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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.

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Welcoming Cat Williford, MCC to the Coaching Studio Podcast

the Coaching Studio Guest

I am very excited to welcome Cat Williford, MCC to the Coaching Studio Podcast.

Quick Links from Episode
Cat Williford’s Website
Book(s): The Ovarian Chronicles



  • 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

Hey, Lyssa here, and thank you so much for joining on the Coaching Studio today. I’m very happy to introduce my guest today, Cat Williford and I’d like to introduce you a little bit deeper to her.

Cat Williford is a pioneer in the field of coaching and coach training. She is an internationally renowned coach, speaker, and an author since 1994. She received one of the first six certifications bestowed by the prestigious Coach Training Institute. Cat has held the coaching profession’s highest credential of Master Certified Coach with the ICF since 1998, and she has also trained over 13,000 coaches internationally.

A born and bred Texan, Cat’s willingness to tell it as straight as a shot of tequila is part of her charm. She has supported thousands of women to move from debilitating self-criticism, fear, and really so-so results into experiencing outrageous levels of self-acceptance and authentic confidence. Success on their terms.

In her just-released book, The Ovarian Chronicles: Expectations, Heartache, Resilience. Cat details the story of how she lost sight of navigating her future as her body’s knowing became secondary to someone else’s desires and reality. Her vulnerability and honesty give women permission to get real, forgive, heal, and recover their own resilience.

In 2019, Cat launched her Heroine’s Journey live show and coaching programs to help women unmask their own stories, heartfelt vulnerabilities, and resilience. Today, this modern-day goddess lives in the beach of Ventura in California, where she delights in moonlight sparkles on the ocean. Cat, thank you so much for being on the Coaching Studio today.

I want to read a quick review of your book, which I thought was just really summed up nicely the feelings around your book in a voice that is both strong and tender. This Texas powerhouse takes us with her on a riveting life journey. Her writing is so good, I felt with her the whole way, as if a favorite friend was telling me her most intimate and powerful story, loved it, loved her. So thank you, thank you, thank you for being here today and I am really looking forward to this conversation. I I have to be honest with you, I’ve been really looking forward to meeting with you today, so thank you for being on the show.

Cat Williford

I thank you and thank you for that, wow, what a great lead-in. And thank you for reading a review. I didn’t realize you were going to do that. So, thank you for that. It’s been quite a journey to put a memoir out into the world and receive such tender conversations with people.

You know, people have reached out to me and said how deeply something touched them and that’s exactly I think what my aim was, and I think that’s what we do as coaches. We want to reach out to our clients, um, and anyone that we’re working with to really support them to touch inside themselves. So I’m excited to be here and have this conversation with you.

Lyssa deHart

Well, before we move on, you know, that really brings forward a question for me because of the work that you do in helping women really stand in their own agency and find their own voice and be willing to put that into the world. You know, there’s a difference between writing a fictional account of something and making a story up, even if there’s, you know, elements of our own lives in it and there’s something different about writing some form of a self-help book, like I did, where you’re putting stories out there also.

But when you write a memoir about something so personal to you, I mean, you’re really laying yourself bare to the public the this what is it the court of public opinion, right? To some degree, and so to have people respond so, so sweetly and in such a lovely way, you know, how did you though get that, you know, that ability really to share your story?

Cat Williford You know, I think really leaning into so much of what I know to do as a coach, because I think to write successfully in memoir, we cannot go with what we think the story is, or the story about the story that our psyche makes up to keep us safe in the moment. And so I really leveraged curiosity that coach approach of wonder and curiosity. Um, and I didn’t always do a great job of it because when we write something so personal and so about the really painful parts of our life, I think we have to give space for healing to occur. And I, the most brilliant thing I think I did was I allowed myself to really take the journey. I knew this wasn’t a sprint, it was published and I took my time. I really, I do a version and I have to sit back and then I would go through it, and then I would have to sit back, and then I would make the changes, and I would have to sit back because along the way I was continuing to heal and do the journey work. And again, that’s that part about being a coach. We know that we are continually like blossoming and unfolding and digging deep into the roots in the soil in order to come back out stronger, uh more resilient to to live in our our, to actually experience our resilience. I think we’re always resilient, We just don’t know it because that resilience is having to work really hard sometimes.
Lyssa deHart Yes. Yeah. And I think we tell ourselves stories about what resilience means and I, and I don’t know, I don’t know if you experience this, but I see this a lot where we judge our insides by other people’s outsides. And so I look at you and I go, oh, you’re fabulous, you’ve got it all together. I’m a big mess, I’m a big hot mess. And so it’s like we, we have these funny assumptions and stories about ourselves and in reflection, in relationship to our perception of other people.
Cat Williford

Absolutely. And even our perception of ourselves, you know, a lot of my work with this unmasking is around, hey, let’s peel back the mask that you’ve been busy show in the world because that’s made it feel safe. You’ve gotten to hide some of the vulnerability and you know, in my book, I talk about the masks that I continually had to face and take off, especially my control mask. I call her my Chief Operating Officer of Control, my, my COOC, she left to drive the big bus, you know, and she gets really frightened when she’s not driving.

But I’ve learned that it’s actually better if she’s not in control and in charge because she limits the joy that can come in, the fun, the partnership, the collaboration. So our masks while they are a brilliant part of our psyche. They were born at a time when we really needed to get through something. So like I think, I don’t ever want to make any of this stuff wrong. Like I think we’re smart for developing coping mechanisms when times are hard, difficult, scary, but it’s not always scary. And that’s when we get to start looking at those masks. And that’s, that’s deep work.

Lyssa deHart It is. And I really think, I mean, I know for myself and writing my own book, you know, even though mine wasn’t a memoir, there’s all of these internal narratives that have to be navigated and breathed through in order to put anything useful onto a blank piece of paper. I mean, it’s an interesting journey. And so I salute you for taking that one step further in doing it as a memoir because that is definitely a, it really requires you to go back in time to some really painful places, you know?
Cat Williford And in the editing process is sort of like rewind, fast forward, rewind, fast forward. So you’re kind of going over it again, back and forth. Like as if living at once wasn’t difficult enough, you know?
Lyssa deHart Yeah, editing is hilarious about, I think at some point I don’t know about you, but I can only speak for myself, at some point you can’t even read the words anymore. They’re just all, just like, whatever. I don’t, you know? Yeah.
Cat Williford That’s why I had, you know, my content editor for the structure of everything. I had a copy editor because, you know, after a while you can’t see if you cut and paste and you can’t see two “these” next to each other.
Lyssa deHart You just can’t, it’s impossible. Yeah, it definitely takes a village.
Cat Williford You’re not trying to go, that one allowed.
Lyssa deHart That’s right. It takes a village to me, to build a book. Um So what had you come into coaching? Like where, where did the draw come for you?
Cat Williford

And that’s like that before, you know, coaching was actually a profession, truly. I mean it was it had been in the executive realm, you know, for a little bit, but it was much more that mentoring, consulting versus how we interact with as coaches today. And I actually was in a different career. I was a performer and stage performer, but I moved to Los Angeles, go figure, and I was dwindling in my passion, we’re telling stories on stage, and I met a man by the name of Henry Kinsey House, who is one of the Co-founders of the Coaches Training Institute before that even existed.

And he was, he and his partner Laura were sort of making this, I should be clear, his business partner, making up like what is it we’re doing with people? Let’s put it down on paper. And I had hired him to support me to rekindle my passion. I, you know, I started doing plays when I was a kid, I loved it, and I hired him to help me rekindle that passion, which is why so many of our clients come to us, they’ve lost, they’ve lost that lovin’ feeling, you know, lyrics go. So I, I hired him, I had no idea what to expect, but after a couple of months of working with him, I just said to him, Henry, I naturally do for everybody in my life what you’re supporting me to do. Like even if I’m the youngest one backstage people are coming to me and we’re having these deep conversations and I’m pointing them into themselves.

And he said, well we decided to do a workshop, you want to come on up and do a workshop. I’m like yeah, I want to learn more about this, this is so cool. And I really thought where I would take it with supporting actors to maintain some dignity in the audition process because there’s not a lot of lot.

Lyssa deHart Not a lot there.
Cat Williford Not a lot there. And I think that’s what it killed my joy quite honestly. But I started walking in completely authentic. I knew who I was, I knew the character was when I heard, can you dumb her down? I was like, nope, can’t do that. You know, just stop playing the game. Um, but very quickly I realized how much I loved working with people in this way. And what I noticed is there’s a lot of people from the creative arts who became coaches early on and I think there’s just this natural curiosity about humanity, about humans, human behavior, thinking, the emotions. And so to me it makes perfect sense, you know, that they’re like, oh, that doesn’t make any sense at all, like, but it makes perfect sense. It’s storytelling. We’re just now looking at what is the old story that you don’t want to be living anymore, Client? What’s the new story to step into? So it’s all that, you know, vision that we do with as coaches to bring people into their future that they’re wanting to live into. So that’s really how I got into it. And after about, um, I don’t know, maybe after my third coaching course, I was at an audition and um, I really didn’t want to be there. I was like, whoa. And it was for a major television show at the time, major television show. And I’m like, I don’t even want to be here. And I left the audition and I went to my agent. I went to my manager that afternoon. I said stop submitting me, I’m pulling my photos. I really am going for this other thing and I hired another manager and she had come to see me speak about coaching to a company and he’s like, this is what you’re meant to do. I said I know.
Lyssa deHart Isn’t that interesting. Yeah. And just when you get to that place where you almost captured the dream you thought you had, you have this different dream. You know you said something that I thought was really interesting. You said these were conversations I was already naturally having with people anyway and you were the person that people come to. And I hear that from a lot of people coming into coaching. You know, I already have these conversations. What is different though in your mind between the kinds of conversations you were having backstage and the kinds of conversations that you’re able to have in a coaching conversation?
Cat Williford It’s a great, and it’s a great distinction um backstage, even though I continued, I would point them back to themselves. They were really interested in my opinion. And I’ll be honest, I kind of was too.
Lyssa deHart I think I am all that and a bag of chips, so I got some great advice for you.
Cat Williford Like I’m 26 years old, I’m telling somebody in their fifties, what they should be doing with their life. So total arrogance and ego was involved. When I learned actually coaching, like how to really support someone as a coach, it’s so much more about digging into, much more putting it to that other human being, to tap into their well of resources. You know, my first line question like, well, so what do you think if they asked me what I think backstage well, but I really want to know, what you think? Okay, yeah, I’ll tell you what I think.
Lyssa deHart Right. I at least asked the one question before I launched into it.
Cat Williford Exactly. But as a coach, I usually tell them, who cares what I think. I’ve made messes in my life. Let’s go and find your wisdom because you know what’s right for you way more than I ever will. So I’m very clear that my client has way more brilliance for them, their own life and who they are, what they need than whatever I or anyone else might tell them now. I might give them a tool to dig in further. And I think that’s what we do with our powerful questions and our curiosity and, and honestly our love. Like I, I don’t want to work with someone I can’t feel, I love them. I love this person. I love what they’re up to. I’m so excited that they’re in the world and they’re doing this. You know, if it’s like something I’m not into, I’m just like not my client.
Lyssa deHart Yeah. Oh, that is such a, that is a really interesting point also, which is, you know, how do you determine the people that you’re going to work with? Because I think for a lot of people, especially starting off as coaches, we want to build our business so there’s this sense of I take anybody, I work with everybody, right? Like you just said something though, that’s a complete, you know, wrap around in a different way. How did you develop that capacity to be at choice with your clients?
Cat Williford Yeah, that, you know, it’s funny because when I first started, I mean, nobody knew what coaching was. So it was like, I’ll coach anyone, anytime, anywhere, because we got to let people know what this is and you know, put it on the map because I was really, I mean, I was convinced that this was the thing that the world needed. I was gonna start help bring it. I loved the pioneering aspect of that. I felt like, you know, woo I got my covered wagon here. So I loved that and it was, I would coach anyone anytime anywhere. And then I went, really, I’m tired. I don’t want to coach on Saturdays, I’m not going to coach at night. And so I started structuring that physical part and then I had this experience where um because I was doing a lot of speaking, so that’s one way I built my business. I would go and speak to organizations, professional associations, anyone who would have me come and talk to their lunchtime or dinnertime deal. And I was really good at it because I had the performing background I knew how to Act I, Act II, Act III. I knew what needed to happen, put it in a workshop format, and a woman hired me to support her in developing speeches because she was going to be running for political office. Back in, back in my history, there’s a lot of politicians in my family, I was so stoked and I was very engaged in activism and all of this. And so I was so excited because uh and then I got in here with what her content was. And let’s just say we were 180.
Lyssa deHart Ahh.
Cat Williford

On the political spectrum. So after I went and saw one of her speeches that I had helped her do, I said, I have to give you your money back, I cannot support what you’re saying. Doesn’t resonate for me, doesn’t, in fact, I’m the exact opposite. So I literally, I gave her all of her money back. Even for the work I had pre prior done that I just didn’t want any upset with it. Just like, that’s one tip I would share. Don’t spend the money all at once, keep it in your savings account, y’all pay yourself what you need. Don’t go through it all. I returned all that money and I went, all right, So let’s think about this. And this is very still very early on in the coaching world like 1996. I sat down, I wrote down what my parameters were for working with people.

And you know, it’s definitely in the competencies of our professional association, do not try and coach someone you cannot get behind and support. That is unethical. Do not do it. And so, you know, and that’s when the competencies were being written and it was good timing for sure. So there’s really this, um I would suggest to anyone if you can’t feel it in your heart, in a chemistry session or a sample session, whatever you’re calling it, you don’t try and coach that person because it will not feel good and you will not be at your best as a coach. And that for me really blows at the end of the day if I don’t feel that I’ve given my all because I’m 100% into what this person, who this person is, and what they’re up to. And it’s not to say that these people are wrong or bad. They get to have whatever they need or want in their life justify can’t align. Just like I’m not gonna go be friends with somebody I can’t align with. So why would I want to, in our own business, why would we want to bring that energy in?

Lyssa deHart Well and to your point? There is a cost to looking at your calendar and going, yeah.
Cat Williford Yeah,
Lyssa deHart yeah, I got to work with them today. Like that’s not the place I wanna be in my life, right? And I think there’s this other piece that I think is so important that you’re really bringing forward to which is: You know, there’s a reciprocity, and a cost, and an integrity in how we show up with people. And if I can’t show up 100% authentically with you, I’m not and there’s no way I can do you the service, you need. So and so like she needed a coach, you could be of service to her, you needed a client, you could, you could be of service to.
Cat Williford Absolutely. And even in chemistry sessions, you know, I’ve got chemistry sessions where they were referrals from clients where, I mean, we lit it on fire, we were so great together for them. And those are the ones that you like. I feel so bad. Like I can’t coach this person. There was like, seriously, I was in a chemistry session with someone of great, like one of my favorite clients, the referral, you would have thought it would have been 100%. Within 10 minutes, I said, I don’t think this is a match. And he said, oh thank God, me neither. We’re doing them a favor to actually call it, and it takes some courage to do that. And we’ve got to know who we are. Because I had someone, another referral, a beautiful woman I had worked with referred someone to me, and this person said, well, I’m only interested in upping my sales game, and uh just very, and she said, I don’t go in for any of that woo-woo touchy-feely stuff. Okay, well, look behind me, you can kind of see some crystals. I got a, you know, a jester. If I moved the camera up, you’d see drums and chalices and magic wands.
Lyssa deHart So you basically are a bit woo.
Cat Williford A bit. And so I said to her, so, well, sweetheart, I am the queen of woo-woo, so I’m not your coach. Let’s go find you, I said, I’ve got a great roladex of straight-up business coaches, let me give you their names. So that would be a tip I would share with people who are developing their coaching practice, have a bunch of people around you that you can refer to. And let them know that you’re different, like my business developing coaches, they send me there woo people all the time, like, I don’t even know what to do with this person, you need to talk to them.
Lyssa deHart They want to go places I’m not interested in.
Cat Williford Exactly. They want a guided visualization… whatever. That’s not what I do, like send them my way.
Lyssa deHart You know, and I think that’s a really important point also, which is the collaborative element of being an entrepreneur. I think that there’s a story that says… and I think I can’t speak for any other country, but I mean I think certainly the United States and I really can’t speak for the United States either, but I am at least in the United States, so I’m gonna give it a go. But I mean, I think they’re we have this sort of, you know, um rugged, independent individualism. Right? And so what ends up happening is there’s this sense of I can do this all by myself. And I mean to your point, I can’t work with every single client. I’m not a good fit with every single client. Having collaborative partnerships with people is so crucial, let alone for just even how you run your business. I mean I remember having a conversation with somebody at one point and they’re like, oh I’m not gonna hire anybody to help me, I can’t stand doing social media, but I’m not gonna hire anybody to do it. I should be able to do it all myself. And I’m like really do you also like are you your own dentist? Are you your own, you know doctor, you your own, you know, grocery bagger? Like I mean maybe you are that. but you know what I mean? Right? Like so it’s the sense of we actually go farther when we have a collaborative relationship with people.
Cat Williford I cannot agree with you more, you know, and I will freely admit I wore what I call the lone wolf mask for a long time. And it is that rugged, you know, the ideal of the west, westward ho. And you know all of this and I grew up in Texas. So oh my, there’s even more that, you know, ruggedy independence. Uh, but my gosh, why do we want to make things harder for ourselves is the question. So man, when I took that lone wolf mask off, I have to tell you something. When I hired my first VA, I was terrified. I thought, oh my God, what if something happens and that part of my business plummets. And I’ve just committed to paying this person, you know, for a year, this amount of money and da da da da da, and I was sleepless for like two weeks. The benefit of it was, I lost a lot of weight it this worried, but it’s not the way you know, drop a few pounds is not to worry.
Lyssa deHart If you’re gonna have a bad outcome, that’s not such a bad thing I guess.
Cat Williford So but I realized, and here’s the crazy thing right after I had hired her and got her rolling, something did happen in the background of my life where I had to literally be gone for a month to tend to some family matters. She kept things running.
Lyssa deHart She kept things running?
Cat Williford She kept things running. I didn’t just disappear from my business. She was doing some social media posting for me, she was doing various things and she was kind of like a generalist. And I thought she was a young gal, so she already knew a lot of that stuff that I had no clue on. But I’d also hired someone to specifically take care of my email campaigns and then I hired, you know, so I had, now I have this huge team. And uh which allows me to do what I’m really good at.
Lyssa deHart Yes.
Cat Williford So that’s a huge tip I would share with people who are developing their business. Yes, it is. Like, am I gonna make it? But as soon as you do, business expands, it can’t help but, because all of a sudden you said to the universe, I’m more available. Send me more people that I can really serve and guess what? That’s usually what happens some way. Somehow it may not look like what you think it’s gonna look like. And that’s OK. Say yes to the opportunities that are presented.
Lyssa deHart Yes. Say as to the opportunities that are presented. And go along with others right? There is that I don’t know, it’s I don’t know where the story comes from, but if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Right? And so, and honestly we live in such a specialized culture at this point. I mean I don’t, I don’t grow my own hemp, and make my own cotton, and then make the thread, and make clothes. Like I mean I don’t do all that stuff, we’re specialized. So hiring people who are specialist is I mean makes brilliant sense to me.
Cat Williford

It makes perfect sense and you know, along with having you know the team around you to support you. And having the bench of you know colleagues who have sweet spots that your that is not your sweet spot. I think you know, the thing to really be clear on also as coaches is we’re not therapists, right? So have a few of those therapists that you trust and know.

And if you know connected with and will like can feel like they’ve got a good, you would feel comfortable sharing their name with somebody who you really feel would be better served in that, with that support versus what you as a coach can offer. And it’s not to say as a coach, we don’t offer some therapeutic moments, cathartic therapeutic moments, but it’s the whole for an animal, like, I mean, as you know.

Lyssa deHart It is not the same thing, I mean there’s a level of container and safety that goes into therapy that coaches working with somebody who’s really okay right there, just looking at moving forward versus you know, the therapist who’s maybe really working with a lot of trauma and needs to be really trauma-informed. When you think about your own experience in life, and sort of where you are now, how has coaching impacted your, you know, you as a human being?
Cat Williford It’s impacted me in every way. I mean, I’m so clear on boundaries um and I’m so clear on what is okay and what is not ok. I’ve learned to be a like, really, really clear um and I think there’s a generosity of spirit we offer ourselves as coaches once we really kind of get in there, and we’re not, I mean, we still we can certainly still be hard on ourselves. I have saboteur voices that pop up all the time. My masks arise at certain situations that, you know, just have a trigger point to them. I’m so much more aware and I don’t take the full downward spiral because I am aware and I feel it really quickly like, oh look, that’s that again. Okay, so I don’t have to take the full drama journey over things. But I think I’m gonna go back to curiosity, that curiosity has supported all of my relationships to Um not take things so personally. If someone is having an off day and they yell, I don’t go, oh I did something wrong, why are they yelling? I’m like, oh man, they must be on your rotten day. I don’t assume it’s about me, right?
Lyssa deHart There’s that well, and that’s that deep work you’re talking about, right? Which is I think good coaches have done good coach work, right? Like we don’t, you don’t become a good coach in a vacuum of just expertise around coaching, you really, there’s this evolution that that seems to happen where you evolve yourself as a human being.
Cat Williford Absolutely. And you know, we don’t have to be taking the same personal journey that our clients are taking. We just have had, we need to have done our journey work, our exhuming, our forgiveness work, our whatever is ours to peel, you know, that whatever our onion is, and it’s an unending journey, you know. And I think one of the things I’m most grateful for in terms of being a coach and all that I’ve learned is I know I’ll never be done, I will continue to grow and learn. I will continue to say, oh, I’m gonna go take that course. That sounds really fascinating. You know, I’m not ever going to be done and I love that and I think that’s important for all of us. If we’re inviting other people to grow and learn and stretch themselves, I’d better darn well be growing and stretching myself in some capacity. Whether it’s, I’m gonna return to playing the piano and I’m going to really devote myself to it. That’s stretching yourself, growing yourself. So it doesn’t all have to be, you know like I’m going to go tear my soul open again and look at it again one more time to make sure it’s okay. You could be stretching your range with, oh, I’m gonna go take a French cooking class, like be engaged in your expansion somehow. Some way.
Lyssa deHart Yeah. And I love that. Yeah. It doesn’t have to be soul-rending and it can actually be enjoyable, right? Like you can choose things to expand yourself with, you know, it’s interesting too because I don’t know if you have this experience and if you don’t, we’ll be curious about that too. Um but I talked to a lot of people and they’re like, I want to get to, I want to get my MCC so that I can finally, you know get there. And it’s like I have this sense of the MCC is not like there, it’s like it’s a mile marker. Nothing more. Right. How do you see, I mean you got your MCC a long time ago. I mean if you had just stopped at your MCC with any coaching development or growth and development, I, what do you think would have happened?
Cat Williford Well I don’t like, right like the scream ah, um I still wouldn’t be in business, I don’t think I would still be in business if I hadn’t continued to develop and grow because what I learned in the 90s for coaching was the starting point.
Lyssa deHart Mhm.
Cat Williford And how much the, I mean the coaching profession has evolved so beautifully because it is about development and clients coming in today are much more sophisticated and savvy about, and they’ve probably had some kind of coaching of some sort, through an organization perhaps. So the market has continued to evolve in its sophistication. Therefore we have to continue to grow and evolve. Like the skill level I had when I got my MCC in 1998. Is it, so what 24, 23 or more years, 20?
Lyssa deHart We don’t have to count them.
Cat Williford

I need a calculator, y’all. So uh you know, we can’t help but exponentially grow. And that’s true whether you are a CPA four years in or 24 years in, you’ve got the subtlety, you’ve got more of the nuance, you’ve got more of the uh intent of something versus the letter of the law of it. You know, like there’s a big thing in coaching, don’t ask “why” questions. Yeah. Pretty good. General rule.

Yet there are certain times when the “why” question can like prop a client wide open, but you won’t know that until you have coached for years. Yeah, It’s like driving when you’re first, you know, you’re 16, you got, you got your license but you don’t have that sixth sense of when that person that’s beside you is gonna bump over a little into your lane, or cut you off. But you feel it as you become more in the flow. And that’s true for coaching.

So, I love that our professional association requires a renewal so that we continue to grow and learn. And what I would really love to see is for MCCs who’ve been at it for a long time to really look at what can they turn around and contribute back to the field of coaching. And I think that is so important because we’ve gone through the various iterations we’ve learned, we’ve grown, we’ve stretched, we this and to turn around and support in a new way. I think is where that’s going to keep the profession growing and expanding.

Lyssa deHart Yeah. And I mean I love your point. It is an iterative process. You know, the in our, and the clients are not, what’s coaching? I mean there are still clients who are like, but they’re the, a lot of customers are very savvy about what coaching is. Um how do you take care of yourself to continue to hold this passion for coaching, like what are you doing to support yourself?
Cat Williford You know? Um, I am very grateful for a spiritual practice. It can, I don’t care what it is and you don’t even have to call it that just something that is grounding to you. Like I’ve got what I call my morning groove. Where I do some meditation. I come in and get my coffee, I come back out and I do some journaling. I was, I’m drinking my coffee. I set daily intentions for myself experientially, not just like the task list like that doesn’t even go in my journal on the system that I have created actually for myself and my clients.
Lyssa deHart What’s an example of an experiential intention?
Cat Williford

Um, so explain, when I started doing this for myself about five years ago, what I saw was a repetition of certain words that I really wanted to highlight And so I literally every day I set my intention. I choose to experience ease, flow, and spaciousness. That’s an experience I want to have every day. I don’t like feeling jammed and rushed and all of that does not serve me, does not serve my clients. So I set that intention every day and then then I set two more or three experiential every single day and another one usually sometimes it sounds like love. I want to experience love.

I don’t want to forget that I want to experience that I want to receive it. I want to share it consciously. Yeah. Um sometimes it’s physical health if I’ve drifted a little bit, you know, a little too much, too many margaritas over the weekend and I bring physical health back into my experience, you know? Setting those experiences up for ourselves helps us make different decisions during the day. You know, wait, if I’m honoring ease, flow, and spaciousness; yeah, I’m not gonna tuck that extra client in, nope, not doing it right. I have half-hour buffers between everything I do.

Lyssa deHart You know what, that is, I was getting to a place where I was seeing clients and I wasn’t having those buffers and I would go one to one to one to one. And frankly, when I was younger I could do that better because I did that in my therapy practice and have like a 10-minute buffer between clients. But honestly, at this point, I relish those 30-minute buffers between people because it gives me that time to like pet the dog, or lay down on the floor and breathe, or whatever it is that I need to do to really sort of generates what I need to be fully present with another human being because I think that’s the other piece. Right? How are we fully present with somebody else when we’re like in our head on a habit trail?
Cat Williford

Absolutely, absolutely. You know I used to do a lot of running and then I’ve had several foot injuries, like breaking my foot while running, so I’ve stopped. But now I will flip on great music at the end of the day and I have these, uh, they’re called dance sneakers by Capezio and I just dance, you know, if I can’t get outside because it’s a little dark or you know, I live on the beach, it’s a little foggy and I’m, you know, kind of a weather snob. It’s going to be just right. I’m kidding. But you know, I will just throw on some music and I’ll dance.

So, I think daily movement is so key for all of us, especially, you know, we’re all on Zoom these days and the screen is like we’re just attached to it, whether it’s our computer or mobile device, whatever. So just like moving away from that and you know, it’s almost like that, those breaks, whether you decide 30-minutes, 20 whatever, it’s kind of like mental floss, you know, like we’re flossing out the old whatever. We gotta just like put that aside, we love that client, that’s their stuff. Let me come to the neutral space within me. Yes. It would be really open and present to wherever this client this next person is wanting to go.

Lyssa deHart Yeah. And I think that’s the best way to be useful to other human beings, is to have taken care of yourself. Because it’s that the irony of what often we’re talking to clients about around, you know, life balance, right? And then we’re like…
Cat Williford I wrote a book about it because I got so off track.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, that’s right. So as we’re coming to a close here, I just really, what are you up to today that you would really like to share with the listeners? What are you busy with?
Cat Williford So I’ve been doing a couple of things that are really exciting to me. Um you know, I’ve had the Your Heroine’s Journey live show for a couple of years now and I usually do a retreat, but you know, not doing retreats right now. So I’ve taken my retreat and I have expanded it into a six-month coaching program for women and I’m totally excited about this because it’s like it gets to go even deeper and I am a deep diver and I, my clients are deep divers, so I’m so excited about this. Um that’s gonna be coming out. We start in June and I I can’t wait to take people through this process of really unmasking the old stories, the story about the story because, you know, whatever happened way back when, we’ve made up tons of stories about it about I mean, you know, you and I, we love to, to unpack the story, right? And really support people to tell the story they want to be living. Hello, let’s make it up. So, I’m totally excited about that and I’m totally excited that my book seems to be doing well uh and I was the book pick of a large organization for July for their book club and I’m just so excited for that.
Lyssa deHart Brilliant. Well, and I will have in the details below the podcast, I will have links to your website and links to your book on Amazon and get that out there. Cat, thank you so much for being here today with me and sharing your wisdom and perspective.
Cat Williford Yeah, I really, you know, if anything I said can help someone, I’m just thrilled by that and I thank you because really, I feel like you are doing an amazing. Like a Sabah, you know, as they say in the Hindu tradition, like an act of grace, like graceful service to, to those coaches, to all of us, whether we’re MCCs, PCCs, ACCs, just starting on the journey, hearing other people’s stories is so powerful and rich, they can inspire us, they can guide us, they can, can like be, I don’t know, bumper bumpers somehow. And so I really appreciate what you were up to and speaking to the people who have been at this for a while, just I can’t wait to listen to what other people have had to say too, you know, I know some of the people that you’ve interviewed that are going to interview and I can’t wait to hear what they have to say too. So thank you so much.
Lyssa deHart Absolutely welcome and thank you so much for being here today.

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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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