Lee: Well hi, Wendy, thank you so much for coming on the Coach with Clarity Podcast.
Wendy: Hi Lee, it's great to talk to you today.
Lee: I always enjoy talking to you. I'm so grateful to have you on the show. Why don't we start things off with hearing a little bit more about who you are and the work you do for the world?
Wendy: Sure. Well, my name is Wendy Naiman, I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Washington State. And I'm also a Certified Coach with Clarity. And I do some both, I do mostly coaching of individuals, and couples. And I also have a small private practice where I still see some therapy clients during the week.
Lee: I love it. I'm actually going to take that from the top. So editors, please take that part out. See, I don't always get it right on the first go, either. So I would love to talk to you more about your journey into coaching. Especially because like me, you also started as a therapist and still practice as a therapist. What brought you into the world of coaching?
Wendy: So, great question. I decided, well, so first of all, therapy is a second career for me, I have only been in the therapy world for a little over a decade. Prior to that I was a corporate person, project management, program management, people management. And I went back to school, got my masters, and started therapy. And a couple of years ago, I was really feeling a little bit burnt out with this therapy, just straight therapy. And I realized I wanted to be able to do work with people that didn't require me to diagnose them, or help them do symptom management. I wanted to do more forward-focused, goal-oriented work with people. I wanted to help people figure out where they are today and how to get them to where they want to be tomorrow, next month, next year, five years from now. And that's what really brought me into doing some research around, “Well, what else can I do with the skills that I already have?”.
Lee: I really resonate with that, Wendy, because that actually mirrors my own experience too, and the experience of a lot of people I've worked with. It's not that there's anything wrong with being a therapist, I am so grateful for my time as a therapist, and I think the world needs more really awesome therapists out there. And yet, sometimes we get to a point in our careers where it's like something is shifting, there's this desire, almost a calling to serve our clients in a different way, and not necessarily be so hamstrung by some of the requirements of the medical model, the diagnose and treat piece. And so to hear you say, “I really wanted to shift my perspective and start from the now and move forward”, that really resonates with me, and I suspect it will with a lot of people who are listening too.
Wendy: Yes, I think a lot of our therapy friends will definitely see that there are other ways to use the skills that we have to help people and to still maintain- I think what's important to me is maintaining connection with people, I love working with people. And this is just a different way to view it, a different way to do it.
Lee: Yes, it is all about connection, isn't it? And it's not that mental health is better than coaching, or coaching is better than mental health therapy, it's just two different ways that we can serve, typically two different populations, every now and then there's a little bit of overlap. But when we think about the desired result from a therapy relationship versus the desired result from a coaching relationship, it can be pretty different. And so having the skill set that you have allows you to do both: to have therapy private practice, and then to do coaching work as well. So, tell me what it was like when you started off as a coach, what was that initial time like for you?
Wendy: Oh, well I initially decided that I wanted to do coaching. And I started doing research and I realized I didn't have a lot of education around coaching. I had zero. And my fear was that I would do it wrong. I don't know if there was any wrong way to do it. And now that I've been through training, in my mind at that time, I thought, “I might do this wrong. I really need education, I really need to start to find, or at least surround myself with people that are coaching”. So I kind of get an idea of what that looks like and what that feels like. So that brought me into the world of searching for a program, a coaching training program. And I actually found a training program locally. I found you online, and I joined your membership. And then I found your training program. So I've done quite a few different things. I don't know if I'm answering your question.
Lee: No, no, no, no, you absolutely are. And I, in fact, I'm really struck by the idea that you wanted more coaching specific education. And I think this is so important to talk about, especially because you already had a very robust education as a therapist. And I think sometimes people believe, “Well, because I'm a therapist, I can also be a coach”. And what I'm hearing you say is, there was a different skill set and a different educational experience that you were seeking in order to transition into coaching.
Wendy: Exactly, exactly. I was looking for, not necessarily a playbook, because I don't know if there is really a playbook. It really depends on who you're working with and what they're bringing to you. But I was just looking for some theory. What is it built on? What is it for? I think at the end of the day what I was really looking for is, I wanted to be extraordinarily clear on what is coaching, what is therapy? Where's the overlap? And I just wanted, I wanted the education to ensure that I was maintaining appropriate boundaries with all of my clients, regardless if they were coaching or therapy clients.
Lee: Yes, I think that's huge. And also one of the reasons I pursued coach education and credentialing. A question I get a lot from therapists who are interested in coaching is, “How can I do this ethically? I don't want to blur any boundaries. And can I serve people who don't reside in the states where I'm licensed as a coach?”. And because this is a burgeoning industry, and we really are kind of figuring out the rules, and the lay of the land, I've always felt that having an ICF credential does offer an additional layer of protection. Especially for licensed therapists who want to coach. Because then if in the unlikely event, anyone ever says, “Whoa, you're practicing therapy across state lines without a license, you're doing it wrong”. You can always go back and say, “No I'm not, I am a coach. I am a credentialed coach. I've passed these exams, I've completed this training, and I have a coaching approach that I'm using with these people. So I am in no way providing therapy”, and I think that really provides a lot of comfort and reassurance. And then combine that with the coach specific training, it just makes you feel really prepared to go out and serve your people.
Wendy: Definitely, it really does. Because there is definitely a framework. There is a way to sit with people as a coach. And there is a way to sit with people as a therapist. The training that I received, pursuing an ICF credential, knowing what the core competencies are, and having those in my back pocket, thank you. Lee has really helped me structure consultations to see if I'm a good fit for somebody. It's helped me structure my sessions. It's helped me also know when we're done like, “Okay, you reached your goals in our coaching relationship. We're good. Come back anytime”.
Lee: Yes, and it is so helpful to have that structure. To know, regardless of what's going on in the client's life, whatever they're bringing to the table, I have the capacity and the ability to show up and support them. And I think that's what a solid coach training program can really offer. And then you can take that and make it your own. So that you can develop your own coaching approach, and your own style, and the way you want to work with your clients. So it's not intended to be formulaic, or confining. It's really meant to give you the tools that you need in order to then take it and run. And that's what you're doing, which is so exciting to see. I would love to hear more about your experience in the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program. I mean, I did get to witness it as your instructor and facilitator, but I'd love to hear more about your perspective as a student and what it was like to go through that program.
Wendy: I absolutely loved the program. I thought it provided just about everything somebody would need in order to go out there and be a coach, regardless of if they were going to be a solopreneur, or go and work for somebody, or maybe even if you want to start a group coaching practice. I feel like the Coach with Clarity Program provides all of those things. I was able to get kind of a framework, a theoretical framework around coaching. I was provided all the information that I needed in order to become ICF accredited, certified either as an associate professional, that's as far as I'm going, I'm not going anywhere. I was able to pick your brain and also the brains of the other people in my cohort around, “Well, what is your niche? Are you even going to have a niche? What are you going to do with the business? Are you going to see individuals? Are you going to do group coaching? Are you going to offer courses?”. And regardless of what any one of us wanted to do, I think your program provided us the nuts and bolts to be able to do it. You could walk away feeling confident, or at least I walked away feeling confident, that I could take my skills and work for somebody or do it on my own. I felt really, really confident in that.
Lee: Well first off, I'm so honored to hear all of that. I mean, this is one of the highest compliments I think anyone could offer me. And to hear that you had such a rewarding, powerful experience through the program, thank you. Thank you for sharing that with me. I am also so grateful to you and the other members of the cohort, especially because this was the first time I had ever done it. We were really co-creating that experience together. And to your point, I also agree that one of the best parts about the program was you and the other students in it. And the way that you were able to come together and create a sense of community among that group, and to support each other, and to guide each other. That was such a powerful thing to be a part of and to witness. And so when people ask me what one of the best parts about the program is, I always say it's the people in the program. It's not so much me, it's you. And that's what makes it such a magical experience. You know, in the first cohort, a good number of people were therapists or had some sort of mental health background, but certainly not all of them. And I also appreciated having that diversity of experience and background because I think that really enriched the program as well. And I'm looking forward to having more of that in future cohorts. Because I think there's so much to learn from other disciplines that can really inform our coaching practice. So thank you, thank you for sharing all of that with me.
Wendy: Oh, you're very welcome. And I'd also like to mention too, like as I said in my introduction, or earlier in the interview, I did have the experience of being in another program that wasn't as many coaching hours or education hours. And it definitely didn't have as many therapists in it, I think I was the only therapist in it. And it was good for me to, I guess what I'll say is, at the end of the day I'm so glad that I signed up for your program. I do feel that your program provided me with not only more education hours, but more experience in how to build a business, what a coaching business could potentially look like for me, what are some tools of the trade, what are the different things that you bring to coaching. You were willing to share with all of us, and I just really, really appreciated it. I'm so thankful I was able to experience your initial cohort, I know it's only going to get better from here.
Lee: Well, thank you, Wendy. And that feeling of gratitude is mutual. Again, I so enjoyed having you in the program, I am so grateful that you are a part of that initial cohort, and that you'll continue to be a part of the community. You know, it doesn't end just when you graduate, like we're going to stay connected. I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt. But my goal for the Certified Clarity Coach program is that as it grows graduates, if they choose, will be able to come back and support the program. As instructors, as mentors, coaches, as guest experts in the membership, I really want this to become a larger ecosystem. And so to think about you and some of the other people in the cohort coming back and being a part of that really excites me too. So big picture vision. That's where we're headed. And so, I just so appreciate your trust and faith in me to be a part of that initial cohort.
Wendy: I can't wait to come and visit you, you know, meet everybody one of these days.
Lee: Yes. One of these days we will have an in-person meeting. And also the fact that we did have an international cohort, there were people from all over the world. Makes it a little hard sometimes to do the in-person events. But I do dream of having that in the future. So more to come on that. So alright, you've made it through the Certified Clarity Coach Program, you're heading towards credentialing, what's next for you in your coaching journey? Where do you go from here?
Wendy: So currently, I am an independent contractor for an organization providing coaching. Primarily, I work with couples, but I also see a few individuals around more like lifestyle and career coaching. I'm doing that in order to ensure that I get enough hours so I can get my ICF credential, which I'm hoping for. I thought initially maybe ACC but I think I'm just gonna go for the PCC. Why not? Get all the hours, take the test once, and finish my mentor coaching. So, I'm doing that currently. My plan is to continue this work, at least through Q1, Q2, maybe indefinitely, I'm not sure. All while working on how to do this on my own eventually, I think I would love to be able to do this on my own. My habit is I like to just try to do everything at once. So right now I'm just slowing it down, like one thing at a time. Let me let me get my feet wet in this coaching world. Let me figure out how this goes. Let me work towards getting my credential. And then let me see what the world has out there to offer me next. I think that's kinda how I'm going, slow and steady Lee.
Lee: Yes Wendy, I love that. Well, and it feels like such a gentle, compassionate, and expansive way of approaching your coaching career. And I also love that you really highlighted the fact that when you are a coach, and especially when you have a coaching credential, you have a lot of options. You can absolutely start your own business and work for yourself. But you can also work as an independent contractor for other agencies. You might even decide to work in house for a large corporation as an internal coach, you may decide to go off and be a consultant. I know one of the graduates from our program is really thinking instead of doing one-on-one coaching, she wants to do more of a public speaking career. But she feels like her experience in the program has really set her up beautifully for that, too. I think that's what's so lovely about the coaching profession in general. And then also specifically, when you invest in your education, is that it really does create a lot of options and a lot of opportunities. And none of them are better than another, it's more about finding what's going to be the right fit for you in this moment. And understanding that as coaches, as human beings, we're always going to evolve. And when you got that training as a coach, it can evolve with you.
Wendy: That is so true. I think taking the Coach with Clarity Program really allowed me to see that regardless of how I coach, when I coach, what I coach, these particular skills, the skill set is useful no matter what you pursue, no matter where you go. It's just really, really useful. Just again, to highlight connection, it helps you connect with people in a way that maybe you didn't think you could in the past. And I really, really enjoy that. I really like that about the program, is that I can do so much with what I have. And I think that's also part of the magic of the Coach with Clarity Program is that the way you present it, the way that you teach it, it, it's allowed me to see that there are so many doors that are left for me to open in my career. There's so much more that I can do. And I just really appreciate that. I guess that's what I want to say.
Lee: Thank you, thank you. I know my favorite part about the program as the facilitator and the instructor, was getting to spend time with you every week, whether it was in the seminars or whether it was in the coaching labs. But I've heard from some of the graduates is that while they really appreciate it, the best part about the program for them was the peer coaching component. I'd love to hear a little more about your perspective on that and how you see that fitting in with the overall program.
Wendy: Oh, wow, the peer coaching. I will let you know, I second what my counterparts have said. It was really amazing. First of all, it allowed me to get to know a few people in the program, more than just, you know, our weekly labs or actual seminars. So that was wonderful, I really was able to get to know a handful of folks that otherwise I wouldn't have been able to meet ever. And then for me, as a peer coach, I really got to practice everything that we were learning. All of the different skills that you presented to us, I actually have to put them into action. I got to see, I got to try it on, add the Wendy touch to it, see how that felt for me, see if it was something that I could continue to use. I really enjoy that. And as somebody's coachee, I really enjoyed the ability to bring my real life struggles to somebody and trust that because they're in this program with me, because they have this amazing skill set, that was going to get so much out of it. And I really did, I really got a lot out of my peer coach. Coaching experience. Having a couple of folks coach me over the length of the program was really, really helpful. Yeah, I really liked it. I think it's, it's so important. I also really appreciated that it was part of the program and that it wasn't something that you like, “Well, if you want to do it”. No, no, no, you have to do it. And, and that, and I really, really like that. And I really also like that you matched us up so that we didn't have to go out there and be like, “Hey, anybody want to work with me?”, I really appreciate it. Especially since I'm in Washington State. There were only a handful of us out here in the west.
Lee: I'm so glad to hear that. And I'm also glad you shared your experience being on the receiving end of the peer coaching, because that is an important component of the program. And in fact, I am pretty upfront about, if you are doing this strictly for professional development, and you're not able or willing to invest in the personal development, this is probably not the right program for you. Because between the peer coaching, and between the coaching labs, you're probably receiving 30-ish hours of coaching. And you can't help but experience some degree of personal transformation when you are receiving that much powerful coaching. But you have to be willing. And so there's a willingness there. And if that's not what you want, if you're not at a point where you can or want to invest in that, then that's okay. But this is definitely not the program for you. Because it really does blend the learning of the coaching, with the application of the coaching, with the receiving of the coaching, like it all works together. And so, I think that's the other reason why it can be such a powerful experience. Because you have people who are in it, who are invested, and they want to do the work together. It's just such a powerful thing to be a part of and to witness.
Wendy: Exactly, I think it is, I'll just borrow from our therapy friends here, it's an experiential training program. You have to be willing to come in and not just want to learn, like read or hear somebody lecture, you have to be willing to come in and absorb both what it feels like to be a coach, and what it feels like to be coached. That is really central, I think, and it's a big part of your program. And I think that's why, for me, it was so successful.
Lee: Well, I'm so glad to hear that. Thank you. So I've got kind of a fun question. At least I think it's a fun question. Last week on the podcast, I talked a lot about a day in the life of a coach. Understanding that it's really just a day in the life of THIS coach, because coaching itself is so flexible. My day may look very different from your day, from another coach's day. But I'd love to hear from you, kind of what a day in the life of a coach looks like from your perspective.
Wendy: Okay, I'll do my best here. So I right now, the way I have my schedule set up, is I coach folks on Mondays and Tuesdays. So I have very set hours and my lunch breaks. On any given day, I tend to wake up at six o'clock in the morning, I can't help myself. It just happens. And if I have something to do it typically is walking my dog. So I get up, stretch a little bit, brush my teeth, put on dog walking clothes, and take Kylie out for a 30 to 40 minute walk around the neighborhood. When I come back, I feed her, I feed me, and then I change into my work clothes so that I can come into my office and start preparing for the day. And what that looks like is looking at my schedule and checking my email, making sure that no one's canceled. And then looking at who is on my docket for the day and reviewing where we're at in our process. What is it that we talked about last time, what were the the things that we decided would be good experiments to work on in between our sessions, making sure that the materials that I sent out to them really went through and maybe they clicked on the open box. And then I kind of go through my day, and my day is kind of mixed up. It's like, I'll have an individual, I'll have a couple of couples, I'll do a couple of individuals. I tend to not see more than six folks in a day, because I do 45 minute sessions. I make sure that I have enough time to take a break, I tend to take at least an hour and a half in the middle of my day to exercise, or walk the dog again. It's summertime now, so my daughter's home. So connect with her, make sure she's doing okay, not that she hasn't been home all year. COVID. Thank you. And then at the end of my day, I take a few minutes to go through, make sure that I've documented what I needed to document, and sent out what I promised to send out to my clients. Because I do tend to send like a little summary of what we talked about, so it's fresh in their minds. And then once I walk out of this room, because this is my home office, I’m done. I closed the door. I literally close the door because my cats will come in and eat my plants if I don't, until the next day. And I start all over again. That's kind of how I do it.
Lee: That day sounds so lovely to me. I mean, the fact that you're able to carve out time in ways that work for you, so you can take an extended day, or I'm sorry, so that you can take an extended break in the middle of the day. So that you can take your dog on a long walk, you can do things to support your body, your mind, and your spirit throughout the day. And then have time really dedicated to serving your clients. And it sounds like there's such a variety in the clients that you serve too. It just sounds like such a free kind of expansive day.
Wendy: I'm really enjoying it. I've just been doing it. I've been able to coach for this organization for a couple of months now. And I really, really liked it. I will also say, Lee, that this idea of having like time in my day, that is a Lee Chaix McDonough idea. You know, I think it was on one of your podcasts. And you might have even mentioned it in the course about you know, creating whitespace in your day, and how important that is. And I'm like, “Oh my gosh, she's so smart”. And that's just in my career. I created throughout my week because it's just really, really important. The work that we do, it's not always easy. It is, to me, always fun. And it takes a lot of capacity and presence to ensure that I'm seeing my client the way that they are presenting. So that idea of having breaks in my day, and breaks in my week. I definitely cannot take credit for that. That is definitely all Lee Chaix McDonough.
Lee: Well, I'm glad that that helped. And I will tell you, I talk about that now because I learned the hard way after not incorporating that type of space into my day. So yeah, I'm very happy. If me struggling before I figured that out serves other people, including you, then it was totally worth it. And it's so true. Coaching, I mean I love coaching. I do find it fun. And sometimes I find it challenging. And there can be fun in a challenge, you know, when we're really pushing ourselves. And because sometimes it can be challenging, you're exactly right, we have to be mindful of our capacity,, and what we're able to bring, and then how we restore and replenish ourselves, so that we can show up for the next fun challenge with the next client or the next day. So I think that's really important. And I'm so glad that you made that point.
Wendy: Yes, it is and it is challenging, because I think maybe that's why our clients seek us out. They're, they're feeling challenged, or they're feeling stuck. And part of getting to know your client, and i think that's also a very important part of coaching, is walking with, being partnered in this relationship. There's not an expert patient or there's not this like, power differential. So it's always fun, it can be challenging, and it can be exhausting. It can be all of those things right? Because we are partnered in this. I am signing a coaching contract that I'm going to be your partner in getting you from where you are, helping you get unstuck, helping you address this challenge in a productive, efficient way. Get you to the next day, get you to the next step. It does take a presence, capacity, energy, and without ensuring that I'm recharging my batteries. I can't do the work that my client wants or needs me to do, or that I want to do, I think.
Lee: Yes, it is always fun. It's often challenging. It does take work, and it's always rewarding. At least that's how I feel about it. So yeah, Wendy, I have so enjoyed speaking to you today, it was absolutely a joy to have you as part of that initial cohort for the Certified Clarity Coach Program. I have just learned so much with you and from you. And I am grateful for you coming on the show today. If people would love to connect with you, is there a social media platform or a place where they can find you?
Wendy: Goodness, I guess the easiest way to find me, the name of my private coaching practice is Shining Light Coaching. And so if you just go to ShiningLightCoaching.com, you will see me. And I would love to hear from people. Yes, reach out. Don't hesitate.
Lee: I love that. Shining Light is such a perfect name for your coaching practice because you are a beacon of light. And I've seen that, part of the certification program requires me to observe your session. So those peer coaching sessions, they get recorded, I observed them so I am providing feedback on the coaching sessions. So I get to witness just how beautifully you work with your clients and you really are a beacon of light. You're a lighthouse for them. So that is such a beautifully named practice for the kind of work you do.
Wendy: Lee, thank you so much. Thank you so much. Thank you.
Lee: You are so welcome. And Wendy, thank you again for coming on the show today.
Wendy: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate you, Lee.
Lee: I appreciate you.
* * * * * * *
Oh my gosh y'all, that interview. I have to be honest with you, there were moments where I found myself getting emotional and choking up because I was just so touched and so honored to hear Wendy's perspective about the Certified Clarity Coach Program, and how it's informing her practice. That was so meaningful to me. And so Wendy, thank you. The feeling is 100% mutual, I'm so honored to have had you in the program. And I'm so grateful for your willingness to share your experience with others. I am thrilled to be starting the next cohort of the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program on Monday, August 23. So if you've been thinking about pursuing an ICF credential, or if you're simply looking for a deeper, more powerful way to connect with your coaching clients, I would love to have you apply to the program. You can head to CoachwithClarity.com/certification
to learn more and submit your application today. One of the things that Wendy mentioned in the interview was that she felt like she really got a chance to connect with all of the other students in the cohort, and that really enriched her experience. That is such a vital part of the Certified Clarity Coach Program. And it's one reason why I am looking to keep the cohort intentionally small. I want to make sure that we have that ability to create an intimate, connected community. And so I'm only accepting a limited number of applicants. So if you're thinking about it, definitely get your application in now, head to CoachwithClarity.com/certification. And of course, if you have any questions about the program, please feel free to reach out. You can send me an email at info@CoachwithClarity.com
. Because I do want to make sure you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision, and to determine whether this program is the right fit for you, and if now is the right time. As part of the application program, I do require a one-on-one meeting with me, so that you have a forum where you can ask those questions. And also, it's my opportunity to get to know you better as well. As Wendy mentioned, I paired her up with other cohort participants for her peer coaching. And I take that responsibility of matching people very seriously. And part of the way I'm able to do that is by connecting with you one-on-one during that application call. It gives me an opportunity to learn more about you, your values, and your goals, so that when I'm creating those pairs, I do match you with someone that I think we'll be a good fit for you. So when you submit that application, it'll be followed by a 30 minute call. And then we'll talk about whether the program is right for you. So just head on over to CoachwithClarity.com/certification
to learn more, and submit your application for the August cohort today. All right, my friends. That's it for me this week, but I will be back in your feed next week with another episode of the podcast. Alright, my friend. That's it for me this week. But don't worry. I'll be right back in your podcast feed next week with another episode. So if you are not already following the Coach with Clarity podcast, make sure you do that now. You can find the show at just about any place you listen to your podcasts. Whether that's Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Audible, IHeartRadio, you name it, you are going to find us there. So just search for Coach with Clarity Podcast, hit that follow button, and then I'll show up in your feed next week with brand new content just for you. Until then, my name is Lee Chaix McDonough, reminding you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.