This interview is currently the cover story of Insight magazine . Contact me to get the complete virtual 60-p.copy of their June issue.
In this interview, "I" stands for Insight magazine and "ML" are my initials. Enjoy!
I: In 2006, you were the first expert invited to introduce coaching at the world-renowned Smithsonian Institution. How has the coaching industry changed since that time?
ML: Overall, coaching has increased greatly in awareness and acceptance by the general public. It grew tremendously in its popularity and use by individuals and organizations. Internally, there is an evolution towards becoming more comfortable with dealing with our clients’ feelings and accepting those feelings as part of their coaching experience.
Until recently, in our zeal to separate ourselves from psychology, we often drew a line when a client would even mention a negative feeling. It would raise the red flag of crossing over into therapy, and as crazy as it seems now, we weren’t supposed to ask our clients how they felt about something. But that has gradually changed over the last few years.
I: We do talk about how people feel now, because it’s relevant, as long as we’re not diving into the past, right?
ML: That’s another conversation, but my argument was, if you can talk about your feelings to your barber or your hairdresser, why wouldn’t you mention that to your coach? It’s a significant part of the coaching experience now.
I: As the popularity of coaching has increased, so have the number of coaching schools. With so many coaching training programs available, what lead you to create your own?
ML: Because I’m such an advocate of dealing with feelings in the coaching relationship, I came up with the concept of Emotionally Charged Coaching™. I actually felt it was necessary to take a much broader, more holistic view of what needs to be taught in coaching school.
I felt that no one was answering the question of how to deal with emotions in the coaching experience, and as a hypnotherapist, I was very comfortable dealing with emotions. I understood their relationship to the subconscious.
There were a lot of schools of thought that developed in an attempt to integrate emotions into coaching, including brain-based coaching, ontological coaching, and NLP coaching. Some of these schools focused on the importance of thoughts, some focused on the importance of feelings, and some focused on your sense of being and self-awareness.
I felt that all of these aspects were equally important and needed to be integrated to create a truly well-rounded foundation that united mind, body, and soul—to create a program that was truly holistic.
I: With coaching becoming more and more popular, why are so many coaches still struggling to find clients? Is coaching still an attractive career choice?
ML: I definitely think it’s still an extremely attractive career choice, and yes, it’s possible to make good money being a coach. What coaches need to understand is the concept of authentic marketing.
Regardless of what school of thought you are following or what training you have, there is something very unique about you as a person and in terms of your interests, your professional experiences, and your skills. All of that tied in with your coach training experience is what makes you unique.
As a coach, you need to take time—as much time as you need to take—to really understand who you are in terms of your professional self-awareness, so that you don’t sound like everyone else.
I: I agree. You want to have your authentic voice speaking.
ML: What’s interesting here is that when you develop that authenticity, even people who are shy about offering their services don’t feel so shy anymore. When you become fully aware of your gifts, you are able to naturally and authentically present yourself and what you are offering—instead of “selling yourself,” which is a negative concept.
I: Do you also teach branding and marketing skills in your coach training program?
ML: Yes, and I teach it throughout the course from the very beginning. Most other schools that I know of teach one class at the end of their training that is devoted to marketing. Usually it’s a short class, and that’s that. Then, their coaches are basically on their own.
To really have an integrated sense of who you are that ties in with your training, your personality, your interests, your professional skills—all of you—is a process that cannot be taught in three or four hours at the end of your training.
That's why I start teaching authentic marketing from the very first lesson, and it’s woven into all of our coach training. Throughout the seven-month training, our students are also learning to evaluate and re-evaluate who they are professionally and personally, so that when the course is over, they’re completely ready. They have no fear of offering their services and marketing themselves, and they are ready to stand out from the crowd.
I: What is your coaching philosophy, and what is Goal Imagery?
ML: Goal Imagery is a way of helping organizations and individuals achieve their goals quicker and easier by tapping the subconscious power of emotions and imagination in combination with proven goal-setting strategy and project-management techniques.
Goal Imagery is a unique model that helps to synergize our conscious goals, our subconscious needs, and our true authentic core of being. Essentially, Goal Imagery coaching combines traditional coaching skills with subconscious and holistic techniques. As a result, Goal Imagery coaching helps clients to set goals, make decisions, and take actions that are completely congruent with who they truly are at the core and essence of their being.
We help people use their natural strengths, skills, resources, and creativity in order to achieve the life they desire. We believe that the process of reaching a goal may be just as personally fulfilling and meaningful as actually attaining the goal itself.
While traditional coaching tends to deal only with the present and the future, Goal Imagery coaching takes into account the fact that most of our present and future challenges are based on our past experiences, on our culture, and on the way we were brought up. Goal Imagery provides the tools to re-evaluate, to readjust, and to reframe past experiences, to make achieving success and happiness easier in the future.
I: Since your training deals with the subconscious and emotion, does that mean you cross over a little bit into therapy?
ML: I hear that question a lot, because we, as coaches, are still not 100% confident and positive of how we are different from psychology, per se. Having said that, I always tell my clients and explain to my new students that you can be therapeutic without doing therapy.
I’ll give you an example. Whether you take an acting class, a drawing class, or a dance class, it’s creative, it expands you, and it’s extremely therapeutic—but it’s not therapy. You can use therapeutic techniques and create a therapeutic experience without going into actual therapy.
I: As someone who has played a major role in the development of an award-winning New York City chapter of the International Coach Federation—and you served twice as the President—and as someone who is very active on a global level, how important is it to be part of the coaching community?
ML: I think it’s extremely important. Coaching is a constantly evolving profession—we never stand still. If you aren’t involved in your coaching community, you’re out of the loop.
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