Coaching Vs. Therapy: My Intuitive Approach
I’m often asked if my coaching style is different from therapy… and if so, how?
The short answer is yes, it’s very different. First of all, I do not diagnose and treat mental illness or psychological conditions. That is left to the licensed professionals, which I am not. I view traditional talk therapy as more intellectually focused: there is a problem to be solved and a path for solving it. I have been to therapy and know it can really help people. It’s just not what I do.
I joke about the fact that I’m a feeling-ologist, but that more closely describes me because I help people get OUT of their intellect. I’m intuitive, which means I ask questions from a different place. Intuitive not just from the perspective of having a gut feeling or some esoteric perspective; it’s from doing this work at such a deep level that I intuitively understand it, know it, breathe it and deeply connect to what the people I work with are going through.
It’s the difference between leading with your gut/heart/intuitive-based action and leading with your head. That may not seem like a big difference, but let me tell you, it’s HUGE. Most of us never take action. We decide to think our way out of it, finding all sorts of reasons to avoid our feelings and the associated action-based changes.
Perceived Problem Vs. Actual Problem
When I go into a session with a client, I don’t have a pre-conceived plan because it would intellectually direct the conversation. Instead I listen, feel, respond and then dig deeper when I hear something or feel something based on what that person is saying because I know this to be true—the perceived problem is rarely the actual problem.
The perceived problem is at the level of the mind. Repetitive thoughts and patterns lead us to believe we can just think it away. We can’t. Fix the perceived problem and you pull just one leaf off a giant tree.
My work is also based on my personal experience. I grew up insecurely attached, and have worked through a lot of my own shit, so I share what has worked for me. I am no guru; there is absolutely nothing I’ve done that you can’t do. And I keep challenging myself because there is no true destination to this kind of work. We’re always evolving. And the payoff is in how amazing I feel. Every day I feel good even with challenges that arise. You can learn more about my personal journey here.
Humans are extremely complex and everything is connected. Our childhood sets the stage for who we become as adults; this is where our core beliefs are established. We develop patterns based on these beliefs, but most of us walk through life completely unaware they are driving our behavior. I shine a light on these patterns and underlying beliefs to start unraveling pain, discontent and “stuck-ness” at the source. Essentially, you think your issue is X, but I help you to see it’s Y.
Emotions Are Key
Feeling your feelings is absolutely essential to what I do. We are SO disconnected from ourselves and think everything can be figured out in our head. It simply can’t. Our subconscious is always fighting to keep us safe, so when we don’t have self-awareness, we stay stuck.
When you deliberately allow your feelings to surface (most of us shove them down), you can connect with similar feelings from the past, which provide clues to the beliefs that are operating. An emotional trigger—when someone says or does something that makes you react and fly off the handle—is always related to something in your past, never the present situation. This is why people grow more in relationships than on their own… IF they see these triggers as opportunities to look within.
Our perception of the world was formed as children, when we didn’t have logic or reason to explain why things were a certain way. As a result, we created stories to make sense of things, and developed behaviors to keep ourselves safe. These stories and behaviors were cemented in our subconscious, but they have nothing to do with our current reality. That’s a hard one for people to realize.
People who listen to my podcast and come to me for coaching are stuck. Despite what they may project on the surface, they are in pain and don’t know why they can’t have what they want. My goal as an intuitive coach is to help people become aware of their patterns and beliefs, then take emotional action.
Action is essential. Not intellectual action. EMOTIONAL action.
You can talk and understand and intellectually process until the cows come home, but if you don’t step into your fear and actually take different actions, nothing will change. This requires a willingness to get VERY uncomfortable, pushing against your subconscious and the familiar patterns that are fighting to keep you safe (i.e. stuck).
Self-responsibility is also hugely important, and I won’t work with people who are content to blame others while taking no responsibility for their choices. My way of coaching is not cathartic or a way of discharging pain. It’s hard ass work.
An Intuitive Approach to Coaching
If you’ve tried other methods and think you would benefit from this approach, I invite you to set up a Discovery Session with me or my other coaches. Alexis and Tracey are both clients of mine who believe in what I do because they have seen enormous shifts in their own lives. Now they are training in this emotionally-based coaching in order to help others, and I have received amazingly positive feedback from their clients. These women are smart, aware and empathetic because they have also been there… and they have worked hard on themselves to get where they are now.
Describing this stuff can be difficult because language and emotion are in different parts of the brain, but I hope I’ve been able to demystify it a bit. Whether you seek out therapy, coaching or choose to go it alone with the resources available, I wish you well on your journey! It’s all about what works for YOU.