Season 2, Episode 41

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 to the Coaching Studio Podcast, Miriam Cheuk MCC

the Coaching Studio Guest in the Chair

I am happy to share Miriam Guerrero Cheuk, MCC, with the Coaching Studio Podcast.

Quick Links from Episode
Learn more about Miriam Guerrero Cheuk, MCC, by visiting her website, and check out what she is up to!
Find Miriam on LinkedIn to connect with her.


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

About This Episode

I happily welcome Miriam Guerrero Cheuk, MCC, to the Coaching Studio. Join us as we dive into ideas around empowerment and people’s basic needs, Autonomy, Purpose, and Mastery. We also take a turn into the idea that the most impactful coaches are the ones that don’t see themselves as coaches only professionally, but they see themselves as coaches in all aspects of their life. With that comes curiosity and exploring how we show up, with our ego in the way, or egoless. And how Proximal Learning is a pathway toward your development as a person and as a coach. Proximal Growth Miriam has been a Professional Coach since 2007 and founded Empowerment Coaching MC LLC. She maintains the Master Certified Coach (MCC) Certification with the International Coaching Federation (ICF), specializing in Leadership, Executive, and Life Coaching. She works as an internal and external coach in many different industries, including banking, Information Technology, start-ups, and large corporations. She is also an experienced trainer for topics like coaching, mindset, teamwork, cross-cultural communication, positive intelligence, and leadership. Miriam is a Coach Facilitator and Mentor Coach and enjoys supporting others in becoming the coaches they desire to be in alignment with ICF coaching competencies. Miriam coaches with laser focus and great depth, bringing her warm style of strong support and commitment to helping the client move forward! Miriam absolutely loves her work and the transformation it brings!

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

Lyssa deHart Hello, and welcome to The Coaching Studio. I’m your host, Lyssa deHart, and it is just, uh, a real pleasure today to have Miriam Cheuk. Today, she is an MCC coach with the International Coaching Federation in the studio today. Miriam, thank you so much for being on the show.
Miriam Cheuk Thank you so much for inviting me. I look forward to the dialogue.
Lyssa deHart I do too. I’m very excited to have this conversation with you. I would love to hear a little bit about what has been your coaching journey. What got you into coaching?
Miriam Cheuk I would have to say that what got me into coaching was all by chance. I came to the stage just to improve my English, and I was teaching first of the middle school, high school, and then college. And I was at the same time doing one master and then another one. And then it opened up a position that it was internal coaching position. And to be honest, that was in 2007. I had no idea what it was about. All I knew that it really was an opportunity to help people grow and develop. And I’m all about maximizing human potential. So that really sparked an interest. And I got the position, and then I started doing the job. And I had to really refine my skills and learn a lot because I really, truly didn’t know what the job was supposed to look like. It was kind of like I was developing kind of what I needed to do on the job. But I think most jobs, there’s a steep learning curve. And I remember vividly I had a conversation with a friend. We were walking, talking, and then she’s really, uh, high up in her corporation, and she’s an HR. And she mentioned, Marian, I know you do coaching. Have you ever considered doing coaching for the government or for other organization? And I said, oh, and so what do you need to do to do that? She’s like, I think it would be fabulous. All you would need. We look for people that are credential and accredited with the International Coach Federation. And I said, oh, tell me more. And so the conversation started. And that same night I looked it up, different programs, and I was like, I’m going to do this. Interestingly enough, I had thought about either pursuing a doctorate at that time, or then all of a sudden when I heard about the ICF accreditation, I was like, okay, well, I have two different avenues. What should I do? And then clearly for me, it was much more practical to continue my route of developing myself, um, and my identity of mediator thinking. That’s what I consider coaching to be. So I decided to become accredited. And it went pretty fast. 2019. I got my ACC. The following year I went for PCC in. Two years later, I went for my MCC. And it has been a wonderful journey. I have definitely enjoyed it. I still consider myself a beginner in the sense that I’m constantly learning and refining my skills. And I think we have never arrived. Um, if you’re truly a good coach, you have to be an avid learner. And that is truly me. I love learning. I am very curious by nature. And, um, I think back, I really can see some of the raw skills. Like, uh, when I was young, curiosity was something that people really identified about me. They always would say, Miriam, you’re going to end up either being an attorney or being a journalist. They just didn’t know what I would be doing in the future. And I even myself, didn’t know really what my purpose in life was going to be and ultimately what I was going to do. I just knew that I wanted some kind of leadership position. That it was more of a stewardship, um, like a servant leadership. I wanted something that would help others. And, um, coaching is truly my ikigai.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, you said something a moment ago, um, and I’m trying to think. I remember you and I met, I believe, last year. I think it was last year at one point, we connected. And I just always loved your energy. And were you working on your doctorate at that time? Uh, I kind of remember you were working on a doctorate, but I could be wrong.
Miriam Cheuk I had already two masters and I had like, 60, uh, additional graduate hours that people would be like, Miriam, if you had just focused on getting your doctorate, you would have done your graduate already. But honestly, I’m the kind of person that people would tell me, you’re just like a student. Like, you’re constantly telling me you’re learning this, you’re learning that, you’re applying. And I mean, for me, it’s not just garnishing the knowledge, I turn around and apply it. HM. So, yeah, my personality is one. And maybe at the time I was really also considering that has always been in the back of my mind to pursue a doctorate, um, or a PhD. But, uh, I just always, um, have been trying to be mindful of the investment. Now that I have kids, I’m also mindful like, okay, I have to pay for their college as well. Um, so maybe they come first. Um, and of course, um, you can always get some kind of a scholarship, but then that would require me to stop working and then fully invest myself in that. And I think sometimes, um, I do like the application of anything that I do. So that’s something to really kind of assess. How much do you learn versus how much do you turn around and apply it?
Lyssa deHart Yeah, I think it’s a real question for a lot of people, like, how am I going to invest, not even just financially into whatever this is, the education, because all of it is education. Um, but where am I going to focus that energy and financial resources in order to have an outcome that is most useful to me. You said something a few minutes ago that I thought was interesting. You use the language of I am a medium of, uh, how did you say that?
Miriam Cheuk A mediator of thinking.
Lyssa deHart Mediator of thinking, yeah. Tell me more about being a mediator of thinking?
Miriam Cheuk So even before I knew about the International Coach Federation, like I said, I pursue on, uh, my own doing a lot of, um, training and development to really develop or refine my craft. And one of the courses that was really very impactful was cognitive Coaching and in cognitive coaching and cognitive coaching and then Advanced Cognitive coaching. And there they discussed that truly, the most impactful coaches are the ones that don’t see themselves as coaches only professionally, but they see themselves as coaches in all aspects of their life. I mean, I’m obviously I’m paraphrasing, but, um, really the idea of every interaction matters, and so I take that responsibility too hard. Um, first of all, I love engaging in conversation with people. So I’m one of the ones that I might go to the gym, and when I go to the gym, people will just tell me their stories. And I’m always surprised, upon reflection, to think, wow, that person was so open. I’m vulnerable. I just recently met someone was telling me about how, um, she was a cranium, but her mom was Russian. And a little bit more about that. We went into conversation and it was very interesting. I just love the storytelling and kind of like knowing the stories behind people. And I think I take that opportunity very seriously in all aspects of my life. Even with my kids. I think they know me well. They’re like, mom, no more questions. I take that responsibility, uh, where I want to make sure that they are the critical thinkers. They’re the ones really coming up with their own awareness and solutions in life, uh, because that’s how it’s going to equip them back. Um, so I am very passionate about ensuring that I listen more than I speak. And I try to ask, ah, powerful questions that would really allow people to say, oh, that’s a really good question, and all of a sudden, some thin surfaces. So what I’m trying to say is that not only professionally, but also in the real world, um, I’ve always had a tendency to really be an active listener when I’m in relationship with people. Uh, because I really enjoy spending time with people. So that’s what I mean by being a mediator of thinking.
Lyssa deHart Yeah. And I don’t know, I love the idea of a mediator of thinking because I’ve never heard it expressed that way. And yet it makes sense when you share it, that it is that sense of like, partnering with other people. And I heard you talk also about listening to stories and really being interested in people’s stories. One of the things that I know I heard when I first started my coaching journey was get people to bottom line things. Get out of the story. Get out of that the weeds, or so to say. Um, and I was reading the MCC bars recently, and it says, coach really listens to stories. And so I’m just curious for you. What is this take on the stories that your clients bring you?
Miriam Cheuk I think it really gives me a lot of insight of who they really are and what’s important to them. The way they see the world storytelling is from their vantage point, right. If we were to ask someone else, they might tell me a different version of the same story. And so for me, every detail matters, but I still will get to the essence of why are they telling me that story? Right. Um, what is the essence of that? But I think the beauty of, um, listening to people’s stories is you really understand their identity and who they are as people. And there’s that connection of human to human. I just feel like the most, um, engaging presenters are also storytellers. So, uh, when you know about presenting to audiences, I think it’s important to not only talk about the why, which is kind of for those scientific minds, right. Like the why and what we’re going to cover and how we’re going to cover it. But for all those other people that are social beings, which most of us, we are very social, it’s important to always tell whatever you have to tell in a way that it becomes across as a story. So I’m just talking about even when you’re facilitated learning for others, and also in general, when you have something to tell others, when you tell it in a story, it’s much more impactful and beautiful. And it just really gives you a lot of information that is below the surface, like below the iceberg, right. Under the hood. Um, I get a lot of information in terms of beliefs, values, um, maybe things that they maybe assume, their mindset, their goals, et cetera. So it’s much more I am able to get, um, the conversation gets really deeper because I pay attention to what about the story that is important to them.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, I really appreciate that because I think I think a lot of coaches miss that because they’re so busy trying to figure out a solution, you know, or move a person towards a solution. They miss this beautiful opportunity to really explore below the iceberg. Right. I, uh, love under the Hood to get in there with your tools and kind of get under the hood and check things out. And you might need to tighten a fan belt. It isn’t just about getting the car, driving to, I don’t know, from Virginia to Seattle. Right. It’s about also, um, like, getting the car working correctly.
Miriam Cheuk Yeah. I mean, coaching is kind of surgery in a way. At one point, I was thinking to go into medical school and I think it is because you’re peeling the onion, but uh peeling the onion but also it’s like with your scapula, little by little, you’re taking away kind of what is on the surface to get a deeper level. Um, so I’m passionate about that. Uh, and since a, ah, young age now, I realize that about myself, since a young age, I was never into the surface conversation. I really appreciated, like, deep and thoughtful conversation. So now that I’m in coaching, I realize, well, this just matches me so well, because that is something that I really enjoy. I don’t enjoy so much, like the superficial conversation, not m that I can do it. I am good at networking and going to parties, and I can have basic conversation. But, uh, sometimes I take the opportunity to ask a little bit more probing questions or, um, questions that maybe sometimes might surprise people. Might say, oh, wow, thank you for asking that question, I appreciate it. Right. Um, and so I think that way you really connect with people, um, better. And you just never know, uh, how one conversation can change people and the impact you might have from just engaging in conversation. I’ve had the best conversations in events where people were like, wow, I really enjoy talking to you. What a synergy? And so I think that’s what it’s all about.
Lyssa deHart Well, and I think it’s interesting also, as you talk, one of the things that I, uh, have experienced with you is that synergy and also how you can hold the space of creating that connectivity between you and the other person. And I think I don’t know if there was a way to describe that exactly like how one does that. I don’t know if you have an idea about what it is that you pay attention to that allows you to be able to create synergy with different people, but I think it’s a really important quality in a good coach also is that ability to move into alignment with the person they’re working with and to create that synergy. Even if maybe originally the client doesn’t feel it with you, that you feel it with them, and then all of a sudden, it seems to manifest. I don’t know, um, as I’m saying that, I don’t know if something’s showing up for you or not, but, um.
Miriam Cheuk Yeah, for me, it’s all about energy. Um, energy is important to me. I tried to match the energy of my clients. Also known verbals are important to me. And the reason for that is, as you can tell, English is not my first language. I also speak Spanish and French. And so when I had to learn English, um, and refine my academic English, I rely mostly on my non verbal. So I had high intuition in that sense because I had to I had to figure out what the word meant by the context and by the non verbal, even before I knew the actual meaning of the word. So, um, I still rely on that. That has been something that has become very powerful because people will normally say, how do you know that? And I was just watching your nonverbal. And as we know, the messaging of the non verbal is much more powerful than the verbal. Right? The verbal, according to research, is only like 7%, whereas the nonverbal, the facial expressions, the tone, the body language, etcure. Really is much more powerful. And then you can see the inconsistencies between what people say yes. What people show you through the nonverbal. Um, and I think going back to energy, relationships are energy. So when you match the energy of the other person, you’re going to have synergy because you are just with the same kind of, ah, the same wavelength. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s just you try to follow the same pacing, um, you try to figure out and calibrate what they need and meet them where they’re, um, at.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, and I think that’s really interesting too. I don’t know if it has to do with mirror neurons, but I do believe it probably does have a little to do with how we are able to hold the space and mirror the person that we’re with in such a way that they feel comfortable and safe. And as a result of that, it opens up something for them as well. And then there’s this constant opening up of, um, the relationship and the capacity of the relationship. And I think it’s so important too, because going below the hood, if we don’t have safety and trust in the relationship, is going to be a much harder hood to open, um, than the one where there’s safety and trust. So I really appreciate you bringing that up, that forward. I know that your coaching is around empowerment coaching. I would love to hear more about this idea of empowerment coaching from your lens.
Miriam Cheuk I mean, one of the needs, m one of the human needs, basic needs is autonomy. So for me, it’s very important to make sure that the client always has the agenda, the client always has the voice and choice, and they feel empowered. And for me, it’s important that when the coaching session has finished, that they feel uplifted and they feel like they’re thriving as part of that cognitive process. That they’ve been able to allow emotions to surface, discuss emotions or things that are deeper, right? Not just the surface level that we would just be talking with friends, but at a deeper level. And you have someone right there with you to assist you and process the information. And at, uh, the end of the coaching session, you feel empowered, you feel ready to tackle whatever, uh, you might have brought to the coaching session. Um, so that is kind of what, um, when I talked about empowerment, um, I would say it’s kind of transformative. Right. We constantly talk about the difference between transactional versus transformational. And when you empower people, um, the thought behind is that, uh, there is a transformative conversation as a result is not just transactional.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, that’s a really important distinction because I think there’s so weird, I was just watching I don’t go to TikTok. I don’t really spend a lot of time on social media platforms like that. But somebody was like, you’ve got to go to TikTok. You got to see you should be on TikTok. So I went to TikTok and I looked up coaching, and there was something that came up right away. And it was like, coaching is a sham, because if they really wanted to support you in being better at your business, they would invest in your business. Like, they’d take shares of your business or whatever, because they should be, uh, invested in your outcomes. And I started laughing, and I’m like, it’s really the difference between the transformational and the transactional. Right. If you’re coming in as an advisor or a mentor or a guide for a business, yeah, maybe you should take that, um, take some shares in their business and that their business does well, then you do well. But as a coach, it’s a really different thing that is going on in that conversation. And I don’t think you get empowerment through the transactional.
Miriam Cheuk Mhm mhm yeah, it makes me laugh that you talk about TikTok, because now that I have kids, I am very invested about keeping up with all the social media that they might be in. Um, but, yeah, I guess going back to the empowerment versus other type of coaching, what I appreciate about the International Coach Federation, it has really made a distinction between coaching, consulting in other ways, and facilitation and therapy, et cetera. And I also appreciate the way that whoever is certified or accredited with International Coach Federation, then the more we are going to apply to the ethics and also really know how to give value to our clients. Right. I’m not saying that other, uh, hats don’t give you value, but I’m saying that if you’re saying you’re a coach, I do appreciate that we have a common language of what coaching looks like. Right. Um, I can’t control that people might call themselves coach, and that’s why the confusion comes about that a lot of people, um, when they first seek a coach, sometimes they don’t really know what coaching looks like. And that’s why it’s so important to really clarify it for the client.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, and I agree with you completely. I mean, I think there are a lot of people that call themselves coaches, and it’s an unregulated, uh, industry. So that’s kind of the downside of an unregulated industry, is that anybody can call themselves something. And yet there is a huge difference between telling somebody what to do and creating a plan for them and giving them a strategy for success, um, versus the transformational area of, uh, really exploring what’s below the surface and what’s below the waterline that’s driving your actions and outcomes that aren’t in alignment with what you said is important to you. And what I hear you saying is it’s that the medium of thought, you’re really getting below the surface of the thinking and also the behaviors in alignment with that thinking and what person says and what a person does and being in alignment in a lot of different ways, that demonstrates what a person is actually, um, capable of doing. I’m also curious with the empowerment piece, I heard you use the word autonomy, and I think of agency also, as you say that word. I’m very interested in your thoughts on this, but I think most people don’t feel like they have autonomy or agency and feel very disempowered in the world, in life. And I’m just curious what your thoughts are on a that, but also how to move. Like, how would you support somebody to move out of that mindset of, I’m helpless, I have no power towards that sense of empowered agency for autonomy.
Miriam Cheuk Yeah, it’s all about the locus of control, realizing what it is within your locus of control versus not what is it that you can control versus not. Right. And I think sometimes it’s gradually until suddenly they realize that they had more agency than they realized. And I think it is little by little. I think when you come across people that they feel disempowered, um, it has been a journey for them, so it didn’t happen overnight. A lot of times, it’s a process. And and like any other aspect, um, of people, you have to work with a lot of tactics to make sure that they realize, little by little, that they have a, uh, voice and choice, and that agency determines outcomes and your future. And when you see yourself as not having voice and choice or autonomy, then really, it’s very, um, not victim mentality, but, um, very helpless. Right? Like, you almost feel like others determine who you are and your choices, which is not very empowering. Um, so I think, um, you got to get your power back. Part of getting your power back is realizing that, yes, you have choices, and the choices will come with difficulty. Right. Like, pursuing something, there might be consequences to it, but you always have a choice.
Lyssa deHart And I think that’s really interesting, too, because you bring up locus of control. And I’m a big I love the ideas of locus of control. It’s like, you may not have control over the things that you wish you had control over, but you have control over something. Right. What you say, think, and do, and how do you respond and react to the situations that you find yourself in and really focusing on where you have that agency. I think you’re right. Um, that’s kind of a mindset shift, though, right, where all the power is out there versus what’s the power in here?
Miriam Cheuk And what do you have control? Is the story that you’re telling yourself.
Lyssa deHart Mhm, right?
Miriam Cheuk And so I think we started there. Like, what are you telling yourselves and how does that make you feel? And what is the outcome of that? Is it a response or is it a reaction? And then how do we manage that? How do we outsmart our brain?
Lyssa deHart How do we do that’s? A really good question. How do we outsmart our brain?
Miriam Cheuk Well, I mean, that is part of understanding, um, the process. Like, what are your triggers, what are your biases? And understand that sometimes we’re just wired to kind of run away. Something triggers you and this is the response, right? And so you have to change that little by little. Um, and I think often how that is difficult for people, but it’s a process. It’s just interesting because with parenting, obviously, I have teenagers now and if you know anything about teenagers, um, you really have to have a lot of empathy and a lot of understanding and give them a lot of voice and choice because they crave autonomy. But clearly you still have to have expectations of boundaries, right? But within those boundaries, um, they have to have the agency to make choices in life. And it’s much better to do it in a safe environment while they’re still teenagers, right? But not later on when those, um, choices, if they’re not well thought out, they can have bigger, uh, consequences. Um, so I take big responsibility in ensuring that I don’t get triggered because maybe sometimes, like, the attitude or whatever, I just like, very calmly take a deep breath and then I just use a lot of coaching skills. Um, and I think that has developed a relationship where I strengthened the relationship because I do hear with a lot of parents that they talk about how it is very difficult if you had teenagers. Um, it’s just a difficult age. There’s a lot of transitions, um, they’re growing and developing and they’re hormones. And so there is a lot going on. And so you have to be very understanding, but it’s still having high expectations and boundaries. Uh, but it’s kind of like a sweet pro quo. Um, you cannot be the authoritarian, uh, parent. And I think a lot of us were brought in a different way of parenting. So I think it’s very important to kind of become better, right? As a result of what is the context, what do we know about research? What do brains need? Right? And what is the brain of a teenager need? And then be able to provide that to ensure that you can have communication and transparency. That communication. Um, and they can come to you for anything because they know there will be a traditional national love. Um, and sometimes they’re going to make mistakes. Um, I think I’m saying that because the brain is really powerful. And I think even with resistance, like, when I think of, um, coaching people, normally in your own business, you have people that just obviously they’re willing, right? But if you work in corporations where people are mandated, perhaps, um, to be coached, a lot of times you’re going to find people that are resistant or so people are labeled that they’re resistant, and I beg to differ. I don’t think it’s resistance. I think what is underneath that resistance is fear. And part of our job is to meet them where they’re at and be curious mhm what’s really happening.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, I would agree. I would definitely agree. And I think, um, it’s honestly, if you can learn how to do that with your own teenagers, you can learn how to do that with anybody. So, like, teenagers are like this beautiful gift of opportunity to learn how to throttle back and not just be reactive every time, I don’t know, they make a mistake or they challenge you on something. I, uh, think they’re a great training ground. But the thing that really shows up for me is you’re talking also with self awareness and self curiosity as well. Um, I just did a webinar recently, and it’s like, how do you start to look at your biases? Well, part of moving biases from implicit to conscious is really that we’re curious with ourselves when things happen. And instead of being upset with the teenager or the client or the whatever, like, what’s going on inside of me that has me roiling like this, um, I need to get clarity around that. And also, this may not be about me with this other person. To your point, sometimes people are mandated into doing coaching, which is tough. It’s sort of like being mandated into therapy or mandated into anything. Right. It’s like, talk about not feeling like you have a choice and don’t have agency. And so people come in, uh, maybe a little bit with a chip on their shoulder. And how would you feel if it were you being mandated, quote unquote, into something?
Miriam Cheuk I think two things, I’ll say. One, I have developed a lot of interest around emotional intelligence. And two, I, um, feel like the more professional development, personal development that you do as a coach, the more impactful you’re going to be.
Lyssa deHart Mhm.
Miriam Cheuk So part of my obsession over learning is because I want to be my best self. And I know that as I within the zone of proximal development, stretch myself and constantly learn, I’m going to be more equipped to really meet my clients where they’re at. And I just love about that, that I constantly I mean, my work for the year, I don’t know if you do that. Um, I work for the year. Instead of the smart goal, I use the one word intention. And for me, it’s flow. It’s being in the flow. And what that means is I’m, um, just in the zone. I’m fully present for every interaction I might have with people. I’m stretched cognitively as well. I make sure that I’m constantly cognitively challenging myself. And that’s as opposed to being anxious or overwhelmed, um, or worried, you know, I’m just going to be in the flow. And so I think sometimes it’s a mindset, right? Um, I think a lot of times, um, it’s our own brain that gets us all hyped up over things, right? Uh, where it’s concerned. Um, so, for example, if you’re going to do a, ah, presentation or even this podcast, um, people could get nervous, right? But I think that is part of making sure that you understand, okay, if I’m sensing some nervousness, that’s because my ego is getting in the way, right? But if I’m ego less, right, and I’m showing up because I want to be of service to other people that might be listening, then I’m just going to be humble, vulnerable, and provide what I can. If what I share is a value of others, then I’ve done, um, my duty, right? So when you’re in service of other people, I think, and you don’t think so much about yourself, then I think you’re going to be much more likely to be in the flow than in, uh, any other situation.
Lyssa deHart Well, and you brought up the proximity learning and I’m going to just share my understanding of it. You correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s this idea is there are certain things that you could do in your sleep, like, you’re just so good at it. Like you can just drive to your job, whatever. You could do it without even being aware of it. And then there’s the stuff that you can do when you stretch. And then there’s the stuff that you couldn’t do even, uh, unless you had a lot and a lot of resources. But that can constantly be moving forward towards things that what you couldn’t have done a year ago, you can now easily do this year if you get support. And I think it’s a crucial element because I think sometimes people come into, I don’t know this idea if I need to be an expert at something versus providing value or I need to never make a mistake versus um, showing up and being fully present or doing my own work so that I have the capacity to hold the space of coaching or the space of whatever I’m doing better. Am I kind of capturing that proximal growth idea, um, right there, or is there something you would add?
Miriam Cheuk Well, first of all, I’ll say that coaching, you don’t have to be an expert on the subject. It would just be a matter of like, in coaching, you want to refine your skills in terms of understanding your science, in terms of maybe doing team coaching, make sure that the team coaching is different than the group coaching and different than the one on one coaching, um, et cetera. So I guess what I meant by zone approximal development is the concept that when you’re learning, you want to stretch and find difficulties. Like when you go to the gym, you’re going to want to feel your muscles to ensure that that’s an indication that perhaps you’ve worked sufficient. Right? All of a sudden you’re in pain all week, then maybe you’re off, right? And then you’re not going to.
Lyssa deHart Maybe you overdid it.
Miriam Cheuk Exactly. So I think the zone of proximal development means when, for example, I talk about learning, I talk about what is it something that I want to build some intentional entity around, that I want to become better? How do I stretch myself that I still haven’t searched in, right? But I see it as an opportunity. I don’t see it as a challenge. I’m not overwhelmed. I see it as an opportunity. I’m almost excited because I’m stretching myself. Now. What ends up happening is if you know anything about teaching and learning easy. If you, for example, even with going to the gym, if you go to a class where you’ve never worked out a day in your life, and then you go to the most intense class, you’re going to get overwhelmed. And you’re going to be like, after the first exercise, you’re going to be like, uh, forget to come back. I want to head out. I don’t even feel comfortable here. I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel like I belong. Right? And what we know about or the human beings is we have the need of belonging and relatedness and connection, right? Apart from autonomy. That is another need that we have. Um, so I think it’s important that you pursue that intentionality around something you want to learn, but knowing that, yes, you want to stretch yourself, but you don’t want to overwhelm yourself.
Lyssa deHart Right? You don’t want to go straight into the super high speed yoga Zumba class, right? You want to start off with something that is a challenge, but isn’t so challenging that you quit. And I think that I really appreciate that this is coming up, because I think that we ask our clients all the time to have these different kinds of mindsets. Yet we as individuals, human beings, coaches also will often put maybe unrealistic expectations on ourselves for whether it’s about our business or whether it’s about what kind of coach we are or what it is. Uh, it was so interesting. I was talking to somebody recently, and they’re like, I’m never going to be able to ask questions like you, because you’re like an MCC and you’re so great, right? I’m sure you hear this also. And I was listening to a call that I recorded when I was an ACC, and I had just really started coaching, and I had to record this call for something. And I was like, I’m, um, making all the same mistakes right. That everybody makes. And so it is that it is a journey. To your point earlier, MCC isn’t a destination. Ah. It’s just a marker that says you made it here and the journey continues. If you keep an open mindset in a creative, curious mind.
Miriam Cheuk Absolutely. It was interesting because when you were talking about, um, the zone of proximal development, what made me think about if I’ve never worked out, I’m not going to sign up for a marathon, right. That I start walking and running and then perhaps a five K and then eventually a ten K, et cetera. But I’m not going to just directly sign for a marathon. So that’s what I meant about his own approximately development. Just a better example.
Lyssa deHart That’s a brilliant it’s such a simple example. Right. Let’s go back to the car. Like, I’m probably not going to fix my engine either. I’m not ready for that. I’ve got a lot of YouTube videos I’m going to need to watch first before I take on my engine.
Miriam Cheuk Yeah. And I think parallel, parallel thinking. Um, I’m finding the connection that coaching, it is definitely not a spread, it is a marathon. So when you develop and refine your coaching skills, it’s going to be for life. Right. Um, so hopefully you’re better. And I think people, as they engage in the act and MPCC and MCC, there’s going to be much more metal cognition, much more thinking about your own thinking. And hopefully you’ve had a mentor, coach, somebody else that also assists you or supervisor right. To help you in terms of not only the competencies, but the being. And I think what interesting thing is when I think about my own journey of accused one, what I do think is that clearly, um, at the MCC level, I have master better the ability to the depth and the flow, mhm, and the connection. I think at the ACC, I was so worried about meeting the mark, um, or the competencies that maybe would really come across much more robotic or mechanical. Right. I am mindful of that and I hold on to that because now that I’ve been a coach, I want to make sure that I have that empathy, that it is not as easy as it seems. Right. So, depending when you’re looking, it’s easy for us to look at a recording. But if it was too long ago, you might not remember what it was for you. But I want to always hold on, um, because you can always get better. Even when you record nowadays yourself, you can rewatch and be like, wow, okay.
Lyssa deHart You have to get over the self talk. Like, oh, my God. Um, but I think it’s really important. Do you ever watch football? I’m not a huge football fan, but we watch football fairly regularly in our house. And it could be soccer, football, sports. You’ve got teenagers.
Miriam Cheuk I watch my kids, they do play sports, so I do watch their sports.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, well, and that’s probably more fun because you’re outside doing something else. But one of the things that I’ve really been struck by lately is every time they have a play, those guys are watching the play and they’re doing a little mini assessment on what they did, where their thinking was and what, uh, other choices they might have had in that moment. And maybe they didn’t have any other choices. Maybe they did the very best that they could in that moment. But there’s a self reflective quality to the way that they’re assessing their own work. And I think that is crucial in coaching just like any other sport. Um, I don’t really consider coaching a sport. I consider it much more of I don’t know, it doesn’t really matter because sports is a profession too. These guys are doing sports at a professional level. And if you’re going to do coaching at a professional level, I think it’s crucial that there’s that self reflective quality of really looking at your work and not just like how your mind remembers that conversation. Because if you had asked me about the call I did in 2014, I promised you I would have been like, no, I asked a very open ended question and it was really useful. And, uh, in listening to it, yeah, it was open ended, but it was very situational transactional. And I think that’s where we all start. Right. Um, I think it’s just really part of that journey of learning to run a marathon. You’re going to have to start with walking or maybe jogging if you’re already jogging, and all the different things that will help get your body into the right place for being able to run a marathon. That’s a big thing.
Miriam Cheuk Mhm for me, the expression that comes up is grace, not grief. So even though you’re reflective, we have that negativity bias where we can be very self critical. And I even see with my clients. Um, so I think it’s important to remember that you’re self grace. You, uh, have an opportunity to do it differently. And you’re going to optimize that and you’re going to commit to that in the future. But give yourself grace and not grief. Because if you give yourself grief, it’s really going to take a lot of your joy. And as a result, you can have less energy to implement what you want.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, any kind of self judgment really shuts down our minds also versus, ah, seeing it. It kind of goes into, like, mindset by Carol Dweck, that book. Um, and the kids who are like, oh, this is going to be a puzzle, versus the kids who are like, I’m not even playing because I can’t figure it out. Right? It’s like, you’ve got to really move into that growth mindset of this is going to be a puzzle. I want to figure it out. And I think that probably serves new, uh, coaches and developing coaches and continuing to develop coaches. The best is to have that open growth mindset. And to your point earlier around empowerment and autonomy and agency, I mean, this is something you have complete power over. Is your decision to become selfreflective that’s within your sphere of influence, right?
Miriam Cheuk Absolutely. And I think we talked earlier about some of the human needs, basic human needs. Right. We talked about, um, relationship and connection and belonging that that’s important to people. We talked about also autonomy. And I think the other thing that is coming up for me is mastery. People have a need for mastery and that can be different spheres, whatever is important to you or you’re passionate about. But, um, mastery is something that comes up for people. That is a human need. Another human need is purpose. Um, so I think that’s why it’s so important that you end up finding what you really were meant to do. Because when you do what you love, it doesn’t feel like work, it feels like a hobby. And I think if more people were able to identify and pursue and that’s always a risk. Right. It takes a lot of courage to pursue something that maybe is uncertain at the time. Um, but that will pay off if you consider that your purpose and you follow what you are m meant to do. Uh, it definitely will pay off. And I think it’s interesting because people always talk about, oh, I want more happiness, I want more joy in my life. And the truth behind that is you attain that when you have more clarity as to what you are meant to do, what are the things that you enjoy, what feels you?
Lyssa deHart Yeah, I think that is so relative, especially when we’re looking in an environment now where people are resignating even if they don’t leave their job. Right. The great resignation of people being unhappy in the work that they do. And I think there’s not everybody, but I think there’s a lot of people who are like, if this is my one life that I know of for sure, is this really how I want to be spending this time? In this very precious amount of time, in the gap between birth and the ending of this life experience that I’m having? And I think having even if the purpose is it doesn’t have to be a grandiose purpose. It can be, I am a decent human being to the people that I meet. Right. Which is, I think, probably an immense purpose. But, um, it doesn’t have to be grandiose in the sense of I’m five foot seven and I become an NFL player or something. I keep going to sports today. I don’t know exactly why, because I’m not even a sporty person, uh, specifically. But I think there are things that are meaningful to how we want to leave our legacy in the world. Right.
Miriam Cheuk Mhm and I will just say, based on something that you mentioned earlier when you talked about the growth mindset versus the fixed mindset, it’s also the acknowledgment. And I think about also coaching conversations as well as parenting, that it’s important to ensure that we’re not acknowledging a fixed rate right. Or not a fixed rate, but we’re not acknowledging something that will not help the person grow and develop. So what I mean by that, that’s one of the reasons we don’t acknowledge in kids oh, how intelligent you are. We don’t say that because that doesn’t help. Right. Um, there’s a lot of backfire talking about, um, child development, so it’s much better to acknowledge effort. Um, so I’m saying that because it just made me think about how even in any interaction, even in coaching, what you acknowledge from the client has to be something that they can see, that is through effort and intentionality, that they can attain.
Lyssa deHart Yeah, that is a really, um, I think, crucial point, too, because I think when you look at the competencies and it says acknowledging clients capacities and things like that, I think what you’re speaking to there is also we’re not cheerleaders going, rah rah, you did so awesome. But rather, I can see you’re really putting a lot of intentionality in finding flow. And I’m curious what you’re learning about yourself as you go through this. That’s an acknowledgment. It isn’t a Miriam, you’re so awesome, you’re working on flow. Right. I’m not judging it as a good thing or a bad thing, but rather as a thing that you’re working towards achieving more of. Right. And I think that’s super critical for coaches, especially because I think most coaches come into coaching because they like people and so they want to be sort of cheerleaders, and yet that’s not as useful as being more, I don’t know, useful and maybe caretakers of the curiosity or mediums of thought right. And just being curious with people about what they’re discovering about themselves. Ah, I have absolutely enjoyed having you on the show. Um, um, I’m going to be making links for people so they can go into the notes below and they can find links to meet you on LinkedIn or find you at your website or, um, they’ll be able to find you, uh, as they listen to the show and get to explore more about what you’re up to. Um, I’ve been ending this season with a question. If you were to be writing your autobiography today, what would you title it? And I’m super curious, um, what you would title your autobiography if you were writing it today.
Miriam Cheuk Miriam, I would say ever evolving. Miriam ever evolving.
Lyssa deHart Miriam I love it because clearly who.
Miriam Cheuk I was today will not be who I am tomorrow. And hopefully it’s always for the better. That’s why I would call it ever evolving.
Lyssa deHart I love that. Yeah. And who you were yesterday, I mean, you’re probably a better coach today than you were yesterday. And it’s just little steps along the way of all the different things that you’re practicing in the way that you are being m and I really appreciate you being on the show here today. Thank you so much for joining me on the Coaching Studio.
Miriam Cheuk Absolutely. Thank you. It was at my absolute pleasure. I really enjoyed it. And I also want to acknowledge you because it takes a lot of effort and intentionality, what you’re doing, interviewing all the MTC, um, different coaches. And I think what you bring to the world, hopefully, um, it’s a lot of value and it’s impactful. So I want to acknowledge that as well. Thank you so much.
Lyssa deHart Thank you. Bye.

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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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