upon questions and change the subject?
No. I’m not going to do that. But I am going to be willing to ask the questions that are moving through me as we talked about last week. And they’re going to be layered questions, so I might start with, “Does that empower you?” I might start with that question. “Does that empower you? Does that disempower you?”


And then I’m going to ask the next layer of questions. So you have to be willing to go to the next layer. And this is one of the challenges that I see in most coaching programs. Most coaching programs give you 100 questions and those are the questions to ask. But they don’t actually teach you how to layer questions, and that’s what I want to talk about today. But I also want to bring in the question right up from the top because we’re going to be talking about that. So I’m going to bring in the question early, I usually don’t bring this in until later on in the episode. But this goes so well. One of the listeners sent this question in and it goes so well with the topic. I want to be able to talk about the answer to this question as I talk about layered questions. Because this is part of it.


The question today from a listener is, “Rhonda, you make a distinction between two types of questions: closed-ended, which evoke a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response or a one-word short response, versus open-ended questions, which are meant to get the client thinking and talking more. Is there a right time or a better time to use each? What are a few of your favorite common questions that I can practice as a coach?”

So let’s talk about closed-ended and open-ended because this goes along with layering. And there is a particular time that you’re going to ask closed-ended versus open-ended questions. Now, open-ended questions – which aren’t yes or no – like, “What do you love to do?” What do you love to do? That’s an open-ended question. Well, it could be any answer, right? “Oh, I love to scuba dive.” “I love to snow ski.” “I love to watch my children play.” It can be anything.


Open-ended questions are any answer is possible. You don’t know the answer. Closed-ended questions like this listener referred to is that it’s a usually yes or no or very short response. So closed-ended might be like, “How much money do you make?” “35,000.” Or, “Do you like to do that?” Yes or no. “No I don’t.” A closed-ended question is to evoke a particular response i.e. yes or no, and/or short, but I want to go to the yes or no because that’s really what we think of closed-ended questions, as yes or no. And there is a particular time to use a yes or no, closed-ended question. I use those when I’m helping the client get to a decision. I want you to think of it as kind of like a funnel.

So an open-ended question, so layer upon layer, open-ended questions I might ask like, “So, what do you want to do about your marriage? What do you want to do about your marriage?”

“Oh, I don’t know.”

“Well if you did know, what would it be?”

“Well …”

“If you could have anything. If I had a magic wand …” We do the magic wand. We all know the magic wand question, right?


“If you had a magic wand what would you want to do about your marriage?”

“Well, if I had a magic wand I would want to stay with my partner, and I would want to feel heard and listened to, and I would want to feel loved.”

“Okay, so you want to feel, what was it again? Heard, listened to and loved? Is that what I heard?” Notice I’m asking … What am I asking? I’m asking a closed-ended question. So, “Is that what I heard?”


“Great. Just wanted to make sure I heard correctly. So, that’s what you want in your marriage. What do you think you’re going to have to do in order to create that?” Open-ended question.

“Well, I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ve tried everything.”

“Tell me what you’ve tried.” Open-ended question.

“Well, I’ve gone to counseling by myself and I brought my partner. I have tried to read books. I have gone to a shaman. I’ve gone to a psychic. I’ve gotten massages every week.”

Again, they may go on and on or they might say, “I’ve gone to therapy,” and go “Awesome. Congratulations.” One of the tools that we’re going to talk about in Season 2: Coaching Skills is I would acknowledge them for whatever they tried.

If they say, “I went to therapy every week for a month,” and maybe I think they should go for six months, right? Maybe I’m like, “Oh, six months. You need six months.” Right? In your heart you think, “Nothing gets done in a month,” but we’re not going to be judgmental, right? We’re not going to put our opinion on top of them.

Whatever they say, if they’ve tried anything it is like, “Oh, my gosh. Good work. Great work.” Because, what you’re doing with your client every step of the way through your layered questions is you’re building their confidence and you’re building their willingness to open their mind and heart even more.


Now, how do people open their heart and mind even more through your layered questioning and through the flow of what’s happening is that they believe they did … How can I say this? People need to believe that they did the right thing, that they’re okay, that wherever they are is okay.

So again, remember, what is the line in the Master Coach Manifesto this time? “A Master Coach listens beyond words and asks layers upon layered questions to get to the heart of the matter, working within the flow of what’s happening now.” I really want you to pay attention to, “working within the flow of what’s happening now.” Right?


So, if my client says, “Well, I went to therapy for a month every week,” I’d be like, “Awesome. Congratulations.” Again, another layered question.

“So, what was the thing that you most got from that? What’s the one thing? Tell me the one thing that you got from going to therapy for four weeks? Was it four weeks?”

Again, I want to make sure. They might say a month. Maybe they only went three times, but they said, “I went every week for a month.” I’m not going to assume it’s four times. I’m going to say, “So, was that four times?” Again, close-ended, trying to get them to be clear. “Yes,” or “No, I went only three times.” Maybe they only went twice but they say a month, so you have to get clear.

Again, you’re always looking for clarity. Always looking for clarity, so you’re not going to assume a month means four sessions. You’re actually going to ask, “Was that four times then, or three times? How many times was it?”

“Oh, yes. It was four times.”

“Wow, congratulations, so you went every week for a month and that was four times, correct?” Close-ended question.


“Awesome! Amazing! So, tell me the one thing that you received, that you learned, that you gained from going to therapy for a month?”

“Well, I didn’t like the therapist,” or “That I have to leave my marriage,” or that, “My partner’s a narcissist,” or “I didn’t get much from it. That’s why I left.”

“Okay, got it.” Again, you’re not going to go, “Oh, no.” No, you’re not going to do that. You’re not, “Oh, no.”

Let’s say they say, “I didn’t get much from it. That’s why I only went four times.” You as the coach, you’re not going to go, “Oh, no. I’m sorry.” No. No, you’re not going to do that. Instead, you’re going to go, “Okay, got it. So, can you find one thing that you gained, because you did go four times, correct?” Close-ended question.


“All right, so you went four times, so what was the thing, anything that you got from any of those sessions? Just one thing that you maybe had an insight, an ah-ha, a moment of realization?”

“Well, I did realize that I don’t really listen to my partner very well.”

“Congratulations. Good work.”

“Well, no. I mean, I haven’t worked on it so don’t congratulate me. I’m still doing a really crappy job.”

Stop your client. “What? Well, having that insight, just having the insight is amazing, so I’m congratulating you for having the insight. So, good work on that.”

“Yeah, I know, but I’m not still doing it.”

“You’re not doing it 0? On a scale of 1 to 10, one being I don’t do it ever, or do you practice a little bit, or 10, you practice all the time?” Again, this is a layered question, because I’m trying to give the client clarity about what is true.

Because, our clients have a tendency to dump everything, like, “I don’t do it at all,” when they really do something. Right? “Oh, no. I can’t pat myself on the back because I don’t do it perfectly.”

You as the Coach – this is why we do layered questioning – are sussing out, are pulling the strings of that lie and finding where they did do something.

You’re always looking for where they did do something.

“So, are you saying to me you haven’t improved your listening zero, zilch, zip? On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 to 10 or 10 is you’ve become an amazing listener?”

“Well, I guess I’m a 3. I do practice once in a while.”

“Wow, you practice once in a while. Congratulations. That’s amazing.”
“Yeah, I guess I didn’t think about that.”

“Yeah, so you are at a 2, a 3, you said?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I mean, most days I’m a … I think I’m a 3.”

“Congratulations. So, do you want to move to a 4 or a 5?”

“Well, it’s just impossible with my partner.”

“Okay. On a scale of 1 to 10, how impossible is it? 1 being it’s completely impossible and I’m not willing to do it versus 10 it’s possible. It is possible. So, on a scale of 1 to 10, impossible and I’m not willing to do it and 10, possible and I am willing to do it.”

“Well, I guess I’m a 5. Sometimes I’m willing and sometimes I’m not.”

“Okay.” Layered question. Next one layered question. “So, is your willingness based on your confidence, your skill, you’re feeling that love, understood?”

“Oh. Yeah, I guess it is. If I don’t feel understood and loved and appreciated, then I don’t want to listen.”

“Okay. So, what I’m hearing, and please correct me, …” Again, this is my way of clarifying and also taking ownership. Me, I’m taking ownership. I’m clarifying, let me just pass this by you. “So what I’m hearing is you’re willingness, and please correct me if I’m wrong …”

I say that to my client. “Please correct me if I’m wrong. I just want to make sure I’m hearing correctly. So, your willingness is a five and it’s based on whether you feel loved, supported, understood, appreciated by your mate. Is that true?” Again, close-ended question.


“Okay, and do you want to keep having your listening tied to what they do or do you want to make it a choice because you want to?”

“Hmm,” the client says. “Oh. I didn’t think about that. Well, I want to be a good listener no matter what.”

“Excellent. So, you want to be a good listener no matter what?” Again, I’m going to rephrase it. I’m going to say it back to them. Again, close-ended question. “Yes or no. Yes, you do?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Okay, excellent. What would be the benefits of becoming a good listener?” Again, layered question.

“Well, …”

Now, remember, where did we start? We started, “I’m not happy in my marriage.” That’s where we started and now we broke it down to, “I went to therapy.” We took it from, “I didn’t get anything from therapy,” to finding the one thing that she did get from therapy. Then we took it from, “I’m not going to try because I’m just not very good at it,” to, “Well, wait a minute. I kind of did try.”

Then we went to, “Well, wait a minute. It is based on my willingness, based on how I feel heard, and understood, and appreciated, et cetera, et cetera, and loved. Oh, gosh. My listening is based on what they’re doing. Oh, I don’t want to do that.” Right?

So, we took this entire journey based on the opening question of, “I don’t know. My marriage, my partnership … Not working for me.” Right? They came to decide whether to get divorced or not. They decided to get help in their partnership, again marriage. Maybe you’re a love Coach and they want to have help in figuring out what to do.

You just took this fuzzy thing and you actually broke it down and actually showed them how they’re already moving forward, because that’s the key of the Coach, our layered questioning.

Don’t you think this is the flow? I say the flow of what’s happening now, right? I’m not asking about last week or next week. I might, but not in this moment, right? I’m just going with the flow. I’m just taking what they said. I’m reflecting back and I’m asking a layered question. Then I’m reflecting back and then I’m asking a layered question.

Some of those layered questions are closed in order for them to have an insight, an ah-ha, make a decision, and then maybe I open to an open, right? Then she, maybe the client’s like, “Well, no, I don’t want my listening to be based on how they treat me. I want to become a good listener no matter what.”

“Well, what are the benefits of being a good listener? How would it impact work?”

“Well, if I was a better listener at work I could … blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

“How would it impact your children?”

“Well, if I was a better listener with my children I could … blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

“How could it impact your partnership?” Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Now I layered the question. I added different components to her life, because I want her to buy in herself, and make a decision and have an understanding that if she became a good listener it’s not only going to change her partnership, it’s going to change her work. It’s going to change her relationship with her kids. I’m going to bring in different aspects, right?


Family … I could bring in friends. I could bring in … “Well, what if you were a better listener with your family?” “Oh, my God. That would change everything,” or “Oh, that wouldn’t change anything. My family’s so close minded.” “Are you sure? Are you sure? Have you tried?” “Well, no.” Right? Then, now, through my layered questioning, my client is having an ah-ha and realizing that she doesn’t necessarily just want to become a better listener to save her relationship. She wants to become a better listener to have a better life.

Now she has committed to become a better listener for her own sake, not for just saving her relationship, right? Do you see how I went from, instead of just asking the typical question, “What have tried?” and, “What do you want to try?” and, “What do you think you could do?” Those are all fine questions, but they’re not layered upon layered question, they’re not going to necessarily have an insight. They’re going to stay on the surface.


You want to actually take a thread, and like I said, you want to pull that thread. You want to pull that thread. You want to pull that thread. You don’t want to buy into when a client says, “I didn’t do anything. I don’t know what I’m doing. I haven’t really tried.” You are going to challenge that through your layered questioning, i.e. using closed and open questions in order to help them see, well did they try, even, on a scale of 1 to 10, even a 1? Or a percentage, 10%, 3% 8%? I mean, if they do it 8%, I am yay, I am yay. Right? I am yay. Does that make sense?
Layered upon layered questioning is critical to actually help the client have an awakening, have an insight, embody that insight, and build on that insight. It helps them build momentum and confidence. I want you to think of layered upon layered questions as building momentum. A client needs to build momentum.


That is why, in the beginning when I work with a client, I don’t work with them every two weeks in the beginning. In the very beginning, when you’re working with a client, you need to build momentum, so I work with a client every single week.

After a certain period of time, maybe nine months, maybe a year and a half, we can go to every other week, because they’re now trained enough and skilled enough, and understand the questions to coach themselves in order to get it, so they can take two weeks, right? Or I have clients after a year, two years, go to once a month.

But in the beginning, specifically I would say the first 12 weeks to maybe even 24 weeks, depending on your client, you definitely want to do the best you can to meet every week. Again, it’s going to be impossible always, but you want to do that in order to build momentum. But that is, I’ll talk more about that in a further episode.

Again, what is the Master Coach Manifesto line? “A Master Coach listens beyond words and asks layered upon layered questions to get to the heart of the matter, working within the flow of what’s happening now.” So you’re going to ask open and closed ended questions.

This is your tip. The tip of the day is actually to start recording your sessions. If you’re not doing that right now, and you’re listening to this podcast, I really invite you to start recording your sessions. Now, let’s say that you’re going to ask your client, “Hey, is it okay if I record? I want to listen to them.” You can even do it as a service to them. You could be like, “Oh, I’m going to record your sessions and send it to you,” so then you have a copy and they have a copy, right?

Then I want you to go through your session and actually ask yourself, “Okay, wait. That was a close-ended question. That was an open-ended question. That was a close-ended question. That was an open ended question.” Ask yourself, “Well, was I layering, or did I switch topics, or did I just blow it off?” Because again a lot of Coaches just blow it off, because they don’t know where to go, right? They don’t know where to go. They don’t know what to do next, so they just blow it off, and they just skip topics or, again, ask another big, giant, general question that doesn’t build the momentum of what’s happening in the session now. I see that all the time. “I don’t know what to ask,” or, “I don’t know what to do here,” or, “How do I help them? Crap.” Right?

When you’re having that dialogue in your head, you’re actually not with your client. If you become skilled at asking those layered upon layered question, right? What did I do with layered upon layered questions? Didn’t I just listen? Right? Didn’t I just listen, and reflect back, and go deeper? Take them one step deeper? And yes, did I know when to ask a close and when to ask open? Of course I did. Do I have a lot of skill on which question to ask? Of course I do. But you will too after you practice, after you practice.

The tip of the day is record your sessions. Tell your client, “I’m recording the session, and I’ll be sending it to you afterward so you can listen again and again and again.” It’s really important to listen again and again so that you remind yourself what you’re doing well, right? You get a copy. You go through it. Where’s my open? Where’s my closed? Right? Did I ask layer upon layer, and where did I get stuck like a deer in the headlights? Make sense?

This layered upon layered questioning is critical to increase your confidence as a Coach. I think this is one of the key aspects of where coaches freeze and stop, because they don’t know how to ask layer upon layered question. They don’t know when to ask open and closed questions. They get confused about that. Then they get in their head and go, “I don’t know what to ask.” Then they’re in their head trying to decide a question, and that is the last place to be. You do not want to be up there to decide what question to ask. You want to practice trusting yourself. How do you practice trusting yourself? By doing all the things I’m talking about in Master Coach Manifesto.



If you haven’t already downloaded the Manifesto, I want you to go over to, and go ahead and sign up for free to get the Fearbuster Coaching™ Toolkit. In that Fearbuster Coaching Toolkit, you are going to get the opening and closing videos on how I open and close a session, as well as a template for you to create your own, and you are going to get a copy of the Master Coach Manifesto. It’s a wonderful tool for you to read over and over again, before every session. You just read that, and remind yourself, and embody it, and integrate it inside your soul.

Download the Master Coach Manifesto at Again, remember to sign up for the free Fearbuster Coaching Toolkit. If you like the Fearbuster Coaching Toolkit, and if you like what you’re listening to now in this podcast, then become a member. In the membership, of course, you get that worksheet that I create for every single session, that you can use for your own life as well as for your client’s life. Grab it now.

This membership is only season 1, so it’s only for this first season. We’ll have a new membership for season 2 when that comes down the pike. This season, season 1, is 13 sessions, 13 episodes, based on the Master Coach Manifesto. Again, go over to, and download the Manifesto. Download that open and closing session templates, so that you can become better at building momentum for your client, because closing a session well and opening a session well is going to build momentum. It’s going to anchor your client and help them embody. Got it? Get over to

As I shared before, at the beginning of this time together, thank you so much for sharing these podcasts with your friends, families, coworkers, people that you know in your communities, in your coaching communities, therapy communities.

Thank you so much, because if you do like it, keep sharing it. The more people that have the skills of Master Coach Mindset, the better communicators the world will become, and the easier and more free we will live as a people. This is critical for us all to get along. So go ahead and share this podcast, and of course, always subscribe if you’re listening on iTunes. Make sure you subscribe.

Until the next time, until next week, as always, Be Fearless.