Life coaching is more than a profession. It’s a way of ‘being’ with another person while they travel inward for answers to life’s biggest questions. It’s about holding space for what is needed. In this sacred space, the client can be truthful, authentic, and aware. It’s unlike any other relationship because the coach invites their client to step off the hamster wheel of life and into a planetarium where they can observe, make connections, and begin to intentionally design a meaningful existence. To say the least, life coaching is powerful and transformative.
My training at Learning Journeys International Center of Coaching started with a certification as a Life Coach Practitioner, followed by the Mastery program and eventually a specialized Narrative Coaching program. I guess you could say I’m hooked. Not long ago, it occurred to me that many of the competencies required to make a great life coach have contributed immensely to making me a better and more confident speaker. Below is a list of five competencies and how they affect my approach to speaking and training.
I trust my audience
As a Life Coach, I am trained to trust my client to have the answers. I know my client is the expert of their lives. I believe my clients is resourceful and capable. It’s my role to ask powerful questions and source their brilliance. I don’t assume to know what’s best. I don’t lead or manipulate for my own gain or agenda. I know this empowers my client to find answers within, make decisions, and lead self.
As a Speaker and Trainer, I believe my audience is brilliant. Certainly, the whole audience is smarter than me. When I’m delivering a presentation, I like to uncover what my audience is thinking, what they know, and what they struggle to understand. This requires me to believe the audience is smart and capable and will answer and engage. I craft each of my presentations with the intention of learning about where my audience is in the present moment. I invite them to share, learn, and experience my message. We have one opportunity to come together and there is power in that. This mentality allows me to be flexible and in service of my audience. I love having my audience work together to answer tough questions. They become active participants experiencing rather than detached and passive. It makes me approachable, relatable, and accessible to them.
I trust myself
As a Life coach, I need to trust that I will know what is needed in the moment. I trust that I will be able to ask appropriate and powerful questions and let go of judgement. What is real for my client is where I need to start.
As a Speaker and Trainer, I practice my presentations and do my best to be prepared, but as I head to the front of the room I say a little prayer. It goes like this, “Please provide me with the right words as I need them.” It’s my way of letting go of all that I had control over in exchange for dancing in the moment. There is great freedom in this thought process which promotes confidence in the heat of the moment.
I am authentic
As a Life Coach, I have learned to embrace my values and my strengths. I’ve also had the opportunity to discover my faults or those things that make me absolutely human. Sometimes all I can do is laugh at those parts because there is nothing else I can do and they are what make me a whole person. I’ve learned that authenticity breeds authenticity and when I step into my wholeness (weaknesses, faults and all) I am able to truly love myself.
As a Speaker and Trainer, I bring my whole self to the front of the room. I don’t feel vulnerable and exposed like I used to because ultimately, I love me. I hope my audience senses this permission to be human and this willingness to be real. There really is no other way to be in the world. No more hiding, trying to be perfect, and constantly feeling like you can’t measure up. It’s time to get real and I show my audience what that looks like each time I go on stage. They will meet the same Sara Krisher off stage and there won’t be any guess work about who I really am.
I am curious
As a Life Coach, I know that curiosity is essential to establishing a coaching relationship. I ask powerful questions I don’t know the answer to in hopes that my client will reach deep to pull out truth. Being curious is a conduit for building trust and abandoning judgement.
As a Speaker and Trainer, I am curious from the moment I step out of my car and walk up to the building. There is nothing better to bring me to the present, calm my nerves, and get me out of my head. I pay attention to my surroundings. I am curious about my audience and I can tap into their energy. It allows me to meet them where they’re at before I launch into my presentation. It allows me to be flexible in the moment and serve them.
I am a great listener
As a Life Coach, I listen for what is being said and what is not being said. I listen for beliefs, values, mindset, habits, and energy. I know we express ourselves in verbal and nonverbal ways and I illuminate aspects of both so my client can derive understanding of self.
As a Speaker and Trainer, I use listening skills with my audience much like I do with a coaching client. If I am listening I can hear what my audience is experiencing while they are with me. I listen for simple things like the room is freezing and making it difficult for my audience to focus, or the microphone isn’t loud enough for those in the back of the room. I listen for more complex things like frustration, fear, and disappointment. My audience may not come out and say they are frustrated, but if I’m paying attention I can hear a struggle with an activity. Often, I’m asking my audience to participate in getting out of their comfort zone which is met with apprehension. When I can hear the signs, I can respond. I can share an alternate or helpful perspective. I can invite them to experiment and reward them with appreciation. When I listen, I connect more deeply and they participate more fully.