Season 1 | episode 2

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!

Welcome Marcia Reynold, Psy.D., MCC to the Coaching Studio

the Coaching Studio Guest

Welcoming Marcia Reynolds, Psy.D., MCC to the Coaching Studio.


  • 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 the Coaching Studio Podcast interview with Marcia Reynolds:

Lyssa Welcome to the coaching studio today I have such a pleasure to introduce my guest today, Dr. Marcia Reynolds. She is a Master Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation. Marcia has provided coaching and training in 43 countries. It is on the faculty of several coaching schools in the U. S. China Russia and the Philippines. Marshall holds a doctorate in organizational psychology and two master’s degrees in learning Psychology and communications. Her personal clients include leaders in multinational corporations, nonprofit organizations as well as organizations, government agencies. And she was also the fifth president of the International Coach Federation and was recently inducted into the I. C. F. International Coach Federation circle of distinction for her contributions to the global coaching community. And there are many of the excerpts from many of her books to include Outsmart your Brain, The Discomfort Zone, and Wonder Woman, which have appeared in business and psychology publications worldwide. And her latest bestseller, Coach the Person Not the Problem, is a guide for using reflective inquiry, which was released in June of 2020 to rave reviews by coaches and organizational leaders. In fact, I want to read one of those really quickly around, Coach the Person Not the Problem. “Anyone who can strip away the mystery of coaching and show it as an everyday way of connecting with other humans is a hero in my books. Marcia Reynolds is that person you should read coach the person, not the problem. So you can change people’s lives. ” And that is by Michel Barnier Stainer, the author of the Coaching Habit. So Marsha, thank you so much for being on the show and welcome welcome.
Marcia Thank you for asking.
Lyssa Well as you know, this is really going to be a bit of an informal get to know you as a person and I have several different questions that I have and then we’ll see what questions just sort of naturally bubble to the surface is where we’re talking. But I would love to hear what brought you into coaching. Like how did what was this journey you took into coaching?

Well, you know, I mean there’s the personal, of course, that brought me even to the place of the professional, but I’ll talk about the professional, but it’s interesting. My first Master’s degree was actually broadcasting. And so I ended up pushing around televisions in a psychiatric hospital, but it was for a training department and my boss decided to get her doctorate and she had fired the only trainer. So she said, well you’ve got it. And she dumped the entire department in my lap. Yeah, right. And my first assignment was management training to all these, you know, therapists, that’s nothing new, everything about behavior. And uh so I learned right away. I don’t have to be the expert that I’m just going to facilitate the conversation. Um you know, I had a training program to use, um but I still knew that I liked it and I needed to know what I was doing. So that’s why I have two masters. My second master’s is in adult learning instructional design and how do we really change people’s behavior? So that’s what got me interested in what really creates behavioral change.

And uh so I’m telling you a story that happened started in 1981. So it was a long time ago and I went on this quest and I go to workshops and I apply what I learned and I always was looking for what makes it stick. Um but I was looking from a training perspective, I now know training is just an event um that hopefully will inspire people to try. They don’t really learn until they try. You know, we’re coaching is a process, but I kept trying and people love my classes, they give me the happy faces on the evaluation forms and say I changed their life and then, you know, within a month they go back to the old behavior, right?

So yeah, and so when I was leaving my last job to start my own business, which I thought was just going to be a training business, Um somebody sent me this article on this new thing called coaching. That was 1995, and I’m the type of person that says, okay, it came to me, it must be important, I’ll sign up and I’ve been doing that all my life. And so I signed up for a coaching school, which so happened, you know, his coach, you and Thomas Leonard, you started the ICF. It’s why I got involved from the beginning.

Um But again, because of my curiosity, I’m a researcher, I’m a behavioral researcher. Um, what makes coaching work? So I started doing research on that. It was just at the time emotional intelligence and the Neurosciences were coming out. I got really interested, was doing reading and said and then I said I need original research. So that’s why I went to get my doctrine. So it’s all about my curiosity and my uh that scientific yearning to know and then I translate what I learned into my books, you know, it’s what I learned and I want to share. Um, So it was all about that I want to know more about what really makes a difference and what I learned about how coaching impacts the brain differently than teaching and telling and mentoring and giving advice that it actually the insight process, the aha moment. What we call breakthroughs actually rewire the brain. And who I think I am and how I see the world changes and so then does their behavior and the behavior changes permanent, you know, they don’t go backward. So I found it, I found what I’ve been looking for and that’s why I’m so passionate about coaching.

Lyssa Yeah. You know the thing that really shows up for me is you’re saying that is I think about just how would we do we support the client embody their own wisdom, right? It goes from theory into that felt experience. It’s beautiful.
Marcia Yeah. Yeah, and it is a felt experience. You know, I was teaching a class this morning, and uh and it’s a large company and these are all the uh hR business partners and learning development people. So they’re kind of struggling not being the advisers and moving into coaching. And this one woman said, um I’m amazed, I’ve been watching this coach people coach now and The client, the person who’s talking talks about 80 90%. Uh and they come to this amazing place that they probably wouldn’t have come to if, you know if we just gave him advice and it’s an incredible thing to observe. Yeah. And I said, yeah, absolutely. And that we have to trust that even when we think in the greatest coaching fear is I’m not adding value if all I’m doing is reflecting and asking questions, how am I adding value? Oh, you are you’re changing this person’s mind in their life in a way, just telling them doesn’t work because it works on a different part of the brain.
Lyssa Yeah. Yeah. I love that. And you know, it’s interesting too because that “I’m not adding value” seems to be the pressure to perform coaching versus really just showing up and being in that state of open curiosity right? With the intention of holding that container of a coaching conversation. But that info, that intention of just being fully present with another human being.
Marcia Well, it’s a weaving.
Lyssa Yeah.

It’s a weaving. And um you know, I’m creating this new program right now uh for WBECs and it’s called from Proficiency to Profound. Um because we do start with being proficient with the skill. Um, you have to do that, otherwise, you’ll go back to old behavior or you’ll just have this really delightful conversation. But there’s no beginning in the ending, there’s no uh set direction and there’s no commitment to change. So the structure is there when you said the container, but the container is very specific.

You know, it’s like really determining what is it you really want, what’s the outcome and that could take up the whole session, you know, and then what are you going to do next? I mean there are very specific things that must be said, but then the spontaneous flow that comes out of our presence together, what emerges in the energy between us is what we talk about. But it’s so interesting because I see so many coaches either get lost in the proficiency of the skill or they get lost in the spontaneous flow and they forget to close the session.

Lyssa Yes, there’s a balancing between,
Marcia Yes, you know, so you have to know the skills, get it in your bones but learn to integrate right away. Um, that in that mindset they embody, the coaching mindset that the ICF is now identified as competency
Lyssa which I have to say I’m so happy…
Marcia a long time coming.
Lyssa Oh my gosh so important, so important. Um You know I I feel like I’m really hearing a lot about what keeps your passion for coaching alive. I’m curious how do you feel like you’ve changed as a human being yourself as a result of this relationship with coaching that you’ve had?
Marcia Yeah. Well, I have to say that that once I started learning how to coach all my friends said you know it’s so much easier to be with you now. Because I was a no at all. I grew up as a know-it-all. I’m still a know-it-all, but you know I know how to back off that now. Um So certainly my own conversations are different but even understanding bringing that compassionate curiosity and the power of silence.
Lyssa Yeah.
Marcia And understanding that I’m making a difference in a powerful impact in the world by being a coach, how lucky, am I, to have found this? You know, I’ve always wanted to make a difference but not knowing the great ability of what we can do together as a coaching community, you know, to not just make a difference in the world, but in social causes to make a difference on our planet, you know?
Lyssa Yeah, and that’s the work of a lifetime, but it’s also the work of purpose, right?
Marcia Absolutely. Why are you here? You know, the coaches that come in because they think it’s a way of making money and they don’t have to work so hard, They don’t last.
Lyssa Yeah, well, that really brings me to a question that I’m really curious about because there’s a lot, everybody these days can call themselves a coach. And so one of my curiosity is with you is what is the biggest misconception about coaching that you see maybe from that kind of 30, 000 ft view that you have?

Well, you know, there are still people that don’t know the difference between coaching and mentoring and ah sports coaching. And um yeah, more than we’d like to say. You know that’s still when we create an agreement with someone uh to coach them, that we have to get really clear with them, this is how I coach, this is what I do, so we don’t come to the session and they have an expectation that I’m going to give them a list of books to read and resources and tell them what they need to do next.

So um that definition and distinction of coaching is still not widespread. um and then I was in my book, The Discomfort Zone, I had like the five myths of coaching that leaders like to use. And they’re not really myths, their excuses, you know. With the number one being, I don’t have time. Yeah, it’s like, okay, yeah, this there was another guy this morning in the class and he was like, I’m so amazed that when I actually do coaching it takes so much less time. And uh it’s, and I always say, okay, so what you’re telling me is that um you don’t have time to have a conversation, you just want to tell them what to do. And so when they come back to you during the day, a number of times and during the week you have time to stop every time and tell them what to do. Or could it be that if you coach them and they could go figure it out themselves, they quit coming to you, which saves you more time? You know? So it’s just it’s a, can I say it’s a myth of convenience. Um Oh, I have to learn this coaching thing.

Lyssa Yeah. Yeah, I agree with you. I mean I hear that also like it’s just, it’s this idea of a stitch in time saves nine, right? Like if I just tell you really quickly what you need to do, then you can just go do it and we’ll have saved a bunch of time. But the reality is you’re doing exactly what you’re talking about, right? You’re creating this reliance on you as the expert to solve the problem each time. So you’re constantly going to be like, oh, attention away. Oh, attention away, because they’re like, help me, help me.
Marcia Yeah. Well, you know, and this one woman today we were going through you know what are your insights and learning coaching? She says oh I feel so much lighter. It’s such a burden, relieved, you know taking off my shoulders that I don’t have to know all the answers.
Lyssa You’re like thank goodness.
Marcia Absolutely, absolutely. But also um the other thing that that I often talk to with leaders, I’ll step back and say so let’s define leadership, let’s define leadership and what is the ideal leadership role for you? Because leadership really isn’t telling people what to do. And the higher they go up the more they need to help people think for themselves. And so when we get into who am I as the leader, you know they start to understand that quickly telling people what to do doesn’t really fit in with who they want to be.
Lyssa Yeah.
Marcia So it’s a really powerful conversation
Lyssa And it’s definitely tension for people that letting go of that perception of control, right? In order to allow other people to have the space to emerge also so that we can also put our energy where it’s going to be best served in our own evolution.
Marcia Right. And it’s like they’re not going to lose respect for you, that you didn’t give them the answer. They have more respect for you because you trusted them.
Lyssa Yeah. And you think about like what does it take for people to have that sense of mastery themselves? And this is a big part of it, right? Is that we have a person, a supervisor, whoever we’re working for, who trusts us to maybe make a mistake, but also maybe come up with something brilliant as a result that we feel that safety to explore.
Marcia Yes, absolutely.
Lyssa It’s really something that shows up in coaching is when I am observing coaching. which is this idea of trust and safety, like what creates that, and often we’re communicating our distrust. And creating, I’m not sure this is an actual word, but dis-safety um right. For the people when we’re communicating with them that I need to control it all I need to know I need to handle, I need to make sure you’re doing it right, we really communicate maybe the opposite of our intention.

Mhm. Well, yeah, two things, one that tends to push people away um to, you know, the essence of coaching has to be that I believe you are fully functional human. You know, there’s a part of our coaching definition that we are in a partnership conversation, creative uh with someone who’s creative, resourceful, and whole. Um, they’re fully functional and capable and we have to show that, you know, I’m working in this new program I’m developing, I actually have hired, I call him my guru because he’s not really a mentor. We get together and we have a dialogue for an hour and a half. He wrote a book on collective wisdom and I’m like, I want to create collective wisdom for coaches. And you know, that’s the new program, the essence of it. And so we go deep into this um conversation and ah you know, the whole, the energy between us that’s so powerful part of that is they know when we believe in them. And they know when we don’t.

But he also said, you know, he gave me an analogy, he said, when you teach a child to ride a bike, you know, they can ride it, you see it, you know, they can ride this bike. Now, they don’t know it to start off with, and at the beginning, they may not even be able to do it for a few days a week, they may get scared and quit and come back to it. Um and then they keep trying, they fall down, they get back up. But eventually, they ride the bike, but all along you have the vision, you knew, you knew they could ride that bike. And we bring that energy to coaching. We know they can ride that bike and we hold that in the space between us uh in in in the whole conversation because they sense that they sense that, so even if they don’t we believe in them, even when they don’t believe in themselves,

Lyssa I think that’s beautiful, and I love that idea too because it’s that idea of that whole capable, resourceful, creative human being and we hold the space of possibility with them. Right, that’s beautiful.
Marcia Mhm.
Lyssa So I’m curious this conversation comes up often um around, for the coaches that I speak to, you know, like how do you what do you do when you can’t put a bow on a conversation? Right? Like I think that maybe goes back to a bit of that performance piece that coaches often come with. How do you put a bow, if you can’t put a bow on the conversation and that you’re left with this sort of big topic at the end of a coaching conversation? What are some ways that you conceptualize that with your clients when something like that happens?
Marcia Okay, um first off coaching session doesn’t have to have a happy ending, you know, and I think that’s also a big myth. Um Mhm. Uh, that’s also what I talk about in the Discomfort Zone, that uh you know, they may be really upset at the end of the conversation because they are not upset at you or anyone, they’re upset with themselves. Because they now see how they’re getting in their own way and what they have done. That the impact has been very detrimental to their own goals um as well as relationships and uh and the impact on other people. But the idea that they will say I truly have to think about that, that’s still an ending. That I always say. So tell me what thinking about that looks like, you know, and when will you make the space for that? When are you going to do it? I always ask for a step, even if it’s a reflection. And when and my clients, they know they often smile as soon as they stay state what they’re going to do. They know I’m going to ask them: What are you gonna do it? They’re like, okay, here it comes. But you know that’s when I said that they’re structure coaching. Yes. What are you going to do by when um could anything get in the way of you doing that? So you say you’re going to spend a little bit of time tomorrow afternoon really thinking about this, but could anything get in the way? Oh yeah, we may have this big meeting. So what’s plan B? And is there any other support you might need? Um you know, any other resources, anybody else that you might talk to? I don’t offer myself. Uh-huh.
Lyssa Right.
Marcia And even if they say, oh could you send me an email, I’ll say why don’t you put a little reminder on your phone?
Lyssa Yeah, where are your post-it notes? I like that. I think that you know, how are you going to be accountable to yourself because at the end of the day it’s their goal?
Marcia Right, right. And they know, unfortunately, I’m busy from a very early time because I do work around the world, so I’m starting like 5: 00 AM and this past month I had many evening sessions till nine at night um uh you know in Asia with Asian clients and in the morning with European clients and um I do I am able to carve out a little time in the day for myself to exercise, maybe take a nap. Um but honestly it’s I shouldn’t be the one that’s doing the work for them.
Lyssa Yeah. Which then brings me to how do you take care of yourself, like what do you do to embody that coaching mindset and have that practice that leaves you available to be there fully?
Marcia Um you know, and how things happen in our life, That seems bad turn out to be good. So I had a very risky liver disease for years, it’s now cured. Um, but I had it for many years and they wanted to put me on this horrible like chemotherapy and I’m like no, I will take care of myself into the two-year period because… I know you will, I know you will, I know you’re gonna ride that bike, you know?
Lyssa Visioning it.
Marcia Yeah, yeah. Which they did you better took a while um But I because I didn’t want to do. That was going to impact, I wouldn’t be able to do my work. So I put myself on an extremely strict diet um and uh of both food and exercise And even then after 20 years, you know, and I was cured, it’s like why would I change that? So I exercise every day, Saturday is a yoga day. And so it’s not that intense, but my diet is very clean. Um, I haven’t eaten sugar in over 20 years. It makes it now. Uh, I’m allergic to it, my body won’t accept it. I haven’t eaten gluten in 20 years. Um You know, so it’s it’s a very clean diet and um how many my blood counts? They’re always like, you know, I’m 65 they’re like, you know, people in the thirties don’t have what you have, you know? So I think I get. I don’t, it, I don’t require ton asleep. Um But I think that’s because what I do maintains my energy. My energy now. I walk every day and I live a block away from the trailhead. Um, I live in Arizona. I’m a desert girl. I was born here. I love to hike when it gets too hot. You know, I may go up North, But I’ll get, I’ll start at four or 5: 00 AM. I’ll go outside. Um, It’s actually beautiful, beautiful that time of day. As long as I watch out for rattlesnakes. Okay.
Lyssa Those are important to watch out for when you’re in the desert, and in the southwest, because they are definitely a real thing there.
Marcia Oh yes. I saw one just a couple of weeks ago posted on Facebook.
Lyssa And so it’s so interesting. Um, I lived in New Mexico for many, many years and you know, have a really similar experience. But going hiking and listening and hearing that, you know the rattlesnake sound, it’s like, okay, thank you for the notification. Just make sure I give you lots of lots of space and respect.
Marcia Um Right,
Lyssa So what are you up to today? Like I mean I hear that you have this program coming and you’re working with WBECs so what would you like to share with us about where you’re at right now and what you’re playing around with?

Um, yes, that was interesting because I was talking to my guru mentor yesterday. Um, One of the things I recognized is we’re so deep into this uh the development of this program which is I see it as advanced coaching. You know because I do a lot of mastery coaching and but I also worked for coaching schools where we have a lot of entry-level and I teach coaching skills for companies. Um whether it’s a full certification program or a two-day workshop for the leaders. I’m working with them to change their cultures. I love that.

But I said to him I have to really really be careful and you know like we coach by coaching where the person is right now. Um and then move forward. That it’s the same thing in training coaching, that I have to remember where they are right now, and if I try to take him out into outer space too soon, it’s like why are we doing this? We don’t get it? Um So you know, I have to really look at now and culturally, culturally, so when I start talking about collective space and all of that here in the U. S. Is kind of like weird. We’re in China, they’re like, oh YAY! They love it because there they are, you know, a collective society. And so um it’s every class I have to look at who is it, who is it that I’m working with? And adapt it. And I love that. So I really feel like I love code training coaches and that I uh my training is I think very special. You know, it’s not just “rote” do this. Um, A lot of truly understanding who we are in this moment, even when it’s focused on skills. So I’m always, I’m still a trainer, instructional designer by heart. I love that. Um So yes, I have clients. Um uh but only I like, you know, the new executives, the young executives, you know, they’re eager, they want to do this, but they’re stuck in being the expert and the one who knows and um so it’s really kind of fun to coach them. So I have a specific client that I work with. If I’m not training I have and please don’t ask me what my next book is. I hate that…

Lyssa I wasn’t,
Marcia You know, I always say could you just let the last one be around for at least a year.
Lyssa Not asking for the next book, you just finished one. (laughter)
Marcia Yeah. Yeah. Although Alan and I have talked about maybe we, you know, we need to create a collective wisdom for coaches book. I’m like, okay, we’ll think about that.
Lyssa Yeah, let’s sit with him for a little while. What is just in sort of in summary, you know, what is one thing that you think that all new or young coaches, maybe all coaches need to hear?

Well all the coaches that work for me work with me, they know, I always say they want you to be present more than they need you to be perfect. Mhm. Uh that whole intention of I can’t do anything wrong, I have to be a perfect coach takes away from the presence, and um I am so grateful.

My very first coaching class was taught by Thomas Leonard who started you know, Coach U, and the ICF. And um There was I don’t know, maybe 12 of us in the class and he said you have to go out and coach, that’s the only way you can learn coaching is to do it. We’re like this is our first class, how do we coach? We have no idea what we’re doing and he said just go love them. And I’ll never forget that because I still at that point it was still like I’m brand new, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but as I got into, you know the first couple of years I look at my testimonials and like I wasn’t coaching that well. But they were so happy because I gave them such a safe space to talk through their problems. And did they come out in a different place? They absolutely did.

Because I understood the power of caring, caring, being curious, giving them a safe space to talk. And with many of our clients, it may be the only time in their day where they feel like, I can be myself and it’s okay no matter what I bring, it’s okay. And that is so vital um, in our coaching that that comes first, they want you to be present more than they need you to be perfect.

Lyssa I think that’s beautiful. And with those words, I want to just say, thank you, thank you so much for being present today with me on this podcast and I really appreciate your time. I’ll be putting links below the video and, and people will be able to go to co visioning dot com. I’ll put an easy link there and I’ll put some links to your books also in there. Also for you. Thank you, Marsha. Thank you so much for being with me today. I really, really appreciate your time and your willingness to play.
Marcia Yeah. Thank you for your energy.

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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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