Season , Episode

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!

Fran Fisher MCC welcome to the coaching studio

the Coaching Studio Guest

I am very excited to welcome Fran Fisher, MCC to the Coaching Studio Podcast.


  • 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 Hi Lyssa deHart here and thank you for joining me on the coaching studio. It is my pleasure to introduce my guest today, Fran Fisher. Fran is a visionary leader, international speaker author and an MCC with the International Coaching Federation Fran is one of the first pioneers and champions of professional coaching. She served as a founding ICF Executive board member and was the chair of developing the credentialing paths for both coaches and for coach training schools. She has been serving ICF As a PCC in MCC credentialing assessors since 1998. Imagine a world where everyone is enjoying a rich and fulfilling life, living true to their essence, life’s purpose, and values. This is the vision that Fran holds for all of us. She believes the world needs people to be their best, authentic selves and that becoming a coach and becoming the best coach that you can become, is what will help to transform the world around us. Her book Calling Forth Greatness Seven Coaching Wisdoms for Transforming Lives, has a great book review. “Fran Fisher delivers the greatest hits of coaching wisdom in a single easy to read book, it’s all here. The guided principles used by great coaches every day. My favorite section is about living from the inside, aligning your vision, purpose, core values, and empowering beliefs, call forth greatness and transforming your life. Read this book! ” Fran is also an adventurer who in 2016 went to Spain and walked the Camino de Santiago as a personal challenge as well as a vision quest. She now lives in Colorado with her sweetie and continues to share her wisdom with coaches around the world Fran, thank you so much for being on the coaching studio.
Fran Fisher Thank you Lyssa.
Lyssa deHart Uh, glad you’re here.
Fran Fisher Thank you. I’m delighted to be here. Thanks for the invitation.
Lyssa deHart Absolutely welcome. Well, I would love to start with, you know, I mean you’re a founding member of ICF. So I know you’ve been a coach for a while, but what led to your journey into coaching?
Fran Fisher Well, that’s actually an epic story. How many lifetimes shall I go back for the beginning? So fast forward to 1989. I was in circumstances that really reduced me to um a breakdown in my workaholic pattern. Okay. Workaholism. And I called it my final fry up.
Lyssa deHart I love that.
Fran Fisher Yeah, yeah. You know, I’ve been trying to, heal that addiction for many, many years in many ways, this was the final fry out. And it took me, excuse me, um, to the Oregon coast walking the beach for a week. And um, I started, um, I started with realizing, swallowing that bitter pill of truth, that I had brought this on myself. I couldn’t blame anyone um else I had employers who would pat me on the head and say, I know I hear you that one person can’t do this job, but I was the fool, Lyssa, I just kept doing it and then blaming them for letting me run my racket, you know. So I walked that beach and I swallowed that bitter pill of I’ve done this to myself. I’ve ruined my health, my relationships, my career. And so then I started drawing on the two decades of personal growth work that I had done in the 70s and the 80s, every book, every tape, every personal growth transformational, you name it. I was the transformational personal growth junkie. So I started drawing on that and the bottom line was that every wisdom speaker, every guru said, you have to put yourself in the center of your life. You have to do that. And I hadn’t had the courage to take that leap of faith, up until then. So I took inventory of my strengths, my values, and what I saw was that everyone else was benefiting from my demonstration of those, except me. I was leaving myself out of the equation. So I went back into the toxic dysfunctional environment where I was working, and without, with no backup plan whatsoever, I gave notice to my employer. I gave notice to my second husband. I had jumped into that too fast and I hadn’t been taking responsibility for it, it was time to clean up my life. And so I started taking action and miracles started happening.
Lyssa deHart I love your energy.
Fran Fisher So in these intervening years that I have been coaching, I’ve been there, I’ve done that, I have taken the leap of faith. And um I facilitate people and discovering the essence of who they are and claiming it and owning it and taking a stand for it and taking those risks.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, it really sounds… I’m sorry. It really sounds like it comes though out of that personal journey and I really appreciate, you know that the the courage in what I’m hearing is that self-ownership, it’s not them that is doing this to me, it’s me who’s allowing it. And I really appreciate that that perspective, you know, coming forth, how did that lead into coaching?
Fran Fisher How it led to coaching was that I ended up in the SAn Francisco Bay area and um I had fried out and I wasn’t working, I was on unemployment and it freed me up to just look around for my healing process. It took it took a full year of unraveling a lot of mental addictive patterns without going in. I mean, that’s that that whole story is a book, you know. Uh so so here I am, and I’m looking around for what’s next networking and uh actually, you know what Lyssa I’m going to share something really vulnerable and transparent here because I think this would be a contribution to share today. What what happened over that ensued at first year was that um I was noticing what I was noticing. To see what, what was next and then I got sick. And I was really ill for about three months and I had flu symptoms and I couldn’t seem to get over it. So there I was laying on the Sofa one day and I was reading a book, personal growth book, and I I put it down on my chest like this. My eyes were closed and I said, okay, Lord show me. I’ve been doing my work. I don’t know what else to do. I want a healing here. Not just these flu symptoms but this healing from these, you know, addictive patterns. My eyes were closed and I could tell that and I was alone in the house. The whole room lit up. It was like it was flooded with light.
Lyssa deHart Wow.
Fran Fisher And I opened my eyes and across the room was a being of light shaped like a human being but very tall, very slender and just exuding light. I wasn’t afraid. And then this being of light, I call it, step toward me and held out a magnificently wrapped gift. It was beautiful foil, colorful paper and ribbon and you know reach for me to receive it. And then a voice spoke filled the room kind of like an empty theater. You know how it kind of reverberates in the and the voice said Francis, that has to be either God or my mother. Nobody gets
Lyssa deHart hahaha
Fran Fisher This is serious “Attention Francis. I have already given you the gift. There is nothing you need to do to earn it. ” You see workaholism is my identity is valued by what I do not who I am being…
Lyssa deHart Right,
Fran Fisher Okay. And um as soon as those words were spoken, there was a wave of energy Lyssa from the top of my head, all the way through my body out my feet. And I had a knowing in that moment the being of light was gone. I had a knowing that I finally got this in my bones, this being doing distinction. Because I it was never safe to BE me, starting with my my family of origin. It wasn’t sick. So I shut down. Mhm. And do do do in order to get you know, the paycheck, the feedback, the accolade, you know, all the goodies. Except that it cost me so much. I got up from that sofa completely free of all those symptoms, the nausea, the aching muscles. Gone. Now this does lead to coaching. Okay. Um very shortly after I got up from the sofa, I remembered a woman who I had met networking. She was a hypnotherapist and I made a mental note that I’d like to become friends and reach out to her. So I invited her to lunch. We sat over lunch and she, she found out that I knew a whole lot about marketing. She had a part-time job that she hated. And she asked me if I would help her design a marketing plan for her business. But she said I can’t afford to pay you, that’s the problem. You know, And I said it works for me. We bartered hypnotherapy sessions, for my healing and she came to my house and I started literally channeling my transformational process on that beach. Who are you? What are your values? What are your core strengths? What is the essence of who you are? That’s your “I am” to claim and and um and then to design your life so that you’re living true to the essence of who you are in every aspect, every expression,
Lyssa deHart You know, as you’re talking Fran one of the things I’m kind of struck by their several questions that I really want to ask you right now. I think one of the things that I hear a lot when I’m working with new coaches is that the tension between showing up authentically and also because you’re a PCC and MCC assessor showing up where they can also demonstrate their capacity to utilize these core competencies. How do you navigate that tension between authentically being there and yet sometimes our authentic self is still stuck in maybe the telling and the doing and the helping versus “the being? ” I don’t know, I mean, so there’s a question in there. I’m uh there is a question in there.
Fran Fisher There’s a question in there definitely because I have those conversations all um consistently with those I mentor. Consistently that so it’s an unraveling of our ego attachments and identities. This really requires a lot of letting go and trusting who I’m being a deeper trust and who I uh I choose to be. And one of the tools that’s been very successful that I’ve offered Mentees is that when you prepare for a coaching session, choose your five qualities of being. Who do you want to be being? I offer this to my executive clients too, they’re going into doing a presentation and they’re all up in the head about what are the right words, how do I present this following the powerpoint that’s here. You know, just dropping down, trusting and so, and I’m looking over here because I have my five qualities posted right here, you know, Who do I choose to be? And so maybe curiosity because it’s related to the skills right that we’re working with, you know, being curious rather than being the expert, you know? Um what is so curiosity um fully present, um what would be some other qualities?
Lyssa deHart Uh you know, I mean, I think curiosity, full presence I think are like probably sum up all of the other qualities, you know, really being attuned and listening deeply and actively to the person that you’re working with. And I’m really struck because I think that what what I also I’m hearing is the distinction between our authentic self and our ego state.
Fran Fisher Yes.
Lyssa deHart It’s almost like the one is the being and the other is the doing right? So like our authentic self is our being, our ego status are doing and and a lot of coaches come into coaching, at least from my experience because they really like helping people? And that helper piece is really if I’m hearing you correctly, that helper pieces, the part that’s really attached to that ego state?
Fran Fisher That’s attached, you know, it’s yeah, that state is attached to um yeah, you’ve just triggered another piece that is so important and that’s to understand the empowerment paradigm, such that what I want is not for myself, but for this person. I call it, calling forth greatness. You know, uh the greatness in that client, um what would you rather have um for your ultimate fulfillment? And and this is another bit of a story I think to uh to illustrate this. Is that when I was in school um elementary, high school, I was valedictorian four-point I had a lot of the students coming to me for help with their when I got to coaching and I learned this paradigm which really resonated very deeply philosophically, but I connected with it like, yes, this is it. Then I looked back and realized I was feeding my ego because I had the answers. [Yeah] and this journey in coaching, going A CCP CC and on to MCC and beyond is about feeding our soul.
Lyssa deHart Yeah.
Fran Fisher That going for that level of fulfillment and I can’t feed my soul if I’m attached to being right to being in charge to being the expert and I tell you, I I wrestle with this myself because I’m a storyteller. Can you tell?
Lyssa deHart Can you tell?
Fran Fisher I love telling my stories and I have all these miracle stories uh, to fill books of clients, taking this leap of faith and letting go of those attachments and free-falling in the trust himself, but we have to know who self really is at core. And that that helps. And that’s the, that’s the essence of my work. I start there, start with who are you? What is your “I am” and how do you live true to that in every expression of your life?
Lyssa deHart Yeah. You know, and that’s just, I think it’s just so, it’s interesting. Um, I, one of my very favorite books is a book by Michael Singer, the Untethered Soul.
Fran Fisher Oh, yes.
Lyssa deHart I t’s that question, right? Like who are you? Right? Like that’s the most fundamental question we can be asked or even asked of ourselves like, who am I? And am I the the I that’s right here? Am I the I that’s on this camera? Am I the Lyssa deHart? Because if I if I’m Lyssa deHart, who was I when I wasn’t Lyssa deHart? Who was I when I was before that right? Like who was I when I was five? If I am, you know, and it’s just like, it’s such an interesting inquiry into who we are and again, that authenticity of our who were being is so crucial because the expertise that many of us are driven to get to. I mean, I know you’re I’m like listening to you tell your story and I’m thinking of just how much expertise everybody myself included are told we’re supposed to have, so that we can be of service to others. And it’s really in this space of not knowing.
Fran Fisher Yes.
Lyssa deHart Right? In that space, curiosity that we can actually show up with another human being so fully. Yeah, I really appreciate your transparency and candor in sharing this because I think this is a piece that’s really the hardest part for people moving from, you know, PCC to MCC or from expert, you know, from a transactional analysis perspective, right? You’ve got expert, maybe novice or parent/child and it’s the switching where we become the novice to our clients expertise.
Fran Fisher I like that.
Lyssa deHart How, how you’re when you’re observing coaches, because I know you do a lot of that, how do you notice that they’re there at that capacity of letting go?
Fran Fisher Well, they start demonstrating it in in their coaching, you know, they’re they’re making that shift to, um, asking a curious question, a deepening question, one that have that evokes awareness for the client instead of the previous pattern, which is uh, reflecting reflecting the summarizing what they just heard. It just keeps the conversation on this uh flat. you know, it just keeps it flat, you know, and so when they start doing more of that in their practice, of course we’re celebrating and they’re beginning to feel. They’re noticing what happens with the client. And then it becomes like so much easier to stay in that mode. Because of the benefit to the clients are starting to show up. Like I said, here’s an example. So in the past, all we ever did was we might ask the client, what are you, what are you learning? We might ask that question or notice they have an insight. Mm I’m suggesting I call this mining for gold. I’m suggesting you don’t stop there because we used to go straight to action them, right? We used to go straight to action. So now I invite, I suggest, I encourage that we ask again. So what’s what’s bubbling up underneath that noticing you’re having right now? What’s there? Well, why should I ask that? They just told me. “No”. Because how many times have you been the coach e and you’re aware there’s stuff going on down here and it never gets any light.
Lyssa deHart Right?
Fran Fisher It doesn’t get because you’re not asked
Lyssa deHart or even or even if you say it like for instance, I mean, I think of it as trees falling in a forest, right? And if you a tree falls in a forest and nobody’s there to hear, did it really make a sound? And it’s often times I think the clients actually say it but the coach doesn’t hear it.
Fran Fisher Well that too.
Lyssa deHart So it just sort of bounces out of the conversation and it’s lost to the client’s capacity to anchor that awareness for themselves, and, and so, yeah, like, and we know, like we have all the models, right? Like the iceberg theory, right? Like we know that actions and results are the only things you can see. but it’s all the stuff below the water line that is where the real change needs to happen. So this delving below, and what’s below that, and what’s below that that I’m saying is so… It fits with what we all know yet that capacity to be the coach who can actually be in that space with another person.
Fran Fisher And what comes to mind, Lyssa is silence, you know, and just be silent and, you know, there’s give them a chance to notice. Is there something else there? Um, my, my coach does that for me and I just keep going because, but if I hadn’t been asked or if I hadn’t had the space, we would’ve, you know, moved on and that wouldn’t have come to light for me for us both.
Lyssa deHart Having that reflective voice or that, um, that that partnership right to, to really do that exploration, you know, and I think there’s something that you said earlier that I want to kind of go back to, because you said, you know, ACC, PCC, MCC and beyond, and I think that’s really crucial also, which is MCC isn’t an end goal. So how do you, how do you see your own MCC journey?
Fran Fisher Oh well this is exciting to share and I haven’t shared this with too many because it’s it’s new. It’s coming up right now. I’m actually developing a I’m not going to call it beyond MCC but that’s what it is. I I was already beginning to be aware of these next levels of, well here’s here’s an example. We’ve been mastering being present with the client, right? This next level is mastering the art of presence of being presence, not just in coaching but in life like who do this soul’s journey moving beyond getting the certificate. continuing that soulful growth journey of who I choose to be as a human being. that’s where I’m going and I’m developing that course right now.
Lyssa deHart How do you do that for yourself? Because I mean developing the course implies that this is work that you’ve been doing?
Fran Fisher I am stretching myself.
Lyssa deHart Yeah.
Fran Fisher I mean I I have this voice that says who do you think you are? You know, you don’t even know how you’re gonna do this yet but but and it’s and it’s it’s it’s wanting to be birthed. yeah. So how I’m doing that is trusting and allowing this to emerge. Mhm.
Lyssa deHart Yeah and I and that’s just beautiful because I think that just really sums it up, right? Like how do we trust in the in our capacity to be fully present with other people and with ourselves? You know when you say presencing and I’m thinking of Theory U
Fran Fisher Oh yes, exactly,
Lyssa deHart it really speaks to what you were talking about before also, which is oftentimes we can see the pattern or the habit, but we instantly want to go to the performance piece, right, but until we go down into that you and really explore how we’re being and present with through that head heart, you know, body experience. How we’re being. Um Yeah, it’s so cool, thank you for sharing that. I really, I love that. What do you think is like something that that new coaches really would benefit from hearing from you?
Fran Fisher New Coaches?
Lyssa deHart you know, that are just coming out of school or maybe you’ve been coaching for a couple of years,
Fran Fisher Uh patients with their process, their learning. Um it’s uh so often at that stage of the the unconscious competence, our unconscious incompetence. You know, they’re coming in and now they’re starting to become more aware of what needs to be, you know, mastered and developed. And it’s uncomfortable. It can be so, and and I deal with that with mentoring PCC to MCC as well because there’s so much unlearning to do and new and the practicing can be one step forward two steps back. you know, and it can be so discouraging and uh can trigger the the inner critic and you know, so just be gentle with yourself in this process. And recognizing it’s a, it’s a learning journey and be patient with yourself and sometimes it it takes longer. You know, there’s there’s a goal right to you know get get the whatever you know get the certificate, you know. And uh I I just love it when my MCC potential clients come to me and they say okay I want I want to um apply for my MCC by the end of this year and I just get this [intake breath] you know like oh and I have gotten to the point where I have actually told some of my prospects or new, you know that like it has to happen in this certain amount of time. I said I don’t I don’t take on clients who have set that kind of immediate deadline for themselves. This is a process and it’s going to take what it takes. And I see them relax into it and let go. You know what if I have to renew my PCC fine Hallelujah.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, it takes so much pressure off when you do this choice. And I think it’s so that’s such an important point too. Which is when you put that kind of pressure on yourself like I must get it done by this. Frankly I did that to myself. Um it does it keeps you in that place of performance versus being present. I think that the caveat for me was that I had a deadline that I wanted to apply by but I didn’t have a sense that I would pass right? So I wasn’t attached to the passing piece, I was attached to the
Fran Fisher That’s another thing, Let it be part of the process.
Lyssa deHart And then as I needed longer I had longer, I wasn’t giving myself a timeline. You know, I’m share
Fran Fisher And you would take, the feedback is value.
Lyssa deHart Absolutely. Absolutely. And you like you mind it, you mind it for the resource that it is where you’re getting hooked or where you’re not showing up in presence or partnership or any of the things that happened. So I’m going to share just a little bit of a speaking of transparency story. Um uh that involves you. Um I had just gotten my MCC. On Wednesday and I go and I’m in a um coaching demonstration on Saturday in a fishbowl and you are one of the mentor coaches who’s giving feedback on this coaching demonstration that I’m doing. And I think it was myself and there was another coach there. Um but, but I remember getting so overwhelmed in the coaching conversation with the client who volunteered to be the client and I got completely stuck. Now I had gotten my MCC. But I had this um I just sort of froze in that conversation with all those eyes around me. It was so funny afterwards Fran, I don’t know if you remember this, but I said that was really hard. I got really stuck and you said to me, everybody everybody um what did you what was the language that you used? Everybody has a big, you didn’t use this language, but like they shagged up completely mess it up sometimes. I was like, what? Wait, did I fail? Wait a minute. What happened? And I just remember laughing so hard when you said that to me, because it reminded me not to take any of this stuff too, seriously you know?
Fran Fisher And well, I don’t remember that Lissa because I don’t like to hear that I normalized for you.
Lyssa deHart It was really important for me because I think there is this thing that gets attached to this idea of MCC and not seeing it as a mile marker, but as some sort of end goal. And and for me, it was a really huge reminder that the MCC is a certification, It’s a great certification and it shows something. And boy do you need to, there’s a lot of that internal self journey that happens in order to.
Fran Fisher Absolutely, that’s what it is.
Lyssa deHart We’re still just students of a practice,
Fran Fisher you know? I reminded Lyssa of when I was uh ballroom dancing and taking lessons and I saw this track, now I couldn’t afford to go on it, so I never did. but I saw this track of competing, of working with, you know, um uh instructors and competing. Because it was a track to run on for the learning process. The continual uh learning and skill-building. Yeah, you know, and and the whole time, I I, what fantasized about doing that until I found out what it costs for all those gowns and lessons. Everything travel that was not not not happening. But the fact that it was a a track to run on for the skill development that I wanted for myself to continue that continuous improvement. And I think of that quite often with my mentees, you know that going for the certificate. And I don’t work with anyone who just wants the certificate. They’ve got to have a motivation for their personal growth. Or I actually don’t take them on his clients. It’s just not enough of a motivation you know to actually get you through what it takes. It’s not
Lyssa deHart It’s a piece of paper. I mean that’s all it is. It’s a piece of paper. It’s the work that goes underneath that piece of paper. That’s what’s important if I’m hearing you correctly. And at that point the piece of paper doesn’t really matter. It just becomes, it just becomes something that just is an indicator a mile marker on a journey. Um What so I know that you started to allude to what you’re working on and what you’re doing in the world. Um What when people come to see you, what things are you up to in the world?
Fran Fisher Well I’m actually now, you mentioned my sweetie, and I have a whole new lifestyle and I’m wanting to reallocate my life-work-life balance and you have more time for our travel. Our weekend road trips and more time in my day for living with a life partner. And uh, so yeah, I’m slowing down and having more life and travel and fun and yeah.
Lyssa deHart That is so wonderful.
Fran Fisher Thank you.
Lyssa deHart Yeah.
Fran Fisher Yeah. Thank you.
Lyssa deHart Well, I will be putting links in the below the, the podcast and people can come and find you. but I will say how honored I am that you came on the podcast and thank you so much for being in the Coaching Studio.
Fran Fisher Thank you. Thank you. What a pleasure. And uh, I love sharing my story. So that was fun.
Lyssa deHart And you’re very good at it also.

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Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC

Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC


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 , and The Reflective Coach. Lyssa 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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