How to Cope with Feelings as A Life Coach
Unsure of how to cope when feelings arise in a client session? Understanding the foundation of those emotions is the first step towards handling them better.
The Everything Life Coaching Podcast, featuring Lumia Coaching founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, is a deep dive into the experience and business of being a life coach. Subscribe to get new episodes weekly!
Strategies for Managing Your Feelings as a Coach
Ever found yourself caught in the grip of a strong emotion in the middle of a coaching session? Getting triggered or caught up in your own material is a very common experience for coaches, especially in the beginning. You're human, and it's natural!
We invest so much in helping our clients advance forward in their lives, facing down their challenges and roadblocks along the way. Holding space for others can be demanding, and has the potential to take a toll on our own emotional health if we're not practicing healthy detachment.
Knowing how to cope with all the feels takes time and practice! Here's a few tips that might be helpful along the way.
1) Name your emotions and allow them to exist
Simply naming WHAT you are feeling with precision can help interrupt the thoughts that are accompanying it, and help get you back in the driver's seat.
Instead of simply saying to yourself that you got triggered or felt upset during a session and then moving on, take some time afterwards get to the bottom of it. Oftentimes, there’s a deeper reason for the emotion you felt. By naming it, you’re getting a clearer view of what got activated inside you... and what aspects of your own experience may need tending, attention, or healing.
2) Remember: it's a feeling, not a fact
One thing we teach in Lumia's life coach training program is to try and keep things in perspective. When you're in the grip of a strong emotion, it can be helpful to remember: “this is a feeling, not a fact.” Because that’s exactly what it is.
If you feel terrible about being late to a meeting, or upset by the person who cut you off in traffic, it's simply a feeling. It will pass.
Instead of dwelling in those negative feelings, lean into the tools of positive psychology. One resource that we find particularly useful in helping make the shift from negative to positive emotional states is researcher Barbara Fredrickson's Broaden-and-Build Theory.
3) Give meditation a shot
If you'd like a tool for training your mind, meditation is an age-old practice for learning how to settle your thoughts. It helps us build the internal capacity to witness our emotions rather than being ruled by them. Mindfulness and meditation practices teach us ways to more fully inhabit the present moment, and inquire into our experience with greater detatchment. Not only that, it helps to enhance your coaching presence as well!
Want to learn more? Listen to the podcast: Mindfulness in Coaching with Charisse M. Williams.
4) Don’t let your emotions hold you hostage
This is yet another one of the pillars of positive psychology and we want to highlight this. Do not let your emotions take you hostage. It is one thing to name your emotions and allow them to exist, it’s another to let them take control of your life, your business, your coaching practice.
Keep in mind that while it's healthy to welcome and acknowledge our feelings, it’s vital to also know that you are in control. You are in control of how these emotions affect you and how you react to them.
5) Understand that you’re not alone
The notion that life coaches are always positive is a myth. There's this idea floating around out there that coaches should have their whole life figured out, picture perfect at all times. And because of this, many new coaches feel alone when their emotions get big, or things are messy in their businss or personal life.
Truth is, all coaches are humans. And we all experience triggers, fears, wrong-turns, and disappointment. We get activated in client sessions. Our wounds come up. We all have moments where we are in the swamp of our feelings, and struggle to reach for the tools we know can help.
And when we stumble, we get back up.
Knowing that you're not alone can greatly impact how you cope with big emotions when they arise. It’s also helpful to have someone you trust, a friend, mentor, or perhaps your own coach, to help you navigate through the ups and downs of life, especially when things get heavy or uncertain.
6) Life isn’t something to be solved over the weekend
The same thing goes for your business. If you’re still in the process of building your coaching practice and you’re overwhelmed with emotions, keep in mind that it’s not something you figure out all at once. It takes time and perseverance. Vulnerability and authenticity. If you want to know how to keep your emotions in check, you must also understand that the process of learning and growth is not linear, or as fast as we might like. Be patient with yourself!
Ready to Become A Coach?
One of our values at Lumia is that we dare to be different. Our coaches ignore the expectations society tries to impose on them, and seek to live from their own truth instead. If you are ready to step into your power and you’d like a partner in the process, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, and business instruction to prepare you for liftoff.