The body tells us more about ourselves than we allow it to. In fact, when coaches are just in tune with the way our body communicates with us, we can actually serve our clients better. Ani Anderson and Brian Trzaskos take a deep dive into the importance of learning somatic coaching skills, which is beyond what coaches are taught today. More than just being intellectually-based, coaches also need to learn how to talk to their body and decode what it says. Only by doing this can they serve clients more deeply. And no, being a coach already does not automatically mean you have somatic coaching skills. You need to learn and harness it. So tune in to this episode to find out why this is important and how you can start the journey of adding these skills to your practice.
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Why Coaches Need To Learn Somatic Coaching Skills
Welcome to episode two of the show.
We’re going to dig deep into the idea of coaching skills.
In our first episode, we were talking about how we got into the personal development space. We were like, “We’re here. You know what we know to be true that the body is the mind and your body is the subconscious mind.” We kept bumping up against this thing that people didn’t know we were talking about.
They might think to themselves or say to us something like, “I believe that the body is important. I believe in the body-mind connection.” We’ll have to talk about that in another episode because that’s not how we talk about it. If people didn’t understand that the reason that folks weren’t meeting their goals and struggling or resisting on the way to their goals had anything to do with the body. Sometimes, people would understand that there was an emotional component. I’m tongue-in-cheek here because emotions have something to do with the body. It was interesting to get into that personal development space.
A lot of coaches are either overtly taught not to deal with people’s emotions, keep it intellectual, or don’t want to deal with people’s emotions. They try to keep it intellectual. The problem is that’s not how humans are built.
I remember when I was in coaching school. You ask your client about their emotions and in the next breath, they’d be like, “We don’t do emotions because emotions are therapy.” I remember being in the classroom and whispering back and forth to my peers, “What do we do about that? How do you reconcile that?”
I was already doing somatic coaching by the time I was in coach training. I knew the answer, but I could see everybody struggling and grappling with that. Brian, when we first got into the coaching space and we were getting coaching, our mentors were awesome. We learned so much from them. We also heard a lot of like, “Push through. Just do it.” I hate to say it, but it’s true. We heard, “Vomit and do the thing.”
I remember I was standing at the hotel where a number of people were staying when we were in a coaching engagement, getting coached ourselves. Some of our colleagues were talking about how they were going to puke and do the thing. Hearing that, there’s a place in my heart because I know that’s not trauma-informed. I know there’s a better way. To treat ourselves like that and think like that about ourselves breaks my heart when that’s where we’re coming from professionally. Coaches are not taught the skills in most coaching programs to know any better than that.
If we back up for a moment, as coaches, we know that the subconscious mind is 95% of our mind’s power. A core element of the subconscious mind is to keep us safe. That’s what the subconscious mind is doing. In the way of keeping us safe, it stops us from creating change, even if that change is something we want.
What Ani is saying is that when we force ourselves to do something or change with our conscious mind, the subconscious creates a lot of resistance to doing that. That resistance shows up in our body as vomiting and having all kinds of internal distress and chronic pain. Most people don’t realize that those are signs of resistance. That’s what your body is telling you. Most people don’t understand how to read and don’t have the coaching skills to decode what your body is telling you.
You don’t learn that in coaching school.
You learn it in somatic coaching school.
Regular coaching schools are primarily intellectually based. I can’t speak for other somatic coach training programs, but in our somatic coach training program, we teach you how to use complete human intelligence. We teach you how to understand that the body is speaking to you and you can also speak with the body.
One of the interesting things about this is we have people ask us all the time, “I’m interested in what you’re doing. Do I need to take another coach training program? I’m already a coach.” The thing that we see all the time is that because coaches weren’t trained to talk to their body and understand how and decode, like Brian was saying, how your body is talking to you, just because you’re a coach doesn’t mean you have the coaching skills to do somatic work and coaching.
I’ll add this, Brian. Sometimes, we have incredibly highly educated folks come and talk to us about joining our programs. These are people who are already manual therapists, massage therapists, coaches, meditation folks, breathwork people, and all those kinds of things, but still, to put all the pieces together in succinct processes so that you can access somebody’s body intelligence is a different story.
To have the coaching skills to do that is safe for people. Their bodies are not breaking down. We had a lot of early experiences with watching other coaches coach their clients to make $1 million. Let’s say that was the coaching goal. They’re pushing that the client makes $1 million. Next month, they completely have a health crisis. That $1 million vanishes because of the breakdown. That’s a subconscious mind creating all this resistance to that change or that experience. At that point, it’s like, “I helped you make your $1 million. Good luck with your health crisis.”
Not just health crises because that’s one way it shows up, but also emotional crises, not just leaving relationships but destroying relationships. There’s a path of destruction along the way. When you understand somatic coaching skills, it doesn’t have to be like that. We like to say with people who join our program, “People join because they have their own personal journey they want to be on, or they want to develop these skills so they can serve clients more deeply.”
The interesting thing is that when people are on a program with us, they do both. All of our students love it. They walk this wonderful personal journey and learn skills along the way that they’ll use with their clients and/or learn the skills they think they’re learning for their clients, and they end up using them for themselves. We can’t get away from that. We all love this stuff. We’re learning it. We love it. We want to share it with others. With their skills, we want to bring to other people. We also want to use them to impact our own lives.
There is a little bit of truth in that. There’s a statement that says, “The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.” What Ani is saying is that when a person is having challenges in their personal experience, that’s going to show up in their professional experience. When they have challenges in their professional experience, it’s going to show up somehow in their personal experience. Maybe not to the same degree, but oftentimes, it’s the same limiting challenge, belief, or pattern that is creating the result in both of those places.
I remember one of our students, Judy. She was interested in joining our program. She felt like it was more like a calling. We do hear this from people. They’re like, “I want to learn the somatic work.” Judy loves to be an expert so she wants to know all the things. This happens a lot. There were personal goals in her life that she wasn’t getting to. She didn’t know that she was overwhelmed, overworked, and didn’t love her day job. She didn’t know that she was having some problems with her relationship and wasn’t excited about where she was living, but it wasn’t like these things were a front burner for her. They were desires. They were in her heart. They were the things that she thought about at night when she was falling asleep.
That’s life. It’s like, “I’m supposed to not be happy with my relationship and work.” I’m like, “That’s life. I’ll deal with it.” That’s a common drumbeat for people until they get to a point where it’s like, “I do want something different. I deserve something different. I have to pop over that threshold a little bit.” We were talking in our last episode that I had an experience in the clinic and I never want that to happen again. That’s what pushed me over the edge to say, “I’ve got to make a change in this case.” It’s the same thing for Judy. It got to a point where she’s like, “Maybe there is something better that I can step into if I can figure out how to do that.”
Do you know what it was for Judy? She had already signed up to be a student with us. She was already studying with us. She wasn’t able to completely attend classes and be present. She was running late, she needed to leave early, and she had other things she was doing while she was in class. She was like, “What’s up? This isn’t how I want to live my life.” She was a proficient coach. She didn’t have the somatic skills to tap into what was going on in her body. She didn’t have overt body symptomology. She was overwhelmed.
We asked the question that we teach our students, not only to ask but to follow up on, where in your body do you feel it? What does it feel like? It is this beginning dialogue with the body. Judy started having this beginning dialogue with her body because she was frustrated about the fact that she was missing something. There was something going on. She was interested in it, but she wasn’t fully present.
If I can put a pin in that for a second and take a little sidebar, think about how many times you’ve been in programs with people or even facilitating a program with people and someone is not showing up. It’s traditional to think from a coaching perspective or an instructor perspective, like, “What’s wrong with this person? They can’t show up. They’re lazy.”
What we know with Judy and with all other students is that when that stuff starts happening, that’s resistance. That’s a sign that the subconscious is resisting a change, which means we’re pointed in the right direction for that person to create the change they need to create. The way that we engage with people with coaching skills is we can help people overcome that resistance.
Traditionally, what happens in the coaching space when this is happening is that clients get labeled as uncoachable. That’s not true. We don’t have the skills when you don’t know the somatic skills to enter into a profoundly helpful conversation. I’m using that word on purpose. Sometimes what happens, Brian, back to that therapy is these people are seen as you need therapy first.
First of all, we lose a client. Second of all, what does that do to the client? How do they think about themselves? I’m not even ready for coaching. I’m not even coachable. I need therapy. What this is telling somebody is I am broken. It’s not true. It’s that the practitioner doesn’t have the skill base to have a conversation with the person’s body so they can find the helpfulness. Helpfulness always exists. That’s what we found with Judy.
We’d started talking to Judy’s body. Where in your body do you feel? What does it feel like? The cool thing was Judy started to take a stand for the things she wanted in her life. She did it rather quickly and swiftly because she had the skills to overcome her resistance. She didn’t even completely know she was in resistance.
That’s certainly not why she joined us as a student. It came up for her. What she’s doing is she’s not only using somatic skills in her practice. She left her job. She has a new place to live. The relationships thing ironed out. All of that stuff happened. She’s shifting and changing the way she interacts with her clients because she sees the profound nature of the somatic coaching skills, being able to help people see the resistance that’s in front of them that they can’t even see, move through and live life in a way that feels completely different than the life that Judy was living before. That was the key. Her life feels different.
What we know about the Somatic Coaching Academy is the work we would do with people. I don’t know what happens in other somatic coach training programs but I know it happens deeply in ours. Here’s the deal. Judy is unhappy. It’s like life is fine, but not thriving in life. You can only go on so far like that. Judy finds her way to us. She starts working with us. Her own resistance starts to show up. She realizes, “That’s resistance. I’m not broken. My subconscious is working perfectly. That’s how my resistance shows up.”
Let’s start doing the coaching skills, teaching, employing, and applying somatic coaching skills on her own process, and her life changes dramatically in amazing ways. All of a sudden, she’s got a big smile on her face. She’s lighter, present, and engaged. We’re like, “Look at her changing as we’re going through the course of the program.” She can masterfully turn around and use those skills with her clients to create the same change.
As a somatic coaching professional, I’m going to hang on to this one, Ani, on this understanding that you cannot do masterful somatic coaching with a client until you have proven it to yourself. That’s baked into the work we do at the Somatic Coaching Academy. You have to go through that process to understand how to become aware of, decode, modify, and reframe your own sensory system in a way where you can create a change repeatedly every time for yourself and apply that in working with other people.
Become aware of, and that’s something we all know. We see it on Instagram. You can’t change something you’re not aware of. We have stuff that happens in our body. Our bodies talk to us through body symptomology, aches, pains, pleasures, and emotions every day, all the time. If we’re not aware of those body sensations, that they mean anything, that we can decode them, that we can do anything about it, we don’t have the awareness and we can’t change anything. There’s intelligence right there waiting for us to tap into it. That’s why highly trained coaches come to study with us because it’s the somatic coaching skills that are the delineator. You’re not going to learn it anywhere else.
Otherwise, we think our body is doing something to us.
We’re not even aware of it because we’re so used to it.
We’re not even aware of what’s going on with the whispers from the body. I never thought of us as body whisperers before. It’s not that fanciful or magical to me. The results are always magical and cool. It’s a process. When you go through a proven process, you get consistent results every single time.When you go through a proven process, you get consistent results every single time. Click To Tweet
It’s practical and simple. This is what we’re going to be talking about more on the show. If this is an exciting conversation for you and you want to know more, keep reading because we talk about this stuff all day. There are many different ways to enter into this conversation. We can enter into it professionally or personally. We can talk about relationships, health, money, and all these different ways. They distill down to these simple, practical, profound, and cutting-edge topics and skills. If you think this is cool, so do we. Keep hanging out.