Don’t Call Me A Life Coach

Back in 2007 when I started my business I got certified as a Life Coach.

Although there are always personal conversations I have with clients, I’ve never marketed myself this way.

What is a Life Coach? 

Is that someone who is going to tell me how to live my life?

If that’s so I don’t want to talk to him/her…

Life Coaching has becoming more acceptable and mainstream recently, but I’m not comfortable with that title.

It could be because of the certification I earned from iPEC. When I started as a coach I thought I needed to be certified to prove my credibility, but to this day no one has ever questioned me about it.

During my 6 month training, I only connected with a few people in my cohort and used less than 10% of the info they taught. In fact when people contact me via LinkedIn asking about iPEC I tell them it was a waste of money.

The only 2 people I’ve met with the title Life Coach at one point in their career that I respect are: Jenny Blake and David Vik. Yet both are thought leaders and entrepreneurs which is why I admire them.

My gripe is this: being labeled a Life Coach is vague and the imagery associated is fluffy.

When I worked with a coach nearly 15 years ago it was for his expertise in a specific niche. Great coaches are consultants who use coaching techniques.

See, coaching is not an answer to “what do you do?”

Rather it’s the “how you do it.”

For example I run an online test prep company now which I focus on the sales, support and customer service for. I contract tutors to work with students while I coach my team.

I’ve found over time that I can use coaching in whatever I am doing as a career. It defines my style, not my job title.

Don’t call me a Life Coach.

How Relationships Should Evolve (In My Eyes)

We tend to view the world from our own lens and rightly so.

So how does being built for human connection actually play out?

In my eyes relationships are an endless conversation. You pick up next time exactly where you left off previously.

But in my experience that rarely happens.

Factors such as effort, memory and focus determine the quality of exchange.

If one person puts in the energy, but the other doesn’t it ceases to grow.

If one person forgets where you left off, the next interaction is like meeting a stranger for the first time.

If one person has an agenda or task needed to be accomplished, it’s merely a one-time transaction.

I admit when my goal is to know someone deeper I put in the effort. I don’t always succeed, but most of the time I do.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, he uses the term “thin slicing” to make quick judgement of people. It’s a form of stereotyping, but it’s how our minds create schema.

It’s at the crux of how we decide to proceed.

In some cases people don’t have the soft skills to connect effectively. Technology is somewhat to blame, but intention, empathy and practice carry more weight.

Task-driven people believe others exist as a means to accomplish their ends.

Relationship-driven folk view people as an end in itself.

Similar to an ambivert, you can be both, but usually you lean more towards one side than the other.

Neither is better, but your personal life reveals which position is more important.

I joke with my friends that online dating has killed relationships, but that could be a generational preference. The reason I go there is because if I met my wife through a dating site, how much risk would I take getting to know her? (If the answers are already revealed, what’s the fun in discovery?)

Don’t get me wrong, I am more introverted than extroverted, so my goal isn’t to become close to everyone I meet. In fact I choose quality over quantity, so when I intend to “invest” in someone I dive in head-first not knowing if there’s actually water in the pool.

head-first-dive

Is that reckless behavior? Possibly.

But then again it’s my life, not yours.

No risk. No Reward. That’s how I see it.

Why Support Gets Lost In Translation

elephant-umbrella

Managers, friends, even spouses say they want to support you, but how come it goes horribly wrong?

Support is determined by the recipient, not the giver.

If the receiver doesn’t feel supported, it’s only a gesture.

Let me give you an example. Your manager tells you he/she is “hands off” in their management style, yet you feel micromanaged.

Translation: your manager wants things done a certain way and when it’s not, you’ll hear it. Hands off to them means “as long as you do things my way, I’ll be hands off.”

To someone who is self-motivated and innovative that’s a huge turn off.

In the workplace support it a term used loosely. The main problem is if the giver doesn’t know how the receiver defines support, it’s just talk.

Support gets miscommunicated as frequently as any generational difference.

If you truly want to support someone, ask them how they feel supported. It may be different than what you value, but if you truly care you’ll do it.

The #1 reason why employees leave their current job is because they feel undervalued, therefore support has an incredible ROI.

The root cause can be the difference between a leader and manager, but ultimately it starts with ego.

Support is meant to benefit the recipient so if the receiver doesn’t feel supported that falls on the giver.

It can be a tricky game to play, so first know the rules.

I feel supported when listened to. Answers aren’t necessary. Once I’m able to vent my frustration, I can enter problem solving mode. Offer me trust and I will give it back tenfold. That’s what helps me feel supported, how about you?

Are You a Confused Millennial?

rachel-ritlop-confused-millennial

I’ve always believed LinkedIn and other social media platforms are about making a virtual connection in hopes of connecting with people you would never meet normally in person. That’s how Rachel & I met. Since we write about similar topics and have mutual friends, we got on the phone and chatted. After talking with her I was impressed with her takeaways and business acumen so I decided to interview her so that you, my readers might be inspired.

1) Tell us briefly how you successfully transitioned from counseling to a business/career coach.

Well initially I started out as a general life coach. I worked with people of all ages, from 17 to 80! My real passion started to come out as I taught twenty somethings how to find their purpose and “adult” effectively. During my first year in business I started getting approached by local businesses to consult on their behalf with program developments, social media marketing, and employee satisfaction. At around the year mark of my business is when I decided to rebrand my business to focus more on business and career coaching.

2) What advice would you give someone who is unhappy in their career?

I would probably ask them to explore what is causing the unhappiness to figure out if its something that could change with some inner work or if the person is in the wrong career all together. For example, someone can be really unhappy because they aren’t used to a certain type of structured work environment or having a boss, but love the work they are doing. In that situation the person should probably work with a coach or counselor to figure out what changes they can make to create more autonomy for themselves in the workplace. However, if someone actually dislikes the work they are doing, then I would have them write out the characteristics of their dream career and start working on an entirely new career plan based on whats missing for them and their intrinsic and current skill set.

3) Your alter ego, The Confused Millennial, has gained a lot of traction as of late. To what do you attribute this growing following?

I think it’s really relatable for people. I constantly get emails and comments from people saying how much they can relate or love the blog. I think most of us millennials are multi-passionate and the idea of narrowing our focus to one thing can feel pretty claustrophobic. The blog is a place to read and watch other millennials journeys, plus get actionable advice based on personal experiences. I think we all crave community and thats what The Confused Millennial is really doing.

4) I’ve noticed a big part of your brand is your complete transparency. Was that intentional or just you being you?

I’ve always been the type of person that what you see is what you get. I have a real hard time with RBF and hiding my emotions. When I moved my business on-line I made the decision to be “more polished” as a business/career coach since that’s what I thought I needed to do in order to be “successful”… but a month after the launch of rachelritlop.com I felt like I was a total fraud. I realized how much fluff I had consumed on the internet and I felt taken advantage of and just wanted to do something different than what all the “big coaches” were doing with their perfectly polished personas, and be true to me… which led to the creation of The Confused Millennial.

5) Recently you launched an Instagram E-Course. Tell my readers more about this great resource!

Yeah! It’s been great! It decided the last week of March to grow my Instagram following and in just three months I saw an increase in engagement from 0% to 8% and from less than 300 followers to about 6,000! I decided to put all the information I learned and tips into a course! Basically it takes you through the basics of Instagram, how to optimize your Instagram for engagement and conversations, how to take Instagram worthy photos with your iPhone, how to grow an engaged following and so much more! The course is available for sale here!

How To Effectively Deal With Rejection

kid-rejection

Whether a job, customer or relationship…rejection sucks.

Technically the more you deal with rejection, the stronger you become can be true, early on it just plain stings. Some describe it as a numbness, disbelief or in a daze. No matter how you slice it, it’s painful.

I’m not calling myself an expert when it comes to rejection (that’s a bad look anyway right?), but I do know there are two areas you have to address quickly: ego and focus.

First, ego. Ever watch reality TV? Even though it’s not reality, emotion is normally driven by ego (hence good TV). Feelings are hard to fake (unless you’re a Kardashian) and rejection hits your ego like a mack truck. In a competition, losing and winning affects the ego greatly. For an example, when a contestant on a reality TV show doesn’t win, it’s more about the embarrassment and how it makes you feel than actually losing itself. In order to move on from rejection, you must separate ego from the task at hand plus the overall big picture.

Second, focus. If I told you to drive on the freeway only looking in your rear view mirror would you do it? (If you answered yes, please get some help!) That analogy is similar to what we do after being rejected. We look at the past instead of focus on the future. Now as hard as that sounds, let me share why this is one of the reasons I became a coach. Life happens and when it does, it doesn’t always fall in our favor. This is where choice comes in. You can choose to dwell in the past or look forward to the future. Sure, you can learn from your mistakes, but stay in the past too long and you’ll become stifled. Regardless the cause of the rejection, the best thing you can do is forget it happened and move on. Using a relationship as an example, the best advice I ever got and followed is excommunicate your ex for a while to advance the healing process. Sounds cold, but it works.

Rejection is a tough subject, but something we all deal with. The better equipped you are, the faster you can bounce back. Don’t worry if you don’t have tough skin, you can still apply these tactics.

Ready. Set. Move On!

 

Why Coaching Doesn’t Work

coach's whistle

I’ve been coaching for the past 8 years as an entrepreneur, but much longer in basketball and life. It’s a skill set you can learn, but similar to leadership there are some who have an innate ability to thrive in it and a “higher ceiling” in terms of execution. As a customer there are more reasons than not to avoid coaching, which makes it hard to “sell.” Here are just a handful:

“What is coaching?”

“How does it work?”

“How much is it?”

“What results will I get?”

“HR and management already provides that at work.”

The list goes on and on, so instead of trying to convince you why coaching works, I prefer to share my experience of hiring a coach. I worked with a coach for 18 months. We met bi-monthly and talked about professional and personal issues. I loved how he would ask me questions that were based on my agenda, set goals to accomplish before the next session and go at my pace. It felt much more like hiring a personal trainer to strengthen my mind than anything close to therapy or psychology. I liked it so much I picked my coach’s brain on how to become one and after going back to school for a M.A. in Organizational Leadership, here I am.

Now the toughest part is selling it. Coaching is a process, it provides solutions to the “how” questions. Problem is customers are focused on the results. Confidence and career advice is what my clients get from working with me. Another issue is paying for individual sessions. Going back to my personal trainer analogy, you wouldn’t hire a trainer and expect results overnight, so you can’t do the same with a coach. Sessions don’t work, programs do. P90X and Insanity sell fitness, but they’re packaged as a program. That’s exactly how you need to buy coaching. For example, my Career Bootcamp is 30 days of coaching which includes: (4) 60 minute sessions + unlimited weekday email support. If you take full advantage of this offer, you can have up to 26 “touch points” in a month’s time. Now that’s value! You get a defined outcome in specific time frame. Much easier to buy.

It’s not that coaching doesn’t work, it does. But the challenge is how it’s “packaged.” These days anyone can call themselves a coach, I get that. So if you’re in the market to hire one, contact a coach and ask them questions. Your decision to hire one should be based on chemistry (do you “fit” with them?) and confidence (can they get me to where I want to be?). Coaching is an investment in personal & professional development. Athletes hire coaches to increase performance, so should you!

The Benefits of Scary Dreams

Scary dreams

Nightmares suck. No matter the age, they feel real. As a kid, it’s hard to go back to sleep and as an adult you try to analyze the meaning of them which keeps you up. But when are scary dreams a benefit?

When they are your desired dreams. If you evaluate your dreams and they’re not big enough to scare you, they’re probably too small. Size matters and there’s no reason to dilute your dreams because of your life stage. Sure, as you get older your situation becomes more complicated, even layered, but now you just need to be more disciplined to make it happen.

Most of the time you know WHAT your dreams are, but HOW to achieve them is a completely different story. That’s why during this 8-week online bootcamp geared towards achieving work-life balance we’ll break down what it takes to get there. Dreams appear monumental until you break them into smaller steps. As a coach, that’s what I help my clients do. Register here and we’ll turn your dreams from scary bad to scary good.

Soaring Over California…Or Wherever You Live

Soaring

The first time I went on the Soaring Over California ride at Disney’s California Adventure I was in awe. Most of the scenic icons in the Golden State I’d seen before, but not at a bird’s eye view. In addition to the sights, they added smells and sounds that made you feel you were right there on location.

Disney has a knack for transporting you to grand experiences by using the five human senses: touch, taste, smell, sound and sight. But what they really do best is offer: perspective. Rarely do they create something new, but they enhance the ordinary way you look at things and make it better.

What if you took this approach to your personal life? Rarely can you change your circumstances, but you can change the way you choose to view it. That’s the daily choice you have: “re-framing” your life. That’s what I’ll discuss in this 8-week online bootcamp geared toward work-life balance. It’s making little choices that make a big difference. Sometimes it’s about looking at life in a different way. Choice is a powerful thing and during this course I’ll help you become the 2.0 version of yourself.

Why You Shouldn’t Grow Up

Imagination

Being a parent these days, there’s more pressure to help your kid advance than ever. Start applying to a good preschool once they’re born, research the best elementary and middle schools early and what high school gives them to best chance to get into a good college?

Slow down. There’s things that kids do much better than adults, such as imagination. Kids don’t need to be told to dream big because they already do that. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we were told our dreams need to be scaled down to realistic. Maybe it’s from rejection, failure or being told “you can’t do that.” Whatever it is, it needs to stop.

Some people ask me, what does your ideal client look like? Honestly, it’s someone who has an open mind and is willing to try new things even if they don’t fully believe it can work. It’s the “right brain” that has to be opened up in order to imagine big possibilities. So if you’re struggling to find the free time to dream again sign up for my 8-week online bootcamp geared towards work-life balance. Just because someone told you to stop dreaming doesn’t mean you have to listen to them. Let’s go back in time and start dreaming again.

What Work Life Balance Really Means

work life balance

70% of people struggle with work-life balance, but what does that mean? Essentially it’s when either your personal or professional life is dominating the other. Here’s two examples, if you’re a career driven individual who finds yourself in your 30’s and out of the dating scene for a while because working overtime is the norm OR if you’re a stay home mom who manages a household of 5, but never has any time of your own that’s work-life imbalance.

Easy to identify, difficult to resolve. At the core of work-life balance is feeling a lack of control. Autonomy is one of our primary motivators in life, according to Dan Pink, so when our professional or personal life is overwhelming the other we feel like the victims of our consequences. The same reason why entrepreneurs start their own business is what the average person striving for work-life balance wants: freedom.

There’s a big movement in the entrepreneurial world that doesn’t involve making more money. It’s a little thing called lifestyle design. It means you want to spend your time doing what you want, where you want, when you want. Sounds like a glorified vacation, but it’s much more than that. Fast forward your life until you’re in your 80’s. If you looked back at your life at that point, what decisions would you wish you made differently? Probably anything that deals with spending more time WITH others or ON yourself. That’s why time, not money, is the most valuable currency.

If you’re still confused, let’s talk about the exact opposite of work-life balance: living with regret. People who struggle with work-life balance experience this “inner-tension” of feeling guilty for not taking action. As a Career Coach, most of the clients I’ve worked with over the past 8 years pay me to help them make a career transition, but you know what they really need help with? Confidence.

I can’t force anyone to do anything. That may not sound very marketable, but it’s the truth. I can make suggestions, but ultimately it’s up to the client how much effort, openness and passion they put into accomplishing the goals they set to achieve. But this is where work-life balance fits in. You know what your desired goals are, but you may not know how to get there. That’s where I come in. Work-life balance is about prioritizing. Goals aren’t the same. Some are more important than others. You are a specialist. If you were good at everything, you wouldn’t need anyone’s help. Therefore identifying your strengths, then maximizing them is crucial to achieving work-life balance because your strengths are a “means” to an end (your goals). Work-life balance is a constant challenge. In fact, it’s not a destination, it’s a journey. You need accountability, milestones and motivation to get there. I want to help.