February 23, 2023 by Steve Baker
In Coaching to Flourish Season 3 Episode 8 we discuss the challenges in growing a coaching business, how to discover your own truest, highest expression of self and how to find the value in who you are without tying your worth to a job or what you do.
[Raj Anderson] We're live everyone and John's just sharing his tea. So welcome everyone to the Coaching to Flourish podcast. I'm your host, Raj Anderson, Executive Life Coach and Coach Assessor. And I'm here with John Andrew Williams, founder of Coach Training EDU. How are you John?
[John Andrew Williams] I'm good. I'm good. We just went through a pretty, uh, intense team meeting where we looked at the whole logistics from even picking a start class date to how do we onboard people, from front to finish all of the processes.
It's wildly more complex than I even thought. I mean, I knew it was complex. Yeah, so we spent an hour and 50 minutes doing that. So I'm coming right from that. So my brain is very full of logistics systems. I'm psyched. I feel like we're gonna be, we are going to be able to streamline some things there's no way around it.
It's a whole operation, a logistical operation to do what we do. So that's my day so far.
[Raj Anderson] What would be great to share with the audience today about what's happening at Coach Training EDU?
[John Andrew Williams] Uh, I think that there's a lot of, I have a lot of compassion for, for organizations like businesses and organizations that are trying to do something or, you know, doing anything really, like how many of the pieces that need to be put in place in order for, for even small things to happen.
Uh, I think any coach who's starting your own organization or business, there's a balance point between, okay, I'm doing this myself. And I remember back when I hired my very first person to help. It was a big deal because, a big risk cuz now you're paying someone to help you, like run your schedule, run different things.
And you know, at first it was like 10 hours a week, then it was 20, and then it was the first full-time. So I feel like there's, you know, Coach Training EDU has been built organically. It has been built, you know, bootstrapped from the very beginning and, you know, getting to this process here I feel like it happens in stages, right?
And like, what got you here won't get you there kind of thing. So for those new coaches who are starting out building your business in practice, I would enjoy first couple, you know, those first years or maybe two years where it's just you and maybe one other person, like, just to savor that.
Because once you start getting into three, four, you know more people, I feel like I'm spending a lot of time now working on building the business and building the organization than I am doing the actual coaching and training and the work of research, but mean I may, I'm able to keep my research self alive, which is lovely, but my training self, it needs to be fed. It's not, I need to get back to it. I'm just rambling at this point, but I feel like the messages to coaches: savor that time cuz it's lovely and I often look back with great fondness of that time period.
[Raj Anderson] And it might be that you want to stay in that place. I mean, growth looks different for different people, doesn't it?
[John Andrew Williams] I dream about it sometimes. What if we just stayed there? Well, it's, I mean, it's, it was a conscious choice. It was a choice of, you know, there are some things that need to be changed there. There are elements of structural change that needs to happen if we are really going to accomplish this goal, accomplish this change, accomplish what we're envisioning then, we need to have the resources of an organization to do that.
So organization building is what I had to learn. And from the standpoint of, is it useful for me to learn this and know this? Absolutely. So a lot of it is giving yourself grace of realizing, okay, if you're doing something that you've never done before, mistakes are gonna be made. So embrace them, you know, go for those mistakes.
It doesn't make sense to try to avoid them completely, otherwise you won't do anything. So, Yeah, that's what I'm feeling.
[Raj Anderson] How, how would a coach know whether their business should be expanded to that level or whether they should kind of stay where they're at?
[John Andrew Williams] Hmm. I don't know. I don't know (laughs). I might not even be doing it right. You know what I mean? You know what I mean? I just don't know. I think that sometimes there's elements of, let me try something out. If it works, great. If it doesn't, it doesn’t, you know. Try something different. Um, one thing I've, I've heard, and I, I believe this is like hire when it hurts.
Hire when it's like, okay, like we, this is becoming such a big problem. I need to actually get someone here to help. Like, that help, that's helpful too. But then know, like it initially takes more work when you hire someone you have to you, it's not like they instantly help you have to actually put more work into getting them on boarded and doing all those things.
It's not a ball that instantly heals. It's more like, um, you know, two to three weeks at best. Then you start breaking even again on your energy and then, you know, hopefully a month you start, you know, getting that energy back. So, I feel like it's been a whole education in and of itself - business building for sure.
[Raj Anderson] Yeah. For me as well. I mean, outsource the things you don't enjoy. Like my taxes for a start, you know, I have an accountant. I outsource those things. We have a great relationship even in the home. You know, for me, I really think about where do I wanna put my energy? What are the things that are important?
How do I wanna harness my time? So, you know, cleaners that come in, or somebody that comes to do the garden. I don't enjoy those things unless I'm actually planting something and it's not hours and hours of the messy things, but it's, for me, it's the same in business as well. There are, as you're saying, there's a lot of operational things.
There's sometimes you have to initially put the work in, but I always ask myself, what are these pieces that I can outsource? All the things I don't do that well, you know, then they're not my forte and what will help me get back to the coaching. Right. This is why I love these conversations with you. Just, it keeps it current, doesn't it?
[John Andrew Williams] Absolutely. So we've been playing with this idea of what if we crafted playbooks for our whole household? Like, you know what I mean? Like the idea of can we create a system and procedure? So the one I've been creating recently has been watering plants. Like, how do I, can I outsource watering plants?
I love them, but I mean, literally it takes me, like if I were to do this, like it would take me like two hours at least a week. I'm like, oh man, why, why? But I love them. I love them anyway.
[Raj Anderson] Or you have these fake plants that I have.
[John Andrew Williams] Ah, what I hear that I. I know what I'm getting you for your birthday next.
[Raj Anderson] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I do have one out there that is still alive, John. I haven't killed them all.
[John Andrew Williams] I'm gonna give you 10 plants.
[Raj Anderson] Okay, so we're talking about kind of expansion and vision and growth and we had a question coming from somebody who said, I saw the Let's Life Coach video with Oprah. What are the steps or are there steps that I can take to discover my own truest highest expression?
[John Andrew Williams] Yeah, I love that question. I've been thinking about it too, and it hit me last week as I was really deeply thinking about this and uh, the idea that I've been playing with is that it's not a question that has a finite answer, but the whole point is to ask the question again and again, like in this moment, what is the truest, highest expression of self?
And I think the answer changes, but again, it's like coaching. It's not that coaching, you know, when you are coached, you say something out loud and you have an insight, and that insight is so powerful that finding it somehow changes the rest of your life forever. You know, it can have an impact forever. Sure. But it's more the practice of asking yourself these inquisitive, curious, powerful questions again and again in different circumstances, in different places, uh, at different times. And so that to me is amazing. Like, so I don't think that there is a whole list of steps as opposed to there's one consistent step, and that consistent step is to ask yourself that question as an inquiry. Rinse and repeat.
[Raj Anderson] How does somebody make that a regular practice of being curious? I mean, it’s who you are, John, right? It's part of your life. What if it's not part of someone's life? How can they make it a regular practice?
[John Andrew Williams] Hmm. Yeah. I mean, I had a really funky day Sunday where I just felt like not, not good and Amois was like, you're doing your thing again. I'm just gonna let you have your day of funk, you know, and feel good. She's like, give yourself a day or two. Like, she's learned not to try to push me out of it.
Just like, you gotta “feel the feels” of the pressure of everything, right?
In that sense, I think there's a way to be gentle with yourself too, like what we talked about last week, like self-love, self-care, those kinds of things. Like where there's just an awareness, like yeah, if you're doing something hard, something you'd never done before and you're gonna, you know, if you're doing something worth doing, like in the sense of it's challenging, there's opportunity for failure.
Even the idea of flow, like in order for us to experience flow, there has to be an opportunity for failure. That's amazing. That's like, it's so much you can give yourself so much grace. So in that funky day, did I think to myself, you know, what's my truest highest expression? It's so hard.
It's so hard. But that's, that's the deal, is you have to create structures around it. You have to create ways to remind yourself to do that. So is it sticky notes? Is it vision recordings? Is it a vision board? Is it, uh, reminder on your phone that pops up every hour? Is it designing relationships with people around you? That people around you are also doing it too, so that people around you say, Hey, what's your truest, highest expression? Right?
It's creating these structures and systems and I think this, this is the real work like this. This is work and we talk a lot about if you're trying to initiate flow, having a routine, like a morning routine or ritual to go through, or a series of steps or sequences that you do every single time.
These are really valuable tools.
[Raj Anderson] Structures and systems.
[John Andrew Williams] Yeah. I'm curious, what do you do, Raj? I mean we've talked about our own different tools.
[Raj Anderson] Yeah. Um, for me, what really helped for it to stick was the structures and systems. So I have a reminder in the morning that pops up, um, around about 7:30 am, but that's the first time I touch my phone as well, because phones are not allowed in the bedroom.
They are plugged in the laundry room. So that's not the first thing we kind of pick up or see. So there is, there is a question that I'll see when I pick up the phone and it changes at different times. Different seasons, there is a different question or it might be an affirmation. You know, at the moment for me, is I am strong and healed, cuz health is really important for me this year.
So it, it's that reminder. Uh, yet before I get out of bed, I will meditate for about 10 minutes and do some breathing. I'm doing a new one at the minute cuz I'm into Ayurveda. So I'm doing, um, empty bowl meditation, which is just releasing and letting go. Um, yeah, any overthinking or, you know, starting to think about what's gonna happen this day. It helps me to sit in that space. So meditation, I like to think about what is my intention for the day. I like to journal actually, but at the end of the day, I like to journal at night. So I've got journals everywhere, like hundreds of journals. I carry a journal in my bag. Journaling. Being curious about myself.
I was talking to somebody last week and I was saying it's becoming a student of yourself, isn't it? And then you become an expert of yourself. What do you think John?
[John Andrew Williams] Little known fact about me. I don't know if we talked about this yet When I was 13 I attended some lecture, and there the person who was speaking said, Hey, you should write it. One thing is really useful is to keep a journal. So I did from age of 13 to around the age of 27 years, I kept a journal, I wrote in that journal every day for at least 30 minutes.
[Raj Anderson] Wow.
[John Andrew Williams] Like, like every day. I mean, I was every, you know, skip a day maybe. So I had this, I had like 12, you know, those spiral bowel notebooks that have like 200 sheets in them, 250 sheets, stuff like that. I had 12 of.
So then when I was 27, so I stopped. So I met Amois when we were 19 and I stopped cause I realized, I transferred all of the communication with the journals to Amois. Uh, and it didn't need, you know, didn't need to, didn't feel the need to write them as much. And I still kept one, but it was like maybe once a week, maybe once every two weeks, like whatever.
But then, uh, our first child's being born we're 27. And I'm looking at these things thinking, you know what? I needed it to be released. So I recycled them all. I recycled like 12,000 pages of journals. Like just poof.
I remember the moment when the recycling guy came, the recycling truck came by and I was watching it. I remember the very clearly watching this thing get, you know, these journals get taken. And, uh, it was like, uh, a bucket of freedom, you know, with like a little drop of regret. And I think it needed to be released.
I needed to write them in the moment and to put them down, like go there. But then I think I also need the freedom to be, and to allow my past not to be tied to an object. And I was telling my daughter, who's now 15, this, and she now keeps journals too. She's like, dad, I can't believe you did this. I'm like, me neither. Yeah. Raj.
[Raj Anderson] Why was it important to release it, John?
[John Andrew Williams] She's being, you know, it's like my daughter was being born, you know. I don't even wanna have to keep track of 'em, you know? I don't want to, in the back of my mind, think, okay, they're, or there, or you know, cause it was pretty, and you know, we're talking 15 to 20, you know, 13 to 20 every day documentation of activities. It's not anything terrible or bad. It just was, I think it became a thing of, you know, it was a structure in the moment for me to process what was going on.
There's this thing now too, I guess they call 'em burn books or burn journals. Have you heard of this?
[Raj Anderson] No, I have not.
[John Andrew Williams] Like in the car, she's saying that there's this thing where you can buy a journal and it has matches with it, and then you're supposed to write everything in it and then burn it.
[Raj Anderson] Mm-hmm.
[John Andrew Williams] . . .kind of thing.
[Raj Anderson] That's quite cool.
[John Andrew Williams] Yeah. Yeah. And I mean all of that to say like, do I regret, you know, letting them go . . . probably, like, I wish I'd cur been able to have the time to curate and pick out different things of it and like, you know, truly curate it and like make like a, this huge, like I can make a book of that, like the big crazy document.
But it's again, like going through all that. I don't know. It's a lot of work. I have other work to do,
[Raj Anderson] Thank you for sharing that. John
I don't have that many journals backdated or anything. I do, I kind of, I release them on a every couple of years.
[John Andrew Williams] Really you recycle them as well?
[Raj Anderson] Yeah. Yeah.
[John Andrew Williams] No kidding. I'm impressed. I don't know. I don't know if I've met many people who recycle their journals. Yeah.
[John Andrew Williams] Wow.
[Raj Anderson] I did it one time. I went back and read some things and I didn't even recognize myself.
And then there were some things that were really painful that I actually didn't really want to revisit. I'm like, that's not who I am now.
[John Andrew Williams] Right, right.
[Raj Anderson] So I didn't, I don't wanna sit in sadness.
[John Andrew Williams] Right. Yeah, that's the idea. That's where I was at. I was like, no, I gotta let this go.
[Raj Anderson] Absolutely. So John, another question for you.
How do I find the value in who I am without tying my worth to my job and what I do?
[John Andrew Williams] Hmm. Oh, that's another idea that we're playing with. I think it's the idea of worth, I mean, it seems like it's at the bottom of almost every coaching session. I dunno about you, Raj. Like, do you feel . . .
[Raj Anderson] Yeah.
[John Andrew Williams] I mean, am I worthy? It seems to be a universal question.
I don't know. I feel like we as a family have been playing with this idea that like when someone does something incorrect or not, you know, not thoughtful, like, to call them out in the real time. Like your worth is not attached to this. Um, we've been doing that for maybe, uh, it's been a while now. We've been playing with that idea.
It's interesting when I catch myself in that too, like, oh, I missed putting out the recycling this morning. Like, oh, my worth is not tied to that. Again, I feel like these things are a lot like the affirmations. I feel like they’re something that needs to be repeated over and over again.
A good example that sticks out in my mind, and I've shared this many times, I think is, uh, there was something going on where I was feeling like something business-wise, I forget exactly what it was. Uh, but I remember, I was going out in the backyard and I wanted to make a new garden bed. And I mean, I grew up in Southwest Pennsylvania, like I worked on farms like in the summertime, digging ditches in Pennsylvania is not very fun. You hit rocks all the time and whatever, so here I am in Oregon doing the same thing, and I remember there with a shovel, and every time I stuck the shovel in the earth and would turn it over, I found myself having to repeat again.
The idea like, you know, you can do this or, you know, you got this, or, you know, stay in gratitude or, I forget whatever the mantra was, but it was almost like my mind and whole being wanted to go back into that hard place, and it had to say it again and again and again. And it was so therapeutic to have like the, the action of just turning over the earth.
Like, say it again. Oh, turning over the earth. I thought that's coming as like this wild ping ponging match. And I feel like that's sometimes what we have to do in order to allow our subconscious or the lizard minor Olympic brain or whatever, whatever you wanna call it, like to allow that part of our brain that's always operating, always judging, is judging ourselves harshly, almost all the time.
Like to love that part of us cuz it keeps us safe. It's like it's a necessary part of what we're doing. It needs to be treated with love too. And the only way I know how to treat it with love is just by like, just giving it a hug again and again saying it's okay. Like, but that, that image of, you know, creating a new garden bed really sticks with me.
[Raj Anderson] Yeah.
[John Andrew Williams] I'm curious for yourself, Raj, like what, what structures are. . . I'm kind of curious your response to that question too.
[Raj Anderson] I think when you talked about being, that really helped. An affirmation I actually created for myself with my coach a while back was, I deserve to be loved for who I am, not just for what I do.
So have that on a sticky note as a reminder, you know, and some of this is tied up between, you know, kind of values and how it was brought up and expectations. And I was listening to a video recently when someone was talking about identity and how much of our identity can be tied up in almost being a workaholic or being exhausted, you know, and if I'm not overly exhausted, does that mean that I haven't worked hard enough or, you know, am I being lazy? So those are lots of things I've had to work through and what I love to do on the programs. So I, I run a lot of women in leadership programs and we look at what does, who am I as a leader?
You know, who do I need to be versus what do I need to do? And a while back I started to create a being list versus a doing list. And that's helped me immensely because when I look at the being list and you know, being empathetic, being calm, being courageous, being authentic, and I thought, let me look at those words actually.
That's what I wanna be in every environment, not just as a coach or as a trainer or as a consultant. Therefore, if that's who I am, then I can be free because that's not just tied to doing the coaching or doing the profession. Am I making sense?
[John Andrew Williams] Right, right. I tried making a being list. I have tried to make them, I'm, I'm never, I'm in awe of people who make them work.
I feel like there's magic in that, but yeah, it's amazing.
[Raj Anderson] What stood out to you, John, in what I just shared there?
[John Andrew Williams] Uh, the idea being able to create and maintain a being list, I feel like it has to be like a lot of trust in the process. Like you trust yourself in a deep way. That's cool.
[Raj Anderson] Yeah, and, and for me, self-trust is connected to that self-worth and it's, it's actually been able to love myself through the dark side as well as the light, because I want to be calm. I'm not always calm. I'm not always patient and there are times when I'm judgy, so how can I love that part of me and have grace whilst wanting to be in a place of being different.
[John Andrew Williams] Right. That’s cool.
[Raj Anderson] So, John, we've got a couple of minutes left. Sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off.
[John Andrew Williams] No, go for it. Go for it.
[Raj Anderson] What words of wisdom do you have to close off today?
[John Andrew Williams] Yeah, I mean, I think the biggest thing is, you know, any time you know, you're trying to, like going back to like the first one, the truest, highest expression. You know, I, I feel like anytime you're trying to do something that you've never done before, you have to give yourself grace in being able, like having an opportunity for failure, but also having pretty strong structures and systems to get yourself back to, you know, back to the work.
And this idea of having an inquiry or having a structure to really ask yourself like, what is your truest, highest expression? You know, what is the part of you, like, what part of you right now wants to express and be heard and like, what is that and how can that expression lift you up and others around you up?
I feel like that is a tremendous tool. You know, the thing that for me, the two common answers when I ask that question are gratitude and to live excellently. This idea of doing the right thing, even if no one's really watching or, you know, okay, yeah. Like this is, you know, we have to do this thing.
Like, okay, you know, like it's going to cost us time, energy, and money, but it is the right thing to do, so let's do it. That's not always easy at the initial decision point, but it provides ease later on. And that later ease is so valuable, uh, and it becomes an upward feeding cycle.
That's been my experience of answering that question again and again for myself. I think gratitude, it's always seems like gratitude is the answer for 80% of what we're dealing with. Um, was it there a fable. I forget which culture it came from, but there was a king who was looking for a piece of advice, like even when things were good or when things were bad.
Uh, and the piece of advice centered around, like still like, just be grateful or something like that. Or, yeah, things were changed, but grateful for in the moment. Um, I could be getting it completely wrong.
[Raj Anderson] It sounds good.
[John Andrew Williams] Sounds nice.
[Raj Anderson] Yes. And on that note, I'm very grateful for this opportunity to just share this time with you, John, and everyone else that's listening.
There is a real sense of calm here today, and I hope the audience is feeling it too. So if anyone's ever been afraid of doing a podcast or speaking their truth. I think with truth comes calm and peace of mind as well. I'm feeling it today.
[John Andrew Williams] Yeah. Thank you, Raj. It's so much fun. This is a beautiful structure. I appreciate everyone just tuning in and listening as well.
[Raj Anderson] Thank you.
[John Andrew Williams] Yeah, thank you for the questions.
[Raj Anderson] We'll see you all next week and I think we might have a look at some tools next week, so if you've got any questions around tools, coaching tools, send them across to us.
[John Andrew Williams] Sweet.
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