Hello, I want to share with you three what I will call, “Confidential” Inner Game Strategies of Highly Successful Coaches. The reason I put confidential in quotes is (I could say secrets, but that word is overused) is stuff that happens behind the scenes. It’s not talked about as often as…. really the weight that it has in having a highly successful coaching business. That’s why I call it “confidential.”
A few quick things about me. I’m a coach who helps other coaches and entrepreneurs grow their businesses with ease and joy. My special sweet spot is coaches coming out of corporate who want to build a business or executive coaching business. That’s where I find the clients that have the highest and best results with me. So if you’re one of those, listen in, and if you’re not, you’re still going to get a lot of information here.
The 1st inner game strategy:
So the first thing that I want to talk about is coaches who are very successful pay lots of attention to their energy. And when I started out in coaching many, many years ago, I coined this term “essence energy”. And the way I got to that term is this. I realized that I was going to speaking engagements, I was starting my coaching sessions, and I was getting into a certain type of energy that I could actually, literally feel in my body, and that kept me fully present. It really gave my clients and my audiences some great results. I’m a former speech major (many, many years ago) and what we said was that there was content and there was delivery. The content was all of the stuff that you could hear and see. The delivery was that intangible– I think it was the energy, only we called it something different then. We always said that you could have great content, but if you didn’t have the right delivery, it couldn’t be heard. And so the energy is very important. So I want to talk to you about essence energy.
Essence energy is the energy that you feel when you are most alive. ..when you want to go out and buy a lottery ticket! That’s how good you feel. It could be the energy you feel with your children, your grandchildren, with your loved ones. It could be the energy you feel after a major accomplishment. But whatever it is, it’s that energy that says, “It’s great to be alive.” Everyone has a different flavor or style of this essence energy. It’s interesting. My essence energy is kind of shifting a bit, and I realized the other day that I would actually name my essence energy today as “elegant empowerment”. It feels that way. I feel like when I’m in that elegance, when I’m in that empowered state, that I can really translate and can communicate properly to other people, and they can get it. They can feel empowered. They feel elegant. They feel most like themselves. So that’s what I’m calling my essence energy at this moment.
I had a different essence energy for many years, and it hasn’t gone away, but I used to call my essence energy “tender exuberance”. And that’s still part of me too. So think about what is the energy that you feel when you are most alive? It doesn’t have to be two words. I was speaking to a group of coaches last year, and one of the people just said, “My essence energy, I call it Tulip.” Whatever that was for her, that brought forward that energy that was very empowered. The thing about having your essence energy and paying attention to it is that you can be in your most empowered state at any time and even quickly. Just thinking about your essence energy and bringing it (even shutting your eyes for a moment and calling up that energy, there it is).
Notice what puts you in your essence energy. Iit might be a song. Songs can put us into a state really quickly. It might be a memory of a really great time. Whatever it is, just keep that in mind as you do anything in your business. As you’re writing an email, as you’re talking to a potential client, as you’re doing your coaching. This makes a huge difference, and again, kind of why I call it confidential. It’s not talked about a lot. I use this everywhere, with business clients, with corporate clients, it works everywhere, having essence energy and knowing what that is and knowing how to deliberately get into it. That’s the first confidential strategy that I want to share today.
The 2nd inner game strategy:
The second one is that highly successful coaches have personal guidelines for being fully present. It’s a little bit different than essence energy. Your personal guidelines will probably put you into your essence energy, but they are things like assume positive intent. I got that phrase from Diane Brennan who has a great book out called Back Pocket Coach, and she talks about assuming positive intent. So that really helps in terms of keeping me fully present.
Having a beginner’s mind is another one I got from the Standards of Presence through the Foundation for Inspired Learning. Listen deeply and with honor is another one of those that I adopted from the Standards of Presence. So these personal guidelines really help me to be personally present for my clients, for an enrollment conversation, for anything that I’m doing in my business. And I want to give an example of how essence energy and personal guidelines both can help tremendously.
I remember I was a newer coach, probably third or fourth month of my coaching, and I realized that I had a lot of business experience and that I could help other coaches around me that didn’t have as much business experience in getting their businesses going. I had a client who was another coach, a younger coach, and she came to her session, and the first thing she said was, “Karen, I need to postpone the rest of my coaching sessions, because I’m moving next month, and I’ve got too much to do and I can’t actually work on my coaching.” I said, “Okay,” because I was okay with that. I don’t want people to be coming into coaching that aren’t fully present themselves as clients. So then I said, “Well, what would you like to talk about today?” And she said, “Well,” she said, “when I’m coaching my own clients, I feel so alive and so present and so great, and they’re getting great results. And when I come into my own coaching sessions, I don’t feel good, and I’m not getting the results that I want to get.”
And so I stopped for a minute, and there was this thought in my mind of, “I’m her coach and she’s telling me that she’s not getting results and she’s not getting anything out of our sessions” and I could have taken it personally. By a moment of grace, because I had put myself into my essence energy and I had some guidelines for myself, I was just able to say to her, “Would you like to explore that?” So I put all my own thoughts aside and said, “Would you like to explore that?” (assume positive intent)
She said that yes, she would. So we talked about it a little bit and I said, “Well, what’s happening when you’re in your sessions with your clients?” And she talked about all the things she did to be fully present, to really be there for her clients, and do her best. Then we talked about what was happening when she was going into her own sessions as a client herself. She realized she did nothing to prepare. She just showed up at the session and went from there. No wonder she wasn’t getting as much out of her own coaching sessions because she wasn’t fully present for them. And so we talked about what she could do to be fully present and what the ramifications were for not being fully present, not only in her coaching sessions but in everything else in her life. We had a really, really great coaching session.
At the end, I said to her, “I know you’re going to be moving next month, so when would you like to schedule your next coaching session?” And she said to me, “Oh my gosh! I need my next coaching session next week. I’m going to be moving. I need my coaching more than ever.”
So it was really interesting to me that when I was able to be fully present, when I had these guidelines, I had this beginner’s mind, I was in my essence energy, I was really able to say, “Let me serve this client,” and not take anything personally about what she was saying. It turned out that by a moment of grace, I was able to do that. And also, I think, by my own personal preparation.
As coaches, we sometimes do get triggered in coaching sessions. And even in the enrollment process and bringing in clients, sometimes we get triggered. To be able to be fully present and make decisions and ask questions from that state– it’s almost paramount to us as coaches. So that’s the second confidential “secret”. Have some personal guidelines for being fully present. Know what they are and play around with it. Notice when you’re not in your full presence any time of day and then shift back into your full presence. See what it takes to do that because this will make a huge difference in your coaching and actually in your life.
The 3rd inner game strategy:
Okay, so I said there were three guidelines, three inner game strategies of highly successful coaches. The third strategy is highly successful coaches work on their own self-care. I think this is a 24-7 job. Before I came into coaching, I knew nothing about self-care. I was working really long hours. I’d sit at my desk for a long time. I wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t move. I’d miss meals. I wouldn’t take time out to hydrate myself, all kinds of things. And I was exhausted. I didn’t even know about this thing called self-care.
When I came into my coach training, I learned about it and it was like a light bulb went off because earlier on, I’d been in manufacturing management and I remember when we had an assembly line, a production line, and sometimes our customers were looking for parts round the clock. They were running their production lines round the clock to make up for something that had happened and make sure that their customers got the parts on time. We would be doing the same and our production manager would come in and he would say, “Look, we need to take a night off. We need to take even eight hours off. We cannot run round the clock because our machines need to cool down, we need to make sure that we can make some repairs that we need. Our people are tired even though there’s different shifts. They need a break. And once we do that our production will be even better and we’ll be able to make up what we were supposed to be doing quicker and then we’ll be able to do this in a longer term.” So that’s pretty true about us too as people. We can’t sustain long periods of “non-self-care” is what I’ll call it.
So what does self-care look like? I really think there are four main elements I’ll say of self-care. The first one is physical self-care and it’s actually the one we think of most often when we think about self-care. Physical self-care is a little bit of what I was just talking about. It’s movement, hydration, food, nurturing,,, sleep is a big part of self-care. I started looking at what I needed to do, how many hours of sleep I needed, what types of foods I needed to eat to feel the best.
Here in Tucson Arizona, we need lots of water, extra hydration. So how was I going to get that? Then of course, there is all these things about the pH of water, so it’s not just any water, but it’s FIJI Water or pH of 7.8 or above. So there’s all kinds of things that can happen and ways of getting this hydration. Another one is movement. I had a friend of mine, some people love to run, if she didn’t run every day she got cranky. It was in her DNA to be moving a lot. Think about what it is for you and all of those, what things? Like how much sleep do you need and all of that in the physical sense.
Another element of self-care is intellectual. I’m a very positive person. In fact, in years past I’ve been called a Poliana sometimes. I’ve always been able to see the positive focus in any situation. Sometimes I don’t always act upon it. I can get triggered too, but for the most part I’m really a positive person. I like to read positive stories. I love to watch positive movies with happy endings. I like to have conversations that are positive, that are uplifting, that are solution-focused rather than complaining. I can’t be around that very much. Negativity drags me down so I can’t be around that as much. For me, my intellectual self-care in order to keep my mind strong, I’ve got to watch what I’m reading, what I’m talking about, and all of that. This way my mind is nurtured and nourished, and that’s my self-care. That’s the second thing.
Emotional self-care is another element of self-care. What are your relationships? Are they draining you or are they energizing you? And I remember when I first came into coaching I lost some relationships. One of my friends, a really, really close friend of mine, when I started coaching she said, “Maybe you should get a job at the mall to save up some money because you want to be safe.” And I thought to myself, “She doesn’t think I’m going to make it.” By the way, I had money saved up to be able to grow my business. But that statement to me made me sad. And that friendship ultimately left my life because we really didn’t have as much in common. That energy, that vibration, it just wasn’t there. So if you’re a coach and you’re losing some friends, that’s probably normal as you’re transforming, as you’re becoming more of who you really are and you’re getting more emotionally stable and discerning. We have a lot of boundaries. We need to. We’re listening to people all day long, and so we need to have some boundaries and some positive people around us.
Now the fourth and last element of self-care is connecting with a higher power, the spiritual one. People have gone round and round and said to me, “Can you really bring spirituality into business?” And I say, “Well, you have a human spirit. That is part of your self-care and who you are.” So, of course, you’re bringing that everywhere. You don’t have to blatantly talk about it, but you do want to really tend to that part of you. So that spiritual part of you is connecting with a higher power whether you call that God or higher power or spirit or nature or you have inner guides. All of that is a part of your human spirit. When you know what that is and how to connect with that, it will really support you.
You can see that when someone is very spirited, they have energy. They are attractive. They’re in their body. They’re who they are. So knowing your purpose, having a mission, having that spiritual side to you….what is the self-care that is needed to really nurture that part of yourself? Think about that. What is it that you need? And I know for me sometimes, it’s just sheer reflection. There’s so much out there on meditation. Meditation is actually coming into the business world, the workforce, everywhere because meditation really slows everything down and it gives you access to more of your creative ideas. It really increases your spirit. So think about what you might need to make sure that your spirit is nurtured and strong. That’s our third confidential inner game strategy for coaches.
These three things: paying attention to your energy, having some personal guidelines for being fully present and knowing how to get into your full presence, and then working on your self-care every day will make you a fantastic coach and also just a better person..better to be around, less easily triggered, more able to respond to what’s happening around you. I hope these tips were helpful, and I would love to hear your biggest takeaway here from what I’ve shared.
I’d also love to hear if you have more questions. What questions are still left in your mind after all of this sharing that I’ve done? My team and I here for you and we will get back to you for sure. Just remember, these inner game strategies are actually as important, and I would almost say more important, than any practical strategies that you have. Of course we need the practical strategies, we have tons of those. They’re all over the place. But these strategies that I’m talking about today, they aren’t talked about as much, and they really make a huge difference.
So for now, I’d love to hear your takeaways and your questions. Signing off & wishing you lots of success, tons of success with ease and joy 🙂