Season 1, Episode 16

Welcome to the Coaching Studio Podcast

This podcast features fun, lively conversations with masterful coaches who are creating an impact. Get to know them, their journey into coaching, and discover what wisdom they would offer you about being a better coach.

Let’s go!

Welcoming Ann Betz, PCC to the Coaching Studio Podcast

the Coaching Studio Guest

I am very excited to welcome Ann Betz, PCC to the Coaching Studio Podcast. 

Credits

  • Host: Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC
  • Music: Frolic by Harrison Amer
  • Production Editing: Lyssa deHart
  • Social Media and Communications: Michele Logan

About This Episode

Read the transcript of this episode of the Coaching Studio Podcast:

Lyssa deHart

Hello, Lyssa deHart here. Welcome to the Coaching Studio. Today I have as my guest Ann Betz. She is a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation. She is also the co-founder of BEabove Leadership. She is an accomplished writer.

She is an international speaker and a trainer who makes time to make sense of the intersection of neuroscience coaching and human transformation.

Ann has written two books on coaching and neuroscience. The first being Integration: The Power of Being Co-Active in Work and Life. It is an exploration of consciousness and the future. And her second book is The Neuroscience of the ICF Competencies. She’s a published poet using her understanding of the brain and consciousness to bring life to the wonders of the human soul.

Ann speaks internationally on neuroscience leadership and coaching and occasionally on poetry and she excels at making the complexities of the brain come to life with depth, humor, and simplicity. Ann resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico right now with her four cats. Yes, or, highly entertaining cats so and welcome to the Coaching Studio. I’m so glad to have you here.

Ann Betz

Thanks, Lyssa, I’ve been looking forward to this conversation. So I’m curious to see where we’re going to go together and my cats may join us or fall asleep on the couch.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, well if they’re smart you know they’ll show up exactly as they need to. So as I start this conversation typically because everybody has such a unique journey on how they arrive at coaching and you have the added piece about the passion for neuroscience. And I guess I’m really curious about, I don’t know, they’re interconnected or one came first and I would just really love to hear how you got into coaching and your passion with neuroscience?

Ann Betz

Yeah, no great question though, coaching came first, I had been a coach for about 10 years when I started exploring neuroscience, so coaching came because somebody, I think somebody asked me one of those great questions. She wasn’t a coach, but she asked me one of those great questions like what would you do if nobody paid you to do it? And this was 20 years ago it was 2000, 2001, and I was feeling sort of lost professionally and I said, you know, I would have deeply meaningful conversations with people, ha ha ha who’s going to pay me to do that?

Lyssa deHart

Ha ha ha.

Ann Betz

And luckily she, she knew someone. So this, you remember this is 2001, those were the days where you said I’m a coach and people said what sport. So um she knew someone who was a professional coach and she said there is a profession for that and I’m like hallelujah. I’m hooked, I’m in, I went to one class and I thought this, yep, this is what I want to do. Um so the neuroscience part though that came, I was already a coach for about 10 years. I was a coach trainer at the time for the Coaches Training Institute.

I was really into coaching, you know, successful as a coach, and I’d also been interested in human awareness. Or we could call, we could say human consciousness, what, who are we? What makes us more or less effective? What is, you know, what our levels of human consciousness is, was my exploration sort of, you know, in addition to coaching and the neuroscience was about that.

So I started, see because what my business partner who is still my business partner, we were doing these like workshops for people on expanding our level of consciousness and they were really wonderful but only like four or five people would come at a time. We like to say, we couldn’t get arrested, when we’re just trying to teach that. And so this was back when little like articles about the brain, now they’re constant, 10 years ago they weren’t. Um it was just every so often you’d see some like really sort of interesting thing about neuroscience and I said I think this is the link.

I think if we can prove what we’re doing in terms of helping people move from less effective levels of consciousness to more effective levels if we could back it up with neuroscience we could get more people. And famously at the time she said you go right ahead darling, I will not be joining you. You are not dragging me to neuroscience school.

But sorry, long story short, what happened was I went at the time to something called the NeuroLeadership Institute, I then later went to study with a whole bunch of other people. But what was, what was happening is they would be talking about the research on diminishing stress. I’ll be thinking that’s what we’re doing coaching. Oh reframing taking a different perspective by the way reduces cortisol in the body. What? And consistently would be like every week, whatever we were talking about in class, they weren’t talking about it in terms of coaching but because I knew coaching so well I’m going this is why what we do works.

So I get on the phone with Ursula, my partner, to be like you’re not going to believe what I heard right now and she would say I think we could create a coaching tool. So that was how, that was kind how our neuros, and then now 10 years later she went from you’re not dragging me to neuroscience school to being a recognized, being an expert in her own right.

Lyssa deHart

So she drank the Kool-Aid, the neuroscience Kool-Aid.

Ann Betz

She said Ann can seduce me into anything.

Lyssa deHart

That’s hilarious, you know, and I think it’s so interesting um this, this idea of the competencies, in the neuroscience the competencies. I really deeply believe that one of the things that makes the competencies so powerful is the container that it holds to allow brains to light up. And so I’d love to hear sort of the reflection that you gained as you’re doing this, this dive into the neuroscience of the competencies.

Ann Betz

Yeah, I mean when I think about what coaching does with the brain, I mean there’s sort of the granular level and there are some more granular things, but there’s also the big picture. And you know, in my book about The Neuroscience of The Competencies, what I start out by saying is let’s really just look at the big picture because if that’s all you understood, it would probably be enough.

And one of the things I will sometimes tell coaches to say if you’re trying to sell into an organization, um you know, get in, you know, get into corporate like that is to say, here’s what I do, I do, applied neural plasticity for you people. Because it sounds kind of sexy, right? And at a very fundamental level what we’re doing in coaching, especially if we do it well and this is where the, you know, some of them are fine-tuning of the competencies come in, what we are ideally doing and wanting to do and I think about, I’m sure you have stories of this and I have stories of this, where what we’re wanting for our clients is not dependency were wanting lasting change.

We’re wanting to build their competency. And the structure that coaching is created in and the competencies help people, we believe I don’t actually have the, you know, the pre and the, you know the past and then current.

Lyssa deHart

Pre-test and post-test.

Ann Betz

Pre-test and the post-test, you know, um brain scan on this, but I believe it’s really true that when you, when you are really helping people both diminish old negative wiring, it’s a metaphor why, you know, the brain isn’t really wired, but it’s a good metaphor. And helping them wire in new beliefs, new attitudes, new ways of being, not just temporarily, but you know, and not just in the one area that they maybe came to coaching for, but in all areas.

So, you know, to me that’s a very, you know, undeniable thing that we do because of our action-reflection cycle that we, you know because we help people find the meaning which is critical. It’s critical for change. I’m sure, you know this, people have to it has to be personally relevant. What’s the relevance? And so when we get the relevance, that’s like a jump start to this neuroplasticity process to not following the old wiring, which isn’t what I want and finding this new. And so every aspect that really relates to positive neuroplasticity are different things we do in coaching. So, I think in some ways that’s like the biggest big picture of what we do, I mean there’s a lot more.

Lyssa deHart

Right. And you know, and I think the thing that you’re saying that I really want to anchor in here too, is that I mean, basic Psych 101 says, we believe what we tell ourselves.

Ann Betz

Yeah.

Lyssa deHart

Right. And so if we have a coach coming in and telling us, advising us, telling us xyz is your way out. We don’t have the opportunity to make that meaning for ourselves. And to your point, we don’t have sustainable changes because we didn’t embody that experience that, that led to that awareness. So, therefore, it’s a glancing awareness, but it’s not an integrated awareness.

Ann Betz

Right.

Lyssa deHart

I appreciate that so much.

Ann Betz

You’re making me think, well a couple of things. One is I was teaching at one point, you know, teaching new students, brand new students, and coaching. And we were talking about this and this, I love this because one of my students said, oh, I want the light bulb to go off in their head.

Lyssa deHart

Yes.

Ann Betz

Right? And I, you know, it’s literally like if a client, if a client says to me, my God, I’ve never thought like, oh, that’s a good question. I’m like, like, I’m almost can literally see, like, you know, like a neural connection is happening. We’re reaching out to a new neuron to what, you know, that’s a new potential, doesn’t happen unless it fires in their brain. Right? And so the telling. And then I’m also thinking about you’re probably aware of Richard Boyatzis.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, the positive attractor and the negative attractor.

Ann Betz

Yeah, wonderful work. And I think this is also very much a fundamental is that we put people in a state where learning and growth and openness, we put them in a spongier state because we don’t tell them what to do. And because we hold them as naturally creative, resource, resourceful and whole because we create relationships of trust because of our presence, all of these are in the competencies.

And what Boyatzis found, and he’s the, he’s the, he’s I mean he’s a, you know, I can, you know, a dear colleague and I also, you know, I’m a big fan because he’s one of the few people who is doing direct neuroscience research on coaching. Most of the rest of it is a retrofit. I have to look at the research on stress and connect it with coaching and you can make a really compelling argument for it. But Boyatzis is really using coaching techniques and FMRI. So it’s fabulous. I wish, you know, I wish he would live forever because his work is powerful. So he’s finding that when we asked these open-ended questions and we don’t judge and we don’t diagnose, we don’t assess, the brain goes into a state where learning and change is much more predictable. It’s really, and this is actually something I think every human needs to know, every parent needs to know.

Lyssa deHart

Every parent needs to know.

Ann Betz

Every parent needs to know. Every boss needs to know.

Lyssa deHart

Every boss needs to know.

Ann Betz

Totally.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, I really, I really appreciate the research that he’s been doing and I think that and I think that one of the things that was really so striking to me in his work also was that both kinds of coaching, whether the coaches focused on the positive attractors or the negative attractors. The client was like, thanks that was so useful, only after a few weeks the persons that they were really, the persons who were making changes and the persons who impacted that client the most were the people who were making the choice to lead them into something useful versus into telling, which triggered that judgment and to your point you know, our it’s very hard to be in any kind of fight, flight, freeze, or freak out state and curious and creative, right? Like the kind of are different mindsets and so by by judging, even if it’s from an unintentional, goodhearted place, it isn’t enough for the client to not notice it energetically even, right?

Ann Betz

I love what you’re saying though. But people, you know, most people, many people but they’re nice, right? And they do feel like it’s good to talk about yourself. So it does feel good. So that’s why I love this. This is why I really love this, other layer of researches, we’re really looking for brain as best we can tell, by the way neuroscience research is is…

Lyssa deHart

Constantly changing.

Ann Betz

Well, and what is, yes. And you know, the other thing that’s going to say is it is much more clunky than one would think. We’re like, oh you think we’re looking at the brain, but what we can really tell about the brain is kind of movement flow, a little bit of oxygen, blood flow. You know, we’re somewhat, we’re pretty clunky. But it’s sending us in some directions that go a layer deeper than just self-report. Like, oh, I felt so good talking to Ann. Versus no I’m in, I’m in a process of change that we can measure in a different way.

Lyssa deHart

Right. And I think to your point, I mean I love what your student says. It’s an insight I’ve had also, which is, look, it’s great of my brain lights up. That’s nice for me. But what’s really important is when the client’s brain lights up, like that’s what we’re working towards in coaching if we’re doing it well. Yeah.

Ann Betz

Yeah, and they’ve they’ve got to make the connection, it’s got to be relevant to them. They’ve got, even if you’re and I think in that sort of to your point about stress, you know, so stress on a continuum where super stresses like fight, flight, freeze, flee, freak out. But you also have just, you know, like a little too much stress where it’s just a little harder to process and it goes on a continuum. It’s not like you’re either totally fine or freaking out. It’s, you know, you in the middle, but even a little bit of um too much stress can compromise our ability to think and understand. And so this is to me where the coaches presence, trust, and relationship come in and I often feel like what’s happening when my client comes in is I’m bringing them into my, my more stable field, and then their brain can get in a place sort of coming into me being seen, you know, being seen and held by me in a relationship where there’s respect and agreements and trust, confidentiality. I’m present all of that. They will become more coherent and more able to make those connections that they are naturally able to make. It may be blocked by the stress of whatever the topic is. Right?

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, I think that’s so important and I think and I think that it is such a subtle little thing like the holding of the field, you know, the holding of the space in such a way that we’re not pushing them towards a particular thing because of our bias, that that’s the right thing to do. But rather staying in that place of inquiry with people and allowing their own natural instincts and self-awareness to show up.

Ann Betz

It’s sort of this the thing about naturally creative, resourceful and whole um with some exceptions, but for the most part, there’s this place and I think about when everything’s in balance where I’m more able to access my resources, I’m more able to come up with, you know, come to my wise self and so part of what we’re doing in coaching is helping people, you know through some, you know, some of the techniques that we have. Helping them return to this place where they have access to the best of who they are. And I think about this was probably one of the things that first made me go oh okay neuroscience and coaching, 10 years ago, was this really good research on stress and research on um and you know this Lyssa there’s a U curve of stress where you don’t want to have no stress, but you don’t want to have too much stress, you want to be in kind of the sweet spot, you know the private zone. Um And but what when they were sharing with us, you know in my neuroscience classes they’re sharing with us. The research-driven things that reduce stress, here’s what they are. Tell me if this doesn’t sound like coaching. I mean I think this was the big light bulb for me, first of all name the emotion, How are you today… Really?

Lyssa deHart

Right.

Ann Betz

Secondly, change what you can change.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, welcome to control.

Ann Betz

Control. Right okay. So what is it that you know what can we do? Is there anything you can do? The third is to focus on what’s important to you. What values matter to you. Future, life purpose, bigger frame. You put it in a bigger frame. Basic, basic coaching. In the second class, I took values and purpose. Thirdly reframe all of this by the way the research is saying is because how they test stress for Neurosciences. They stress, they check their cortisol and then they stress them out and then they check their cortisol. And their favorite way to stress people out is make them do public speaking because for most people that’s for me, I find it stimulating but that’s acquired, you know, acquired after many years of public speaking. You can’t stress me out, you to do something else, yell at me that will do it. Okay, so stress them out and then do something, do whatever it is you’re trying to test like have them reframe, have them write about what values are important to them, have them just name how they’re feeling and then you test your cortisol again. So this isn’t and it’s not just self-report. Oh, I feel better because I, you know, found a new perspective, This is biochemical and as the cortisol goes down, that’s a marker. It’s not the thing itself, but it’s a marker of how much other stress chemicals are in the brain generally. So your cortisol is going on, what’s happening is that person is coming back to their natural, creative, resourceful, and whole self and and and this is like chemistry.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah.

Ann Betz

Yeah, go ahead.

Lyssa deHart

Oh I was just going to, you know the thing that’s showing up as you’re talking is I’m thinking, you know. So much of the stress that we have is, not that it isn’t real, but we’re not really running away from tigers anymore. So we you know so much of it is existential. You don’t agree with me or we have different belief systems about something or you took my parking spot or whatever the thing is that we’re getting stressed out about. And so it doesn’t really take much in a coaching conversation. A coach can just use a tone of voice that triggers that sense of the parent coming in and you’re doing it wrong, right?

Ann Betz

For sure, it gets processed. I mean there’s this is I think the other thing about this putting people in this positive emotional attractor open state. I mean this is why what you’re saying is this why when somebody says, hey Lyssa can I give you some feedback? You’re just like…

Lyssa deHart

It’s hard to not want to tighten up, right?

Ann Betz

I have to tell you the funniest thing. So I was talking to Richard Boyatzis says I was either interviewing him, we’re talking we do some stuff from time to time, usually with the ICF. I was either interviewing or we’re talking to and he was like oh no when people, and I feel the same way, but I love that he said it. He’s like yeah when people, I’ve just led a class I’ve just done a speech, I’ve led a class and somebody’s like hey Richard can I give you some feedback? He says, “No. ” He said no you can give me feedback in three days. Today, I’m celebrating. I’m not in a place where I can hear your feedback. And you know I actually think a lot of us should do that more.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah you know I think setting the healthy boundary number one is what’s showing up for me. But I think also like I look at, I look at like giving feedback for mentor coaching or something that it could be anything though and I find that it goes a lot smoother if you ask people, what did you do really well. Right. I mean to his point let’s get him into a positive mindset where you can always ask where did you struggle and that’s great too. But you don’t go let me give you some feedback. I’m going to tell you what you did wrong.

Ann Betz

Right? I love this. And again I think it’s because sort of to go back to original point, you know about the parking lot versus the saber tooth tiger. We’re incredibly sensitive, were more sensitive than we give ourselves and each other credit for um or understanding for. And so we process so many things as a threat because I think one of the biggest threats to us as human beings is feeling like we are not part of the, of the core group. Because there I always think about for 95% of human history, we were tribal, we were hunter-gatherers. We had to get along with anyone and if you got somehow you know separated from the tribe you weren’t safe physically. Death. I mean that could mean death. So I think in some part of our being in our D. N. A. When somebody’s like you did something wrong that isn’t as good as everyone else. We process it weirdly like a little bit like it can be such a threat. Now you can train yourself to be better about this and you can do things that work better. And for me, one of them and it’s just sort of it’s like really what you’re saying is um you give the control back to the person and so what did you do well? Which I actually find people have a harder time answering that they want to be so hard on themselves, right? Like oh my god no I screwed that up. But then what I love to ask when I’m giving someone feedback is and then what where would you point yourself, what would you do differently next time. If you give them back the control. And then I always ask these are the three questions, what did you do? Because I do a lot of feedback on coaching and I had a need to um. What did you do well? What would you do, where would you point yourself? And what do you want from me?

Lyssa deHart

Yeah.

Ann Betz

And the third one they almost always say you know, this and I want to and I have to be like no no no no no, what did you well?

Lyssa deHart

What did you do well?

Ann Betz

No No No, coming back here, I told you this is gonna be the hardest part. And then in the 3rd one, 9 times out of 10, if not more, they say I want everything and anything that will grow me, but at that point.

Lyssa deHart

There brain is open.

Ann Betz

Totally. And they have said the words I want this. And so there’s some more, I mean sometimes I think some things can still be hard to take but they have, they have asked for it and say okay then I just lay it on because I’m still aware of you know, the sensitive brain and I don’t want to overload them. And usually, they are doing a better job than they think anyway. But at that point, it’s a request and your brain is processing it as this is a request, not this is a, this is something that’s coming out of nowhere and the feeling of being out of control is the most stressful thing to humans. And the thing that brings you back sort of fundamentally, everything I mentioned naming it, values, controlling the environment. Reframing helps people come back to a sense of control and that’s why it diminishes the stress. So that’s my trick for doing feedback and I find it, the other thing and I’m going on and I’m sorry about say one last thing. Is I would say much of the time when I asked them, what would you do differently? A fairly robust part of the time, they have named the thing that I’ve seen.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah.

Ann Betz

And, or at least at least some of it and then I don’t need to say it, I can just say yeah good, good job.

Lyssa deHart

Great awareness, a great awareness. And I think to your point also if you do need to, if they say give me everything, choosing consciously and wisely, the one little growth edge, like we don’t need to flood people to your point with, let me give you everything. Like there’s no such thing as perfect coaching and I think that coaches come into coaching especially around the competencies with this idea that I’ve got to do it perfect. Which already sets us up in that brain set of, I’m not doing it right.

Ann Betz

Well, Lyssa, I’m curious what you think about this because you’re an MCC, I’m a PCC and there are times that I’m coaching, I just had one the other day, oh my gosh, this was a couple of days ago where I thought, oh I’m so glad I’m not getting assessed on this coaching. Like people might think out of, that’s true for you, people might think, oh, you know, because you’ve done all of this and coaching, you know, I teach coaching, you always do it right. No I don’t, I can get derailed on things and I need to kind of stay aware and give myself feedback and like, oh yeah, let me calibrate that a little bit. And I can have off days. I can have days where you know, I am not as locked into presence in my mind, I’ve got things on my mind and I’m not perfect. You know, I’m good, but I’m not perfect. And so I think sometimes coaches think, oh my gosh, I’ll never be as good as Lyssa. You know, like it’s like, poor Ann, I’m not as good as me all the time.

Lyssa deHart

I’m not as good as me all the time either. And I’m not as good as you all the time and I’m not as good as anybody all the time. I think that there’s a level of partnership though that shows up and I think that this really speaks to the other competencies that show up in the neuroscience, right? Is that psychological safety? And so I think a lot of the psychological safety that shows up in relationships is when we can also name, to ourselves, out loud to our clients like, hey, my body has just got activated. I finding myself completely lost in this conversation. Will you make meaning for me and help me understand the connections?

Ann Betz

Hold on a minute. Absolutely. I mean this is, I will tell you, you know, I have a couple of clients actually more than one. I’ve got a couple of clients where I’m really was hired to play dual roles. I coach a lot of coaches these days, which I really love, I love working with that level of awareness. And I have a couple of clients where I am dual coaching and mentoring or, and actually this one isn’t even coaching and mentoring, coaching and consulting. So, and she’s amazing, but it’s, you know, it’s interesting because the thing where I was sort of the other day, I thought, oh my, shit, I didn’t listen, I didn’t listen deeply enough, I started doing consulting advice before I listen deeply enough to really understand what it was. You know, that can be tricky, but I want to talk about that for a minute because for me this is the thing. I think sometimes coaches get very locked into, there’s been a big conversation lately about coaching and therapy more, which I think is good. I think we need to be talking about this more because I think a number of years ago when we first started out, 25, 30 years ago we had much more of there’s coaching and there’s therapy.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, the Venn diagram has gotten closer, hasn’t it?

Ann Betz

Yeah, I’m much more into the Venn, the Venn of it, the overlap of it and I, you know, was on a forum on Facebook or something, a coaching forum and somebody was saying um, oh, you know, the minute my client starts talking about divorce, that’s a therapy issue. And I thought, oh that’s pretty interesting because I don’t hold it that way at all. I’ve coached a number of clients through divorce and through difficult things. So I think it’s, and forgive me because this might irritate someone, I’m gonna say it anyway. I think it’s an, that’s an immature view of coaching. That when we focus on the what, the what we’re talking about. Oh, there are a whole bunch of what’s that we don’t do in coaching, divorce, alcohol, um substance abuse, depression, there are all these things that the minute they come up, there are no longer coaching issues. And I don’t think that’s right and this is based on also like a lot of really interesting coaches I’ve met. Um, I think it’s the how, how do we work with someone going through a divorce? How. I met a really cool guy at ICF Converge two years ago in Prague who is a coach for people dealing with alcoholism. I wouldn’t do that. I don’t know enough about it. He’s very precise, he’s very careful, he’s very clear about when they, when he needs to work with a treatment program or with a therapist, as well, as well, at what point in the process and how he’s very clear about how he does it. But he even holds just because there’s substance abuse, it’s no longer coaching because he says he’s had tremendous like really amazing success in working with people.

Lyssa deHart

Well, I think the thing that you’re bringing up that I think is really important is that it isn’t it’s also on a spectrum, right? Which is I think there are people who have done the work. Like I I have my clinical licensure still. So, I mean, technically I’m still capable of being a therapist, but I don’t choose to do therapy. But even when I was doing therapy, I never worked with substance abuse issues specifically because that wasn’t where my, where my training and my intensive training was. Mine was much more around trauma and relationship um work. And so that’s where my focus and my expertise, if you will, was focused, due to the training that I did. And so I agree with you. I mean, I think it’s very much a Venn diagram that we’re looking at, and there’s a lot of crossover between, what is that therapy, a an issue that can be managed and explored in coaching. I think that there are some areas that are, that need a certain level of training to deal with.

Ann Betz

Yes I agree.

Lyssa deHart

And I think that, and I definitely think like with substance abuse and trauma, that these are things that you need to have a lot of training in, but even more so you said something that is really important. Which is also if a person is in therapy and they have a therapeutic issue and you’re coming in and you’re coaching them on something, what is the relationship you have with their therapist. So that there can be this kind of well-rounded coverage of the conversation. And you don’t have to take on something you’re not comfortable with as the coach.

Ann Betz

Yeah, and I think that, you know, because for me, the this brings in another, you know, and I think about some of these areas, um there’s the there’s not to me that what isn’t as important as “the how, ” and also “the who”. Who, is who is really important. I think about a number of clients that I’ve had, that had therapists as well. I did not have a specific relationship with the therapist because “the who” of the client was, they were regulated enough that they were well able to manage that themselves. And they were saying, yep, and I talked about this with my therapist and she suggested I bring it to you and we were in a partnership, I didn’t need to have a third party relationship because they were so, um I will call it very, very regulated and very clear about what they wanted to work on with each one of us as well as how they fit together. So one of the things that I’ve started saying that people have found helpful, you know, it’s probably clear to you as well with your background, is that what I look for in terms of coaching versus therapy is the degree to which my client can return to us in observer capacity in their mind.

Lyssa deHart

I think that’s really valuable.

Ann Betz

And for me, it feels like that feels like a fairly bottom line. Like um to me it’s really clear, if they can be an observer, be, my friend of mine wrote a workbook called the fascinated observer and I’m like that’s what I’m looking for. If you can be a fascinated observer of your process. Or you know, even an observer at all, then I think we can coach. And depending on where you are in the process and your degree of regulation, you might need a therapist as well.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah.

Ann Betz

This idea, you know, there are things we can talk about or the other one I find hilarious is we don’t go to the past. And I still hear this. I’m like what do you do when your client comes in and they want to talk about a meeting last week? Is that in the past?

Lyssa deHart

I think it’s a little binary, sometimes these ideas.

Ann Betz

Where does the past actually begin?

Lyssa deHart

Like in this moment and this one, and this one, right?

Ann Betz

Right, of course, we talk about the past. Please stop telling people you don’t talk about the past. How do we talk about the past? I mean even to the state, the sense of when I’ve got a client who is in a strong observer mind. And thinking about a client and a couple of clients is specifically in this last week or so. Very strong, very regulated, very interested and something comes up. I may ask them, what does this remind you of? Now, I’m not gonna unpack everything. I’m not going to look at family dynamics and map all of that out and do many other things that therapists might do. But it is interesting to the client often, to find that there is a, you know, there’s a connection there. There’s a deep connection there that they’ve probably already been working on. And this is the next, I say, like the next heavyweight in the spiritual gym.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, yeah. You know, Ann as you’re talking about this too, I’m thinking, I really like this capacity of the client to get back to that regulated equilibrium, so that they can be an observer of their life. I think that is so crucial. And, I also think, you know, one of the things that we’re really looking at coaching from the perspective of holding the container and holding the curiosity. I am, I mean, if every question is leading, I get that. Every question leads a client someplace. And yet if we are leading them into the situation versus into an exploration of their relationship to the situation, we’re not doing them any service for sustainable changes. And it also keeps us out of therapist mode, if we’re not doing psychoeducation with them. So we’re not here to tell them what they need to do. We’re asking questions that invite them, to our kind of circling back to the earlier part of this conversation, which invites them to self-awareness and self-reflection. We’re not, so you’re, you’re not going to get in trouble as a therapist if what you’re doing is inviting the client’s wisdom forward. I think we’re going to get into trouble if we’re acting like a therapist, if we’re saying, you know, this person is crazy, and I need to get them sane, and now it’s my job to get them there.

Ann Betz

Right, right. It’s a and constantly be looking at, you know, can this person be an observer? What state? What you know more about? Like, what state are they in less about what am I, you know, by doing it right or doing it wrong? It may not be saying that very, very much. But do I have them in this open, curious, trusting, safe state. And I am I am I resisting sort of prescribing or telling them what to do because we’ve created this great relationship of trust where they are open to it, keeping the ball in their court, keeping the hands on the reins, there.

Lyssa deHart

I think, and the more, you know, this is what’s showing up is you’re saying that, which is how do we support our clients to be in this empowered state of choice? Right, and, and that’s that is that place of a really good coach can really hold that conversation in such a way that the client is able to explore patterns. Of course, patterns come from the past. But then to also like we’re not just going to go tell me about this pattern and where did it come from? But like I’m the noticing of the pattern and what does that tell you about this thing? This feeling of today.

Ann Betz

Where we are now.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, exactly.

Ann Betz

There’s the pattern, there’s the repetitive. Where are we now? What is the next step for you holding it open the whole time? The other thing I just wanted to underline and I do think I really love that you said this is a therapist. I think that I think there is for some coaches, maybe just people in the world, there can be this belief that therapists are trained in everything. And therapists can somehow fix mental disorders, you know, like, like, like you got the magic wand and we didn’t um, and that your trained in everything. And something that I know, um, from the work that I’ve been doing in the trauma, also relational trauma field is um, that like most therapists are not necessarily trained deeply in relational trauma. In trauma, it’s a specialty. We can’t assume that, you know, just as, you know, substance abuse is a place where some people focus their learning. Um, so I think there are some of these areas where we need to tread carefully. But just like you wouldn’t necessarily decide to be an equine coach without getting trained in equine assisted coaching, which is a subset and a thing and there are things that you do and how do? You wouldn’t do that if you didn’t know anything about horses, you wouldn’t just be like, I’m going to go work with the horse, like, that’s crazy?

Lyssa deHart

You wouldn’t go to a cardiologist, best cardiologists in the world for a foot disorder, right? Like it’s just not what we’re going to do.

Ann Betz

Totally and so I think there are some of these crossover things were like substance abuse, like relational trauma, like relational trauma where there’s going to be people where it’s not appropriate for us to work with them because of the stage that they’re at or their state of being. And then there’s going to be people where we may be a helpful part of the team. And then there’s going to be people where often when they’re further along in their process and maybe they’ve done some of the other things. I have a couple of clients like this in my practice right now. We are fascinated observers of the past relational trauma and we are still weaving meaning and it is powerful, but they’ve done a lot of therapy already. And it is absolutely helpful. It’s helping them see sort of the residue of it. But the only reason I’m doing that is I’m trained in relational trauma.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, I think these specialities are really important. And I don’t think the specialty is enough. I really think that the coach training itself also to learn the mindset of inquiry, over advising and, and so between the two, you’ve got the foundation of inquiry and you add to it the specialty and don’t and and let go this idea, you have to be everything to everyone. I mean, therapists aren’t either.

Ann Betz

Right? That’s sort of yeah, that’s what I was trying kind of trying to say is don’t assume a therapist. You know, somebody actually this just came up where some one on one of my Facebook groups was talking about, I’m dealing with this client. I’m really concerned about what she’s saying about her husband. This sounds like abuse and people were weighing in. And and I was saying, you know, yes, get thee to a therapist. But be sure the therapist has a background in relational trauma because they don’t all and somebody took me on and said, we can’t be telling our clients that and you know, like, yes, you can like, please, you know, it can be harmful if this person doesn’t have this background. So I thought that was kind of interesting. You know, one of the things you’re making me think of Lyssa, this would be a really good difference in the coaching profession. I don’t think we’re there yet. But I’d like this maybe some coaching schools, not the one I trained for. So the view was you’re a coach, you can coach anybody, which I think, you know, you know, ask your powerful questions, hold your space. I’ve coached, I have literally coached a guy who worked in the salt mines. I coached a guy who, you know, like bread shrimp. I mean I have coached the craziest people from actually was one particular gig that I had for a while. So yeah, I can coach people without knowing their background. So that’s that there’s a truth to that with my skill set. But the coaching schools aren’t dealing with it like med school or even therapy where it’s saying you have the basic training, you, what where might do you want to be a generalist? Or do you want to be a specialist? If you want to be a specialist, where can you get that training? Maybe you do want to specialize in coaching teens. Okay, there’s some legal, ethical and strategic things you probably need to know that you didn’t learn in your basic training. Eating disorders. Somebody I went through through training school with works with eating disorders. She went and got specialized training.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah. And I think that’s really crucial. You know, I think it’s really crucial that we don’t ever stop growing. And if we have a passion for something just because I came, was born into a traumatic family doesn’t mean that I’m an I’m an expert in holding trauma as a way in my coaching. There’s really specific things. And in fact, having come from a traumatic background may actually put you in a bad place for doing that kind of work unless you’ve done enough of your own personal work also.

Ann Betz

And you’ve unpacked it and you know kind of what’s going on.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, We have to do our own work right, so that we can show up fully with our clients and not layer our stuff onto their stuff. So, Ann, this has been so much fun and I really want to just sort of before is we’re coming to a close here. What are you up to that you love people to know about?

Ann Betz

It’s a great question. I mean usually a lot. So uh kind of the two big things is we’ve got classes starting in October and we have we do a Fundamentals of Neuroscience. We do a year long neuroscience, uh neuroscience, consciousness, and transformational coaching is what it’s called. We bring in the three threads of human effectiveness, neuron, really good cutting edge, this is no neuro myth. These are, there’s no neuro myths. We look at the current research on everything, this isn’t like top line, this is deep stuff where we’re really looking at what’s going on. I love that. And then and then how what are the coaching tools? So it’s not enough that we have this sort of idea about stress, for example, how do you, what are some ways you can coach a client around that? So it’s a year long program and I think there’s 25 new coaching tools and they’re not coaching tools that are that I’ve seen anywhere else. So we do that and then also in October we’re starting another, we have a current module going, our very first module of Relational Trauma in coaching. Speaking of specialization, looking at it very carefully, um and we’ll be starting our second cohort of that. So if that is interesting to people as a specialty, we’re very careful about the how and the who and the when that we work with folks where relational trauma is part of what’s going on. So that’s been really exciting and I’m looking forward to the, you know, we’re in the middle of the pilot right now and it’s going really well.

Lyssa deHart

That is very exciting. We’ll definitely have links below and thank you so much for the conversation today, it’s like any time we can talk about the mind, I’m a happy camper. So it’s really, really wonderful. Thank you so much for being on the Coaching Studio.

Ann Betz

Totally enjoyed it. Thank you.

 

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Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC

Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC

Host

Lyssa deHart ditched her therapy practice to become a Leadership Confidence Coach. Along the way she discovered a passion for professional coaching and wanted to find ways to share that passion with the world. Come join her in discovering and meeting some of the most amazing professional coaches on the planet. Her goal is to inspire coaches. Lyssa is the author of StoryJacking: Change Your Dialogue, Transform Your Life. She is an ICF PCC Assessor, Certified Mentor Coach, and budding Coach SuperVisor. Lyssa uses her understanding of the ICF Core Competencies, combined with her knowledge of Neuroscience, to work with people to become extraordinary professional coaches. Let's Go!

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