#8 - 1000% - On Coaching + How It Can Impact Your Life

Today, I'm sitting down with 3 of my former clients - Gunther Oakey, corporate counsel and all around creative badass; Annie Jacobsen, insurance broker by day and mental health guru by, also day; and Jess Newfield, Remote Year program leader + community facilitator + impact design consultant extraordinaire! These 3 took time away from their R&R at our personal growth retreat this past weekend to clear up some of the questions that people often have about coaching - what it is, coaching vs. thereapy, if it's worth the investments, and the overarching benefits of coaching in their life!


Ellyn: Ellyn here and you're listening to the growth tribe.

Ellyn: Okay. Friends Ellyn here and I'm so excited to have you back with the growth tribe podcast and we are back on track with interviews this week. I have a huge series of interviews coming up. I was podcasting like crazy this weekend and it has been so fun and I'm really, really excited for you guys to hear what's coming today. We are going to kick things off with a conversation that I had with actually three of my former clients and we are talking about everything you would want to know about coaching. Essentially all of those abstract concepts that we talk about in coaching, all of some of the questions, the misconceptions and really what some of the hesitations are for a lot of people when they're thinking about considering working with a coach. So three of my very good friends and former clients took some time away from what would have been their RnR this weekend.

Ellyn: You know, their downtime or we're all at this beautiful, beautiful house in Mokrin in Serbia, the Mokrin house. They actually just hosted a Ted talk here not too long ago. They took some time out of their weekend to sit down and have this conversation with me and I am so, so very grateful to them for that. So I hope you enjoy this as a very, very animated discussion with three wonderful, wonderful humans. So these are three of my former clients, Annie, Gunther and Jess and here is our conversation on coaching and ultimately how it can impact your life. So I hope you enjoy it!

Ellyn: All righty everybody. Welcome back to the growth tribe as I almost knock a water bottle over! I'm excited today for sitting down with three former clients. Yes, full transparency, they all worked with me before, but we're going to talk today just about coaching. And really I wanted to have this conversation with these three in particular because I feel like people have a very abstract notion of coaching and what it can offer them and the way it can impact their life.

Ellyn: And they oftentimes come in with a lot of hesitations about the time commitment, the financial commitment, and is the investment going to pay off. So that's really what I want to talk about today and we've got Annie, Gunther and Jess to have that conversation with me. So welcome guys. Welcome to the podcast.

ALL: Thanks.

Annie: So I'm pumped to have you guys here. I so yeah, I basically, that's kind of the direction I want this conversation go. And does anybody have any thoughts jumping right off the bat or should we just get into questions? Let's do it. All right. So ultimately, um, all we worked, all three of us or all three of you worked with me on what ultimately led you to making the decision to do coaching? Was it a situation, was it a decision you were trying to make a direction, you thought maybe you wanted to go in your life but you weren't sure of what ultimately led to making that decision?

Jess: A really important realization. Um, so yeah, I've always been someone that is very self driven. But I think what I didn't realize is that I put a lot of weight and burden on myself to do things alone in a certain way. And even though I love working with people, uh, for certain personal goals, I thought like, okay, well we'll have a plan. I have to stick to it to figure this out on my own. And then I'd get sort of tunnel vision about how to accomplish that. And then even though I've shared my passions and ideas, like with friends and family, there's always that emotional burden and um, bias that your friends and family have because they know you and they're trying to give advice a certain way and then you want to please your friends and family a certain ways. So having a coach just felt like a good step cause if someone that is totally impartial, that's trained to do this, that is going to help you really guide you through step by step and be there with you along the way. It's decoction where you want to get done.

Ellyn: Beautiful. Beautiful.

Annie: I had a lack of direction. I just was stuck and I didn't know, I knew I wanted it to be doing something different or I knew I wasn't doing what I wanted to be doing, but I didn't know exactly what that other thing I wanted to be doing was. So it was kind of like a gaining clarity that I gained, which I wasn't expecting to gain as much clarity as I thought, which is great. But with that comes more responsibility. But it was with great...

Annie: With great power comes great responsibility (laughs).

Annie: But it was definitely... I know I have a lot more in me, but I just didn't know how to figure out where to direct that.

Annie: So Gunther, what about you? I feel like you had kind of an abstract reason to start coaching.

Gunther: Yeah. Okay. My interest in going in was not what, what ended up doing. I actually had an idea that I wanted to test out, um, coaching as a second career or as a side career. Uh, and it ended up being something completely different by the time we actually started working together and by the time we're finished and kind of echoing what these two said, uh, I was every good writer needs an editor. I had a bunch of ideas and I needed a life editor. I needed somebody to like take my life and be like, okay, you have all this going on, you need to drop these three things and focus on these two.

Ellyn: That's such a great analogy. Yeah. Editor. Yeah. And I feel like, I mean you guys have obviously is your experience, but in nutshell for all three of you it was like right there. Yeah. Beautiful. So were there any hesitations you had prior to starting working with a coach?

Annie: Yes.

Ellyn: Annie's like "I'm all over this point."

Annie: I didn't see the difference between a coach and a therapist are. I Already was seeing a therapist and so I was just like, our initial conversation was like, you were like, yeah, " I have time slots come talk to me." And I was like, okay, cool. Like I'll go do this and see what it's all about.

Annie: I think I definitely kind of one in with the mindset of like, Oh yeah, like I don't really know no what the whole thing is about. So I was just like, okay, like what is this? Um, I'm just very open to hearing what was all about and I learned a lot more. Um, and the differences between what you shared. And then I think by the end of it now I have like even better clarity of like, okay, this is what you need a therapist. And like this is when you need a coach. And like they're two very different spheres that I originally, yeah. Thought were overlapping and there Jeff, in some ways I think they do, but like what I wanted, yeah. Out of it. It was way better or I got more out of it with a coach that I wouldn't have been able to fund out of therapist. That makes any sense. Oh yeah. But that was my major hesitation. I'm like, well, I already have a therapist. Like, why do I need to talk to someone about like, why do I need to talk to someone else about things that I want to do. Yeah. And it's totally different. Yeah.

Jess: When I thought about coaches, I think before experiencing coaching, um, I thought of like motivational coaches and people that really help you if you're, if you're yeah. If you're sort of lost, but then also if maybe you're lacking that direction, how to get to that motivation. But then after realizing it's more than just motivation, it's actually had an accountability buddy. Like someone that's there to keep you accountable and that it's exciting to is the moment another person's involved. There's that shared. Um, yeah. Shared Knowledge. And I think that becomes the motivation too. It's like, Oh, other people are involved in this process and that's really exciting. So that was kind of cool too, to see that transition in my mind to and excited about it.

Annie: Yeah. Ellyn was just as excited about what I was doing something more than I was!

Annie: What did you do this week!? I want to see the new thing.

Jess: That's empowerment. Like your people and you're excited to do that. And then like I think the best coaches are people that want to empower others. Right. And not necessarily like dictate like this is how you should do things, but yeah. You know, really have people find that, find that for themselves and it out. Yeah.

Gunther: My hesitation was bandwidth and it wasn't like I was completely overwhelmed by my life. I have worked with coaches and therapists in those times when I'm completely overwhelmed and part of me is like, how the fuck am I going to carve out time and energy to deal with all the things? Not just the meetings, but all of the things that are going to ask me to do on top of all the shit that I'm doing. It's like, it's like, okay, I'm not going to get to a place where...

Ellyn: Life homework, I don't need that shit.

Gunther: Is it going to be worth it? Oh, like yeah, that was part of it. But it was more like, is this the right time of this? Cause usually I do self improvement and like three months or three months sprints and sort of like go to the therapist, work on the thing. Okay. It's been about a hundred days. That's about the work I'm going to get done now I'm going to go be a human being for awhile. Um, but yeah, and it worked nicely in the schedule and yeah, like I think for me, uh, we, we met, we worked kind of in the second hundred days or something like that. Yeah. The first hundred days of remote you're was just like, Holy Shit. I'm just finding out how to like get from a to B. Yeah. Um, it wasn't until that point I'm like, okay, I gotta hang on this, I've done all this other stuff. How do I start kind of making the most of the next six months post, post remote year.

Jess: That was an overwhelming time. Yeah. Yeah, for sure.

Ellyn: Did everybody kind of feel that way, that it integrated pretty well until life or did it feel like an extra burden?

Gunther: No, they worked on me.

Jess: Yeah. No, it felt integrated. But then it also made me realize how much, if I don't prioritize this kind of stuff like self work, then it's just not going to magically happen. Like I need to make it something like a process. True. So true. Yeah.

Ellyn: What do you feel was the ultimate benefit? Like did it feel worth it in the end and kind of in what ways. Tell me you love me. Tell me all the ways. I'm amazing. Come on.

Jess: Well I remember something you said during our session which is like what is long term just to look like? And I just really love that cause I was like Oh wow, this coaching process, it's not like I have to accomplish everything in this eight week period that we're working with. This is just the beginning of all this awesome self improvement and self worth and I'm going to be doing and there's patients involved and that's great and that's super rewarding. So then I started thinking of everything like okay brick, brick, another brick, everything is another layer to building that longterm awesomeness that you described. And that was really like one of the greatest things. I think in most empowering was just feeling like coaching can be, you can use it for a small period of your life, you can use it on an ongoing basis and um, and then kind of bring it back in as, as your life. Yeah, exactly. And I think that's, it adds to not thinking of life as such a, when your process as well and understanding that even our thought processes and self exploration isn't, um, yeah. One direction. One way, but everything ties in together. Yeah. Very abstract. I'm a little delirious after our weekend

Ellyn: We're at a personal growth retreat. It's been a long weekend...

Annie: And we only arrived yesterday. I know, right?

Jess: It's a time warp.

Ellyn: Oh my goodness. Totally keeping that in.

Gunther: It's a very intense retreat weekend. There's a lot of burnout. Not burn out.

Ellyn: It's mentally taxing being on for all these different things. Even between sessions, we've been having very, very deep conversations. Yeah. It's just there's a lot of mental work happening.

Jess: It will be more quiet time.

Ellyn: Yes. What about you Annie? What do you feel like some of the benefits were?

Annie: I think I reaped more benefits than I was anticipating. Like we did the life of valuation and....

Ellyn: She added her own category because she's awesome like that.

Annie: I just hope you keep it in for everyone else! I, yeah, a lot happens in eight weeks or eight sessions and I was a completely different person to afterwards and like the best of ways. Like I like had had I speak in studies, I now have a direction and like I know where I want my life to go and I'm like, I'm aiming towards this. And before I was like, I'm not living up to my capabilities, I'm not taking advantage of them. I have, I don't have, I'm not doing anything that's fulfilling or that I feel like it's productive or whatever. And now I'm like, no, like I'm working. It's like what just said, like I'm working toward something, like I didn't finish anything in eight weeks, but like I definitely have like a, I know I want to do this and one of the things that I can set up now to continue doing and working towards that way. And then I also just learned like extra things. Like I don't work on daily schedule...

Annie: [inaudible] I don't like wake up, have coffee and re like I don't, I don't do that. Like I'm like okay, like I need to write and it's three o'clock in the morning and I'm just going to brain dump everything and then maybe sort through later. But like I need to do this now and take advantage of what I have now. And then like sort through it later. But like I can go weeks and not have anything creative or productive or any work happening on the thing that I'm trying to accomplish, which is also okay. But it's just like taking advantage of the time. I didn't see it that way. And then Ellen was just like, you just like once you just, you just go. And then we just go

Ellyn: Haha I'm so eloquent...

Annie: it's true. And I was like, oh. And I think just having an outsider's perspective, um, even things like validate your ideas or like point out things about you, your character or like motivation or whatever that you didn't see and you see like in a positive way where like I was like, I can't believe I didn't get anything done today. Or like I wanted to post this blog post and I couldn't get it done. And then it's like, well you just didn't have any juice in the tank. Like that's okay. Like you just didn't have an, yeah. So it's like a lot of that like extra like self love or just having like a passion on by or like, yeah, I'm biased perspective on different areas of my life that I was like being really hard on myself about where it's like, okay, let's just not how you operate. And I was like, I dunno. It just probably a lot of clarity that way. So not have a direction and I'm okay with the pace of the direction I'm moving.

Ellyn: So I love that. As you were talking about that like you, you have a very different mode of, you know, working then how I work and, and I think, you know, a lot of people maybe see it as I need to have a coach that does things exactly the same way that I do things. And I learned that with my coach to like I'm very structured, I like to work on routines. My coach, when I worked for her, she was not like that, but she was able to so build up how I am and how I operate without needing to be exactly how I operate. You know there's, there should be that flexibility there and they should be able to empower whoever, however you are, however you work and however your, you know, your, your mode of thinking like a coach empowers that. They don't try to change you to be...

Annie: It was never like, well this is the way I do it, so you should do it this way too. It's just like, cool, you don't work that way. Like what way do you work are like, let's see what's best for you and let's try x, y, and z and let's whatever.

Jess: So, so funny. We always want to fit all over ourselves to like one way of operating. Just assume we're all productive the same way or ... that we'd get creative, um, at the same time of day. Right? But like just doesn't work like that that way.

Ellyn: I feel like the more I play in personal growth and with coaching, like you come to the realization that you've got to dabble to figure out how you work. And then once you find what that is like, that's so empowering to have that clarity on this is, this is how my, you know, my personality functions. I need to introvert, this is how I work. I need to work that way and like to be ultimately the, to be the most effective and productive versions of ourselves. We just need to understand ourselves and what works best for us and do that.

Jess: And then, yeah, give ourselves permission to do that. Amen.

Annie: I came to you an empty husk of a human being. And lo I was filled with wisdom! *LAUGHS*

Gunther: This is like Moses, preacher, version...

ALL: Just throw their hands up - PREACH!

Annie: Our sessions were so much fun, um, in part because, um, it was less like any saying it's this is what you need to do. And it was more just bouncing ideas back and forth and part of it was like I had done a shit ton of self help reading. Obviously you had a lot. So it was more like, oh I had this idea, what about this thing? Like yeah, so it's like brainstorming. I was telling in another interview, I love collaborating and you and I basically felt like it was a great collaboration for eight weeks with somebody who like knew shit ton more than I did about this particular thing. And you also took, we did several pivots during the course of um, our work. Initially I'm like, I want to be a life coach. I'm like, okay man, that's not exactly. That's great. Maybe you want to redirect. And it became a mentor, which, which is fantastic, which is something I'm really good at and something I really enjoy it. It doesn't require me to like go out and drum up business, which is not something I want to do. Creatively, you gave me a nice redirect because I was, I was a puppy chasing sticks. I was all over the fucking place and I'm going to do this, I'm going to do that. And like...

Ellyn: You were like the cat that had multiple people pointing flashlights at the wall and you just didn't know which one to chase!


Jess: Yeah, that's an amazing image.

Gunther: Yeah. So finally she's like make your own red dot, sweetie. And I did, uh, we came up with the website idea and that has been a great new venue for me to take all these things I like to do and like put them out in the world. And the website went through two or three iterations before I found the one that I'm like, this is something I can do. And it's been very emotionally wording because people respond to them and it's a very immediate thing and it's something I can share with family and friends, keep them updated on what I'm doing. Um, but also basically my target is the remote your people. And so I'm sharing stuff with me with an audience of people who get it, who are going to understand the experience I'm going through. Um, like I just posted a picture of my face from five days ago and it's like a group. It's like ballooned out.

Ellyn: I need to look at this picture, because I did not see you at this time...

Gunther: I looked like a squirrel. I look like a half squirrel, a man squirrel, like storing a large amount of nuts in his mouth...

Jess: Should we give some context to the listeners.

Gunther: It's cause I got a face infection. That's what I had...kinda gross

Ellyn: Travel with your immune system...

JEss: It's not all flowers and roses. Yeah, sure.

Annie: Sunshine and roses...

Gunther: Well yeah, this is the whole thing was worth it and I feel like I'll definitely go back for more coaching.

Ellyn: Nice pivot! That was going to be the last question I asked,

Gunther: BOOM! It's like we planned it!

Annie: Yes, they didn't it.

Ellyn: This is going to be a hysterical podcast to listen back to!

Jess: Mind syncing like crazy ...

Ellyn: No, actually before we pivot to that though, you made, you brought up your website and I actually think this is a really, really important aspect of coaching for people to, to understand and to go into coaching. Knowing that this is something they should do is you all three of you in particular. I'm thinking of a particular instance of you need to communicate with your coach of what is and what isn't working and I remember when we started your website, we started it on Squarespace, Squarespace, which is the platform I use, the platform I'm familiar with and you were, you know, you tried it for awhile. You were also very vocal about being like, "Ellyn, I'm sorry this doesn't work for me. This isn't what I need." And then we pivoted from there and you put it all up on on a different platform that works better for you. And I feel like overarchingly there that personalization can happen in coaching, but it also to get that you need to communicate with your coach about what is and isn't working. I think all three of you did that really well. But that role in particular instance when you brought up your website was an example of that. But yes, you, you pivoted wonderfully to the last question I was going to ask all of you is ultimately what'd you do it again? And do you think it would be as beneficial if you did it again?

Jess: 100%, 1000% A million percent.

Gunther: 150%...

Gunther: Not a million percent. Woah woah... don't get carried away there!

Jess: Mean just had this conversation. I want to go back to being coached.

Annie: Yeah, I would absolutely do it again without a doubt. Yeah.

Ellyn: I really, I'd be run the gamut of what coaching can, can benefit you. And so thank you, all three of you for jumping in on this conversation. I really appreciate it, especially in the context of our crazy weekend. Um, and you'll likely be hearing all of these voices at least once more in this podcast because I want to interview all three of them. So with that, thanks ya'll.

ALL: Thank you. Bye. [inaudible]

Ellyn: if today's show was interesting to you, let me know. Hop On Instagram at the growth tried podcast or leaving your review. It truly makes all the difference to hear from you guys and at the end of the day, you're my tribe. I want to be sure I'm delivering content that you're interested in hearing about. So head on over to all those places where podcasts are found, iTunes, Spotify, stitcher, and drop her review. And if you're really digging what you're hearing, subscribe. Thanks so much for listening and thank you my friend for being a part of the growth drive.

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