Lindsay Dotzlaf

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Mastering Coaching Skills with Lindsay Dotzlaf | The Skill of Being Calm

Ep #126: The Skill of Being Calm

If you’ve ever seen me coach, you’ll know that I have a pretty calm presence. My clients recently shared that one of their favorite things about working with me is my calm energy and the ease with which I coach them, and it got me thinking about the skill of being calm as a coach.

Maybe you know your energy is more heightened than you’d like when you’re coaching, and it’s keeping you from being grounded in your conversations. Perhaps trying to think of and say the right things makes you nervous and panicked as you coach. Regardless of what you’re going through right now, having a calm mind while you coach is vital.

Join me this week as I share five thoughts that keep me in a calm mindset while I’m coaching and how you can implement these in your coaching sessions to cultivate a calm energy. 

The next round of my Advanced Certification in Coaching Mastery is happening soon. Get on the waitlist to be the first to hear when enrollment will be opening and all the other details!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What being neutral in coaching situations means to me.
  • 5 thoughts that keep me in a calm mindset while coaching. 
  • How slowing down sometimes can be beneficial to your clients. 
  • What happens when you feel settled in your skills as a coach. 
  • The power of letting your client be the star in your coaching sessions. 

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

Hey, this is Lindsay Dotzlaf and you are listening to Mastering Coaching Skills, episode 126.

To really compete in the coaching industry, you have to be great at coaching. That’s why every week, I will be answering your questions, sharing my stories, and offering tips and advice so you can be the best at what you do. Let’s get to work.

Hey, coach, I am so glad you’re here today. I have something fun to talk to you about today, and partially inspired by some videos that I’ve been watching today that were returned to me by my video producer for an event that I did recently.

So those of you that have been following along, you probably heard me talk a few weeks ago about being in Miami. I don’t know if I talked about it on the podcast, I can’t remember. But I was in Miami. As you may know I’m currently running my first iteration of an advanced coaching certification. And with that came a live event and we did that in Miami. And it was so incredible.

But I had a video producer there to help capture all the, you know, to record everything so that we had the replays and so that people could go back and watch their coaching. And then one thing we did on the last day, I had a sushi chef come into the house, to the Airbnb, and make us dinner.

And it was so fun. We had the best night. And one thing that we did during that is my video producer, he set up a space in another room and just we offered if anybody wanted to capture kind of the things that they were working on, or capture a short testimonial for the work that we were doing there, that they could do that. And I was so surprised by how many people wanted to do it, which was really fun.

And I’m starting to get some of the videos back, so I was watching them today. I actually haven’t been feeling amazing, so I was laying in bed just watching these videos. And one thing that really struck me is one thing that almost everyone said in each of the videos. When my producer asked them what’s one of your favorite things about working with Lindsay, they all answered with some form of, I just love how calm she is. I love her calm energy when she coaches. I love the ease with which she coaches.

So I just started thinking about that. And this isn’t just, I mean, I am pretty calm if you’re around me in person. I’ve talked about this before on here, on the podcast. If you’re ever around me in person, I am a fairly calm person. I don’t take up tons of space with my energy. I don’t have a big, huge energy most of the time. I can on occasion, but not always. And I am just in general kind of a calm person. But I don’t think that that always perfectly translates into like, okay, now you’re just a calm coach.

And I will say when I was very first a coach and before I hired a coach, I was definitely not a calm person. Now, I may have appeared calm a lot of times on the outside, I think that’s just kind of part of who I am. But on the inside, there was a lot going on. And a lot of emotion, a lot of big things just taking up a lot of space inside of me, not necessarily on the outside.

So part of it, I would say, is I’ve done a lot of that work to just have a calmer mind, which is what I prefer. I just love it. Just like I love a calm house, I love a calm, like I just love calm spaces. I just like not a lot of my insides to be taken up with just huge, big energy all the time. So part of it maybe is just who I am.

But I think a lot of the calmness has come from so much work that I have done, just working on myself in my own coaching when I very first hired a coach, all of the things that I’ve worked through. If you have been around here on this podcast long, you know I’ve shared a lot about how much anxiety that I used to experience on a regular basis, which is like the opposite of calm, right?

So I just want to say that. I just don’t think that the answer is like, well, I’m just a calm person and that’s who I am. But what I think is important is so I started thinking through like, how is this a skill that can be taught? And why do I think I show up like that when I’m coaching? What are some of the thoughts I’m having? What are some of the things I’ve worked on?

So I’m going to share those with you today so that if you are, if you’ve ever seen me coach or if you’ve ever been around me and you’re like, “Oh, I wish that I could show up for my clients a little more like that.” Or even if you just know that sometimes your energy is a little more heightened than you would like it to be while you’re coaching, because it can be distracting sometimes as the coach or even for your client, right?

But it can be distracting sometimes if your energy is too high because it just keeps you out of that groundedness, knowing what to ask next, knowing what to say next, making decisions from just that calm place. And sometimes it can be distracting for your client too because they think, oh, well, her energy is very high, his energy is very high, their energy is very high. So I must match that. And that’s just something, in my opinion, you don’t want your client thinking about or worrying about.

Now, I know for some of you, because you’ve told me, for some of you I might just come off as a little too calm. And that’s okay, too. That can also be true. So depending on who you are as a coach, you, the person listening, and who your clients are, you could think about this like what kind of energy does that require? But no matter what the answer to that is, I think just having a calm mind while you’re coaching is really important.

I know a lot of coaches, like one term that’s kind of thrown around in the coaching space is having that like neutral energy. And I don’t love to use the word neutral. I have a podcast about it, you can go back and listen to that if you want to. I just don’t love to use the word neutral because I think people misinterpret sometimes what it means, what the word neutral in coaching means.

So for me, I think of it more as just like a calm space happening in my mind, in my body. And the importance of kind of that translating to the client so that they’re not trying to navigate any of the energy that’s coming off of me. Okay?

So I’m just going to go through, I made a list of some of the ways that I think I’ve created this and thoughts I believe when I’m coaching. And you can just adopt all of them if you want, or choose the one that works, that helps you in this moment, and take it and use it. All right?

So the first one, I have five, the first one is I’m just never in a hurry when I’m coaching. And that is something I have worked on, of course, throughout the years that I’ve been coaching. Just really noticing when I feel like I’m in a hurry, either to say lots of things because, oh no, we need to move fast on this call, in this session. I have to talk a lot. I have to say a lot of things, right? That’s one way that sometimes coaches can come off as being in a hurry.

Or the other option sometimes is in a hurry for your clients to get results or to have huge transformation on a call. And anytime you’re in a hurry and you’re kind of pushing your clients or you have that energy that’s like, “Okay, come on, let’s get there, let’s go,” that can really affect the way our clients will show up for coaching.

And a lot of coaches do this. I know this because so many coaches come ask me about this in the Coach Lab. We’ll be coaching on something that’s maybe related to this and they’ll notice this, right? They’re like, “Oh, I just have this energy that’s like, can we just get there already? Can we hurry? We need to get the results so that either I know the client is happy or so that I can feel great about myself as a coach.”

So just be curious. What would it look like if you were just never in a hurry? If you believed you were going to get where you’re going and that maybe slowing down sometimes can be really beneficial to letting the client think and giving them that space to kind of process some of the stuff that’s happening for them.

Now this is different, I want to be clear, this is different than just like, oh, I don’t know what results my clients are getting and I don’t care, and just like letting the clients wander off and tell 100 stories and whatever. I’m not saying don’t refocus the client, don’t bring them back, that’s different. So I just don’t want you to hear me say that because I do believe very strongly that we should make it important, as coaches, to be sure that our clients are moving towards the results they want to create, right? That’s why they hired us.

But just that idea of in individual sessions, or just overall, not being in a hurry and really slowing yourself down can create that calmness for you, right? Because anytime you’re thinking, “Oh, we have to hurry. We have to get there. We have to find the transformation. We have to chase the transformation,” like I talked about in the other episode, it just creates an unease in your body as the coach.

The second one, knowing I was clear about the work I’m doing with a client from the beginning. So what I mean by this is just setting up the coaching relationship really well. And you can do this, it doesn’t matter if you’re a one on one coach, or a group coach, or you have a program, or whatever you have. I’m always thinking about this. And of course it’s something I teach in my programs. But I’m always thinking about this, right?

Do the clients know exactly what they’re getting when they come in? It really helps create calm for you as the coach and for your client when they know exactly what to expect, you know that they know exactly what to expect. It just can’t let you have this kind of leaned back energy of like, okay, now here we are to just do the work that we’ve already talked about, that we already outlined, that we’re already both very clear about. It can just really help create that calmness for everyone.

And this is a skill, I think, that develops as you go. But what I mean by it is really just setting up the container, right? This is exactly what coaching is. This is what it is going to look like week to week. This is what we’re going to do in our sessions. Let’s get really clear about what we’re working on. Let’s set your intentions or your goals, right?

Being clear with all of those things will just help you be in that calm energy as a coach because you’re not constantly scrambling for, oh no, what did we decide we’re going to work on? Or did we even talk about that? Do they even know what coaching is? Wherever your mind is going that creates, again, just an unease, or not calm energy for yourself as the coach. Try this, experiment with this and see if it helps.

The next one, number three, just as the coach, I am never afraid of any emotion or any messiness that might come up with clients. And that also just creates so much calm for me because I’m never trying to figure out what’s going to happen. What’s my client going to bring? What are they going to say? How are they going to show up? What kind of mood are they going to be in? Oh no, what if this comes up? What if they feel this emotion? What if this thing comes up that I don’t know, that I don’t expect?

I’m just always here for any of it. I think that also just creates this complete calmness, right? I remember years ago, when I was working with one on one clients, I used to not be great at this. And before my sessions I would start kind of ruminating almost, especially when I had time to do this, because I didn’t have very many clients and I didn’t have much experience,

I would ruminate a little bit on like, what do I think they’re going to bring? How am I going to coach them on that? Almost like trying to predict a coaching session ahead of time, especially because I was coaching on just lots of different things.

So clients would bring, you know, maybe they would bring something different each session, or we’d always be working on – We were very clear about this is what we’re working on, but maybe something happened throughout the week that I didn’t know about that now they’re bringing. But I would always try to predict it and I was almost always wrong. Especially because in my mind I was always like, I bet they did this thing and it probably worked great. And this is how it went.

And I was always just predicting in a way that was never right, which just created this weird tension for me when we got on calls and it wasn’t that, right? It was like, oh no, I didn’t prepare for this.

This does lead me into my next one, number four, which is just feeling really settled in my coaching skills, right? I have a thought about myself as a coach that I’m an excellent coach, it doesn’t matter what anyone brings. And I think the same can be true for you, no matter if you’ve been coaching, like I always say, five minutes, five years, five months, five years, whatever, however long, you can have this thought. I’m an excellent coach with the skills that I know currently.

And those two kinds of play together, right? Not being afraid of anything really comes when you settle in, feel super settled into who you are as a coach, the skills that you have, what you’re going to do on the call, like letting go of any expectation of needing to know things that you don’t know right now or that you aren’t an expert in, right?

If you can just feel so settled in here are the tools that I have, here’s how I use them. Then, just knowing anything that your client brings, you’re going to be able to handle with those tools. Or you will know when you can’t, right? Oh, this is outside of my skill set. Or this maybe isn’t even work that coaches do. Or oh, you’re just wanting me to tell you a solution for this. Let me ask questions instead, it turns out I do have tools for that. Like just really feeling so settled in this is who I am, this is how I coach, and allowing that to grow as you keep going.

I don’t think that that is normal, that it’s totally normal for a coach who’s been coaching one month or even one year to feel like, yep, I am the best coach that’s ever lived. That’s just not a thing. I don’t even feel like that. I would never say that. And I think sometimes that’s the bar that some of you are using to compare your skills to. Oh, I don’t think that I’m the best coach that’s ever lived, therefore I’m not even a good coach. Not true.

And then the last one, and this is one of my favorites. This is one thing that I have been spending a lot of time thinking about. And before I tell you what it is, I’m going to tell you a little story.

So I had a client, most of you have probably heard of her because she’s been on the podcast a couple of times. She’s a good friend of mine, her name is Brig Johnson and she used to be my one on one client a long time ago. Not that long ago, a couple years ago. And one thing that she said to me, and I don’t even remember if this was in a coaching session or if we were just maybe chatting after a session or talking as friends, I can’t remember for sure.

But one thing she said to me that I have kind of taken with me is she said, “I love to be good at what I do, but I don’t really want to be the one on stage. I want to be the one cheering for my clients when they’re on stage.” And I just remember her saying that and it was so powerful for me.

I was her coach, right? But I just want to give you permission, sometimes your clients say things that you are allowed to be like, “Whoa, hold on. That just gave me a transformation.” Because when she said that in that moment, and I’ve thought about it so many times since, I have thought, “Oh, I’m allowed to want that,” right?

Instead of thinking what I’m supposed to want is to be the one on stage or to be the one doing all the speaking, the public speaking and all the things, right? But I dabble in some of that and I have platforms like this, which I love. And this is kind of me being on stage is how I think about it. But it doesn’t feel that way. I don’t get as nervous. I just love putting this content out for you.

When I think about what she said, right, like it’s okay to just allow my clients to be the one on stage and me just cheering them on, like that is my favorite role. And it truly is 100% my favorite role as a coach. But I think that that is inherently what we do as coaches, right?

So some coaches, for sure, are putting on big events, and doing these big things, and speaking on stages, and teaching their concepts and really being out in the world and being seen a lot. And there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s incredible. It’s amazing. And not every single coach wants that, right?

And I just happen to be one of the coaches, if you’ve ever seen me on stage I’m a little awkward. Sometimes I shake. Sometimes I get weird. I definitely get nervous. Even if you can’t tell on the outside, I can tell on the inside, and you can always hear it in my voice because it gets a little shaky. Sometimes I black out, you just never know what’s going to happen.

But the thought of cheering my clients on when they’re on stage, and I’m going to say stage in quotes, I take that concept into my coaching sessions. For me, a session is not about me. It has nothing to do with me. I’m just the facilitator, right? I’m just the one there asking questions. I’m just the one there showing the client their mind. Mirroring back to them things that they’ve said or things that they’ve told me, the way they’re thinking about things, helping them really settle into a feeling that they’re having, right? Or even identify a feeling, maybe, that they’re having.

Whatever it is, every single session I do I’m thinking about that, my clients get to be the star. If you take only one thing away from this episode, take this. Consider what it means for you. Your client gets to be the star in every session, how much pressure does that maybe take off of you, right? How much pressure can you let go of that you’re like, oh, I have to say the right thing, I have to do the right thing, I have to teach them the right thing?

No, you’re just there to ask questions, to explore, and maybe you do some teaching. Maybe you have strategies that you use with your clients, that’s totally fine. That can be part of coaching too. But during the actual coaching you are not there to just fix everything for them in an instant, right?

You’re there to just create more awareness, to help them create more awareness about who they are, how they can trust themselves, how they can make their own decisions, how they want to move forward towards whatever the thing is that they’re working on, right? There’s so much that goes into it, but most of it has nothing to do with you besides the tools and the strategies that you are bringing to the table.

I want you to really just consider that. After this episode finishes, just take a minute, and really you can do this with any of those, if any of them felt really powerful for you. To me, this is the one I’ve just been spending a lot of time thinking about, so it just feels really powerful to me at this moment.

You don’t have to be a star. You can be, for sure, but I would just suggest doing that outside of your coaching. It can be part of your business or part of what you do. But just when you’re in a session, if you just let go of that 100%, you just never have to be the star ever. What could that open up for you? And how will it really help your clients create better results?

All right, friend, I hope you found this super useful. I do want to tell you one thing before I go because some of you have been sending me emails. And I know at the very beginning of this episode I mentioned the advanced certification that I recently opened up. And I just want to tell you, because you’ve been asking, it will be launching again in the next – Let’s just say start keeping your eyes open. All right?

I don’t have an exact date, but in the next month to two months, it will be launching again. We’ll be starting in the summer. So put that on your calendar, plan for it now. Save the money, do whatever you need to do, because you’re going to want to be there. Don’t miss it this time, okay?

I know I didn’t give him much notice last time. I didn’t really talk about it. It just went out to my email list, people signed up and then we just started. It was a last minute decision which is kind of rare for me. But I went with it and it has been the best decision ever. And I cannot wait to have you join us. All right?

So that is all. I will talk to you next week. Goodbye.

Thanks for listening to this episode of Mastering Coaching Skills. If you want to learn more about my work, come visit me at That’s Lindsay with an A, See you next week.

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Hi I’m Lindsay!

I am a master certified coach, with certifications through the Institute for Equity-Centered Coaching and The Life Coach School.

I turn your good coaching into a confidently great coaching experience and let your brilliance shine.

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