Why does coaching work, when it does? Free call tomorrow!

WynsmallQuick reminder that tomorrow, Friday, November 13, at 11am PT (2pm ET, 7pm UK), my guest Wyn Morgan and I will be exploring why coaching works–when it does.

Coaching can be a powerful context for personal and organizational transformation. What makes coaching “work” when it works? What’s missing when it doesn’t? What’s the difference between “transformational coaching” and other modalities or traditions?

Join us for this live Zoom videoconference. Yes, we will record it and post a replay, but we would love to have you join us live with your questions, insights, and comments.

No advance registration required. To join us, just click the link below a few minutes before the scheduled time. You’ll be able to join from your computer or by phone. If you join by phone, tolls may apply.


If you will be joining from a Mac or PC and this is your first time using Zoom,
please come to the Hangout a few minutes early to allow time to download the
free Zoom client. This download will happen automatically when you follow the
above link from your Web browser.

If you want to join from an iOS or Android device, please install the free Zoom
app of your choice in advance so that you are ready to go when the Hangout begins.

I hope you will join us!



Why Life Hacks Don’t Work (and What Does)

Last week at a coaching conference one of the speakers held forth about her wildly successful book on the formation of habits, habits that, in her view, lead to success.

Among other things, she proposed a model to explain why some people do what’s good for them and some people don’t (and some people do it some of the time but not other times). She went on to name some of the 21 (!) strategies that she had codified for forming habits that lead to success.

Her suggestion for a useful exercise was for us to sort ourselves into groups according to her model and come up with mottoes for our “types.”

Can you see how instead of pointing us inward toward the source of our moment to moment experience, she was pointing us outward, toward her model? Not only that, she was asking us to invest our creative energy and attention into developing her model, dressing it up with mottoes.

Say what?

The world is overflowing with models and life hacks that don’t work.

You are a human being, a creature with infinite potential, not a robot who could benefit from an operating system upgrade.

Instead of looking outside for models of success, look inside toward the source that inspires and catalyzes human beings of all sorts to do extraordinary things.

Have you noticed that sometimes you just feel alive? Really alive?

And have you noticed that when you come alive, life works?

And have you noticed that sometimes coming alive happens regardless of your circumstances? It can happen when you have bills to pay (and no money in the bank). It can happen when you or the people you love are sick.

That’s because coming alive has absolutely nothing to do with your circumstances. It happens before and underneath them.

Coming alive is the realization of what you already are, not a new accomplishment.

It’s what the mystics and sages are pointing to when they tell us that all is well and all manner of things be well.

And when you are in touch with the underlying okayness, when you let that okayness unfold and reveal your true aliveness, life just works.

An invitation to “Come Alive and Do the Thing”

As you can perhaps tell, I care a lot about this. I care so much that, for the first time in nearly three years, I’m forming a mastermind group and calling it “Come Alive and Do the Thing.”

Come Alive and Do the Thing is about two things: experiencing your aliveness and taking action in the world.

It’s about letting go of analysis paralysis and embracing the game of life wholeheartedly.

It’s about connecting deeply with the formless energy that animates all things and showing up regularly as a creator in the world of form.

It’s where insight meets action, and I would love to have you along for the ride.

Come Alive and Do the Thing begins December 1

I’ve known I wanted to convene a coaching group to explore this territory, but until I sat down to write this article, I didn’t know what it would look like. The details are still coming into focus, and here’s what I know so far.

Come Alive and Do the Thing will be limited to eight persons. We will meet weekly on Tuesdays at 9:00am Pacific time (noon Eastern, 4:00pm UK) beginning Tuesday, December 1, 2015. We will get a running start before the turning of the year!

Meetings will by video-conferences using the Zoom platform, and there will be a private Facebook group for connecting between meetings.

I’m working on a web page for the group now and will email you as soon as it goes live. I expect registration to open on Thursday, November 5th. Because it is such a small group (and it has been so long since I have offered a mastermind), I expect it to fill quickly.

If you have questions now, feel free to email me.

Yes, you can still sign up for Pay What You Choose Coaching

Whether or not you feel called to this new group, remember that you can request a coaching session with me on a Pay What You Choose basis. Pay What You Choose means exactly that: you choose how much to pay based on your resources and the value you perceive. Details are here: shaboominc.com/coaching
Photo credit: Pixabay.com


What Pay What You Choose Pricing Is Teaching Me About Coaching and Business

IMG_1161Last month I stopped charging set fees and announced Pay What You Choose pricing. Here are some of the things I’ve learned so far.

1. You don’t have to know step three before you take step one.

I have wanted to try PWYC pricing for at least two years. One reason I hesitated was that I didn’t know how it would work. Then I realized that I didn’t need to know how it would work in order to run an experiment.

As I set it up, I wondered what kinds of systems I might want or need. Should I screen clients before agreeing to a session? How would I handle payment?

I decided not to try to screen prospective clients before accepting appointments. Instead I ask folks to make one initial appointment. This lets me meet the client and have a conversation with them about subsequent work. It seems simpler and more effective than trying to screen people.

I use acuityscheduling.com, which enabled me to create a simple intake form that pops up when someone makes a PWYC appointment. I ask what calls them to work with me, what their previous experience of coaching is, and what else they would like me to know.  At the same time I ask what they want to pay. As soon as I receive an email notifying me of the appointment, I send a PayPal money request.

That has worked beautifully. Many clients find that a single session is sufficiently transformative, and they go away happy. If and when they want another, they are free to schedule again. Other people have turned into weekly or bi-monthly clients.

And, in case you are wondering, there’s no correlation between the amount people are paying and whether or not we agree to ongoing work. Read on for more about how little money appears to have to do with the quality of the experience.

2. There is no correlation between the amount a client pays and their readiness for coaching.

One of my thoughts going into this was that I could end up with a slew of people who saw themselves as needy, broke and/or broken, and victimized, which some might expect to indicate that they are not ready for coaching. I certainly see and hear a lot in coaching circles to support that.

But that’s not how it has turned out.

Yes, I have had a few people show up who seemed to be in a needy or broken state of mind. But here’s the deal: I know that they are not broken. After years of holding that as an article of faith, I finally see deeply that it is true. And it appears that when I see a client as truly and inarguably whole, it doesn’t matter a great deal whether or not they show up as needy in their own minds.

Because a funny thing happens when any of us is held with true, loving regard. We begin to wake up to our true nature, which is whole and resourceful. That holds true no matter how much a client pays.

It distresses me that this is not more clearly and widely understood in the coaching world.

3. There is no correlation between the amount a client pays and the degree of engagement we experience or the pleasure I get from the session.

I also wondered if knowing what someone had paid might influence my coaching. Would I feel pressure to perform with a client who paid in multiples of a hundred dollars? And would I be less enthused or energized or have any number of thoughts about coaching someone who paid in multiples of ten?

As it happened, the first week I was far too busy to even think of looking up what a client paid before I showed up for the session. In week two, after a particularly satisfying session, it occurred to me to check. I discovered that the client I had enjoyed the most had actually paid the least.

After that I decided there was no benefit to paying attention to what people choose to pay, so I don’t.

4. Lowering the barriers to entry won’t help you get hired by folks who don’t know you exist.

21 individuals have signed up for PWYC coaching since I announced it in early September. As I write this on Friday, October 2, apart from a few sessions with folks who have become repeat clients, I don’t have any PWYC appointments for October. My conclusion? Even if you have been coaching for 20 years, as I have, your work is not front of mind for your prospective clients. No matter what your pricing model, you need to find a way to make your work visible and accessible to your just right clients on a regular basis.

5.  Lowering the barriers to entry doesn’t change anything for folks who don’t know why they would hire you.

Being visible and accessible is not enough. Your just right clients need to see a reason to hire you–a reason expressed in terms that match their own values, needs, and priorities.

I’ll be working on this in the weeks ahead. I’m starting by asking recent clients to let me know what they got out of our sessions. I’m not talking about getting testimonials. I’m talking about listening carefully to how my clients talk about the value they received, the difference it made in their lives, and how it helped. That way, when I write a new description of my services for this ezine or the Web, it will be from the perspective of the client, not the coach.

This perspective shift is crucial. It is one thing to say to prospective clients: “I have seen something that could be really useful to you.” It’s another thing entirely to be able to report exactly how other clients have found it to be useful.

What folks have reported so far includes:

  • Actually being excited about marketing their work.
  • Feeling really, deeply good about themselves for the first time in ages.
  • Looking forward to “loving up” their significant other after having months (or years) of relationship tension.

6. It can be difficult for people to hire you if you don’t name your price.

Most of us have a lot of thinking about money, and that can make it very difficult for someone to hire you if you don’t give them a number. They get lost in their thinking about what you really want or expect. They can get lost in their thinking about taking advantage of you or being taken advantage of.

Sometimes clients are reluctant to book again because they don’t feel they can afford to. In their minds they are locked into a price because they chose it once and hesitate to scheduled additional sessions for less money. When this emerges, I explain that I want is to coach people who want to be coached at whatever price they can afford to pay.

When people make an appointment, the intake form offers them a range of prices and “other.” I give the range to give some context and a starting point, and I’m really okay with “other.”

7. I have no idea how this will work over time, and that’s okay.

I need to earn a certain amount of money in order to keep the business going and contribute to the household. The costs of ongoing professional training, renewing my International Coach Federation membership, insurance, utilities, equipment, and a few hours each month from the office angel do add up.

In September I brought in a little less than half of what I need to earn in an average month. Right now I’m undergoing radiation therapy and working about half time. I am hopeful that as I get back to full time in the months ahead–and as people come to know about and trust this offer–the numbers will work out.

If they don’t? I’ll punt. I’ve been at this for 20 years, and I certainly know how to create and enroll programs. I’m mulling over a couple of groups now, in fact, that might have set fees and might not.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep my eyes open, pay attention to what is unfolding, and make new choices as the needs and opportunities arise.


Molly signature

Photo by pixabay.com

How can you tell when a decision is the right one?

decision making meadow-680607_640In this issue of the “Simple Wisdom” ezine I announce Pay What You Choose Coaching. This is something I have been dancing with for a l-o-n-g time. Dancing or going around in circles.

I chose this pricing decision as the topic of a session with my own coach last week. As I told her, I have been coaching for nearly 20 years, and I have never had an issue with pricing my work.

I started low

In the olden days, as a newbie, I was happy to price my services near the bottom of the range. In fact, my first rate was $175 a month for four one hour sessions, which was well below most posted rates.

I was happy to earn that, and I never seriously questioned my choice to low ball my prices as a newcomer to a brand new field in a market that was largely unfamiliar with the concept of life and business coaching.

My rates went up from there

As I gained training and experience, I raised my rates. The first change was an increase to  $240 a month and a reduction in the amount of time to three 40-minute sessions. I raised my fees regularly over the next few years and played with various lengths and frequency of sessions until, in 2013, I was charging $5,000 for six months of twice monthly hour-long sessions.

I’ve written and taught tons about pricing

Over the years I have written and taught a lot about pricing. I’m familiar with the notion that people tend to value more what they pay more for, and I think that is often the case.

I’ve coached clients who had blocks about charging for their services, and I kept questioning my motivation. Was I suddenly in the grip of doubt about my value? Had I turned over night into someone who couldn’t have a straight up conversation about money?

Beats me.

The truth is I don’t know what’s up with this shift

I honestly don’t know what’s behind this pricing shift. That troubled me until my coach asked me a question last week that shifted everything.

The way I heard it, she asked what happened if I let go of the need to understand.

Letting go of understanding freed me to do the obvious thing

Letting go of needing to understand what’s going on freed me to notice a simple fact: except when I was second-guessing myself or trying to figure out what is going on, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

I wanted to offer Pay What You Choose Coaching.

I could follow my inclination or fight it

I realized that the only thing keeping me from being 100% comfortable with doing what I wanted to do was analyzing it. And since analysis has never, ever been able to shine much light on inspiration, it wasn’t helping.

There are no rules about pricing

The rather disorienting truth is that there are no rules about how to price your services or run a business or a life.

There are models. There are cautionary tales. There are theories. And they can be valuable. I’ve gotten heaps from them over the years.

But right now models, cautionary tales, and theories obscure rather than clarify, so I am setting them aside in favor of an experiment.

I don’t know how long the experiment will last

Who knows how long I’ll price my services this way. It truly doesn’t matter. Now that I’ve made the decision, I’m excited to see how it goes. As is my wont, I will certainly keep you posted.

Here’s how Pay What You Choose Coaching will work for now

For the time being, I’m offering 55 minute coaching sessions on a Pay What You Choose basis. The ground rules are simple.

  1. Use my online scheduler to select a Pay What You Choose time on Wednesdays between 8:00am and 1:00pm Pacific Time (11:00am – 4:00pm Eastern Time, 3:00pm – 8:00pm UTC/GMT). Click here to choose a time: http://shaboominc.com/scheduling/
    NOTE: PWYC Coaching is now available on Tuesdays and Thursdays, too!
  2. Please schedule a single session to begin with. When you and I talk, we can determine together if multiple sessions are a good idea and talk about how often they should occur.
  3. When you schedule, there will be a place to tell me how much you choose to pay. I will send you a PayPal invoice for that amount and ask that you pay that prior to our session.
  4. You can choose to meet by phone, Skype, or Zoom.

Is there something you’ve been running around in circles about?

Is there something in your life or biz that you’ve been chewing on for too long, analyzing endlessly without getting any clearer?

If so, I invite you to ponder the question my coach offered me. What happens if you let go of the need to understand?

The Value of Honest Doubt

The Value of Honest Doubt

500_honest_doubtHave you ever run yourself mentally haggard trying to convince yourself to see a spiritual truth more deeply or clearly than you actually do?

It’s easy to do. After all, the fundamental principles behind the human experience are quite simple to articulate. According to Sydney Banks, Mind is the infinite formless intelligent energy behind all things. Consciousness is our ability to know reality and our ability to understand how our reality is created by thoughts. Thought is a source of all mental activities and source of all feeling, actions and reactions.

Our experience in any given moment is created by the interplay of these principles.

When I first came across Syd’s teachings, I was frankly underwhelmed. I didn’t disagree; I just didn’t see anything earthshaking. I had studied intensively with Byron Katie, and the notion that thought generated our experience seemed obvious.

Still, I kept returning to Syd’s work because of the profound changes I saw in people who had been influenced by him. And one day my own understanding shifted, deepened, expanded, and what had seemed obvious and verging on trivial started to blow my mind.

I’ve shared many of the insights that have emerged from that in previous blog posts and videos, but I want to take a little different look at things today.

You see, there’s a way in which we can become addicted to knowing. We can chase insights as if our wellbeing lies in having more of them.

When actually, our wellbeing is nonnegotiable. Invariable. Innate.

Our essential wholeness does not depend on our moment to moment experience of life. As I’ve written before, we don’t have to feel okay to be okay.

But damn! I don’t know about you, but sometimes all I really want is to feel okay. Which last week had me wrestling with this notion of essential wholeness. I was frustrated by feeling fragmented and, frankly, stupid. Where was my innate wellbeing? Where was wisdom?

How could I get there from where I was?

What good does it do me to have a theoretical understanding that I am okay when I feel cornered by the limits of my current thinking?

And then something funny happened.

It occurred to me to simply doubt.

To drop the gospel.

To quit trying to feel or believe or find wholeness and wisdom.

To drop my story that I should trust it.

And to drop into my honest in that moment experience of WTF? Where is it?

To ask in an open hearted and abandoned way, are we really whole? Does God or Mind or whatever you call it have our backs?

Where is wisdom? Is it really always on, only sometimes obscured?

I dropped into the questions, which had a whole different feel from struggling to believe in the answers.

And I can’t account for just how or why, but as the days passed, I started to get a glimmer.

A felt sense of something beneath the surface.

Not an intellectual understanding, but the barest shimmer or breath of a feeling that something is there.

Dim. As yet unknown. But palpable.

I don’t know what, if anything, that does for you, but it did a lot for me. Somehow out of my honest doubt I had touched bedrock.

I don’t know what the bedrock is. What it means. How to talk about it.

But I know down to my toenails that it is there.

Thank you, doubt.

Your turn: What’s your experience with what Byron Katie has called trying to live beyond your current level of evolution? What might doubt have to offer you?




Photo by HebiPics via pixabay.com

How to Have a Quieter Mind

There’s no question but that the quieter your mind is the more resilient, creative, and peaceful you will be. But what if trying to quiet your mind just makes you aware of how noisy it is? Well it turns out that there’s simple way to a quieter mind–no meditation required.

As a coach I help my clients explore the immense practicality of joy. I point them to the spiritual principles behind the human experience. As their understanding deepens, their joy increases. They act with greater ease, creativity, grace, and wisdom. If this resonates and you’d like to have a conversation to see if we are fit, click here to visit my coaching page and schedule an interview.

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