How to find the right coach or consultant for you and get more value from your programs and sessions without creating more trauma or drama in the process.
Billions of dollars are spent each year on personal and business coaching, counseling, and intuitive consulting. And with all this investing you’d think collectively we’d be a lot healthier, happier and better off financially as a whole. While some folks do seem to have it dialed in and experience minor bumps and challenges along the way on their path to healing, wealth, and life satisfaction – they are the exception rather than the rule. I’m not concerned with those exceptions. What I’m curious about are the masses of smart, intuitive, educated women who are seeking guidance and wanting to build a business themselves that offers others transformation, but they are still struggling. Why is that?
I’m especially curious about the fields of coaching, counseling/psychotherapy, and the growing field of intuitive consulting. What do you as the client need to be aware of so that you can invest your time, energy, and money wisely with people & businesses in these fields and ultimately tip the scales such that the exception described above, becomes your rule?
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Three things you need to understand FIRST in order to get the results you desire (these will also help you assess what you need to know to get the most out of more general programs & ‘systems’)
Four questions to ask yourself before you work with a coach or consultant to help you get clear on what you really want/need (if you are the coach, these are great assessment tools)
Five self-assessment questions to help you know where you still need clarity (which can help you find the right coach or consultant for your current needs)
In part 2 we will look at the difference (and similarities) between coaching, counseling & consultation – so you can tell the difference and choose what you need and when. And we will look at who is responsible for the results (you might be surprised what I have to say…)
Some context: I’ve spent 25+ years in the field of psychology and personal transformation. About 7 years ago I began moving away from the more formal therapy model I had been working under as a licensed energy psychotherapist and ventured into the world of coaching. I took a coaching certification program so I could discern between the two models and begin switching my mindset from a therapist to a coach. I wanted to step out of a model of “fixing” that is inherent in the medical psychotherapy model, and into one of empowerment that I could see the world of coaching provided. It was a tough transition for me because the rules, regulations, and ethical training that I had as a clinician were suddenly not as explicit or even discussed in the “realtime” world of coaching & consulting. As I watched leaders in the industry, the “gurus” of business coaching & marketing, I felt like everything I knew about ethical boundaries, and confidentiality and assessing whether the client was even a good fit were suddenly out the window and pretty much anything was legit.
But secretly I wondered if it really was…
Maybe you have too.
I saw things early on in my coaching career that made my jaw drop. I once sat on a group “coaching” call incredulous at what I was hearing: a former musician with no clinical training doing EFT and deep trauma work with a client while 100 people listened in. She was doing “money coaching” but EFT can take people deep fast, and both coach & client were not prepared for where this seemingly innocuous tapping session took them. It was freaking nuts! I kept my mouth shut because I thought maybe this was one of those exceptions, but after so many years in the field, I’ve been seeing the lines get blurred more and more often, and the client is the one who most often ends up wondering why it didn’t work or whether or not they can even say anything because after all, they are not the “expert” the coach supposedly is.
I’ve witnessed other situations like the one above (and heard stories from colleagues) where things that would have been grounds for malpractice as a licensed therapist are being done in the world of coaching with little to no awareness of the implications for the client – no matter how high functioning she is!
The world of psychotherapy can be just as shaming and damaging, with the labels and diagnoses, and lack of understanding about energy, the soul, and multi-elemental factors in healing, so it’s not just the coaching world that is questionable.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I love what I do, and I see great value in all of these models, if I didn’t I wouldn’t be so committed and passionate about this work and about calling us all to a higher standard. Here I’m focusing on the you, as the client, because…
I believe that well-informed clients who know themselves and trust their own intuition are better consumers and they get more out of their business & marketing programs. They will also offer higher quality services to their own clients.
This benefits ALL of us.
There’s a lot out there about what you “need” to do, have, or be – whatever desired result you want to attain, or given challenge you wish to overcome. But I don’t see much in the way of how to really assess for yourself what you need as a client.
Having been on both sides of the couch and having invested tens of thousands of dollars on my professional education and tens of thousands of dollars more as a client, I know how easy it can be to want to believe “here’s your ultimate solution!” and “the last thing you’ll ever need to know about blah blah blah!” or even “how to get what you want without lifting a finger!”
We want to believe it so badly as the client so we can finally have that promised, yet elusive, breakthrough.
As the coach or consultant: we want to simplify for the client what they need into a “system” because that’s what sells.
Three things you need to understand FIRST in order to get the results you desire (these will also help you assess who can help you and how to get the most out of more general programs & ‘systems’):
1) It’s never just one thing. It’s never one solution, one tool, one answer, one why that explains how you got to your present situation, illness, challenge, etc., nor how to transform it. We are multi-dimensional, multi-elemental beings. Our elements are physical, mental, emotional, spiritual (soul), psychic, energetic. To look at only one of these elements and diagnose or provide a solution or tool to the exclusion of the others misses variables that can really make change possible. These are general elements that all of us human beings possess, so there is a tendency to say “this worked for me so it will work for you too” or “this is a statistically significant outcome in this study, so it can apply to all people in this population.” Unfortunately, this greatly oversimplifies an inherently complex being: humans!
To take it one step further, you must also understand yourself as we see in #2…
2) You must know your UNIQUE elemental & energetic design. This means taking those general human nature or elements and understanding YOUR unique expression of them and how integrated they are. Understanding how you specifically think, feel, speak, behave, intuit, get things done, and your unique energy signature that communicates before you even open your mouth, along with knowing your soul essence allows you to take more general information or suggestions (i.e., in a program or system, or even healing model/modality) and apply it to your own unique design. This means that you will get results based on YOU not on something that applies to the masses. Have you ever felt like something must be wrong with you if you can’t “get it” or can’t do what everyone else seems to have no problem taking action on? It’s because they have a different elemental design from you! Knowing yourself in this way means that you’ll also be better able to discern when resistance is coming from fear or your “wound”, and when it is coming from a place of truth within you that is saying, “this suggestion doesn’t fit because it doesn’t apply to me – I need to do something else to really be in alignment with my natural elemental design.”
Which brings us to #3…
3) You must understand the difference between intuition and fear and this means understanding how your intuition uniquely speaks to you, and then having the courage and self-esteem to listen to it and take action based on your intuitive hits and emotional clarity – no matter what anyone else, including the “experts” tell you to do.
We all possess an inner knowing and recognition of our soul’s truth.
Some of us are more finely attuned to listening to this truth, but it is my belief and understanding that even the most daft and unconscientious of us human beings know when something is “off”. It’s hardwired into us. Our ego may try to hide that knowing from ourselves, but ideally that’s why we seek help and guidance from professionals – to help us listen better.
When you learn how to listen to this inner truth through listening to your Inner Voice, which speaks to you through your intuition (and this is a little different for everyone by the way-not everyone is designed to “trust their gut”), you will be able to discern which professionals may be good for you and at what time.
We will address these more as we go, but suffice to say: when you can truly discern what is your Inner Voice or intuition vs. what I call the little voices (of fear, doubt, worry, lust, criticism, judgement, etc.) and you know how to tell when you are being influenced by the thoughts and emotions of others, especially in a high energy sales situation, then you can wade through marketing rhetoric that is designed to trigger you emotionally and neurologically to buy something whether it’s what you really need or not.
I was at an event a few years ago and this is when I first saw this rhetoric in action. Two male speakers took the stage back to back. One told us an emotional story, had us on the edge of our seats until the very end. It was an emotional roller coaster ride, but it made sense and it felt authentic. It related to what he was selling, it felt natural to want to buy the product he was offering.
The second speaker got up on stage and almost immediately the mental and emotional discord in the room was overwhelming to me. He shared snippets of stories that didn’t seem to relate, it was as though he was yanking us this way and that both mentally & emotionally. I felt confused, a little agitated, and really curious what the hell he was selling because it made no sense to me.
On the break I approached this guy and told him: “I’m confused. I have no idea what you are selling or how it works, but I want to understand it.” He smiled like the Cheshire cat and told me he intended to do that – to create confusion. I’m not sure why decided to share with me his “trick” but he explained that it is a tactic designed to trigger different neurochemicals (like dopamine) in the brain to be both attractive and also confusing or incomplete because the brain wants to close the loop so to speak. (There is a whole science to this by the way – look it up!) This has people come talk to him directly so they could buy from him vs. trying to explain his complex product in a limited timeframe while on stage.
Maybe it was because of his ‘honesty’ in that post-presentation discussion, maybe it was because I was still new to this whole coaching industry and naive about what I really needed, maybe it was still the dopamine active in my brain, but I ended up buying his technology because he explained it in a way that somehow made sense in the moment, but when I got home and tried to figure out what the hell I bought, I had NO IDEA STILL, and I felt slimed.
Maybe you’re thinking I’m an idiot for buying it, but I want you to consider the last time you purchased something and could feel either an emotional pull, or excitement and anticipation in your thinking that didn’t seem to make sense, but felt really compelling, then later wondered what had overcome you. I have one word for you: Dopamine. If you’ve ever attended a large marketing or transformational event you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Before I knew these three basic principles of transformation I got myself into a shit-load of debt and invested money, time & energy in things I had no business investing in.
I didn’t know myself.
I was naive & wanted to believe that everyone who is in the personal development industry was really an expert if they said they were. When they said I only needed to be, do, or have what ever their solution was that I would get the results they promised, I believed them.
It wasn’t that they were not good at what they do, I’ve personally hired some incredible coaches & consultants – it was that I didn’t know myself first, so I struggled with applying their system or knowledge to my own situation.
Honestly, and this was probably the most painful lesson: I didn’t have the confidence to trust myself and follow my intuitive instincts even when I had my doubts. Knowing myself and my unique elemental design as a human being and as a soul in this human body brings ever-increasing clarity, confidence, and discernment. I can better trust my decisions about who to hire for what, and when, and that feels amazing.
Four questions to ask yourself before you work with a coach or consultant to help you get clear on what you really want/need (if you are the professional, these are great assessment tools)
Part of knowing yourself as I mentioned above involves knowing your unique elemental human and soul design. (You can read more about those HERE). In addition to those tools, here are some questions you can ask yourself which can be powerfully transformational in and of themselves and they can help you get the most out of your sessions as well as help you determine which kind of professional to work with. If you’re the coach or consultant, they help you serve your clients at the highest level as part of an intake assessment to see if it is a good fit for you both.
1) What is your intention? What are you hoping to learn, gain, acquire, get, heal, etc. as a result of this session? Be honest with yourself. If you want a reason to blame someone, (or anything!) for how you feel, or for your behaviors then check yourself because that will set you up for attracting a coach who will be all too willing to oblige and tell you what you want to hear. You’ll get what you pay for, but you’ll still be feeling stuck in the end.
If your intention is to have a breakthrough in some area, then expect to make some changes in your life, many of which may be a little uncomfortable all the way to downright terror-inducing. You’ll of course be safe, but your ego will freak out anyway! And…the breakthrough will be on the other side of action.
Side note: Just because you WANT it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re READY for it. There is a whole body of work in psychology looking at “readiness to change” and the different stages of change. In energy psychology we look at “psychological reversals” and how these unconscious agendas undermined the client’s conscious desire for change. Having a coach who is aware of those stages and unconscious agendas who is able to assess where you are and move you through those stages & unconscious blocks (or refer you to someone else who is qualified) can be the missing key in actually getting the results you’re looking for.
Be honest: What is your intention?
2) What are your expectations? Having expectations is not necessarily a bad thing. However – when you are attached to those expectations so much that you are unable to receive the coaching or the healing that your body, mind, and spirit are able to receive at this time, then you will likely be disappointed and/or unable to receive & process what IS coming your way! Huge epiphanies are awesome and massive shifts of energy are delightful, but in my experience, a lot of profound and powerful healing comes from small shifts and new choices that lead to new behaviors that occur over time – it just works that way in this physical world. (Though this physical reality is shifting & speeding up even as I write this and change is happening faster!)
Get real: Are you emotionally attached to your expectations? Can you “get what you get without throwing a fit”? Be honest & open, you may get more than you expected…
3) What is your intuitive hit about the practitioner when you meet them? If it doesn’t feel like a fit, opt-out. Better to do so in the beginning than to get partway through a session or coaching contract and think, “Oh hell, why am I here – this didn’t feel right at the beginning and I knew it!” Even if the person comes highly recommended. Even if they are THE expert in their field – if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit. Move on.
Yep, I’ve been there before, more than once I regret to admit. I guess I needed a LOT of contrast to help me learn to discern between fear and intuition.
Here’s what I’ve come to know: pure psychic hits have no emotion attached to them. Regardless if they are visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or just a knowing – they come to you without any emotion. In my experience they also tend to come once (sometimes more over a few days/weeks) but they don’t keep intruding into your thoughts with strong emotion attached to them. If you are empathic it can be very confusing! It has taken me years to fine-tune this awareness and I still am working on it. Thoughts that have a feeling of dread or worry are likely not your intuition. Thoughts like these can come in almost immediately after an intuitive hit,or you can be reading the emotions of someone else and interpreting it as a hit or even thinking it is your own emotion when it’s not. We can easily get caught up in the emotional aftershocks and miss the message our intuition was giving us. I’m not saying don’t listen to them if you have a strong reaction to someone or something, follow that, because it could be your survival instinct kicking in. (Just know that survival instinct is a funny thing, it can become distorted by your wound & expectations of danger). This is a far bigger discussion than what I can cover here, just start paying attention to when you “know” and when you “think you know.” It’s subtle, but getting this fine-tuned for yourself is key in transforming all areas of your life!
4) There is nothing wrong with you. That’s not really a question, more of a truth. However, you’ll want to ask yourself: “Am I seeking this coaching, healing, guidance, counseling, intuitive reading, etc. because I want to know what’s wrong with me, or because I am ready to see, hear, and receive what’s RIGHT about me?” To know if I’m on track. To validate what I know deep down inside is my truth. To check in with my soul and get confirmation. To become more consciously aware of this inner truth and focus on taking action from this awareness…
Yes, I know – you are likely struggling with patterns, issues, beliefs, and stuck energies. However, no coach, no counselor, no method, no system, no tool, nor years of cleansing and clearing are going to “fix” you. Why? Because you’re focused on the “wrong” thing. Literally. And believe me, if you go looking for what’s wrong with you, no matter how many years of cleansing, clearing & releasing you’ve done you’ll always find something else to cleanse, clear, and release!***
So, why not focus on something else, like cultivating your intuitive knowing and listening to what experiences (good, bad, and challenging) your soul is guiding you to and through – it’s way more fun and you’ll clear baggage & blocks along the way without having to try so hard.
***If you are healing from deep trauma, addiction, or other emotional pain and are either new on the journey of healing or still in the depths of it, then by all means – cleanse, clear, release away! I especially like using EFT and other energy healing modalities. Find a trained clinical energy practitioner in your area HERE.
That said, if you have done years of therapy and energy clearing, it’s time to step away from the couch, literally get off your freaking couch, or your therapist’s couch, and cultivate where you’re going instead of processing where you’ve been.
The past has it’s place, and it will always be an underlying influence, but it does not have to define who you have been and especially who you are becoming. Keep moving and clear here and there as stuff comes up, but don’t focus all your attention there!
Do your own self-assessment right now:
Do I know how I best work? Do I know what kind of coaching program would work best for me (i.e, 1:1 or group, online, or live?)
Do I know what my natural elemental human & soul design is? Can I apply it to the coaching or marketing consultation I’m currently receiving?
Do I know what my soul and the soul of my business are calling for?
Do I know if the ideas I’m receiving are for me, or for others around me? Do I know if the emotions I’m feeling are mine, or someone else’s?
Do I know how to take the suggestions I’m receiving from my coach or consultant and check them against my own internal truth – and trust it?
In Part 2 we will differentiate between Coaching, Counseling, & (Intuitive) Consulting so you have a clear idea what each of these professions focus on and who may be a good fit for you when you are seeking help & guidance on your journey. We will also explore who is responsible for the results which can sometimes be a tricky dynamic if both parties (client/coach) have differing expectations.
Did I strike a cord? Leave a comment below.
Want to talk to me directly about these assessment questions? Schedule a time to talk with me HERE.