Easy there, coach

Easy there, coach

Let’s just get this important fact out of the way: a great advice giver does not make a great professional life coach.
With so many, so many people moving into the coaching profession, I feel it’s pretty important to distinguish and examine this commonly misconceived fact.

Again, great advice givers do not make great coaches. Even business coaches, who typically switch between coach and consultant, know that success does not come from simply giving answers or telling clients what to do. The transformational coaching process works very differently.

I bring this up, because I cannot tell you the number of times I have heard people announce their move to coaching because ‘they are the one everyone comes to for advice’. Recently, I heard a very successful coach promoting a new coaching school and enticing people with this exact sentiment. (They actually led with, ‘Are you the one everyone comes to for advice?‘) Similarly, having high intuition also does not necessarily make a great coach. After all, how can one stay curious and present, when they already feel like they know the issue and solution?!

Sure, among my peer groups I am the one that friends come to for advice (Gemini Sun, it’s in my nature). I have a high EQ and an immense love of learning. However, learning how to stifle my biases, ideas, opinions and perceived knowledge is one of the most difficult things I have had to learn to overcome as a coach. Essentially, in my quest for excellence, I’ve had to learn, and continue to manage, how to keep my opinions to myself, not share what I think I know, and essentially listen way more than I speak. This, by the way, is an ongoing practice.

Importantly, I’ve had to learn how to not allow my personal fears or doubts influence my visionary clients in any way. Sure, I may strongly think that launching a million dollar project in a recession is risky, but decisions like these are what makes my VIP clients successful. As a great coach in this situation, I may not be able to offer strategic business advice, nor is it wanted, but I can certainly help my client utilize their strengths, knowledge and experience through listening, curiosity and asking deep questions that spark awareness, among other things.

Coaching is not counselling. It is not consulting, although it could be helpful at times for a coach to share specialized knowledge. Certified coaches have (hopefully) gone through rigorous training to listen first, mirror the client, ask questions, identify discrepancies and strategically empower the client to insights and awareness. This is not done through advice giving.

Great coaches stay curious; like genuinely curious. They tread lightly, and when need be, courageously delve. I’ve had clients get offended when I called them out on something (or simply repeat back what they’ve said), but again, by staying curious, I am able to considerately inquire about triggers and explore beliefs and values with my clients, together as thinking partners.

Personally, in my coaching sessions, I listen for patterns. I often find that where the conversations starts is where it also ends. My questions are inquiries and opportunities for exploration and consideration. As a coach, I also share my personal experiences, and insights that come up for me – as an intuitive offering that the client can choose to process or disregard as needed. Also, I do not offer unsolicited advice, instead prompt the client to tap into their own best advice.

On my very first day of Professional Coaching Graduate School, the instructor began the class by challenging students to “come with a beginner’s mind.” I could never forget this, as it’s been an anchor or beacon for my practice. She went on, “I know there is a lot of talent in this room, and many here are very accomplished professionals, however I encourage you to be curious, stay open, listen more and ditch any preconceptions.” I assure you, the first week was a mindf*ck, as the lot of us struggled to unlearn, and … keep our mouth’s shut. Eventually, I recall setting an intention to trust the process; trust the framework and trust my intuition, after conscious and unconscious competence kicked in through many months/years of training and practice.

I love coaching. As a puzzle solver and conscious explorer, it allows me to be strategic and help others examine their programming and inner guidance systems. This is also why I am fascinated by astrology; it’s like an infinite puzzle to figure out and put together. Most coaches I know also love coaching. They, like most people, feel a real sense of purpose and accomplishment by helping others.

It should be said that clients often ask for advice. Sometimes people want acknowledgement or validation, or sometimes they just want an answer. For this, coaches know to stay in coach mode – that is, stay out of problems – and continue to inquire and prompt, challenge and encourage. It is absolutely possible, and logical at times to offer personal advice, particularly if it makes sense or comes from personal experience or something similar.

You may give great advice. You may think logically and creatively; and have a talent for solving other people’s problems. Yet this will not make you a great coach. On the contrary, this will be your challenge, yet learning to manage it will provide significant personal growth – and as an ongoing practice will certainly facilitate powerful professional coaching awareness.





Q&A: What is this life coaching thing anyway?

Q&A: What is this life coaching thing anyway?

Even if you’ve been road tripping on barren, dusty roads in Central America, chances are you’ve heard the words, “life coach”. Dang, you probably know someone who is becoming a life coach or who has recently changed their title or business to include the word “Coach”.

When you hear the term, maybe Tony Robbins, one of the most visible “Life & Business Strategists” comes to mind. Or perhaps one of a hundred authors or self-development book titles pops into your head.

Yes, the term “life coach” is definitely starting to saturate.

After all, everyday people are starting to realize that they can have their very own coaches (as in, coaches are not only for the rich, famous or entitled anymore) and hoards of freedom-seeking, spiritual gangsters and early retirees with tons of life still left in them have discovered how fabulous the job really is (I read that it’s the second growing profession in the world).

So what the heck is a life coach? And what do they do?

Before I jump in, I must state that I am going to explain what a trained, responsible, ethical life coach is, as defined by the huge governing body that advocates for the highest standards in coaching.

There are hundreds, no, thousands of people who claim they are coaches – and they are – however, operating from a different set of standards. Which I will also explain.

The first: A professional life coach is a service provider, not unlike a therapist or physiotherapist, who works with clients to make a positive change in their life or business.

Usually these changes are proactive ones; things that will move the person forward – becoming more productive, improving relationships, being a better leader, growing a business, coping with difficult problems, etc. Changes that take the client from their current state to their desired state.

Therapy also works to empower people through change, but a therapist typically looks through the person’s past traumas, seeks to diagnose and works to fix the problem over a very long time.

Life coaching works on the person as a whole – not on individual problems. The process (which is also done in a conversation-like setting) enables this person to rise to any occasion, gain confidence and actually solve their own problems.

It works to build up the person and inspire motivation by focusing on their strengths and values. It works to remove blocks and mental barriers; to break patterns and create new patterns; and to give people a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

So what does life coaching look like – what should I expect?

Life coaching (aka executive coaching, transformation coaching, often career coaching, etc) is done through conversation, and often incorporates insightful tools like exercises, brainstorming worksheets, workbooks, and questionnaires.

The coach meets with the client (or a group/team) either in person, online or by phone, for a specified amount of time on specified days. (I usually meet with my clients, online by Skype or Zoom, every one or two weeks for 1 hour).

This conversation is very strategic, thus why it takes a considerable amount of education, training and time to receive coaching accreditation. It’s based on asking questions to get the client to search within and come up with answers that work for them, aka client-led discovery. There are elements of discerning what the client is saying vs what they actually mean; listening for underlying issues; and offering different perspectives.

Of course, the coach uses their training and intuition to make the conversation flow naturally, and also to make the client feel very comfortable in getting to their deeper issues and saying them aloud. Through the process, a ton is learned about what motivates or holds back the client, and a plan of action is usually put in place to make their desired state become a reality.


Tell me more about this client-led discovery

One of the most important, distinguishing aspects of a trained coach and a self-proclaimed coach is that a professional coach mainly empowers their client through client-led discovery. Unlike a consultant or performance coach who’s is hired to literally tell the person what to do and say, a life/leadership coach trains hard to keep their own biased opinions out of the discovery.

After all, how on earth could a coach advise a CEO of a multi-national corporation one day and then counsel a person going through a hideous divorce the next? Because they focus on the person not the problem – that’s how! And they keep their biased opinions out of it!

That’s not to say that a professional coach doesn’t ever turn therapist (or friend, or trusted confidante) for a moment and offer a solution. It’s just that a coach is trained to know that giving advice and providing solutions are not the best way to facilitate client-led, aka more powerful, discovery. Very tactical questions are. Straight-up communication is. Holding up a mirror for the client is. You get the point.

(The process is similar to the discipline of the very powerful Socratic Method, one of, if not the oldest teaching tactic that gives students questions, not answers so they can learn to think and act for themselves. What a concept!)

Ok, I’m reading all this, but how does this help me?!

One of the greatest things a human being can have is …. support and connection from another human being. Encouragement, dependability, someone to talk to, someone to listen. Research even shows it’s equally important to have an outside person/mentor to confide in and turn to for direction.

A life/leadership/executive/transformation coach is basically a paid for, human form spirit guide, who’s mission is YOU.
YOU come up with what you want, YOU put it out into the universe, (yes, your subconscious will likely get in the way) and YOU actually take the real life action to make magic happen. But along the way, you’re supported, encouraged, championed, acknowledged and held accountable.

So whether you want to quit your job and travel the world for a living, greatly increase employee satisfaction in your company, repair your marriage, make more money, get in amazing physical shape, successfully pull off a new corporate venture, start your own business or become a more mindful and attentive parent, a life coach could help you.

How much does it cost?

The pricing for life coaching services varies widely. Unfortunately it’s not covered by any health plans or insurance plans (that I know of, as of August 2018). Depending on the service provider, billing may be upfront for services or invoiced monthly. Some coaches offer month-to-month sessions, while others offer “plans or packages” that specify an exact number of sessions in an exact amount of time. Some bill hourly, others by value or problem solved.

While insight can happen in an instant, real change does not happen overnight – and so many coaches will only agree to work with clients for a minimum amount of time. After all, as coaches, our main purpose is to offer amazing and impactful support and we only want to see our clients succeed. Again, the time varies, but a minimum of six months is common. Many master coaches work with clients for many years.

As for cost – expect anywhere from $100/hour and up, up, up.
A very experienced, executive coach costs anywhere from $250/hour all the way up to $1000s. I have seen coaches with about 3-5 years experience charge about $4000-6000 for six months of coaching and I have seen great coaches charge $1250 for six months. All depends. Group coaching is usually much more affordable and worth looking into depending on the “want”.

Well, how will I know what life coach to hire?

The most important thing about working with a coach is trust and some sort of connection and respect. You have to feel comfortable, not feel judged.

From there, look around, get referrals, read websites, check out Facebook pages and try to get a feel for a coach. Maybe you want someone sweet who reminds you of your grandma, perhaps you need someone who’s very action-oriented and no-nonsense. Maybe you would like someone who has experienced what you’re going through. Or someone who is successful, making money and living the dream.

Again, all your choice. Look around.

I’m intrigued to give it a try. How can I work with you?

Ah, I thought you’d never ask 😉 Like many coaches, I offer a no-strings attached, 30 minute discovery call (via Skype or Zoom video) so we can get to know each other a little and decide if we can make magic happen together.

These discovery calls are very important, especially if deciding to work with a newer coach (1-2 years experience) or someone you don’t know. In my limited experience, credentialed master coaches can be so effective, requiring less time overall to reach the desired state.

To schedule a 30-minute call with me, simply email me at hi@rachelschwab.com and we can take it from there.

Good luck and looking forward.

Confidence, momentum, focus.
Interested in learning how coaching can help you and your team? Schedule a free 15-minute call with Rachel here:

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The difference between life coaching and the support from my female friends

The difference between life coaching and the support from my female friends

I have amazing friends. A really great support network of happy, communicative, open and supportive people in my life. And of course I am absolutely blessed for it.

Because I have been surrounded by women and have been mostly comfortable around women for most of my life, I’ve had the fortune of many intimate “womanly” conversations and insights; I’ve learned about common insecurities and embarrassing issues, and I’ve received piles upon miles of advice and mentorship through my life.

I also have had the experience of working, even briefly, with some great coaches. Women who also provide support, encouragement and insight.

While my friends offer plenty of loving support, vulnerability, openness, and help with managing and getting through all my many moods of life, they do so from their platform of opinions and from our shared experiences. They offer up wisdom and helpful advice, based on their assumptions, beliefs and knowledge.

And this is the biggest difference between the supportive, nurturing relationships of my friends and the empowering, judgement-free relationships with my coaches.

Life Coaching: Building self-trust, self-awareness and the power of choice

A life coach facilitates positive change, whether in habits, beliefs, or moods, but does so by removing their personal presumptions and opinions from the mix.

Like a great network of girlfriends, a coach also offers plenty of life support, but they also create much needed space. Space that allows me to bring my own wisdom to the surface, and trust it. Instead of just offering their professional expertise and wisdom, my coaches ask questions. Matter of fact, non-judgmental questions that force me to come up with my own answers. And not just any answers. The ones that are best for me.

Having a support network and circle of friends (large or small) through all stages of life is essential for a fulfilled, balanced life. Good friends help us to be seen; they encourage, support, champion and help us to know we are not alone in this world.

I’ve learned over the past few years that life coaches, in their many forms, are also an incredibly powerful resource we can use for an even more fulfilled, balanced, motivated, inspired and productive life. For the most part, they don’t tell us what to do, but they challenge. They don’t give us advice, but they show us where we’ve already come up with our own, custom solutions. They don’t criticize, judge or scold, but instead allow us to make our own decisions.

Of course there are many types of life coaches that specialize in various areas of life, and people will have different experiences working with different people.

For myself, a very independent someone who has never considered any sort of external, professional guidance, I’m so happy that I’ve finally, after forty odd years of life, discovered the empowerment a trained life coach can facilitate. I wouldn’t trade my girlfriends for the world, but I also now know the difference between navigating life with the help of loved ones and with the professional guidance of a coach.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily”
– Zig Ziglar

This is exactly why, as a life coach, I try to remove more of myself (ego) from my coaching relationships and why I am working on new programs and events that combine in-person human connection, welcoming and judgement-free friendships and awareness-building life coaching.

My monthly, full moon circles for women are a sacred space for sharing and connection, however I’m also working on a new group program that incorporates the expertise, and self-reflection that comes from life coaching. If this interests you, get on my list to receive email updates or come on over to Facebook to continue the conversation.

I believe the majority of us can all use some more support and encouragement in our lives, and especially more connection with each other.


Confidence, momentum, focus.
Interested in learning how coaching can help you and your team? Schedule a free 15-minute call with Rachel here:

Schedule Appointment