Season 2, Episode 43

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 Ebony Smith, MCC to the Coaching Studio

the Coaching Studio Guest in the Chair

I am happy to share Dorothy Siminovitch, Ph.D., MCC, with the Coaching Studio Podcast.

Quick Links from Episode

You can find Ebony Smith, MCC on her Website

You can also connect with Ebony Smith, MCC on LinkedIn

Credits

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

About This Episode

With great pleasure, in the final show of Season 2, I would like to introduce Ebony Smith, MCC. This conversation explores with thoughtfulness the idea of Self-Care for Coaches. Many coaches know a lot about what they share with their clients to help them with self-care, yet don’t consistently practice the habits that serve them as coaches, leaders, and business owners. Join us as we relax into this idea of Leaders and Coaches starting with themselves when it comes to care. Listen for the 5methodology.

Ebony Smith, founder of Ebenum Equation, is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Master Certified Coach (MCC). She is a leadership development expert with a passion for creating forward-thinking leaders. After 20 years of risk management experience in the Fortune 100 (Sunoco, BP, and World Fuel Services), her full-spectrum-lens view of leadership has empowered her to help individuals hone their goals and reach their full potential.

Bringing an innovative, straightforward approach, she pushes individuals to leave their “Subject Matter Expert” mindset behind and become relationship-oriented leaders that drive their organizations into the future.

Ebony is passionate about cooking, self-care, and exploring cultures.

We help high-performing teams hack themselves to unlock the power of incremental self-awareness to increase resilience while achieving a flow state. For example, we provide longitudinal care to an opioid crisis team. Our work has reduced stress, increased collaboration, and actively reduced the factors that lead to crisis clinician burnout.

Leadership is a skill and a mindset that needs space to incubate and grow.

Connect with Ebony Smith, MCC on LinkedIn

Instagram: @ebenumequationcoaching

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

Lyssa deHart

Hello, it’s Lyssa deHart here. Thank you for tuning in to the Coaching Studio. I am excited to introduce you to Ebony Smith. She is a Master Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation and somebody who I’m very excited to have a conversation with today. Ebony, thank you so much for being on the Coaching Studio today.

Ebony Smith

Thank you so much for having me. I really do appreciate the time we’re going to spend together today.

Lyssa deHart

Am very much looking forward to it myself. Well, as you know, one of my first questions is, I’m always fascinated by the origin story of how somebody ended up through their career, ended up becoming an MCC coach, and being in the seat that you’re sitting in. Um, how did we end up here together in this moment?

Ebony Smith

Okay, so bear with me. I’m going to give you a little bit of a beginning. It all started in 2014. In 2014, I decided I was going to actually use all six weeks of my vacation that I had. I had never done it before. I was like the habitual two or three week carryover. I did a bit of hiking in the Andes, and then I also decided my number one bucket list place was going to Bhutan, and I was going to go do some hiking in the Himalayas. And for the first time in my career, I was taking a 21 day vacation. So I convinced some girlfriends to go with me. So we’re a group of five, and we hit a few countries, but ended up spending about ten days in Bhutan, hiking and meditating, and just me being out of breath and throwing up from the altitude. But it was fantastic. I came back really clear in who I was, not knowing that I was getting prepared. So that was November of, uh, 2014. Fast forward to January 2015. And my company had been asking me to relocate, and I said no. And then they made it an ultimatum. And for the first time, I had so much clarity from the hiking and the rest, um, that I picked me. I said, I take a bet on myself. And it came with a non compete period where I knew I needed to be home and I’d be out of the workforce for a little bit. And on that first Monday morning in 40 years, when I had no place to go for the first time in my life, because I even have preschool before then, right? Um, I was like, I need help. And so I had reached out to a coach I’d work with, and we were kind of working on some things, but then I realized I needed more, and I was like, the cheapest way for me to do this is actually just to go to coaching school for my transformation. A friend suggested it to me. And so, honestly, I went to coaching school to work on myself, because it was the economical way for me to get a personal transformation. And I thought it would make me a better leader when I went back into my corporate organization.

Lyssa deHart

You know, I think that’s fascinating. So a, uh, couple of things. One, taking 21 days off of vacation after what sounds like not really utilizing vacation very much. That’s an act of courage in and of itself. Um, and it sounds, as you were speaking, it sounds transformational. What was the transformation into choosing yourself and taking that bet on yourself?

Ebony Smith

When you sit and you’re meditating for a few hours at a time every day, and you see monks and people happy, and the mountain air, it’s pure, the pine trees. And I just came back really well rested. And I had been meditating them, but I wasn’t deep in my practice. And I remember sitting with people that had masters degrees, PhDs in it. These are the monks that were at the temples that we were visiting. They’re like, oh, we don’t get to meditate until we’re in graduate school. Right. Because it really is preparing them. And so when you’re in monastic life, meditation has a different purpose.

Lyssa deHart

Mhm.

Ebony Smith

So I had a level of clarity and then I came back on that flight back. It was the longest flight leg I had ever taken. It was 17 hours straight. Uh, almost it was like 16 hours and 40 minutes back home, um, after my second connection. And I said and I was like, what do I want to get from this? And I was like, you know what, I’m going to take better care of myself. I’m going to be truer to me. I’m going to use my values a little bit more of the compass. And, um, so when I got asked the question, I had a lot of clarity on picking me. I just wanted to pick me. I think that was the thing that they didn’t recognize, that they didn’t know that they were talking to a new version of me. And I remember I used to always have a vision board party with my friends, like the Saturday after the New Year weekend. Um, and I invite people who have lunch. We do vision boards. And for the first time, I got hypnotized on my vision board to hold it as a singular focus on helping me create a new version of my life. And so that was also helpful.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, I’m really hearing this intense awareness and focus towards this new, really new vision of how you want to be in the world. I hear you go into coaching school because it’s going to make you a better leader within your organization, who at this point has no clue who you are because you change so radically in a month. Um, and what transpires that has you go, I forget about this isn’t just about me working on me. I mean, that’s an element of it. But I like this.

Ebony Smith

Well, I think in uncertainty um, you can get curious. And so during that period when I was in that leave period, I just got curious, what are the things that I liked about being an organization? What were the things that made it harder? And I thought, okay, if I go to coaching school, it’s going to make me a better leader that way. The things I liked, which were working with, um, more junior members of the team or supporting peers that I had the opportunity that had better skills to engage with them deeply. Right? And so I was at the point where I always say, in organizations, there’s two types of people. They’re the people who make the revenue and the people who account for the revenue. And if you go beyond a certain point, the only thing you’ll ever do is account for it. And I was still at the making it and managing teams level, at the global director level. And so I enjoyed that part of really understanding our business and what we were doing and making relationships. And so how could I do that better and deeper? Mhm. So I wanted that in my next role. And so Coaching School was going to help me build out those relationships.

Lyssa deHart

Well, not to deviate too much here, but that’s a really important concept, which is coaching makes a better leader. How do you see the leadership being a, uh, leader being impacted by not that they need to ever become a coach, like, this is my full time gig, or anything like that, but how does coaching development and coaching training help a leader be a better leader?

Ebony Smith

It taught me how to listen. Like so many people and coaches know, you think you know how to listen, but you really don’t, right? And so somehow the world shapes us. That we’re waiting for people to stop speaking. And when you’re in Coaching School, you realize, oh, I really don’t know how to listen. It’s one of the first skills they teach you in addition to how to ask really great open ended questions.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, it was funny. I was just having this conversation with somebody yesterday because they’re like, um, how do you stay in a state of nonattachment to the outcome for the client? And I think that this is really kind of integrated into that also in the sense of we are taught to tell, we’re taught to solve for. And that capacity to sit in the space of and just hold the space and deeply listen to another human being as they’re communicating. Whatever it is that they’re communicating is such an important skill set. And I think Coaching school is one of the things that I see happen because it’s a skill we aren’t. Apparently, if we’re born with it, it’s cultured out of us.

Ebony Smith

Um.

Lyssa deHart

However we get there, um, we end up learning these kind of speaker listener techniques. Right? Like Ebony. I just heard you say x Y ZW element op. And in that way, I’m reflecting back to you and I think there’s also that transformation as we learn to listen at a deeper level where we’re not just rote reflecting back to you what I just heard you say, but rather listening to more of the key elements. And I think that’s so crucial that you bring that up for leaders, for coaches, for human beings in relationship with other sentience in the world.

Ebony Smith

I think probably that was one of m the things that I realized and realized then, and that I realized the more now. Um, people oftentimes want to be heard, and the way you can respect that, even when you disagree, because sometimes we have to listen and signal receptiveness, but not agreement. Like, I’m receptive to the words that you’re saying. In no way do I agree with you.

Lyssa deHart

I’m sorry. I hear you.

Ebony Smith

I hear you right. And I can acknowledge and summarize and do all of those things that you’re asking for and ask probing questions. Mhm that also don’t signal that I’m agreeing, but also signal receptiveness. And I think it’s in that listening that great relationships are built. And so those are the skills that I was grateful that I was acquiring. Because I was like, oh, right away this has applicability to real life. And I remember my first peer coaching sessions and I actually was getting, um, my person was someone who was transitioning out of being a psychiatrist and transitioning into coaching. And, uh, I was like our sessions because they were Ivy League educated psychiatrists and I was like, I want to take a break from trauma. I want to see what it’s like to help people make a path forward and not help them clear a trauma that they’ve gone through. My peer coach attempts, I’ve heard and seen things that I would be okay if I didn’t know. But I’m grateful I was able to help the people I was working with. Mhm and it would be nice to help people build lives. I was surprised though, like, you other people, how many people in my class were therapists, or we had just had the one psychiatrist, but I have friends. She’s like, I was a therapist. She goes, I enjoyed therapy, but I enjoyed this part more.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, I mean, we could go off on a whole tangent, but that would be not about you, so we’re not going to.

Ebony Smith

But that was one of the things, like, what does it look like to deeply listen to other people and ask great questions and help them come up with a plan to move forward. And so it’s inside of that practice and that, um, level of upskilling reskilling myself that I thought, if I was ever going to do this full time, when would I do it besides now?

Lyssa deHart

Because putting it off and away and over there, it’s just at some point your tomorrow self is going to look back and be like, why didn’t I start this earlier?

Ebony Smith

Mhm. And so with clarity I was like, I need to increase my faith and trust. Because in the end and now I know that’s the highest emotion you could have, faith, trust and love, not happiness or contentment. Faith, trust and love are much higher vibration than being happy. And so what does it look like when you walk on faith? Um, and saying, this could be my path. It may not be clear to me, m, but I know what tomorrow will bring.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, I love that faith, trust and love. That very much aligns with the belief, uh, that I have my belief system, which is I think that whatever energy we are putting into the world is the energy we resonate with. And so we end up calling to ourselves and being attracted to those who also use maybe slightly different language like faith, uh, trust and love. And I think of it as the energy of joy. Right, but it’s the same energy. It’s the same energy and then you find yourself attracted to that, but you also kind of going back to your experience in Bhutan. The monks are joyful and laughing in the moment and present with the experiences that they’re having from that energy of faith, trust and love. Right? And joy. Laughter.

Ebony Smith

I would absolutely add joy in there, but also being present and anchoring in the moment.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah. And I think that’s another key to this journey into MCC because I’ve seen it with ACC and PCC and non coaches. So I mean, I’ve seen presence fully show up and be fully actualized in a lot of different people who are not coaches. And yet I think coaching is very much, um it’s part of the core of how we are with people, which I think shifts the focus and intentionality of becoming more present. What has this experience as you moved through your different credentials and you continued to get educated in coaching and develop your coaching mastery, what have you learned about yourself but also just about the process of becoming a coach?

Ebony Smith

One, sometimes I need to so I always tell in my process, I tell people, oh, you sometimes need to helicopter up on who you are and look down with a curious eye and what are the things that I see about myself? What are the things that people recognize and what are the things that I would like to bring in and how can I triangulate those things to bring it closer to me? It’s in that like being an observer in my own life, stepping away from ego and saying, if I was to look down on me, what would I say about my day? Right? And so that’s the honing. And so I always talk about and think about, can I hone this a little bit? Just sharpen it slightly. Make tomorrow a little bit better than today was. I just write down three things like that was my top three. And if I could think about what I would do to make tomorrow better. And I regress. I mean, everybody regresses.

Lyssa deHart

We’re human.

Ebony Smith

We’re human. And sometimes I willfully. And joyfully, Regress.

Lyssa deHart

I want the cookie.

Ebony Smith

Exactly. I’m going to lay in bed today and I’ll be like, you know what? I’m going to lay in bed today or I’m going to take a shower, put on sweatpants, and I will be on my couch. Um, and I will catch up on everything on HGTV. Or I’ll be.

Lyssa deHart

Joyfully.

Ebony Smith

Joyfully put lasagna in the oven and have a salad because I’m going to eat that lasagna all day because I don’t want to cook again. And just like relax, right? And so knowing that sometimes that I’m waking up and deciding that because before it would just happen.

Lyssa deHart

Mhm.

Ebony Smith

But now I make appointments with myself and I sudden in time, right? And I’ll be like, oh yeah, I’m going to lay on the couch all day and eat this. But I will make an appointment to meet friends maybe at 630. So I know it’s like my seven to 630 thing. And then I’ll get out, I’ll be social. I call it peopleing. I’ll, uh, people for a while and then it was a great day for me. And so I think it’s in the actualization, um, and really being conscious of making those choices. Sometimes we make those choices and it’s unconscious because we wipe ourselves out. But other times when you have that level of awareness and you can move beyond ego and be like, you know what? I’m looking at my calendar two weeks out. I’m going to be wiped out when I come back from this particular trip and I’m crossing the United States, I’m going to have been there presenting, uh, or coaching for four or five days that Saturday. I either need to just decide to be at home in Cocoon and then maybe I’ll go to the beach or get a massage or something like that and then see some friends that always recharge me and intentionally schedule that out and not just wait for life to happen. And I think that’s a level of awareness that coaching brought for me.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, I definitely know that. To your point, if I don’t schedule the downtime, I don’t take it.

Ebony Smith

Mhm.

Lyssa deHart

There’s uh, always something that will get in the way of sitting there. And I love the other thing that you’re really speaking to, which is if I intentionally decide today is the day I’m going to be in my sweatpants, I’m going to be eating lasagna while I’m watching TV as I sit on my couch with my dogs. That’s my intention for the day. I don’t have a sense of guilt that I’m not doing something that I’m supposed to be doing because I’ve intentionally set that time to the side. And so, um, I have a greater capacity to enjoy myself in that moment, right? I can just be, like, revel in, I don’t know, uh, HGTV, which I happen to also love.

Ebony Smith

Yeah. It makes me think I’m handier than I really am, that I could do that’s. Absolutely not true. I started project. I was like, I probably need to call a test drive, but to help me with this. Why did I need this?

Lyssa deHart

Uh, it’s not really DIY.

Ebony Smith

It’s DIWatch.

Lyssa deHart

Change that, Y to a W. It’s.

Ebony Smith

Pretty interesting, but like, scheduling those days, and it just doesn’t happen when I want to break. Sometimes I’ll use this skill when I know I want to cry because I feel heavy because of some of the things that’s happening in the world. Right?

Lyssa deHart

Yeah.

Ebony Smith

And specifically after you’ve Uvaldi I felt heavy. Right. Um, I was like, you know what? Tonight I’m going to watch the last four episodes of “This Is Us” because I’ve never not watched the episode of this of US and shed a tear, too. And I was like, I need a good cry, and “This Is Us” could be could give me that healing wave that I need and knowing that that’s why I was doing it.

Lyssa deHart

It’s m totally intentional.

Ebony Smith

Totally intentional. Right. And intentionally grieving, just being empathetic to what fellow human beings were going through. Also knowing that it’s okay to shed an emotional experience even if I’m just watching it as a third party. Right. And then think about what kind of action could I take? Right? And so one of the differences I always talk about between shame and guilt is shame, as you hold onto it, guilt is, I’m going to feel it and then I’ll take action.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, I love that. Because I do think there’s different kinds of shame. There’s the shame where we feel less than for not a valid reason. Right. And we’ve maybe been subjected to somebody else’s dumping their baggage or beliefs on us. And then there’s the shame. And I think, if I’m hearing you correctly, your language of the guilt where I’m learning from it where I’ve behaved in a way that I don’t feel good about, and I need to do something different that’s appropriate. We should feel not so good about things we may have done that aren’t useful. And I also think, like, to what? Uh, gosh, there’s so many things popping up. Okay, so this is a little bit of an aside. There’s a show on, I don’t know, Apple TV or something called Shrinking. And there’s a Harrison Ford character, and I have to say it’s my favorite Harrison Ford character in a really long time, but he’s a therapist, and he has this thing where he says, every day, put on the music that is going to make you cry. And set a timer. If you have one of those little tomato timers or something like that for 15 minutes, and you just cry for that. And that is your grieving every day. You can just get it out, and then you can let it go. Move on, do your next thing. And it’s almost like I’m feeling like I’m hearing that from you. And I’m thinking, I think I need to be setting my timer a little more often, because I don’t know that I give myself that space that you’re talking about enough. Because there are so many things happening in the world that can feel very overwhelming at times.

Ebony Smith

Absolutely. For me, my typical thing is a hot bath with some, um, Epson salts. I want to shed the day. I want to clear myself so I can sleep well. And so I do have a whole wind-down sleep routine. I was like, I really embraced this self care, self awareness part of life. And for me, it’s not typically a session where I need to cry that I just found, um, overwhelming. But it’s normally like, let’s sit down. Let’s watch something get in the tub. Soak release the day. Um, think about what’s on my mind, write it down, and it will be on that piece of paper if I need to pick it up in the morning. But I don’t need this lay in bed flipping it around in my head.

Lyssa deHart

Right. And I think a listener could be like, what does this have to do with leadership? But I think it actually has everything to do with leadership. Mhm can you speak to the connections that you’re making with this and leadership?

Ebony Smith

So, one, I would ask my clients when we’re working on it, I say, what are you doing to take care of yourself? And so I have this 5% methodology that I came up with that you should spend 5% of your day taking care of yourself. 1440 minutes in a day. That works out to 72 minutes. And so I do 30 in the morning, 15 in a day, and 30 at the end of the day. That’s how I kind of started. Mhm and the hot bath is me ensuring that my resilience is there for when I need it. Mhm and that if I have people in my circle that also need to tap into it, that I have something to give. Because you can’t pour from an empty cup. And so it’s inside of that practice of extreme self care that I’m able to lead and step into the moment when needed. And so when I’m working with clients, I’m like, you have to take care of yourself. Self care and resilience. And, uh, doing the reset is like hygiene. The shower you took yesterday does not work for you today.

Lyssa deHart

I have to take more than one of these showers.

Ebony Smith

Correct. Like my five year old nephew, he goes, My mommy doesn’t make me shower every day. I’m like, I promise your mommy makes you shower every day. I know your mom. He’s like, why? Every time when I come to your house, I have to shower so much? I’m like, Because you’re at the beach, baby. You have like, sand and sunblock and I think that’s part of lunch. We’re going to put you in the shower before you go to bed.

Lyssa deHart

That’s right. The sheets will feel so much better if you’re clean. Exactly.

Ebony Smith

And he was five. My mommy and daddy call my brother. I’m like, Tell your son I know that you make him bathe. And he was like, oh my, he’s at that phase right now and now he’s much older. But it was so cute then. But yeah, the things that we did yesterday don’t necessarily take us forward into today. And that’s how we get depleted and we feel like we have nothing left to give. And as somebody who works with people on shaping their lives so that they feel better resilience, I want to be an integrity and ensure that I have those things for myself. And that’s not the only thing that I’m doing. But those, uh, are some of the things that I do. Like, I believe in two massages a week. If you can do it. I believe randomly waking up and having breakfast at a place that you love, it doesn’t mean going out to breakfast. I take yogurt and some granola and I’ll go and sit by the water at the beach in my car. Sometimes I get out and, um, just watch sunrise. Right. I live on the coast and so doing these kind of things, especially when sunrise is like 06:00 a.m. In the morning, I can still get up and do that and then go work out and start my workday. And those kind of little things seem like treats, but they also are a bright spot in the week.

Lyssa deHart

How do you consistently and intentionally refill your bucket, your cup, so that you have the capacity to be present with the people that you work with, with your family, with your friends, most importantly with yourself? Um, how do you do that? And I think this is just brilliant that you’re sharing this because I think we talk about this a lot. I mean, there’s a billion articles on doing these things and yet I wonder the number of people who actually create a, um, consistent integration of these philosophies into their life.

Ebony Smith

Yeah, mine’s everything from like, I have a candle going, what’s the scent in the room? Sometimes it’s a diffuser going. Um, I have a playlist and I just use the ones that are already pre curated, but they’ll be like, oh, feeling happy, writing email, waking up in the morning, playlist. Right. You don’t have to overthink it. I have personal ones. I’ll let AI. But is music on mhm those kind of little things, they matter. And so just being paying some attention and taking 2 seconds to play some music or to have a good scent in the house, or boil some lemon on the stove in water, all of those things add to me just having a little bit of a richer more nuanced day that’s layered.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah.

Ebony Smith

So what does that look like for me? Right? Because there’s joy in even getting laundry done, quite frankly.

Lyssa deHart

Right. Well, I mean, anything you do I used to do a lot of couples therapy and people would be like, we never spend any time together. I’m like, well, you can make going to Lowe’s for all those DIY projects that you’re doing. Um, you can make going to Lowe’s a date. I mean, it can be fun. It doesn’t have to be just drudgery. Um, I think that’s also sort of a mindset. And I think that was the other thing that I really was as I was, um, looking at our conversation coming up and that sense of the mindset that one is adopting in order to be able to show up in the ways that they’re needed to show up.

Ebony Smith

Yeah. I think figuring out some easy things you can do and then you just hit those and integrate it in and then you normalize it. And then maybe you add a couple more things that kind of like if you’re going to watch the food channel, make the food.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah.

Ebony Smith

Right. One of the best ways for you to be inspired is actually make the dish that they’re cooking. And so what does that look like if you were to make something or cook anything? Right. And so I think that’s part of for me, it’s like the joy. Also during the pandemic when we’re in the throws of it, it also helped me bring order to the day, mhm right. Because I’m like, okay, when you’re under duress or stress, what can I do to bring myself to my own center? Well, I like baths. We’ll make them longer. I like taking a walk. I can do that by myself without seeing people. I like going to the beach and our beaches were closed at one point. Then I’ll just go and sit in the parking lot, mhm, and eat breakfast. I still get to look at the water. I still get to do whatever right. And so those are the things that I kind of went to, to just make it happy and figure out like, what can I do to get myself through the playlist also really helped me. Um, and so those are the things that I use. And learning also, if I could learn, I like taking a walk and listening to podcasts and books and things like that. Because if I pick one or two things from it, then I’m going to learn and I’ll figure out a way if I can integrate that in as well.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, well, and I think there’s that thing too, where you hear something and it resonates and you need to kind of noodle around on it for a little while and then figure out how to integrate it into your life. But I really think this is crucial for leaders, for coaches. I see anybody going into. A business for themselves as a leader, um, for coaches. And I saw this when I was a therapist also. But the number of people who are very good at giving ideas to people, like, we need to have these mindfulness practices in order to have this fulfilling life who don’t actually practice it for themselves. It’s sort of like coaches who don’t have a coach or aren’t in some form of supervision for their coaching or leaders who live in a silo and they don’t get any feedback from the people around them. And in this sense of I’m not happy in my life yet I’m supposed to be good at what it is that I’m doing. And I find that, uh, very interesting that we know and yet don’t practice what we know could be useful. Um, one of the things that it talks about, that you talk about is this idea of leaving behind subject matter expertise and really showing up, um, in that kind of open mindset. And I’m curious because I think we kind of talked about learning to just listen is a big part of that earlier in the conversation. But what allowed you to let go of that subject matter expertise? Because our culture, many cultures not all, but many cultures drive us towards becoming these experts. Like, I’m an expert at blah blah, blah.

Ebony Smith

Well, I think, one, if you’re going to lead people and the higher you get, the less you’ll become the expert in very niche areas. And so if you’re leading a large team globally, you’re not going to be fluent in a particular dialect, know, um, how the local culture, um, integrates the information or the products that you’re selling and understand how your company does manufacturing PNL, um, and how you can lead people in twelve countries. And so you just need to be better at building relationships with the people who are experts in those areas. And a lot of times for my clients, I’m working with them on transitioning into higher roles. Mhm, and what does that look like? When you can’t save the day, right? And you just have to be the strong supporter. And so that’s a different set of skills when you’re leading because you need to enroll and inspire the people that are following you on your team but also build a level of trust and psychological safety that they feel like they can go out and execute, right? And so it’s in the contributor safety and then the social exchange for that is the autonomy. People are seeking autonomy from their leaders. Then when you have that, it makes it much easier for my clients to lead, right? But if you feel like you need to be involved in every bit of the process, it’s going to be hard to lead because you’re going to be exhausted at the end of the day. And so taking people through that transition is one of the joyful parts, I would say, of working with clients, right? For them for the light bulb to be like, oh, I got it. You’re right. I let go. And all of a sudden, I have time to actually think about strategy and not tactical execution. And all of a sudden, the team starts performing better. I was like, Because you gave them the power, mhm to move forward. It’s in that autonomy in that relationship that allows them to reach their next level.

Lyssa deHart

There’s such an interesting correlation between the same sort of taking action on your own, the side of, wellbeing, like, I’m actually practicing these practices that are useful for my wellbeing. And the same thing that happens on the side of a leader moving into the next level of leadership, because you only have so much energy a day. You only have so much capacity a day. And if you are focused on trying to micromanage it all or feel like you can’t take your hands off any of the wheels, like, you must have your hands on every wheel. There is the capacity that you have to do the vision to think strategically, to, I don’t know, be innovative in whatever form of innovation is required in that moment for your organization, it’s diminished because you’re so busy doing the fundamentals of each and every little thing. And I think that’s a struggle too, as people are building a coaching business, um, in that we start off not making much money doing coaching, and we’re struggling to create a business. And so our first thing is we do everything. Like, we learn how to make a website, we learn how to post to YouTube, we learn how to keep up on Buffer or whatever our social medium output thing is. And we’re constantly trying to do it all ourselves. And I think there’s something here, too, depending on how you want to grow your business and what kind of business you want to have, very few of us do it alone. We need these relationships of these other people who are experts at something that we then don’t need to spend hours learning because we already know it or have learned it.

Ebony Smith

And I think back to where I was seven years ago versus where I am now. And yes, sometimes I check my company social. I was like, oh, what did we post today?

Lyssa deHart

What have I said.

Ebony Smith

A great job. And they’ll take a clip from a podcast. I heard you say that when you were teaching a class. I thought I’d make it a social media quote. And they think of things and see things that I don’t see about myself, because it’s really hard to read the label on your own jar, because it’s.

Lyssa deHart

It is very hard to read your label.

Ebony Smith

And so they’ll have ideas, and I’ll be like, oh, uh, do you think they’re like, yes yourself. I’m like, Well, I don’t know if people are interested in that part. Right? Because it doesn’t matter if you’re an ACC MCC or on your first day of coach training, we all have doubts about something because we want to work with and partner with the people that have chosen us and give them a service that they’re looking for so that they can move forward. And so it’s in the humility of, um, do you think you would be interested in this? Right. And that’s one of the things, I think, from coach training, and especially going into the competencies, that when it says, is it okay if I make a suggestion to you? Feel free to discard it.

Lyssa deHart

Non attachment.

Ebony Smith

Correct right. but this is what popped into my head from what you just shared. And I’ll be like, oh, my gosh, that’s what I was looking for. Right. But it’s in that asking for permission and then giving yourself the ability to say, it’s okay if they don’t accept it, but I at least wanted to share it. Right. And I’ll say, this is what I heard, and I remember this from these other conversations. I think you have the pieces of the answer that you’ve been looking for. I would like to put them together for you. And it’s in those kind of conversations that there’s a lot of joyful moments in the coaching relationship where the trust comes in and that they didn’t have faith. And my cousin, um, I just want to talk, and then tell me what you heard.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, right?

Ebony Smith

And I’ll be like, oh, because they know I listen differently for them. Right. And oftentimes I’ll introduce it as, I’m the keeper of your values.

Lyssa deHart

Oh, I love that.

Ebony Smith

Right? And so I’m here to remind you of what the unstressed out version of you would say. Because I asked them to do the values exercise. We all have to do it when we’re in coaching school. And I asked them to delineate their values, because I’m like, that’s your compass. When you’re physiological or a psychological duress, if you make a values based decision, you continue to be in alignment. Maybe you’re around the corner. You need to square the block, but you won’t be 2 miles off, um, when you’re in your decision making process. And it’s my pleasure for you to hold on to your values, because oftentimes I’ll be like, hey, so is this really because that value was triggered, or is it the person? And I’ll be like, the value. I was like, how could you reset that for you?

Lyssa deHart

What even needs to be explored around that value and around what’s showing up so that you can either to our, uh, earlier statement right? Learn from it or let it go.

Ebony Smith

Yeah. And so sometimes I’m like, is this a life is happening to us moment? Or life is happening for us moment, and we need to learn from it so that we can move forward to the next thing that’s waiting for us. And so it’s in those kind of questions that clients are answering that I also oftentimes have to ask myself, I’m like, is it the person or is it me where I am right now?

Lyssa deHart

Can you give an example of what you’re talking about?

Ebony Smith

Maybe it’s a day and everybody is a little bit late. It’s weather it’s whatever. But in your mind? In my mind, I had, uh, said, nobody has delivered for me today. That’s a little bit late. Do I just need to go and have a nice lunch, take a nap, reset myself, mhm? Or do a quick ten-minute like, be present in the moment and say, oh, is life happening to me? Or is life happening for me? Sometimes when people are and I had to reframe that very early on, because when you’re in the corporate, you’re like, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. And then M, when people are late. Now, I wonder why I needed this. A little bit of extra time, right. That’s the mindset like the shift, oh, they canceled. Oh, something great must be waiting for me on the other side now that I have this block of time.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, I can get something else done.

Ebony Smith

I can get something else done, right. There’s an article I want to read. I can listen to this and do whatever, right? And so sometimes I just ask myself, is life happening to me? Or is it happening for me?

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, uh, I think it’s a really useful construct for us to be considering, because the attitude of it’s happening to me is definitely one of I’m being victimized by whatever this is versus, uh, for me, which is, what do I have to gain from this? What is the lesson? What is the opportunity? What is whatever? Right? I love the distinction between the two.

Ebony Smith

Yeah. And so just be like, oh, there’s something else on the other side of this. I just need to be present and navigate it.

Lyssa deHart

May I share an observation? Of course. Faith, trust, and love, I think, are crucially important to which mindset you choose.

Ebony Smith

Right? That’s also the question of, uh, is it happening to me or is it happening for me? Right. So if it’s happening for me, that’s me saying, okay, I’m going to trust that I can play the cards that are being dealt. Right. Uh, and really moving myself forward. And so, yeah, those are the things. And speaking of coaches, I think I have, like, five, um, I was like, oh, coaching work. Let me get somebody specifically for this specifically for this thing, right? And so I’ll like, drop in and out of different coaching relationships. And one of my coaches, uh, that I’ve worked with for a while, always asks, are you judging or are you playing?

Lyssa deHart

Are you judging or are you playing? Playing.

Ebony Smith

Right? Because if you’re playing, then you’re enjoying life, right. If you’re judging, you’re going to stop in that moment and take that snapshot and use it to criticize everything versus if you’re playing, it’s going to continue like a movie and something another scene will set.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, it’s like improv in that regard. Like life as improv instead of life as a tragic drama.

Ebony Smith

Correct. I’ll even ask myself that question, like, which mode am I in? Like, oh, I shouldn’t be in that mode. Let me just reset that. And I think those are some of the insights that come right as you want to observe it in other people and you see them make the shift. I’ll often say, oh, I’m grateful that they were able to make that shift to where they wanted to be. And I helped them with bridging the gap. But then I’ll be like, oh, are ah, there any shifts I need to make as I do a re evaluation of a period to see like, oh, I could probably do a little bit better at this. I could organize that drawer next month, I could organize one little thing here. And it’s in those kind of little things that life kind of gets better. And so I don’t know. Those are some of the things that I’ve learned in getting to my MCC status. Um, I’m sure the same happened for you.

Lyssa deHart

Well, uh, similar for sure, but these ideas of and I could be wrong, but the sense that I have as I’m talking to you is just the nature of continual, ongoing personal development as part of how we show up as coaches, how we show up as human beings, and how we show up in relationships. At the end of the day, those are really the only things we have control over in the big schema of the world. Right. Is like, how we’re going to meet the moment. Um, I talk to a lot of coaches and so this is something that a lot of coaches talk about. But one of the things that’s been unique about you is that you also very much embody it as a practice. And I have met other coaches who do also. So I’m not saying this is the first time I’ve ever heard this, but I just so appreciate that you are so embodying of these principles of how to really be present to yourself and then to others. Like I said earlier, I think it’s something that a lot of people know and talk about. And yet to put it into practice is the next level. And what that allows for you as you show up with the people that you’re working for. It’s crucial because it’s very hard to give from an, uh, empty well.

Ebony Smith

Absolutely. And also when people kind of want to talk to you in the moment because not everything is scheduled. And I have met MCC and I’m like, sometimes we just need to have a coach to coach talk. And you can reach out, it’s okay. I’m not going to consider it like supervisory coaching or anything and understand that people are at the same level skill that you are that makes it helpful. Right. Even, like, most of the time, it’s business questions. Those are the things that other coaches want to talk about. Like, this is where I am in my business. Can we talk about that? And I’m like, oh, well, let’s talk about where you’re resourced. And I’m like, is it okay if I ask you some coaching questions? And I’m like, yeah, great. So we’ll go into a little bit of like, uh, a five minute laser coach. And I’m like, oh my gosh, why didn’t I see that? I was like, I don’t know. The same reason I don’t see it when I call you.

Lyssa deHart

It’s hard to read our ingredients on our own jar.

Ebony Smith

Absolutely. And so I’m like, have you taken a vacation recently? No. Why don’t you take a vacation and then we’ll talk after you come back. We, ah, have the conversation. They come back like, do you feel the same? No. I needed a vacation. I was like, this is like the classic two year old. I needed a nap, right?

Lyssa deHart

Uh, I’m hungry and I need a nap. Don’t make me take a shower, though.

Ebony Smith

I need all of them. I’m going to do that. Sometimes taking a vacation is sleeping in your own bed. So for me, staycations are just as good as a vacation.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah. Especially with the intentionality that you had talked about earlier. I don’t know. I live in a beautiful place and, uh, there are many things here I could still be exploring, right?

Ebony Smith

Yeah.

Lyssa deHart

There are many things I could still be exploring from within my own circle of proximity, um, that would lead to feeling, I don’t know, fulfilling regenerative, um, inside of me as to being available and in the space of being able to hold the space for others. Which is, I think, also really just crucial. If the air mask drops from the ceiling, first put in on yourself before you help other people. And again, we know this, and yet how often are we practicing that capacity on a consistent and regular basis and preferably on a daily basis? To your point, that 5%. I really love that 5% philosophy of, uh, self care, because we’re not talking about half your day. We’re talking about an hour and a half or so of your time that you go, I’m worth that. And what does that open up and make available for you to be able to do more of stuff? This is just really, I think, just really crucial for leaders, for business owners, for coaches, new middle, old coaches, every human being on the planet. Which is how, if you want to be able to come up with interesting ideas or be able to put yourself out there in new ways in your business or be innovative in some way about what you offer if you’re not doing the self care required to even have the bandwidth to do that because you’re so busy hopping around trying to do everything. Um it’s going to make that journey take longer.

Ebony Smith

Yes. Sometimes after my morning routine, I go into a learning routine. And so what does it look like for me to learn an hour a day? Right. I’ll do the meditation, do the reset, learn for a bit, and then what came up for me, and then leave it until the next time I have another one of those sessions. But that’s where the ideation for me really comes from. And in the beginning, I was trying to understand things like adult development theory. What does it look like reading all the people that are known for organizational research and consuming talks. And I think that’s really where it came from. Right. I want to be able to give people factual things, things that have been researched, things that are an intuitive hit to help them, what could align with them, and as they built, as they close the gaps for themselves. And I think that’s a lot where the learning kind of, uh, flow came from.

Lyssa deHart

You just said something that I think is crucial too, which is people talk a lot about intuition. And I love intuition. I think intuition is, um, our capacity to access our internal workings. But to your point, if I don’t learn things, I don’t have access to have an intuitive hit about those things that I don’t know. And so I just had this conversation with somebody on my YouTube channel, which was, how did you intuitively use that particular word in that coaching conversation? And I was like, well, it’s just intuitive. And then I’m like, but it’s only intuitive because of all this other stuff. I know it informed my intuition. And so I think your point is absolutely crucial, which is whatever it is that you are excited about, passionate about, care about, and the work that you’re doing with the people that you’re working with, research it so that your intuition expands as to when people are talking about that. You go, hey, I’m having a bit of an intuitive hit on X and I’m curious if that’s even useful to you. And I love that you brought that forward. So I really appreciate you speaking that out into the space.

Ebony Smith

Absolutely. And sometimes it’s more about like, I know that this is a very pragmatic client. If I can give them some facts based on the things that I think could help them move forward, that helps them with adoption.

Lyssa deHart

Right?

Ebony Smith

And so what does that look like? And so if I have those things available, kind of index the Wag, but they have article I’m going to share with you on that. I think it aligns with Bar and where you would like to go.

Lyssa deHart

And if nothing else, you can read it and go, no, that’s not it. But you’ve gotten something that you can. I mean, knowing what we don’t want is almost as important if not even more important than knowing what we do want, because it gives us information that we can then make decisions from. Oh, my gosh, this has been just a delight to talk to you today. I feel like I could talk to you for a lot longer. This has just been beautiful. Um, and I just love your energy as we’re talking. You’re very calming for me. Um, I was regenerated in the conversation, so I really appreciate this. Um, as we go to a close, I typically ask everybody, and I’d be very curious what your answer to this is. If you were writing your autobiography in this moment today, what would you title it?

Ebony Smith

Seven Steps to Resilience.

Lyssa deHart

Seven Steps to Resilience.

Ebony Smith

Yeah. I think I focus a lot on resilience and what does it look like? And it comes up a lot for me when I’m working with clients in my practice and really, like, am I doing the things to get me there? Um, and so something around resilience, um, something around, like, shifting personal transformation, really, I think you can power your own transformation, but you have to decide you want to invest a little bit every day. And what does that look like for me? Um, yeah, it’s something around resilience, transformation. Um, and when I look back, as coaches always do, I see things that gave me signals about the life I have now. When I was in school, I was the president of a club called Student Facilitators. In high school.

Lyssa deHart

We just can’t make this stuff up.

Ebony Smith

We were the group that was a club attached to the guidance counselors. And at lunchtime, we would take turns manning shifts to help people with their college selection process and suggest schools and let them know about, um, speakers that were coming from some of those schools and then help them get appointments with the guidance counselor and stuff like that. And I was like I was a student facilitator. I was a resident advisor when I was in college, all these things. And I was like, But I went to school for chemistry.

Lyssa deHart

Well, there is the, um, inherent appreciation and enjoyment of an experience, and then there’s what we think we’re supposed to do. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time for those two things to merge.

Ebony Smith

Yeah. Um, I think it’s always sort of being aware, but not being intentional about the power, resilience, and transformation in my life.

Lyssa deHart

Yeah, that’s beautiful. Thank you so much for being on the show. Just for all the listeners who are listening. Um, you can find links to Ebony below and go to the website. You can capture the transcript if you want. And thank you again, Ebony, so much for being on the Coast Studio today.

Ebony Smith

Thank you so much. I appreciate our conversation.

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Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC

Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC

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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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