Season 1 | episode 6

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!

the Coaching Studio Guest

I am very excited to welcome Lauri Smith, 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

Here is the transcript of my interview with Lauri, for your reading pleasure:

Lyssa deHart Hello, Lyssa here, and welcome to the Coaching Studio. It is my absolute pleasure today to introduce to you, Lauri Smith. She’s somebody I met last year and I was really looking forward to having another conversation with her. So here we are, Lauri, let me introduce you real quickly. Lauri is an intuitive public speaking and leadership coach. She helps visionaries on a soul-driven mission, stand in their power, speak their truth, and to lead. Lauri is the CEO of Voice Matters and the author of Your Voice Matters: A Guide to Speaking Soulfully When It Counts. Her mission is to call forth more open-hearted leaders so they can do their part to change the world with authenticity, creativity, and courage. She envisions a world in which everyone shares the vibration of their soul’s purpose with the world through their voices. And together we reach global harmony. Lauri can always see the soul underneath the static, which makes her really good at motivating people to fight their inner demons and find tremendous inner power. She loves coffee, dark chocolate, and red wine, which is one of the reasons I like her so much and she’s incredibly picky about all three, which is another reason I like her so much. Lauri is busy living her carpe diem life in San Francisco, California with her soul mate. And I want to read just a real quick review of your book. Your Voice Matters: A Guide to Speaking Soulfully When It Counts. The review is: When you’re someone that is looking to discover your authentic voice and raise your presence in the world, Your Voice Matters, is a brilliant map to discovering the path to presence. Lauri Smith is a fantastic writer, who knows just how to offer practical wisdom and exercises that help the reader become acquainted with their authentic voice. This book has changed the way I show up and has turned, and has in turn allowed me to have a greater, more powerful impact in the world. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to become more intentional in who they are and what they do. Nice, welcome to the show Lauri, it’s lovely to have you here.
Lauri Smith Thank you. Thank you very much. It’s fun to be here.
Lyssa deHart Yeah. So the way that we start is, I’m really curious to hear, and for our listeners to hear, what has been your journey into coaching? I’m sure it did not, just like nobody’s just sort of born, plop, I’m a coach, but maybe some people are. I’ll be curious?
Lauri Smith

Mm, I came to coaching through teaching first. I have a background in theater, and I was teaching acting and voice at a community college, and at the end of class one day, a student about my age, a couple of years younger came up to me and said, you’re different than the other instructors, I think you might be a coach. And I had never heard of coaching at that point, and I could tell intuitively she wasn’t talking about basketball.

It was actually one of those moments when time almost seemed to slow down, and her face almost looked like it was in a fun mirror, and time was moving really slowly behind her and I got curious and I asked her more and um one of the things that she said coming from theatre, is theater people think it’s all a community.

And yet she said the other instructors are still more of the professor type. Their, their, her words were: more like up on a pedestal or up on the podium, professing their knowledge down, okay. And she said, your style intuitively, when you listen to it is to be kind of at our level, getting curious asking questions and it’s like you’re in it with us.

Uh and she said, when you follow your intuitive style, you look like you’re reading people’s minds. And the performances that you are drawing out of my classmates are the strongest ones, when however, you do not follow your intuitive style and you try to do it the way everybody has done it that you’ve worked with, um it’s really not working for you. And she told me about the Coaches Training Institute (CTI).

So, I immediately signed up for the first class and once I was there, for about 15 minutes actually, I remember about 15 minutes into that first class having this feeling that that was the final piece of the puzzle of what I was going to do in the world. Though, I could not have explained what that meant with any kind of left-brained awareness. It felt like I was coming home to something that fit, fit with theater, I didn’t know what I would do with it and then learned to coach, and had a favorite boss of mine, right before the coaching exam, I coached him because I wanted to make myself nervous before our, at least at that point CTI, The Coaches Training Institute, did their exams where you coached live, and when I was done, being the entrepreneur that he was, he gave me feedback. And it included feedback on the coaching and it also included, here’s some feedback for making this a business.

And he said, what’s your niche, what’s your thing, that you bring to it? And I didn’t know at first, and then he said, what about something with, you know, theater? And then I went for a walk with a friend, and that was when the, oh it’s bringing all of the gems from the theater, and voice for theater, and coaching together. And that was, I didn’t name it that for a while and that was when Voice Matters was born.

Lyssa deHart Yeah. You know, it’s interesting as you’re talking, I’m thinking about this idea of the empowered voice and really that journey that you were on towards your own empowered voice. How has coaching impacted you personally? This journey that you’ve been on?
Lauri Smith

Mm, I feel like, it’s been 13 years of a journey, and I feel like I have a life that is beyond what my wildest dreams were for the most part before I had ever discovered coaching. Um, I didn’t know what values were. Uh, I didn’t always know how to listen to my intuition. I was decent at listening to intuition as a teacher, and really being curious and listening to intuition expanded my coaching, my teaching. And it also helps me through having my own coach to listen and be following my intuition and unleashing my own creativity in my life.

Um, there was even a moment in an acting class, way before I ever discovered coaching, I don’t remember all of the details, but I feel like he asked me: like if you were your own alter ego, what kind of a life would you have?

And my life at that point was working as an executive assistant during the day in the Silicon Valley and doing theater at night and I was getting very tired. I think I was probably 30 or close to it at that point, and you can do that for a while, and then eventually you run out of energy. And I just kind of went, I don’t know, I think, you know, maybe I would be piecing together a life of you know, acting part of the time and maybe teaching part of the time, and kind of described the life that I now have, where I basically do only things that I want to do that bring me joy or challenge me to transform and grow everywhere in my life.

That’s this life that I intuitive, intuitively described as my alter ego, If my alter ego, we’re doing the scene, what would she be like? And in a lot of ways that is the life that I now have, and it didn’t seem possible at that point.

Lyssa deHart You know, that’s a really interesting point. I don’t know how many people are going to relate to this because I think probably everybody on some level is going to relate to this. So I think it’s going to be a large group of people, but these, these intentions that we set for ourselves sort of unconsciously, but they stick somehow. How do you think it’s stuck for you like that you were able to manifest this initial sort of unconscious intention that you were forming?
Lauri Smith

I think the first leap was a big one actually walking away from that corporate job to go, I was going to get a degree in theater, thinking I would teach theater during the day and I would do theater at night.

And I honestly thought at the time that I would, I would be in, you know, kind of starvation mode, the starving artist and I was just going to go ahead and choose it anyway. And having the support of coaches and the universe kind of there, you know, I didn’t get a full-time teaching job the few times that I tried. I was being led toward part-time teaching jobs, and I even said at one point early on, I’m going to make a gesture that not everyone will be able to see, but my teaching was up here.

I was working as a personal assistant part-time, I was teaching part-time, I was coaching part-time, and I think around the time I let the personal assistant thing go, I said, well, what I’d like to have happened is that my teaching and my coaching, over time, sort of switch places in the amount of time I do them. And the last time I taught theater was four years ago, it completely switched even, even more than I’d thought.

And that was like a moment where I said, I kind of wanted that, and it, my memory is that it was, it was a powerful moment because it was while talking to a coach or talking to someone who is holding space for that intention, and kind of helping to pull that intention out of you.

Lyssa deHart Yeah. So that embodied experience where you said it for yourself and you heard yourself say it at the same time.
Lauri Smith Yeah. Yeah.
Lyssa deHart Interesting. Yeah. I think that’s so, I think that’s so, in some way, I mean obviously unique and special for you, your experience, and yet I think for a lot of people that experience of saying something and for the first time you’ve been hearing it from their own mouth and hearing what they’re saying, locks it in a little bit tighter.
Lauri Smith Yeah. Yeah. You also just made me think of a client that I had very early on, like probably 13 years ago, a certification client, ended up doing a vision board. And I remember her sharing it back with me twice, once after she had decided to do it when it was all finished, and then once when we completed our coaching relationship she brought it back in and had manifested a job that didn’t exist. When she started making it, the job did not exist. And then by the time, we stopped working together, the job that she saw in her vision board, she had basically made it come into being and was going off to work that job.
Lyssa deHart

Yeah. You know, I really, I can’t even overstate the power of intention in what it is that we’re choosing and not that it needs, not that it has to be a job, or that it could be anything. I live up in the Pacific Northwest now and honestly, I came up here during graduate school and thought to myself, I want to live up here. I married somebody who’s like, I’m never living in the Pacific Northwest ever. And then yet, here we are, right, like, so, so I really think that we can, like, I think it’s the, maybe the intersection between our intentions and what the universe knows we need, I think may also be a piece of it also. And that all of a sudden the flow moves in the direction of the intention that is going to be uh you know, it’s going to be a stretch, but it’s also going to take you where you want to go. And so I met you at an interesting time in your journey where you were moving into MCC coaching from PCC to MCC.

And I’m really curious because I know you, congratulations, got your MCC this year 2021. So, yay! And what was that journey like for you, as you, kind of in a way similar, right? Let go of one way of being in order to be in another way of being like when you left your assistant job, you know, executive assistant job and moved into something different, right?

Lauri Smith

Yeah. Um, I love learning experiences and I absolutely love them. It came in right at the right time, so I have a pattern of learning and then kind of integrating for a while, and then I’ll get hungry for more learning again. I was hungry when I went into it. And then for learning experiences, and at moments in my business, and when cast in a role, part of my creative process is to go through a phase of resistance, which happened like, you know, this is why I’m here and yet my inner teenager is kind of coming out and resisting and wanting to be independent and wanting to do it differently.

Which someone that I work with actually was the first person to say, let me tell you how you work and pointed that resistant phase out. And then my fiance at one point said, let me tell you about your creative process. This is like you’re in this resistance. I can’t do it. You know, sometimes they all get together.

And then since we were just talking about intention, I set the intention to make the best of everything.
The way I like let go of anything that was old from the way I had been doing it, and take the best forward, and take the best of the new that I was learning, and come up with a way of integrating them that felt like me. Which is different from resisting and wanting to just be me and do it my way.

It’s like well in the end you do end up with your way. Um, that’s, that’s what I, it’s a lot of what I remember about the journey and I remember, you know, going through phases of I can’t do this, I don’t understand it. And then feeling like it’s starting to kick in and it’s opening something up, and coaching feels even more magical. It’s like, it’s new again with the depth and the experience of many years. And I love that place, which is part of why I go back for more learning, to be in beginner’s mind and 13 years of experience,

Lyssa deHart all
Lauri Smith in the same moment somehow.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, it’s beautiful and it’s, I’m hearing like integration, the integration of ways of being that are new with ways of being that is you, right? Like in really bringing those together, what would you offer a coach who’s really moving towards MCC themselves? And maybe struggling a bit with, with that integrative piece um, of that journey?
Lauri Smith Remember that the integration comes later.
Lyssa deHart Um,
Lauri Smith

Which you know, I’m smiling and we’re laughing because that I don’t always remember that in the beginning. I want to get it and have it integrated on day one, or a part of me wants to get it and have it integrated on day one.

Part of the beauty of it is being in the “not knowing” in the beginning, trusting that the integration will come later on down the road. And I believe it comes even more fully the more that we kind of surrender and steep in the new. Um, I even just flashed on another moment with students in theater, some of whom were resistant against my classes, and some of whom were resistant against other teachers classes, and in a total intuitive blurt one day I looked at one of the students and said, well your job right now is to fully be in each class that you are in, like 100% committed all in, and only if you’ve really done that, can you then truly decide which of what I’m teaching you, what Tom is teaching you, what Janice is teaching you, after you have fully done it, you then decide what of each thing works for you.

And then I also said, and you keep in mind you’re young, when I was 19 years old, there were things that I let go that did not work for me at 19. Fast forward, you know, 20-30 years and I’m having my struggle moment, and I can’t do this moment, with a role or with a client and all of a sudden this tool that didn’t used to work for you, pops into your head,

Lyssa deHart Mmm, hmm.
Lauri Smith Go with that tool when you’re like, what, it’s not working, whether it’s coaching or theater, be open to going with the tool when it pops back up for you. Because it may not be your tool at 19, it might be your tool at 49. And it will surprise you.
Lyssa deHart

Yeah, that is beautiful because I mean it’s so true, fill your toolbox with tools, you never know when you will need that tool. And to have had it and to really anchor it in your toolbox means you have access to it when it shows up.

And just kind of rolling back to something you said before. I just, I can’t even, I can’t even overemphasize this because this was really a part of my own MCC journey which is this process of letting go, um in order to be fully present with another human being.

Letting go of my ideas about what it is they need to be doing, letting go of my ideas of attachment to their outcome, letting go of the idea that I need to be the perfect coach, I have to know everything. Um and I mean I think what I see a lot with coaches is a transformation from wanting to be of value to their clients. So they want to give to their clients versus holding that space. And I mean I think that, that piece is that part of that letting go really so that you can be with to create that space that you’re talking about.

Lauri Smith Yeah, yeah, surrender, letting go, and trusting are huge values, themes in my life. And they are certainly there in coaching, and I thought I was, yeah, I think I was good at holding space even before, holding space as long as it was already going well.
Um, and there is a new level after the MCC journey of even when it’s awkward, or a little clunky, like driving a stick shift. My impulse now is to just kind of sit in the awkwardness. And be curious and sometimes the client just opens their mouth and has complete and utter clarity emerge out of the awkwardness, and I’ve done absolutely nothing except sit there and hold space with a curious look on my face.


Um, so it’s a deeper level of that, which is part of what I love about coaching and it is part of what what people have said they like about me as a coach. Um, and I even did a session with someone, not even a session, we were, we were just connecting to see if we might want to work together. Um, and he, he said, I feel very safe and comfortable with you. And I was like, wow, it really done nothing today except be curious, asked some questions, answer some questions and I was a little surprised because it wasn’t, it was a connection conversation, not an actual coaching conversation. I was a little surprised and yet I know that the surrender and let go, it’s, it’s rippling out into other circumstances.

Lyssa deHart And I think it’s really, it’s really useful to understand too that by that surrendering and letting go, my guess is, please correct me if I’m wrong, you’re asking questions that invite the client to really explore something for themselves versus leading the client towards, you want to work with me. Rightly, it’s just really an exploration. And so the trust and safety is sort of evolves very seamlessly out of the fact that I don’t have a horse in this race, even though maybe I’d like to work with you, maybe I wouldn’t. I don’t know yet, but it’s really this exploratory getting to know each other piece. It also shows up in coaching where I don’t really have a horse in that race either. Right?
Lauri Smith Yeah. And you just helped me have an ‘ah-ha. ‘ That I never quite put it together before that moment, that my ability to be in a quote-unquote sales conversation after doing the MCC journey. I’m more reliably, like 98% of the time knock on wood, able to really be surrendered and curious and there is no leading. Whereas before the MCC journey I was in scarcity and trying to lead a person. Who I might now recognize as I don’t feel a fit here, I would like to refer you to another coach that I think might be better for you. Um, I didn’t quite put together that those two things actually happened at the same time.
Lyssa deHart

You know, and I think that that is really interesting, Lauri because I think there was something that happened for me, and I don’t know that something like this happened for you also, but when I got my MCC. I wasn’t, I mean I didn’t get my MCC because I thought oh if I got my MCC I’d be like like I would be completely great then.

Um And I see it much more as a mile marker on a long journey that I could be continuing to drive along the many varied paths, and take you, no exits, and explore and all that sort of thing. But I think there was something about having this sense that I knew what I was doing enough.

It wasn’t perfect maybe, but I knew enough about how to hold that container and how to hold that space that I felt something really similar, which was I just sort of let go of a lot of my trying to do a little dance, sing a little song, you know, see if this fits or not, and really much more confident in that, that choice making that I was doing as to whether or not this would be a good fit for me. And I’m kind of hearing that and what you’re talking about also.

Lauri Smith Yeah, I always wanted to before, and I did on occasion, and the percentage was not reliably 98%, you know, and, and now also from in some ways from MCC when I have a moment of, I really would, you know, I really want to work with you, just open it up and say, say it aloud so that I can say I really want to work with you and how can I support you in making the, you know, it’s kind of like that’s out, I would love that and how can I support you in making the decision that’s right for you? Instead of going, I really want to work with her, but I’m going to pretend that I’m not having those thoughts and try to get her to choose me as her coach.
Lyssa deHart Yeah.
Lauri Smith Very different to just say, I think you’re neat and I would love to do more of this.
Lyssa deHart A lot more transparency, a lot more confidence that shows up in that way. And I don’t think you need your MCC to have that, but I think definitely it’s a piece of what can show up for folks and that journey to really to feel confident in themselves. I mean, and however you feel confident, however, anyone feels confident in their selves, that journey is absolutely worth the price of admission, I think.
Lauri Smith Yeah, absolutely.
Lyssa deHart How are you keeping your passion and coaching alive? How do you keep yourself engaged, fresh and you know, enthusiastic?
Lauri Smith

Uh going back and learning things every once in a while, um on that rhythm of when I start to feel hungry, as soon as I start to have less passion, and even before that, I will usually get the, the feeling of it’s time to go take some continuing education.

Um and it’s not always in coaching, sometimes it’s like working with a different coach to kind of shake it up um or changing, changing how things are kind of organized in my business. Um, going toward what I really love to do and how I really love to work, and who I really love to work with. Every time there’s a little notch more of, oh, it’s this now, this is where I really want to be doing it and who I want to work with. That will take things up a notch because then all of a sudden every single session with every single client feels like it’s a magical match.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, yeah. And the kind of the continual self-evolution, right? That sense of just uh in it to play and to explore and to learn and to grow and that this is all just part of it. I really appreciate that mindset because I think that’s how we grow anyway, right? Like and I think it keeps us alive.

I don’t know, you were making me think, I remember at one point when I was a therapist, I had gotten really kind of burned out in the work that I was doing. This was many years ago when I was working for the military and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Like I was like, I need to do something though that just outside of this and I ended up taking like a cake decorating class, not because I was all that interested in cake or any of that, but I was just much more like I just want to learn something outside of the arena that I was playing in. Um just to give my brain something completely clearly different to nosh on, you know?

Lauri Smith Yeah, yeah.
Lyssa deHart It’s super, it was super invigorating for a bit of time. That said, I’m not a very good cake decorator and I wouldn’t decorate anyone’s cake or even my own but you know I did have fun learning, you know, just playing with it. It was like art with sugar I guess.
Lauri Smith Yeah.
Lyssa deHart So what are you up to today that you’d like to share with us?
Lauri Smith

Ah uh, my my my my baby, my love is uh I have a program called Compelling Speaker: Master the Art of Presence. And I’m now running it three or four times a year. I don’t know when this will air for people. Um I have one coming up, starting a week from today and I know I’m going to do one in the fall and there may actually be one because I have a little bit of a waiting list of people, that happens in between June and the fall. Um, I love that program.

It’s a, it’s a beautiful experience. Um, Part group, part 1 on 1, and the group part is my favorite part because people get to come together and their bodies, minds, hearts, and souls get to know, oh, I can show up that way in a group. And then their body remembers that they can and have done it when they go to speak out on a stage or a Facebook live or a video.

Lyssa deHart Brilliant, brilliant. And there’ll be a link below the podcast for people to go to your website, um, and have an opportunity to check out more about you and about Voice Matters. And if this happens before, it won’t be next week, so it’ll have to be in the fall. Um, but if you miss one, Lauri’s going to have more. And it sounds like a lot of people, leave that, it sounds like, maybe much more confident with talking in front of the camera and showing up on the stage, so to speak.
Lauri Smith Yeah, yeah. They’ve said things like uh and embodied breakthrough um that they felt seen and held and confident in a way they didn’t know was possible or didn’t believe was possible beforehand.
Lyssa deHart

Yeah, brilliant. And I mean with this many coaches who are moving towards platforms where they’re doing Facebook lives, you’re doing YouTube videos. I mean these are skill sets that coaching schools aren’t probably going to teach you. They’re really working on the competencies and helping you learn how to hold the container of a conversation. But there’s absolute value in that place of learning these others.

So instead of cake decorating, learn how to confidently or both, why not? Or both? Or do a cake while you’re confidently communicating on your Facebook live.

Lauri, thank you so much for being with me today and having this conversation. I really, I just really enjoyed it and thank you so much for sharing your MCC journey. I really think it will be a benefit to many, many people.

I hope you enjoy these lively conversations.

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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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