Ep #124: Life Coaching Advanced Skills
Posted on July 21, 2016
In the last episode, we covered all of the basic tools we teach at The Life Coach School. Today, we’re going way deeper and take a look at the advanced skills that our students learn.
One of the biggest mistakes my students make is that they expect to have a skill of a master just because they learned a tool.
An old-school lesson that I have to teach pretty regularly is that in the beginning of using any tool, you’ll be slow and will make a lot of mistakes; and if you try to rush through it, you’ll create really sloppy work. You need to practice using those tools until they become second nature.
Before you jump into this episode I want you to understand the difference between learning a tool and developing a skill with that tool. I can’t stress enough the importance of repeatedly practicing using tools we discussed in the last episode until you’re ready to move on to the advanced concepts laid out in this episode. With that said, I’m really excited to dive deep into these concepts that can change your life!
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What you will discover
- The importance of practicing your tools.
- The 3 benefits of learning this episode’s advanced concepts.
- The importance of living your life deliberately.
- How our unconscious programming affects our life.
- How emotional management works.
- What action follow through can do for your life.
- What detached consciousness is all about.
- How self-regard can improve your life.
- And much more!
Featured on the show
- Learn more about The Life Coach School Certification Program
Welcome to The Life Coach School podcast, where it's all about real clients, real problems, and real coaching. Now, your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hello, hello, my friends. How are you guys? How's your summer? How are you doing? Did you guys like the last episode? We rocked it out with all the basic tools. Now we're going to go advanced on you. I've actually spent the past 2 weeks really doing some deep thought work, some real uninterrupted, thoughtful, committed work on how to teach this. I am starting on, I think it is Monday, going to be teaching these concepts live to a group of about 55 people. I want to make sure that I can teach it in a way that really resonates with my students and also, is quickly applicable.
I think a lot of these concepts, because they're advanced, are mind-bendy and so it's really important to have the basics established ahead of time. Because I have my own basics and I practice them and I do have some mastery with them, I want to make sure that I'm bridging the gap between my students that may not have quite as much mastery as I do, so I'm going to go ahead and dive in.
I want to start by saying that last week I introduced you to the tools. The way that I described it was that I give you all these tools. I teach you how to use the tools. You know how to use a hammer. You know how to use a screwdriver. You know how to use a drill, a wrench, all of these different tools. You know how to use them now, but you aren't good at them yet. You know you have the general idea of how to use them, but you aren't good at them because you haven't practiced them.
I think one of the biggest mistakes that my students make is expecting to have the skill of a master just because they've learned the tool. Okay. This is like an old-school lesson that I feel like I have to teach pretty regularly that in the beginning, you're going to hit your thumb with that hammer. In the beginning, you're going to be slow and you're going to make lots of mistakes and if you try and rush through it, you're going to create really sloppy work. The slower you are, the more deliberate you are in the beginning and the more you practice, the better and more effortless it will be at the end. If you watch a master contractor working with a hammer, they aren't thinking at all about that hammer. It's just second nature.
With a coach, when you see me coaching, you don't really see me breaking down all the piece parts and these concepts that I'm going to teach you are all the tools that I introduce to you. They are part of me. They are part of my thinking process. I have trained myself to think in terms of the model, in terms of emotional childhood boundaries, feelings, outcomes, goals, and obstacles, so any time a client is talking to me, I have not just the tools that I can fumble around and try and find and use awkwardly, but I've practiced them enough that they're right there ready for me to use masterfully. Okay.
I want to encourage you to understand the difference between learning a tool and developing the skill of the tool. The skill of the tool becomes… that's something that then you have. You don't rely on the tool. You have the skill within you and that comes from repeatedly practicing. That's practicing all of these coaching techniques on yourself regularly and also on your clients regularly. Once you have that practice down, then you will be able to use them and you'll be ready for some of these advanced concepts.
Now the beauty of learning this next level of coaching skillset is that you will be able to help your clients even quicker. I think that that's what most of our clients are looking for. They're looking for how do I find my way out of suffering faster. We can provide them a faster route, but it does still require that we take the time to practice and master the concepts. We can't just understand them intellectually. We have to apply them.
The 3 benefits, I would say, of learning these advanced concepts are confidence, which is one of the most important skills and emotions that you can have when it comes to creating the life that you want to create. Discipline, which I think is a word that some people have a negative connotation to, unless they are very disciplined. Being very disciplined is so freedom-producing. If you have a lot of discipline in your life, and it's not like a controlled, negative beat down, but a really loving, structured discipline for yourself, there's nothing you won't be able to do in your life.
The last thing that these advanced tools give you is peace. Really understanding how the world works and how our emotions work will allow us to shift into that watcher position much more often and that detached consciousness, being in the present moment and being conscious is really what allows us to step out of our lives and not take them so seriously and find some peace. The promise of this work is confidence, discipline, and peace. You'll see as I go through them, go through these skills in detail, why that would be. Okay.
I just want to review the tools that I've already given you are holding space, the model, emotional childhood, adulthood, the manual, questions, boundaries, processing feelings, outcomes, belief systems, and unconditional love. If you have practiced those, you have a very good foundation into moving into this higher-level work. What I mean by practice them is not that you've learned them intellectually and not that you've studied what they mean, but that you've applied them in your life.
If you know for sure that you haven't really done that, it's not a problem. You can still listen to the podcast. You can still learn from it. I just want to let you know that you will. If you try and do these advanced concepts without having the basics, they will be much, much more challenging. I want to encourage you to spend your time really creating that foundation before you move into this advanced work, where we're really honing in on confidence, discipline, and peace.
Now I want to also differentiate the basic work that you do and the advanced work you do like this. I feel like the basic work we do in learning the initial tools of life coaching are so amazingly life-changing because we learn how to look at the world in a different way and we learn how to solve all of the problems in our life. Literally, when you learn the model, you learn how to solve any problem. That, in and of itself, is what I have built my business on. It's what I built my life on is the ability to solve any problem that presents to me and the confidence that comes with that.
Now when you move into the more advanced work, what we're doing instead of solving problems is preventing them altogether. That's when you can really get some traction and start creating at a much higher level because you're not constantly spending your energy putting out fires and overcoming problems because you have gotten ahead of them and been proactive and been able to prevent them. With fewer emotional cognitive problems in your life, you have more energy and time to be able to create anything it is that you desire.
The skills that I will teach you, and I'm not actually going to teach all of them to you today. This would be like a 3-hour podcast, even longer than that. I'm taking 2 days to teach them this weekend or this next week. I'm going to give you an overview of them and I will be talking about them. I have talked about some of them on the podcast before, but I haven't talked about them in this way, in such an organized way that can really help you clarify.
There's 5 main skills that I teach in the advanced training. The first one is deliberateness and this is planning. The second one is emotional management. The third one is action follow through. The fourth one is detached consciousness. The fifth one is self-regard. I feel like when we master these 5 skills, we have really the ability to create our lives and everything in our lives exactly how we want it to be.
I was thinking about this the other day. I'm always telling my students there is no endpoint. You don't just arrive at happiness and then you're done. It doesn't work that way. There isn't like I lose the weight and then I'm then a happy person and I never have to think about it again. That is true, but there's also a sense of completion that you will get when you master these skills that will differentiate your life from before you knew these skills.
In some sense, that does feel like arrival and in many ways, I do feel like I have arrived on the other side of suffering. I still feel anxious. I still feel upset. I still feel all of the negative emotions, but the difference is, is there is a sense of confidence and empowerment that I have alongside those emotions that prevent me from suffering the way I used to.
Although I don't feel like I've arrived on any land of paradise, where I'm free from all negative emotion, I do feel like I've arrived in a place where I know how to prevent and solve problems. I do feel confident that anything that's presented to me in my life, I will have the tools and the skills to help myself through it. I think that's where my confidence comes from. I think that's where my peace comes from. That's where my willingness to be disciplined comes from. That is my offering to you here.
Let's start with the first one, which is deliberateness. What that means is that you live your life in a very deliberate way. Most of my clients come to me in a very reactive way. They come to me living as if life is happening to them and they don't understand that everything in their life, they can claim as something that they have created and have some hand in.
In the beginning, that's a hard sell for my clients when I teach them the model initially. Once they really understand and master the model and all the tools that I teach them that really are about self-responsibility and empowerment and owning their own lives and themselves, they get to this place where then they want to live in a more deliberate way. They want to plan their life because they see that they are capable of doing that and that they don't want to just be at the effect of previous patterning. We want to create new patterning.
Some of the things that we work on in the advanced work that I do with students is decisions ahead of time, which I've talked about on this podcast and really making decisions from a prefrontal cortex space to reprogram the brain, instead of just constantly responding to previous programming that has become automatic. We talk about process versus product, where we really are committed to the process of creating something versus just that end result.
We talk a lot about distraction and how easy it is to get distracted by our own subconscious programming and by the world and how we literally have to train our brains to be deliberate. We have to train our brains not to just respond to life and to take what we are "given", but to take responsibility for planning a very conscious life and being conscious.
Deliberateness is the difference between the automatic brain running the show, which I always refer to as a toddler with a knife, versus our deliberate brain running the show. The automatic brain is the brain that is quick and determines how we take most of our action and is what we have programmed it to be versus our deliberate conscious brain, which is much slower and underutilized in most people.
One of the things that we do when we're talking about deliberateness is we talk about what are our wanted habits. What do we want our regular, daily life to be effortless at and what are our unwanted habits that we want to eliminate? At this point, many people think that their unwanted habits that they're really good at are simply their personality traits. What I teach here is that just because you've done something your whole life and just because it comes effortlessly to you doesn't mean it's who you are and it doesn't mean it's a personality trait. It just means it's something that you've been programmed to do and you've repeated continuously.
Every habit that you have, everything that you repeatedly do, is a choice. You can decide on purpose what you believe. A lot of times, my clients will say, "Well, that's just how I feel," or, "That's just what I believe." What I want to remind you of is that what you believe and what you feel are choices. You're not at the effect of unconscious programming.
The last piece of deliberateness is recognizing where in your life you are buffering. What I mean by that is you're trying to soften the edges of your emotions by overeating, over drinking, raging, being a workaholic, whatever it is you're doing in your life, watching Netflix on a regular and consistent basis in order to escape yourself. Where are you buffering in your life and are you buffering because you feel like you don't have a choice? Are you buffering because you have just accepted that that's your only option or are you going to take a hold of that buffering and really decide how much of your time and energy you want to spend escaping your life, considering you have a limited amount of it and so really looking at your life and where you're buffering it and deciding if that's what you want to keep doing or if you want to do something different and really understanding that when you live your life in a deliberate way, that you can decide not to buffer.
What's interesting to me is I feel like I'm at a space in my life where I'm not really buffering at all. I don't feel like I have any escapes anymore. What I realize is that when you are escaping your emotions, you're having a lot more conscious negative emotions, but the more conscious negative emotions you have, the better you get at being uncomfortable. The better you get at being uncomfortable, the more authority you have over it. The more authority you have over it, the more you can change it.
I have found to be such a magical time in my life, this year, especially, I think. When I completely cut drinking out of my life is when I've really been present with what's true for me on an emotional, minute-by-minute basis and not been afraid of that. Because of that, I've been able to manage my emotions in a much more deliberate way. A lot of times, I think what people think that means is that I feel less negative emotion. I don't think that's necessarily true. I'm just more comfortable and at peace with every emotion that I do have. Instead of feeling anxious about my anxiety, I'm just willing to be anxious, which changes everything.
Okay. The next skill we're going to talk about is emotional management. Now brand-new students come to me and a lot of them don't know how to feel. They don't even know how to name their emotions. They don't understand that emotions are vibrations in the body so that's really the first step. We really have to, for some people, come back into the body and be able to identify what our emotions are, how they feel in our body, and be present with them long enough to access the thoughts that are causing them. That, in and of itself, for some people, can take years.
For other people, there is an ability to feel. There's an ability to be present with negative emotion. At that point, we really want to understand what are our habits of emotion? What emotions have we memorized? What emotions do we feel like are involuntary? Which ones are we being more deliberate and managing better? By deciding how we want to feel, for example, confident, we can live our lives in a way where we're thinking and feeling in more confident ways on purpose.
The other place where emotional management is very important is we switch from being in a reactive mode, where our emotions happen before we're even aware of them, into a nonreactive mode. We move into a space where we can respond on purpose and consciously. We can decide how we want to feel. We can allow an urge to be there without acting on it. We can do something, even though we "don't feel like doing it". We can be in difficult situations with difficult people in difficult relationships and not become difficult ourselves. In emotional management, we learn not only how to manage our emotions and feel our emotions, but we take it to the next level where we really learn how to create the emotions that we want to feel. We learn how to maintain the ones that we've created. We learn how to allow emotions that are there and to change them very easily and in a nonreactive way.
We talk a lot about how important it is to interrupt a model. If you think about the CTFAR model interrupting models at that F line, so we're not just constantly repeating the feeling action, feeling action, feeling action, if it's not serving us. I have a whole process for interrupting models that includes repetition, commitment, cognitive dissonance, and then extinction. We basically take patterns of thought, feeling, action that aren't serving us and we learn how to interrupt those models and change them so that our automatic reaction, our effortless reaction is actually a thought, feeling, action result that we want to experience, that we want to repeat, and we want it to be effortless. That's what emotional management is.
If you think about everything in the world, really, how we feel is the most important thing. That's what we are trying to do with everything we create with our families, with everything we create with our careers, with everything we create for our lives. We are trying to create certain feelings within us and so if we are able to manage our emotions, we can disconnect from having to change the world in order to change how we feel.
This next level of emotional management and the skill of being able to manage your emotions and stay with the emotions that you want and you've decided to feel on purpose or to allow any other emotion without fear, I think is one of the most important skills I can teach you.
The next one is action follow through. This really touches on all the points of confidence, discipline, and peace. When you know that you can count on yourself to do what you say you're going to do and only because you told yourself that you would do it, you develop a relationship with yourself that is so solid, it's like nobody can penetrate it. It's this level of confidence that you own in a way that I think can only be earned by you, for you.
If you've been with someone for 40 years and they've never let you down, they've never lied to you, and they always follow through, you're going to have a very different relationship with them than if they're constantly lying to you, constantly letting you down, constantly making promises and not fulfilling them. Unfortunately, that's where many of us are in our relationships with ourselves. We make promises and then we don't follow through on them. We don't listen to our own desires. We don't follow through on those desires.
Action follow through is something that actually, I've been really committed to and taken very seriously for the past I would say 3 years of my life. I learned the concept and taught it to my students called Do Goals, which is basically writing down and scheduling anything that you need to do in order to accomplish a goal that you've committed to. It seems like such a simple practice to make a list of everything that needs to be done and then schedule it on your calendar and then do it. It seems like such a simple thing, but most of us don't. Most of us aren't that deliberate in our lives. Most of us don't plan the details of what we need to do to get our goals done.
When you do that and you do that consistently, you light your world on fire because basically, you say, "I'm going to create something. These are the steps I need to create it." You put those on your calendar and if you know that you will follow through on doing all those actions, it's as good as done. It gives you a level of confidence that is unshakable because you know that on Tuesday, you're going to do that thing you said you were going to do and then you're going to do it on the next Tuesday and then you're going to do it on the next Tuesday. By the time you've done it 12 Tuesdays in a row, you will have created that book that you were going to write or whatever and then you'll have it done and so it is as good as done.
I think a lot of times, this is where the law of attraction, that concept of that law of attraction can get muddled. When you think about something that you want and you believe that you will have it, it's as good as done. It's so much easier to believe that you will have it if you know you can count on yourself.
People say, "How do you develop confidence? How do you develop self-trust?" The way that you do it is you earn it. You make yourself a promise and you keep it, even when you don't feel like it. You make yourself a promise and you do it, even when you don't feel like it. You take the time and energy to follow through, even when you don't feel like doing it in the moment.
We talk a lot about whether we should make the things that we promise ourselves to do easier or if we should be willing to do the hard things. One of the things that I have learned in my life is the harder it is to achieve something, the more confidence I gain from it. The more times I fail at doing something, the more confidence I get by overcoming the failure. It's interesting because in order to build confidence, you have to overcome stuff, but in order to overcome stuff, you have to do stuff. If you don't have any confidence, you don't want to do stuff.
The action follow through, by setting the schedule and putting stuff to do on your calendar and honoring those commitments and achieving results in your life, you build up this level of dependability on yourself that gives you all the confidence you will ever need. We call it honoring the calendar no matter what, no matter what's on there.
The next one is detached consciousness. Most of us are living in a very unconscious way. We are not paying attention to the world outside of us. We're not paying attention to other people. We're not paying attention to the present moment. We're not paying attention to our own brains. We're not paying attention to what we're creating in our lives, what the effect our life is having on the world. We are just getting up and going through the motions, most of us. Learning the skill of detached consciousness, so that's not just being aware and conscious, but being able to detach from it and go into that watcher space without judging it and without criticizing it is magic.
I taught you the tool of holding the space for yourself and for others. This is the next level of that. This is really being able to recognize that what really matters is the part of us that is unaffected by all of this nonsense, all of this silliness in our lives. This game of life is an achievement in success and money and weight and drinking, all of it. None of it matters as much as the part of us that is unchanged.
When we're able to step back from ourselves and not take ourselves so seriously and not identify with ourselves so deeply, we're able to claim all of the things about us that we have created in a way that allows us to get some authority over it and change it instead of rejecting it. We learn how to commit to the R in the CTFAR model that we are responsible for. We are able to recognize what we can control and what we can't control. What we learn is that we can control a lot. We can't control our circumstances, but we can control our thoughts, our feelings, our actions and results and that's all very good news.
We have detached consciousness. We understand from a different perspective what attention means, paying attention to ourselves and what we deliberately want to pay attention to in the world, what really matters to us, and deciding that on purpose. We shift from having to manage our own judgments to living in a space of pure curiosity. We don't even have to remind ourselves to be curious and not judgmental anymore. We are just in a natural state of curiosity always. Whether we fail or whether we win, we're able to just be curious about it. We're not attached to one either way.
I was listening to a podcast recently where Elizabeth Gilbert was talking about how there's a place in all of our lives that is home. It is the place where we feel most alive on the inside. It's not from anything that's happening outside of us. She says that she feels that way when she's alone in a room writing. She's just fully present with herself and that's what she calls home. Everything else that goes on in the world, all of the best-selling things that happen to her and all of the haters that happen to her, that's all that external things that pull her away from home. The good and the bad externally take her away from home, from where she is in the space of just being centered.
I think that's what this detached consciousness can do. It can allow us to look at our lives and to navigate our lives in a way where we don't have to force anything. We don't have to try and control anything. We can just navigate from a place of peace and a place of sustained attention and love for ourselves. We can also really take a look at what is our effect on the world and what is our effect on ourselves and is that the contribution we want to be making in our lives and really thinking about that consciously.
I think a lot of people go through their lives and don't think about the effect they're having on the world. I think a lot of people think if their effect isn't huge, like Oprah Winfrey, then somehow, our effect doesn't matter. I want to offer that even if it's a little effect, like even if it's a little drop and it matters what you think about it and the meaning that you give it and to know that you can consciously create models and patterns of action that are more likely to create the effect that you want to create in the world I think is really important.
The last skill is self-regard. This is the hardest one, which doesn't make any sense, right? We're all perfect babies when we're born. We're all 100% lovable. We are patterned to believe and think and feel and act in ways that we then judge and define ourselves by. Really, if we can understand that the most important thing we can do is love ourselves and create our identity from a place of love and create our opinion of ourselves from a place of love, that we can avoid so much of the pain that we create for ourselves.
One of the topics that comes up so often with my clients is identifying as a victim, identifying people in their lives that are perpetrators and then identifying as a victim, which is the most disempowering place that any of us can claim. We don't feel like we have a choice. We feel like that is our identity. When we regard ourselves as victims, we create situations in our life where we can be victimized. I would say if there's one area in my life that I find compelled to work with people on it's when they feel sorry for themselves and when they identify as victims because I see that that is such a disempowering place to build your life from.
Self-regard is really about taking care of yourself, how you treat your own brain, how you treat your own mind, what you say to yourself, how you honor your own word, the integrity you have with yourself, what you are willing to tolerate from yourself and therefore, other people, your opinion of yourself on purpose and making sure that your opinion of yourself is something that you've chosen and not something that was programmed back in the day that you're just allowing to be the program that keeps running.
I think that the way that we treat ourselves should be as well as anyone else we treat in our lives. That includes our loved ones, our children, our husbands, our wives. We need to be the ones that we are treating the most precious. If we don't believe that we are lovable, we have work to do and that work, I think, is the most important work because when we love ourselves, that's when we're really willing to do all of the other skills. We're willing to plan and be deliberate, be of service to other people because we see our own worth and our own value and so we're able to recognize that we have something to give.
A lot of times, if we don't love ourselves and we don't have regard for ourselves, it's only because of the programming that we have believed in our own lives. It doesn't mean there's something wrong with us. It just means we have some work to do. That's what all of this advanced work takes us to, that place of self-actualization that allows us to evolve ourselves and therefore, the planet.
I feel like each of us has a responsibility to make an effort to live in a conscious way and in a deliberate way and in a way that we can own and take credit for. What I mean by take credit, it's not to brag about. It's to say, "Yes, that was my life," not, "Well, that was my life. I don't know what to tell you. I have nothing to do with it," versus, "That was my life that I created on purpose." That's the whole point of the work that we do, deliberateness, emotional management, action follow through, detached consciousness, and self-regard.
Hopefully, that's given you a brief overview of all of the advanced skills that are available to you to learn and to apply to your life. Hopefully, you're coming and you're going to learn these materials live with me in El Dorado Hills. If you are not, I will be covering many of them in upcoming podcasts, so make sure that you stay tuned. Also, if you want to join our upcoming training in September, go to thelifecoachschool.com, fill out the form, and we will chat and see if it's a good fit for you. Otherwise, have a wonderful week. I look forward to talking to you next week. Bye-bye.
Thank you for listening to The Life Coach School podcast. It is my honor to show up here every week and connect with people that are like-minded, wanting to take their life to a deeper level, with more awareness and more consciousness. If you are interested in taking this work to the next level, I highly encourage you to go to thelifecoachschool.com/howtofeelbetteronline. It is there that I have a class that will take all of this to a deeper application, where you'll be able to really feel and experience how all of these concepts can start showing up in your life. It's one thing to learn it intellectually. It's another thing to truly apply it to your life. I will see you there. Thanks again for listening.