One of the Most Core Foundational Coaching Principles, Period

In my nineteen years of coaching, teaching, and facilitating…in my 10 years of parenting and working to raise daughters who are secure, confident and at peace…and in my many decades of being a human being communicating with family, friends, colleagues, and strangers…I have learned quite a bit about what it takes to hold space for deep growth, transformation, evolution and aligned action taking.

There is, of course, a lot that goes into this: mastery of questioning skills and listening skills and acknowledging skills and strategizing skills and reflection skills; mastery of working with resistance and working with fear and working with self-sabotage and working with Shadow. READ MORE

Lessons to learn [Part 5 of 5]

If you’ve been following along with my story in parts 1-4 of this blog series, you know I’ve had some more than a few bumps and bruises along the way over these last 20 months.

I’ve learned a lot.

I’ve had to learn that my work isn’t for everyone. I want everyone to love all that I have to share, to eat it up, to adore it, to be deeply deeply impacted by it.

But the truth is that now that I’m teaching about Coaching and Facilitation Mastery, now that I’m teaching about the skills underneath the skills to move clients through fears and work with their shadows, now that I’m teaching advanced tools for connecting more deeply and authentically with your clients and with yourself… this material is too sophisticated for 90% of the practitioners out there.

Not because it’s hard….but because it’s not flashy like “ how to do marketing funnels” is, it’s not glossy like “how to succeed with FB ads” is, and it’s not surface oriented like “how to make a million” is.

This work is for thoughtful individuals. This work is for individuals who are already pretty amazing at what they do. This work is for individuals who LOVE going deep and figuring out how to create better and better results with their clients. This work is for individuals who are willing to admit that mastery isn’t a destination, but instead a journey.

I’ve had to learn that it’s OK that I speak to a sophisticated audience. I’ve had to own that my work isn’t for everyone.

I’ve also had to accept that because the work I offer is so deep and because I am so committed to being fully present for each client & student that I serve, that I can’t offer it to a million people at a time. I can’t be one of those coaches that has 500 people in a program. My work is more intimate than that.

I will straight up share with you that I haven’t yet mastered any of this. I still sometimes feel pained when I get hate mail or criticized. I still sometimes get insulted and/or self-judgmental when people opt-out, both in my newsletter community or my Facebook community.

I still sometimes get frustrated when I have less engagement than I want. I still sometimes feel a little victim-y that I need to cap my courses at a certain number of participants.

But overall, I feel so lucky. I feel lucky that even with all of this, my programming still sells out. I feel lucky that I get to make an impact in so many people’s lives. I feel lucky that I get to be in my brilliance and use my talent.

I feel lucky that the ripple effect of my work is so big.

And maybe most of all, I feel lucky that I’ve been able to not only endure, but deeply evolve and transform from all of the bumps in the road. I’ve got some battle scars, but I’m a better person and a better leader because of all of it.

I’m grateful for all of it. And I’m grateful for you allowing me to share my story with you. By reading this, you were willing to look behind the curtain and experience deeper truth with me.

And that tells me a lot about you.

If you stand with me. If you stand for Mastery in your work. If you choose to embrace a beginners mind, stay humble, keep learning and expanding your self, your skills and your capacity… will you let me know?

 

Yes, I am with you Joanna!

 

Thank you for being on this journey with me.

 

 

 

Cue the hate mail… [Part 4 of 5]

So, what happens when you call out an entire industry to a higher level of mastery?

Well, there were some folks that immediately loved what I was sharing and teaching and offering. These were mostly my die-hard fans who already knew the secret sauce I was teaching, saw the results for themselves, and wanted more of it.

But everyone else….they didn’t like it so much.

I initially had a lot of opt-outs in my newsletter community (and honestly, I continue to have a steady stream of opt-outs). The new messaging was too radical and went against the grain of everything the industry was saying about success.

It’s been many, many years since opt-out notifications go directly to my inbox. I learned pretty early on that every time I’d get an opt-out notification, I’d get insulted, embarrassed, angry, guilty, self-judgmental and eventually totally negative about my business in a doomsday sort of way. (Have I mentioned I’m a dramatic person sometimes?).

So now opt-outs go to my assistant’s email, and I just take a look at my stats every month or so.

But even with all my learning about how to energetically manage opt-outs, seeing so many community members go when I changed my messaging felt hard and harsh. I had expected it, but still had to do a lot of inner work to not go down the rabbit hole of “everything is falling apart and I will become hated and destitute!”

The opt-outs weren’t the worst part, though.

The hate mail was.

Oh, did the haters come out of the woodworks! They called me a fraud, they called me a villain, they called me stupid and irresponsible, they made fun of my speaking voice (yes, I got called a Valley Girl!), they used every curse word you can think of, they told me I sucked.

Not just via email, but on social media too.

This really, really hurt.

I don’t care what anyone says about knowing you’ve hit success if you’ve got Haters, or what Taylor Swift means when she sings about “The Haters gonna hate, hate hate….”. All that may be true, but when you get hate mail, and especially hate mail about something that is so important to you….it stings. It’s like a gut punch.

Your fight or flight response goes into overdrive and your reptilian brain feels like your life is being attacked and threatened.

In short, it is not fun.

I read one of the absolute worst emails (the one about my Valley Girl voice) in my car, just as I was about to walk into a Board Meeting at Yael’s preschool. I read the email and then rushed into the meeting.

We started talking about packed lunch rules for the next year and I burst into tears, running out of the room and straight to my car to go home and be hysterical all by myself. Till today, I still wonder if the other Board Members think I am particularly sensitive about turkey sandwiches and carrot sticks.

I got home, snot already covering the entirety of my face, wondering how I had been able to drive in that state. I straight changed into my pajamas, got under the covers, and cried for another hour or so.

And then I calmed down. And I saw the truth: that the woman’s nasty email to me wasn’t about me. It was about her. And her insecurities. And her fears.

I saw that if I was going to be serious about standing up for what I believe in, if I was going to fully own what I was put on this planet to do, if I was going to lead my business with integrity….

I was going to have to grow tougher skin, I was going to have to feel the gut-punch pain when icky things came my way but let it go pretty quickly, I was going to have more faith & confidence in myself.

And I’ve had to learn that lesson over and over and over again these last 20 months.

So, what about now?

Click here to read Part 5!

 

How Birkenstocks changed me [Part 3 of 5]

It may sound kind of silly, but I had visions of myself as I was when I was 15. I was the first kid in my high school (maybe in the whole state of NJ!) to wear Birkenstock.

This was a TOTAL, ABRUPT break from the fashion of the day, and I remember walking down the hallway going to Advanced Biology class and random kids heckling me, calling me Girl Jesus (cause apparently he wore sandals too), and telling me to go back to the 60s (it was 1991).

It was almost as if my breaking pattern from the normal clothing felt threatening to these teenage kids. It put their identities at stake.

It took a lot of courage to put those Birkenstock on that morning…and a part of me didn’t want to wear them ever again after that first day. I cared too much about what people (strangers!) thought of me. I cared too much about being accepted. I cared too much about being perceived as “cool”. I didn’t want to be made fun of. I didn’t want to be hated.

But…I LOVED those sandals. I mean, I really, really loved those sandals. It may sound strange, but those sandals were more than just a pair of sandals. Those sandals were – finally – an article of clothing that fully expressed ME, that represented who I was, that I felt were made for my personality, my style, my energy.

And so I wore them again the next day.

It was not such a triumphant day, though. I got made fun of even more than the day before.

And I wore them again. And again. And again.

And you know what happened? I got more comfortable with being made fun of.

I saw that my friends, the people that loved me, still loved me. I got better and better at standing tall. And…well, wouldn’t you know it? Birkenstock eventually swept the nation and became cool!

So, my Birkenstocks were on my mind as I was shifting my messaging, gearing up to speak even more of my truth, to educate the industry in ways they hadn’t been educated before, to raise the question of getting better educated as a practitioner, and to speak out against some of the ways I felt the industry was not so in integrity.

But, just like I put on those sandals despite the fear, I shifted my programming and messaging despite the fear.

And, how did that go for me?

You’ll find out  in Part 4 of my 5-Part story. (hint: things got ugly).

Click here to read Part 4!

 

Then, it got harder… [Part 2 of 5]

Do you know the most challenging part of shifting my business? The part that really had me shaking in my boots?

It wasn’t just about changing my messaging.

It was about the fact that my ideal client had already been educated by the industry on the importance of getting marketing support (think about ALL the information about there on the importance of marketing)…

…But my ideal client definitely had NOT been educated at all on the importance of being the best practitioner you can be, on the importance of devoting time & energy to leveling up the skills in your toolbox to help your clients.

The market was so saturated with information on all the newfangled marketing strategies that practitioners were possibly not placing value on deepening their craft.

I knew that it would take quite a bit of work to start educating the masses so that they would be interested enough in my offerings.

I also knew that it would be much, much, MUCH harder for practitioners to admit to themselves that they needed help transforming their clients than to admit they needed marketing support.

And I feared it would take a lot of time for my lone voice to stand out and be heard among a sea of online marketers preaching that anyone can be a superstar so long as they market correctly.

And this brought me to the next hard thing I realized I was going to have to do: speak out against some of the practices in the coaching and transformational industry.

Now, even though I was no stranger to standing out or speaking out in the industry; I had definitely done my share of that already….this felt different. I had this deep intuitive sense that people’s feathers would get really ruffled – more than ruffled, that they would get downright pissed off at me – if I were to suggest that marketing wasn’t the holy grail, the end all be all to a successful business.

And, woah, it got a little ugly…

Click here to read Part 3!

 

Sometimes the TRUTH hurts [Part 1 of 5]

 

It occurred to me recently that I’ve been so focused on sharing the benefits of Mastery, that I’ve been a bit quiet about…. well, me.

I also know that there are many lessons to be gleaned from my journey that might be helpful as you navigate the waters of discovering your own authentic path.

This week, I’d like to share more about my own journey with you – in 5 blog posts!

Let’s begin. With some TRUTH…

My journey to the business I have today, the coaching and training practice that I have today, and the leader I now am has been paved with lots of joy and celebration, but also many heavier, harder and downright gut-wrenching moments.

The bumps in the road have sometimes felt like massive mountains with difficult, risky cliffs to climb. These cliffs have taught me so much. About who I am. And what I am actually capable of…

Particularly in these last two years, I’ve taken the road less travelled and I want to share with you some of those experiences.

These are the kinds of stories that aren’t easy to tell. But they are stories that must be told. Because they represent Truths about Entrepreneurship and Leadership that are important to hear.

It all starts with the moment, about 20 months ago.

I realized it was time for me to change my messaging. I had been moving steadily along for about 10 years as a business coach. I was serving hundreds of clients each year in my programming, and people would come to me to help them build their businesses through better marketing strategies and transformational inner work.

And WOW, did I see a lot of businesses grow. But at that moment, I realized that that the reason my clients businesses (and mine) were growing so beautifully was only maybe 30% about the marketing techniques I was teaching and 70% about the ways that I was teaching my clients how to coach & facilitate masterfully, how to yield massive results for the clients, how to create community, and how to lead with integrity.

The marketing was simply a happy support in building their business. The heavy lifting of income generation and client generation was being done by how they were showing up for themselves and for their clients and how they were leading clients towards results.

And of course instantly, I knew that this was my brilliance all along. I knew that women were coming to me to learn marketing, but once they were in, they were learning what 99% of the industry hadn’t yet articulated: how to be amazing at what you do, and how to continually evolve as a human being as you do it.

And I felt totally on fire to offer more direct opportunities for practitioners to learn this.

And…

It also felt terrifying to change my messaging.

For one thing, I already had a very solid clientele and following based on my old messaging and programming.

Would people even be interested in the new messaging and programming? Would they… would you… “get” it?!?

But my challenge went so much deeper than that. Because this wasn’t just about changing my messaging.

It was about changing something far more essential.

Click here to read Part 2!

 

Help Your Clients Get off the Wheel of Sabotage

One of the worst feelings in the world is seeing that a client is engaging in self-sabotage, yet not knowing, as the coach, how to guide her out of this behavior.

When a client is engaging in self-sabotage behavior, it can look like:

  • Client has stopped taking actions toward her goals
  • Client is taking actions that are actually moving her backwards instead of forward
  • Client is in a place of fear, shame and self-judgment
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    READ MORE

    Quickie Coaching Tool

    I had a private session earlier today with a client who also works with a healer.

    She was telling me that she was feeling so much pressure because the Healer had intuited something for her to do – to go to the beach for a week – but she just couldn’t figure out how to make that fit with her life.

    Every few days the Healer would check in to encourage her to make those beach plans and keep her accountable.

    The confusion and the pressure were really causing frustration and fear.

    My client shared all of this with me, and I asked her: “What is your inner wisdom telling you about going to the beach for week?”

    She paused for a moment and then she said, “My inner wisdom is saying that it makes no sense to go to the beach for a week. I can go for a day here or there over next few weeks.”

    So, I asked: “Does that feel like your Truth?”

    And she answered Yes.

    Next, I shared the following with my client: No matter how amazing and intuitive any coach or healer or anyone is….YOU are ultimately your best and true-est Authority. You know better than anyone, any professional, if something is aligned or misaligned for you. Trust yourself.

    Then, I also shared: There is always more than one pathway or action to create the results you want. Going to the beach for a week may be ONE way to create what you want….but there are other ways. Don’t let anyone ever tell you there is just one way.

    This is one of those things in the coaching and transformation industry that I feel SO passionate about, and that’s why I’m sharing here: We are all wise; I am positive of it. But we NEVER, EVER know better than our clients. Our job isn’t to tell them what to do. Our job is to hold space, create awareness, support clients to be seen and heard, connect them to their own wisdom, hold them accountable to their desires, work with their fear and resistance….and even OFFER suggestions. But never dictate actions. Ever. Period.

    Would love to hear your thoughts!