Ep 81 – How Shame Crushes Momentum in Your Coaching Business

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Show Notes

This episode, which is part of the Smart Mindsets & Habits series, is a follow on to Episode 80, which was called Competition, Comparison and Shame in the Coaching Industry.

I received many brave and heart felt comments on that episode, including this one from Marian:

“Thank you for this episode, Rhonda. I feel like you’re responding to what’s inside my head! This was amazingly helpful to me and has inspired me to reach out more to support and share with other coaches, especially my classmates.”

Well done, Marian, because that kindness you shared to other coaches goes a long way for making the coaching industry a more friendly and encouraging field. We need that.

It’s not easy to talk about shame.

But the upside is that once you acknowledge it you can quickly realize what triggers it and that helps you let it go.

A private client in my VIP Coaching Business Breakthrough program was baring her experience of shame with me in our session today.

And I’m so grateful to you, Barbara, that you have generously given me permission to share a bit about our discussion in this episode. Your willingness to be vulnerable helps you and every other coach who hears this podcast. Being vulnerable is one of the ways we can love each other up so we all become more successful at this big coaching business endeavor.

The Cycle of Shame for a New Coach

Barbara told me that she felt the shame of comparison today when she was encouraging a current client to re-up for more coaching.

And talking it through we realized is that shame can come up fast whenever you’re doing something that you care deeply about that you haven’t done much before. Here’s what I think it can look like as a new coach …

  • First there’s feeling ashamed that you don’t know everything right now. (Shouldn’t I be a master at coaching? Shouldn’t I know exactly how to do everything?)
  • Next comes shame for needing expert help to do it right. (Oh no, I’m spending more money when I’m not yet earning from coaching. Why is everything so hard for me?)
  • Then, as you are on the learning curve, there’s shame that it’s taking a while to get everything right.
  • And if you model aspects of your business on what other coaches are doing there’s the shame that comes from comparison.
  • There’s shame that you’re not 100% together as these other coaches seem to be. (By the way ‘seem’ is the operative word there.)
  • When fear comes up about crossing thresholds in your business shame tags along because it’s embarrassing as an adult to feel fear, especially if that fear makes you doubt yourself or stop taking action.
  • Imposter Syndrome makes shame darker still. Why would anyone hire me? Who am I to help them?
  • And, shame surfaces in the sales and enrollment process. Just having to ask someone to hire and pay you can feel shameful. Why would anyone pay this much? What if I can’t deliver? Will they figure out I’m a fraud because I don’t know exactly what I’m doing yet?

Breaking the Cycle of Shame in Your Coaching Business

So there’s this insidious cycle of shame. And if you don’t have mentoring support, shame can literally stop you from moving forward – crush your momentum. Shame can make you give up on your coaching business.

And shame left to fester becomes toxic, like an overgrowth of bad bacteria. You need some probiotics to replace that negative feeling with something more supportive.

I’ve felt shame in my coaching business far more than in any other area of my life. And that makes sense to me because launching and running a business is, at least at first, all about me – what I do and I do it, how I respond or don’t respond. It’s my creativity life force that raises it up and keeps it off the ground. And my choices have consequences.

In some ways, I’d compare launching and running a business to birthing and raising kids.

So how can you stop the cycle of shame?

It comes down to letting go of your expectations. Expectations can be momentum killers.

What helped me stop the cycle of shame around my business is this realization:

I am on a developmental path.

Every day in my business brings something new to learn.

I don’t have to learn it all or know it all right now.

One step at a time will get me where I want to go faster than trying to learn it all right now.

You and every coach is on a developmental path and where you are on that path is appropriate – not behind. You would never expect a new born to run a marathon would you?

So I asked Barbara today: How do you feel you’re doing on your place on the developmental path so far?

And she said: I’m doing my best. I want to live my life taking things one step at a time. Mostly I’ve never done this before. I’m not going to do it all right the first time.

YES! Barbara is so wise.

I told her I thought she could be more generous with herself and shared how well I see her doing. And that’s because I have a perspective that she can’t easily have. I’m here looking at how amazingly well she is doing with each and every step. And, I have no judgment about mistakes or her not knowing everything. She is moving forward on her developmental path.

What I know for sure is that my clients achieve far more far better than I did at their phase of development. And I’m so impressed with them!

Barbara made another key point … when we progress to the next level we expect ourselves to climb yet another learning curve, doing more things we’ve never done before. And then there will be another level after that that we expect of ourselves. That’s what makes life interesting.

Yes. So true.

So, I invite you to always think of yourself as being on a developmental path in your coaching business. What can you reasonably ask of yourself at this phase? How can you lighten your expectations and be kinder to yourself? Because if you are kind to yourself you’ll move forward faster.

And here’s something I know that you may not yet. Your clients do NOT expect you to be better than you are right now. Only you hold that expectation over your head. So stop that. You have the power to let yourself be and grow at your own pace.

In the Next Episode: The Mindset Shift That Helps You Charge More with Coaching Clients