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Home of the Samurai Coaching Dojo blog where Toku McCree, Matt Thielman, and other guest Sensei share their philosophies and practices for deep coaching and honorable enrollment. SUBSCRIBE for updates to be notified of new blog posts, special opportunities just for subscribers, and more!

Dear Coach, Stop Being a Whiny Little B*tch

People come to you because they want their lives to be different. 

They see what’s possible. 
They got a taste of it somewhere. 

At a meditation retreat. 
On a vacation. 
In the pages of a book. 
In the embrace of a magical lover. 
Dancing at a concert. 

They got a taste of the infinite possibility of life. 

And then they woke up the next day feeling trapped. 
Ordering off of a menu. 
That has nothing on it that they want. 

They know that there’s more. 
They know that there’s something deeper. 

That life isn’t meant to be counted off like bottles of beer on a wall. 

And you have agreed to be the person who helps them. 
A dedicated liberator. 
A wise sage. 
A fellow traveler. 

Peering off into the distance 
Read to chase dragons and scale mountains. 

To help them squeeze the juice from life. 
And lick the last bits of pulp from their dying lips. 

But to do that. 
You have to stop being a whiny little b*tch. 

You have to have a stance on life that’s more powerful than the ordinary. 
You have to show up willing to create what you want. 
Instead of getting mad when it’s not brought to you on a platter. 

You have to be willing to believe in your clients even when they try
with all their might
to get you to believe they can’t do it. 

Even if they fail the entire time they’re with you. 
Your job is to believe in them. 
Beyond belief itself.

You have to move beyond quitting. 
Both your quitting and their quitting. 

It’s not that you should never say goodbye. 
But it’s that you have to be able to see when you are quitting. 
And choose back in, get more out, and move beyond your discomfort. 

Most people only try until it gets hard. 
You’ve got to be willing to try harder than that. 

You have to be willing to love. 
In the midst of heartbreak and hopelessness. 
To let your heart be wide and loving. 
Even as they insult you and call you a fool. 

You have to be willing to live in a way
that even if someone lied about you 
and called you names.* 

You’d be fine with who you were. 

You have to be willing to be responsible 
for your inevitable failings and stumbles 
and for things that aren’t your fault
and for which you have no control. 

You have to be willing to be an exceptional human being
who is deeply humbled by your humanity every day. 

Being a coach is such a fucking privilege. 
People come to you with their dreams
Swaddled and fragile. 

And you help them grow and become reality. 

What more sacred calling could there be on earth?

It’s a calling of the divine, of life itself. 
Despite what you might think of the industry, 
or the marketing, 
or the word life coach. 

So please for the love of all that is good, and worthy, and holy in the world. 

STOP BEING A WHINY LITTLE B*TCH!!

Get a coach. 
Do the work. 
Show up. 

You are more than capable. 
And if you’re going to help other people achieve greatness. 

Learn to discover daily the greatness in yourself. 
Find it and be it. 
Find it and practice it. 
Find it and generate it. 

That’s how you’ll make the difference you truly long to make. 

Love, 
Toku

 

*shout out to my friend Adam Quiney whose interpretation of this Zig Ziglar quote has become one of my favorites to repeat. 

People come to you because they want their lives to be different. 

They see what’s possible. 
They got a taste of it somewhere. 

At a meditation retreat. 
On a vacation. 
In the pages of a book. 
In the embrace of a magical lover. 
Dancing at a concert. 

They got a taste of the infinite possibility of life. 

And then they woke up the next day feeling trapped. 
Ordering off of a menu. 
That has nothing on it that they want. 

They know that there’s more. 
They know that there’s something deeper. 

That life isn’t meant to be counted off like bottles of beer on a wall. 

And you have agreed to be the person who helps them. 
A dedicated liberator. 
A wise sage. 
A fellow traveler. 

Peering off into the distance 
Read to chase dragons and scale mountains. 

To help them squeeze the juice from life. 
And lick the last bits of pulp from their dying lips. 

But to do that. 
You have to stop being a whiny little b*tch. 

You have to have a stance on life that’s more powerful than the ordinary. 
You have to show up willing to create what you want. 
Instead of getting mad when it’s not brought to you on a platter. 

You have to be willing to believe in your clients even when they try
with all their might
to get you to believe they can’t do it. 

Even if they fail the entire time they’re with you. 
Your job is to believe in them. 
Beyond belief itself.

You have to move beyond quitting. 
Both your quitting and their quitting. 

It’s not that you should never say goodbye. 
But it’s that you have to be able to see when you are quitting. 
And choose back in, get more out, and move beyond your discomfort. 

Most people only try until it gets hard. 
You’ve got to be willing to try harder than that. 

You have to be willing to love. 
In the midst of heartbreak and hopelessness. 
To let your heart be wide and loving. 
Even as they insult you and call you a fool. 

You have to be willing to live in a way
that even if someone lied about you 
and called you names.* 

You’d be fine with who you were. 

You have to be willing to be responsible 
for your inevitable failings and stumbles 
and for things that aren’t your fault
and for which you have no control. 

You have to be willing to be an exceptional human being
who is deeply humbled by your humanity every day. 

Being a coach is such a fucking privilege. 
People come to you with their dreams
Swaddled and fragile. 

And you help them grow and become reality. 

What more sacred calling could there be on earth?

It’s a calling of the divine, of life itself. 
Despite what you might think of the industry, 
or the marketing, 
or the word life coach. 

So please for the love of all that is good, and worthy, and holy in the world. 

STOP BEING A WHINY LITTLE B*TCH!!

Get a coach. 
Do the work. 
Show up. 

You are more than capable. 
And if you’re going to help other people achieve greatness. 

Learn to discover daily the greatness in yourself. 
Find it and be it. 
Find it and practice it. 
Find it and generate it. 

That’s how you’ll make the difference you truly long to make. 

Love, 
Toku

 

*shout out to my friend Adam Quiney whose interpretation of this Zig Ziglar quote has become one of my favorites to repeat. 

Control vs. Trust

Often we’d prefer to have control over hell than to trust in heaven.

If things don’t turn out the way we had so meticulously planned them to go, we resort to blaming ourselves for not having done enough, or not having done things differently. We’d rather spend hours suffering and grieving over an outcome than muster up the courage it takes to allow ourselves to move forward. As if fantasizing about having a time machine to go back and change things makes our grief any less painful to bear.

The simple notion that we could accept things as they are and keep our focus on the horizon can feel almost as difficult as building a time machine itself.

But trusting that the universe has your back takes even more than courage: it takes patience.

Eckhart Tolle explores this idea of trusting in the divine unfolding of events through the story of a wise man who won an expensive car in a lottery.

Upon hearing the news, his family and friends were very happy for him and went over to celebrate. ‘Isn’t it great!’ they said. ‘You are so lucky!’

The man just smiled and said, ‘Maybe.’

For a few weeks he enjoyed driving the car. Then one day a drunk driver smashed right into his new car at an intersection. The man ended up in the hospital with multiple injuries. His family and friends came to see him and said, ‘That was really unfortunate.’

Again, the man just smiled and responded with, ‘Maybe.’

While he was still in the hospital recovering from his injuries, there was a landslide one night and his beloved house suddenly fell into the sea. His friends came running in the next day to inform him of the news, ‘Weren’t you lucky to have been here in the hospital!’

Again, the wise man said only, ‘Maybe.’

Grappling with the reality of events that did not go the way you had planned can be extremely difficult. Many times it causes us to tighten our metaphorical grip as we search for more and more ways to regain a sense of control. We’ll opt for blaming ourselves (or those around us) for situations gone awry just to feel like we have any say in the outcome.

But as Tolle’s anecdote demonstrates, it’s not really about who’s responsible for the way things turn out. Nor is it about trying to label the outcome of events as “good” and “bad” or “fortunate” and “unfortunate”. To do so would be futile, seeing as shit is going to happen whether we expect it or not.

20th-century American writer Max Ehrmann takes the stance that, whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

So, rather than preoccupying yourself with ‘who’s responsible’, I invite you to shift your focus over to how you are responding to the predictably unpredictable things life throws at you. Focusing on your response allows you to pause and decide how exactly you want to react to a situation.

Do I react with anger? Relief? Fear? Do I let my ego throw me through the wringer of ‘What ifs?’ and ‘If onlys?’

Or, do I instead focus on finding peace in the reality of my current situation? And keep my head held high for whatever comes next?

The truth of the matter is, shifting your energy from who’s responsible to how you respond, is going to be the key determinant in your overall well being. A catalyst for your overall peace of mind.

Doing so is much easier said than done. I know all too well how that burning hot iron of control can feel so good that it’s hard to let go…

Even when letting go is exactly what we’re being asked to do.

But you’ll have to just trust me on this one–

It’ll be worth it when you do.

Holding Back

Right now you may be holding back
how you feel
how you want to live life
deciding what to do next

You may be holding back
your dreams
your hopes
your desires

You may be holding back
your fears
your annoyances
your paranoia

You may be holding back
your love
your expression
your boundaries

You may be holding back
and back
and back

Like a little tempest in a teapot

And it makes sense
The world has asked you to hold back
To stay inside
to make being around the same people a lot more than normal work
to make working from home work
to make a pandemic work
to make your life work in a way it may never have worked before

You may be holding back
how well this is working for you
the relief you feel that you don’t have to drive your kids to school
or go into the office
how right you feel about how bad this has all gotten
because you saw first how bad it might be

You may be holding back
what you want to say
what you really need
what is missing

in an effort to keep the peace
inside your household
inside your company
inside your mind

And it’s okay
it’s ok to hold back right now

But it’s so important for you to understand
that holding back
is
not
the end all be all fix for everything

It can work
in the same way a pressure cooker works
it can steam and stew
it can process

but if you don’t let it out
a little
slowly
with a safety release valve
you may just explode

split pea soup on every wall
chili con carne on the ceiling
shrapnel in the kitchen sink

don’t hold it all in
let it out
even a little bit
hit a pillow
scream at the moon
curse the gods

share what isn’t working
gently
with compassion
with love
own up to where you’re feeling weak
ask for help
pick up the phone
reveal what is hidden

in this time where so many of us feel hidden in our homes
there is a great revealing
of what was workable about our lives before and what was unworkable
of what we loved about our lives before and what was missing

you can allow these revelations to allow your heart and life to blossom
or you can add them to the backlog of things unsaid
life unlived
love unexpressed
desire unspoken
dreams tucked away in sleep

days and days of surviving
the one thing that you can’t survive
being alive

it’s time to stop holding back
take a long hard look
take a big gulp
take a slow deep breath

and let it out
if even
just a little

So I ask you
what is it that you are holding back?

Should I charge this client more than that client?

There’s this weird idea in coaches that you have to charge all your clients the same amount. Sure, if you found out I sold you a t-shirt for $20 that I normally charge $10 for you’d feel ripped off, but the comparison is a bad one. 

Coaching is more complex than a t-shirt and the price you charge has more to do with the level of commitment than the specific work you do or even the outcomes they’ll create. 

Having said that, there are 3-4 good reasons why you might consistently charge clients a different rate for coaching. I’ve laid them out in this video with a summary below:

 

1) They have different profiles – 

(job titles, income streams, positions, types of work)

I sometimes charge CEO’s a different rate than I would charge a new coach. And I’m certainly more willing to work to get a yes with a really talented coach than a CEO. Partially it’s because the type of person is different and often the portion of income they are investing is different. 

That’s certainly the case with the nun I coach who runs a hospice. I charge her less because I believe in her work and also because she’s a nun. 

 

2) The perceived value is different –

I’ve paid $40k+ for 1-1 coaches but I can’t imagine hiring a trainer for that same amount. Not because trainers have less skill but the value of that is less in the market. If you coach CEO’s and you coach career transition people the CEO might be seen as more valuable. Whether or not that’s true, it means you could decide to charge differently for career coaching. 

I’d rather have you create a better explanation of the value of your career coaching instead, but sometimes the perceived value or going rate does have an impact on what you can charge. 

 

3) The work is different – 

I have a client I only work with twice a month and she pays less than another client who I work with every week. I charge $5k to do a strategic planning session which is a little less than my hourly rate for coaching. And the mastermind group I run costs 1/10th of what working with me 1-1 costs. 

I charge different rates because the work is different. Sometimes I do different work and charge the same rate. After all, time doesn’t always equal value, but if the work is different you might charge something different. 

 

4) The entity you’re serving is different – 

If you’re being hired by a company vs an individual you might charge something else. Usually, this means the work is different but it may not be. It could be the same work, but since the client is the company you might charge more. This is similar to #1 but not exactly the same. Because it acknowledges that Business to Business sales can be different than when you sign a deal directly with a client.

 

 

Being right vs being hooked

When we play the right/wrong game with people we end up being hooked. We’ve got a nice little bit of land called being right and we don’t want it conquered. In fact, we’d like very much to conquer the land of the others’ rightness if possible. But when you let go, when you make the other person right, when you become willing to take a look and see how rightness doesn’t make you happy or open—just cold and grasping—you can let go. 

 

You can find the rightness in what they are saying, you can be clear on your boundaries, you can do your work, and you can be free. Because when you step out of right and wrong, you also detach the hook.

Significance

Anytime we add extra energy, assessment, judgment, evaluation, celebrity, grandeur, meaning, impact, emotion, thought, or resistance to something. We can have a fly land on us and simply feel the legs or we can run around screaming that we have been infected by a deadly disease I KNOW I’M GOING TO DIE NOW. The latter is a form of significance. Somethings we add significance to on purpose. Weddings, graduations, funerals etc. which is good it increases the way they are created and the impact they have on us. So significance isn’t bad, it is simply something extra. The key is to be conscious of where we add significance and to only do it when and where we declare it serves our values.

5 Ways To Become A Better Coach

Becoming a “great” coach is nebulous but I’ve put together a list of articles to read that will help you become a better coach.

  1. Take 5 minutes to recommit to being a coach. Consider your why. Read Be A Better Coach In 5 Minutes.
  2. Transform your life. Do the work and be ready to coach others to do the work. Read 7 Steps To Transform Your Life.
  3. Make the choice to be a coach. I know you already chose to be a coach, but really choose it. Read Choosing To Be A Coach.
  4. Get comfortable going deep. Coaching requires deep conversations. Read The Fear Of Going Deep.
  5. Join containers and groups that stretch you to grow. Join the waitlist for The Embodied Coach Mastermind.

Coaching Is Always On | Should Coaching Require Permission?

Why I’m a yes to coaching. 

In a lot of coaching groups that I’m a part of the agreement is that there’s no coaching without permission. And while I get the value and appropriateness of that agreement I don’t actually think it’s the most powerful way to play. In the groups I create and lead we have another way of playing called Coaching is always on, and here’s why I think it’s a better way to be in the work, creates more powerful containers, and helps people learn how to be leaders. 

1) Trust is the default – 

Very often when I ask people about why they don’t want to let someone coach them without permission and they’ll talk about how they haven’t established trust with people and I get that.

In my normal life trust needs to be built and grown in order for relationships to develop, but this shifts inside intentional containers. If the container is created in the right way I believe we can turn trust into a default. 

This is especially true inside a leadership container because as a leader I need to learn to generate and create trust even in situations where trust may not normally exist.

By practicing with trust as a default we can be more present about what gets in the way of trust and how vulnerable trust really is. 

I’ve also found that in groups of leaders people are more cautious at first anyway, they tend to hold back rather than lean in. So the challenge is usually how to get people to be more in than out and this agreement pushes on the right edge. 

2) There is gold in all feedback – 

Another reason people object to coaching being always on is that they don’t have confidence in other people’s feedback. They think people are assuming and projecting, and on some level they probably are. In fact people tend to project even more and become more solidified in their projections over time, especially the people who know you. It’s why often some of the best and most accurate feedback about who you are being comes from people who don’t know you. 

Putting that aside, even if the feedback is muddied up by people’s projections almost all feedback has some gold in it. I’ve received some really messy, projecty, feedback from people and I’ve still been able to sort through what it is that I can learn. In fact, if I’m training as a leader I need to master this skill, because very often as a leader the feedback I get is messy and unclear. To get the most out of the people I lead and train I need to be able to find the gold, sort through their projections, and let go of the judgments flying at me. This is why the practice of coaching always being on is so valuable to leaders because it puts the impetus on us to find the gold rather than on our peers to deliver pure gold. 

Learn to want more feedback even if it’s messy because more feedback means more opportunities to learn. 

3) It creates a brave vs safe space – 

A lot of spaces emphasize safety which I think is great, but safe spaces tend to relate to the people inside them as fragile. If you are really fragile because of trauma, injustice, or because the topics are edgy then yes an emphasis on safety is key. But in leadership spaces leaders take on the role of creating safety for themselves. So what’s called for is more bravery. 

Leaders are people who choose to relate to themselves as not fragile but resilient, they are saying I can take my licks and keep stepping up. It’s not that they’re not human and shouldn’t set limits, it’s just that they choose to relate to life from a place of power and responsibility. 

A brave space invites brave people to be inside of it, people who trust themselves and honor their limits. It shifts the responsibility for safety from the group to the individual. It means that not only do I work to understand the difference between danger and discomfort, it also asks other people in the space to feel into what each person can handle and what’s right for them. 

Which leads me to my next point. 

4) It puts the responsibility on the coach vs the client or recipient

The fear that arises for most people is about getting more coaching than they can handle which may happen. But part of the challenge of no coaching without permission is that it sets a clear gate to action. Which coaching is always on, the gate to action is more subtle. As a leader I’m always asking what someone can handle and the way I learn that is by giving people what I think they can take and them being responsible for the impact. 

Sometimes I’ll give too much, sometimes not enough, but the only way I can learn that really well is to be in the practice of it. By removing the gate you move from a switch to a dimmer. I have to learn the right level of feedback and coach in the moment. This coaching without a net demands WAY more attention from me in the space, both on what I can handle and what others can handle. It demands I create more and notice more rather than leaning back on the gate. 

Final Thoughts

It’s so easy to say “well they said yes to coaching” or “I’m not going to offer anything because I’m afraid about getting permission”. You can always seek extra permission when coaching.

Coaching is always about space but it’s on you to decide when to ask and when to offer. YES, you’ll make mistakes but the mistakes will help you learn. And in a space for leaders that’s what we want to emphasize over almost anything else. 

 



And if you are ready to embody a great and masterful coach, join the Embodied Coach Mastermind Waitlist.

Join The ECMM Waitlist

Interpretation (success/failure) vs Investigation

What worked, what didn’t, what’s next?

We like to play the success/failure game. It’s simple and gives us the emotional hit of arrogance or shame which our ego loves to feast on. But success and failure are just interpretations. If we look, there’s always something that works, something that doesn’t, and the possibility of next time. When you can let go of the interpretation you can discover something new in each moment of practice whether or not you decide it was a success or a failure.

The Critical parent, the loving parent, the adult, the adaptive child, the free child – This is a concept from a certain branch of psychology, but we don’t need to get bogged down in the theory. For now, you’re noticing that you can hear the critical parent quite clearly and are able to get space. This might also be a time to see if you can listen for and hear the voice of the loving parent as well.

Life: Put Down, Take On, Heal, Transform

Everything we face in life goes in one of these columns, you put down what we’re done with, what needs to be pruned so we can focus on the healthy branches of life, you take on things that scare you or challenge you, things that will increase your integrity and well-being, you heal the past, your wounds, your soul fractures, the places in you that call for love and tenderness, you transform the parts of your life that you choose, yourself, your relationships, and the areas you’re committed to. 

Sometimes in life, we encounter things that are in breakdown, relationships, organizations, communities, and spaces. When we do it’s important to choose one of these 4. If you choose one of these four a lot of things are possible. You can put down relationships and ways of being that aren’t working or you can transform them into something healthy. You can take on a challenge and heal the past along the way. Or you can put down a challenge that won’t serve and heal the pain that arises. 

The danger is when we do none of these. When we HANG ON, when we survive, when we avoid, blame, and become a victim to our lives. From that moment we are simply dying, because to survive as a human is to die. Because that’s where we are headed. 

If we choose these four we step into life, whether we have one day to live or a hundred.