How to be a Powerful Coach – #3 WORDS

The words we think, speak and write create the world around us. Not just the world as we perceive it – but the actual, tangible world.

Loving words create love. Fearful words create fear. Constructive words manifest. Destructive words tear down. Limiting words limit. Opening words open.

Words are magic. Through spelling we create words, and with words, we cast spells of creation.

Since physical action follows from spoken and written words, it may be obvious that these influence the creation of the world. However, this is only part of the influence. The smallest part.

The words we think have even more impact on the world than what we say. But how?

Our thoughts (i.e. the words we think) both create and emerge from our emotions. These emotions influence our actions, behaviors and character.

“For as he thinketh, in his heart so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7

Our actions create the world directly. Our behavior and character influence the actions of others take and thus create the world indirectly. Just as genes are the building blocks of higher organisms, memes (ideas, thoughts, words) are the building blocks of the human-made world. The words we use in the privacy of our own minds actually create the physical world.

Your inner words create the outer world.

This is why I believe in his book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz wrote ‘Be impeccable with your word’. This idea is often misunderstood (even by Oprah) as referring to ‘being in integrity’ and ‘doing what you say you will do’. What I believe Ruiz actually meant is to be impeccable with your choice of words because the words you use create both your experienced world and the actual world. 

Since the words we think, speak and write have such influence on what we create, as a coach I put a lot of attention on the words people use.

 

+ How to Change the Words We Think +

First, what does it mean to ‘think’ a particular word? Are thoughts something we can control? Don’t they just happen?

Yes and No.

We don’t have influence over the thoughts (or ‘words we think’) that arise in the present, but we do have influence over the thoughts that will arise in the future.

We influence what thoughts will arise in the future through what thoughts we choose to engage with in the present. If we engage with a thought – if we believe in and identify with the words happening inside our heads – then those thoughts will continue to reoccur in our future. If instead, we witness the thoughts but remain disengaged, not believing and not identifying with them, then those words will lose their relevance. Making the choice to witness, unbelieve and disidentify with thoughts over and over again, changes the thoughts that happen.
Without bringing any new words to replace the old ones, I find more peaceful and productive words tend to emerge on their own. We can also choose to intentionally engage with specific words and after awhile those words will occur on their own.

Simply said, we can change the words we think by simply witnessing them and allowing better words to emerge OR by witnessing them and intentionally replacing them.

 

+ How to Help Other People Change Their Words +

Obviously I can’t know what people are thinking, but the words we speak and write are typically the same words we think. By listening closely to the words people speak, and watching closely to the words they write, I am given a glimpse into their inner world.

Since I hold the words we use as the building blocks of all creation, I never hesitate to interrupt someone to point out or challenge their use of words. In the past, I may have heard words that felt fearful, disempowering or limiting, but not wanting to come off as ‘pedantic’, I’d just let it go and not say anything. Over the years though, I’ve found that there is actually no such thing as being pedantic.

Instead I have found that vagueness lacks power, ambiguity is the downfall of creation, that the use of words which are disassociated, limiting, fearful or unloving create unsconcious obstacles for people.

A typical example is the use of the word ‘hope’ in a way that abdicates personal responsibility.

“I hope I’m just as honest with the board members in our next meeting as I’ve been with you.”

One might let this go saying, “Oh, I know what they mean.”

But ‘what they mean’ is not what they are saying, both out loud and inside their head. Remember, the words people think and speak are casting spells of creation. Even if once brought to awareness a word is recognized as not literally true, thinking it still has impact on them and the world. So in cases like this, I do not hesitate to point it out.

Recently one of the coaches in my Apprenticeship challenged me on my challenging her of her word use.

“Oh, that’s not what I meant.”

“Really? Are you sure?”, I’ll say. “How do you know that? What if using that word IS having an impact?”

As she struggled with this, I then went on to discuss with her the impact of our words, both spoken and thought. Once she saw the value in it, we then went on to explore what might be a powerful upgrade to the words she was using. She is now witnessing the use of the words that were limiting her and replacing them with words that empower her to create high paying clients more effectively.

This article is not the place for me to list ’empowering’ words and ‘disempowering’ words. However, on my YouTube channel, the over 200 videos I’ve created for coaches, leaders and people who want to create a life they love, are essentially short clips of me articulating distinctions in words.

By helping people to be more specific and to upgrade the words they use, I watch them be swept into deeper currents of life’s unfolding. I watch their upgraded words become a powerful tool of creation. I watch them experience the world more beautifully and I watch more of what they love become manifest.

Nothing is insignificant. Nothing is trivial. Never are we pedantic.

As we evolve our words, we cast spells that evolve the world.

 

How to be a Powerful Coach – #2 INTEGRITY

When it comes to being a powerful coach, ‘integrity’ is something I have found to be crucial. When using this word, I am actually referring to BOTH it’s two definitions.

Integrity

/inˈteɡrədē/

noun

1. The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

2. The state of being whole and undivided.

I will take these one at a time.

 

++ Having Strong Moral Principle ++

I never took a formal coaching training, so I never signed up not to bring ‘my stuff’ into a coaching dynamic. In fact, I actually completely disagree with the idea that as a coach we should remain inert and neutral. I disagree with this for two reasons.

Firstly, because it is impossible. We might ‘think’ we are being neutral, but our biases will always leak out of us in ways we don’t realise – our voice tone, our facial expressions, our choice of questions and what we focus on, etc.

Second, I believe the greatest gift we have to give the world is who we uniquely and most genuinely are. To attempt to act as an inert, neutral, unbiased instigator of insight is to suppress those things that we most value.

Instead, I coach with an agenda.

My agenda is to create a world where people are more loving, more open, more individuated, and more psychologically, socially, emotionally and spiritually developed. This agenda is both explicit and implicit in that I tell my clients this AND it plays a role in directing everything we create together.

Being that my agenda is explicit, people only work with me if their values match mine. Shared values make great partnerships.

It is not my experience that it matters WHAT my moral principles are. There are some very powerful coaches out there that have moral principles diametrically opposed to mine. Over the past six years as a coach, mine have also changed quite a bit.

I find that simply HAVING principles and STANDING for them is what creates my coaching as powerful. My moral principles today center around things like love, service and wholeness.
Having moral principles is one thing. Having STRONG moral principles, however, brings us to the second definition of integrity.

 

++ Being Whole & Undivided ++

For me, being ‘whole and undivided’ means I have total alignment between the following four points:

1. My deep inner knowing.

2. My consciously engaged thinking.

3. My spoken words.

4. My actions.

When I have alignment along these points, who I am at the deepest level is aligned with the thoughts I believe in, which is then expressed by what I say and then is followed up by my actions. This is generally how I aim to create everything. It is also how I have experienced creating the most powerful impact as a coach.

At a very basic level, being aligned in this way creates a congruence that fosters a trusting coaching relationship. Much more than this though, when I am able to consciously acknowledge my deepest knowing (be it fear or love), and express that knowing, I am accessing my strongest ability to reflect. When I am being ‘whole and undivided’, I am thus being the most powerful mirror I can be for my client. Any breakdown in my integrity, between any of the four points listed above, is an immediate reduction in my impact on my client.

In the moments when I say I will do things and then don’t follow up with action, in those moments when I entertain thinking that is superficial or ‘all in my head’, in those moments when I hold back from speaking the thoughts I feel are true – the impact I have on people immediately drops.

I can literally feel the power drain out of me when I lack integrity.

In this sense, I take integrity as a kind of ‘structural’ integrity. If I want to be a support system for the people I am coaching, then I want to be the kind of support system that will carry the weight of the work we are doing – no matter how heavy it is. My aspiration is not to be like a rope bridge with wooden planks, it is to have structural integrity like the Golden Gate Bridge.

This is the kind of structural integrity and power I want to create for people.

In addition, integrity is not something that I consider only during my coaching sessions. Be it with my clients, my wife, my family and friends, strangers on the street or even the private moments with my own self, I consider integrity in all of these circumstances to be equally influential on my power as a coach.

 

*** Coaching Questions to Ask Yourself ***

1. What are my moral principles?

2. Do I coach with an agenda? If I did, what would it be?

3. Where in my life am I not standing strong in my moral principles and how might this be leaking power from my coaching?

4. Between the four points of deep knowing, engaged thinking, words spoken and action taken, where might I be lacking structural integrity?

5. Where else in my life do I know I am lacking integrity and thus leaking power as a coach?

How to be a Powerful Coach – #1 TRUTH

My Top 10 Principles for Being a Powerful Coach

Since I was a little kid, I have been infatuated with power. Having power, gaining power, playing with power and accessing power. I loved model rockets, burning things and making things explode. I loved driving power boats and fast cars. I was pulled over by the police nearly 50 times in my first 10 years of driving! The common thread of my otherwise diverse careers and interests in physics, finance, computers, business and personal growth has always been power.

Throughout my entire life I’ve asked myself questions around how to become more powerful.

In more recent years, I’ve been asking questions like:

What makes a coach ‘powerful’?

– Is it simply me being ‘fearless’ and going ‘deep’? Or is there more to it?

– How does one actually become more powerful as a coach?

Power is important in coaching because power drives creation. The more power there is in your coaching, the more impact you will have and the more money you will make.

Following is the first of my top 10 principles on being a powerful coach. These may not be the paths to power for you, but they are what have helped me to impact the lives of inspiring leaders around the world and to make enough money to provide the life my wife and I once dreamed of.

I will post another one of my principles here each week.

 

Principle #1 – TRUTH

What I focus on more than anything in my coaching is something I learned from my parents as a young boy. In fact, at our house, it was the MOST important thing. That is, to tell the truth.

When someone in a courtroom is called to the witness stand, there is a short ritual where they recite the phrase:

I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

These words actually contain four distinct pieces of wisdom for powerful coaching.

 

1. ‘Tell the truth.’ – I do my best to always speak what is in my gut, heart and mind. My truth shows up as a sense of curiosity, dissonance, harmony, certainty, uncertainty and other feelings. Whatever it is, I share it. I share what I see, hear and feel. I do my best not to hold back out of fear that I might be wrong. I no longer keep secrets because I’m worried I might hurt someone’s feelings. I don’t hide anything my body is pointing me to because my head thinks it might not be relevant.

For this affect, I am reminded of the first of two principles Quakers have for meetings where they sit together in silence.

To not speak when moved to do so is a sin.’

 

2. ‘Tell the whole truth.’ – Besides telling a truth of mine that may challenge a person, I try to remember also to share the full context surrounding that truth.

A context I used to leave out was the reason WHY I was challenging the person. Reason’s like ‘because I believe in your potential’ or ‘because I love you’, were true but I didn’t always tell it. Often I assumed the fact that I was their coach was enough. I’ve since found that speaking the truth of my belief in people, my commitment to people and my love for people, while ALSO telling them or asking them something that is confronting, can be as (and sometimes even more) powerful than sharing just the confronting truth.

Another place I find this is useful is in creating total clarity around the reason for inviting someone to a conversation. A partial truth would be ‘because I want to serve you’. The WHOLE truth would be ‘because I am serving lots and lots of people who inspire me, a handful of which I will offer coaching programs to and whom will become my clients’.

 

3. ‘Tell nothing but the truth.’ – Through listening back in my mind to what I have spoken to people, I have learned not to include anything extraneous when I tell the truth. No longer do I pad my truth out of fear. Instead I just do my best to be direct with people.

This doesn’t mean I am curt as I am also remembering to tell the ‘whole’ truth. It does mean, however, that I do not water down the truths I am speaking. I have come to be willing for a long period of silence to follow the dropping of a ‘truth bomb’. These moments are like the ringing in the ears one gets when an explosion happens close by. It’s scary, but also peaceful.

Following on from above, the second Quaker principle is;

To speak when not moved to do so is a sin.’

There is so much power in nothing.

 

4. ‘So help me God.’ – In my early days as a coach, five or six years ago, I thought it was easy for me to tell the truth. It was a high value of mine, so I assumed I was just always doing it. Acknowledging that telling my truth was not easy, however, actually helped me to discover deeper truths within me.

As soon as I acknowledged that there were things I was scared to say, new things began to reveal themselves to me. Questions I hadn’t been aware I was curious to ask, started to surface. These days I often look for which aspect of the conversation I feel discomfort around and then I move towards it, descending down the rabbit hole to a deeper truth.

For me, ‘God’ is the unfolding of life in and through all things. In this sense, I relate to my deepest truths – the ones that I contact not through reason but through body and intuition – as the current of life unfolding through me. To NOT speak these truths then is thus taking an active role in obstructing the unfolding of creation.

To be helped by ‘God’ in telling the truth is a reminder to me that my deepest truths are actually not mine, but they are life’s unfolding.

To get in the way of this (by not speaking them) reminds me of when, as a little kid, I used to try to build dams in the small streams in the forest behind our house. Sometimes it would work, but then the water would go everywhere and make a mess and eventually a pool of water would build up and come crashing through the dam. It was just like how hurricanes and tsunamis take back from man what he put in mother nature’s way.

Nature always finds a way to where she wants to go. I figure I may as well just go with her flow.

Doing so doesn’t make ‘me’ powerful, but it does gives me access to her power. And it is so immense!

 

*** Coaching Questions to Ask Yourself ***

– What feels like an uncomfortable direction to take this conversation?

– What else is true and relevant here that I am not communicating?

– Am I about to say this because it will serve them or because it will make me more comfortable?

– How am I getting in the way by NOT sharing this?

How Problems Can Give You Power

Often when we look for ways ways to fix problems we create even more of them.

However, when we choose to see problems as opportunities, we immediately begin noticing the positive aspects. This engenders a sense of possibility and excitement which gives us energy. Our attitude brightens, our creativity expands and we act from a place of potential rather than lack.

 

 

Mom’s ‘Don’t Have Enough Time’

Mom’s I meet often struggle with guilt around balancing their desire to pursue their personal goals with caring for their kids and family life.

Most important is switching from a scarcity mindset to a capacity mindset. Looking at how much time you do have, rather than dwelling on how much you don’t have is the key to using that time effectively and being at peace with the ever changing balance.

In addition, if you avoid doing something out of fear (scarcity) or guilt, then what are you teaching your children? Your kids learn so much more from who you be than what you say. What do you really want to teach them about what is possible for them in their life?

The ‘How’ is Within You

Looking around for answers on the outside will not help you close the gap between who you are and who you are being.

Don’t listen to others (including me)!

Ask yourself what you are being called to do as a NEXT STEP and do that. You only ever need to know the next step and deep down inside, you already know what that is.

Your Probability of Success

Are you wondering how likely it is that you will succeed in creating your dream?

What is holding you back? Fear? Money? Overwhelm?

First off, I suggest you embrace the possibility of success over the probability of success or failure. Living on the path of possibility instead of probability is more fulfilling and it can lead to incredible and amazing things. 

Secondly, by saying ‘No’ to all the aspects that you don’t want and proceeding only if you can do it your way will ensure your product will be the fullest expression of your uniqueness. This has considerably more value to the world than you may imagine.

Your Destination is the Path

When you want to know how to get from the seed of an idea to the end result of your vision, remember this:

The destination is the path.

Connecting with your vision and coming from that vision in every step, is the simplest ‘how’ to creating.  By repeating this over and over again, you create the essence of your vision in every step.

 

Goals vs. Intuition, What’s Best?

Some people rely on intuition to know what and how to create next.

Others use goals and structure to craft their visions into reality.

I don’t think one is better than the other. A balance of these ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ approaches is what seems most true to me.

Personally, I create structures that serve my heart. For example, I build habits to help me act with consistency on what I am called to create.

You Don’t Need a Coach

I operate under the belief that nobody needs a coach.

At the same time, I use a lot of tools for self development and self coaching as well as having my own coaches, teachers and mentors.

There can be neediness and codependence in the coaching dynamic which does not serve either party, so this is certainly something to watch out for.

For me, coaching is much more than a friendship – a coach is there to serve, not to please.

 

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