Mastering Coaching Skills with Lindsay Dotzlaf | Coaching Myths You Need to Stop BelievingThere are so many myths that I hear floating around the coaching industry. I hear them from my clients and my colleagues, so in this week’s episode I’m addressing some of the things I hear that, as far as I’m concerned, are not true, and actually hold so many coaches back from being amazing at their jobs.

I see so many coaches believing they need tons of fancy methods in order to be a great coach, they need to coach in groups, they need to sell coaching to coaches, and so many other areas they get caught up in thought errors and shoulds. So It’s time to address some of these myths so you can decide for yourself how you can show up as the best possible coach that you can be.

Join me on the podcast this week to discover the most widely believed coaching myths. I’m sharing how I know that they’re not true, and why believing that they are isn’t helping you be a better coach or a more successful entrepreneur.

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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why you don’t need a bunch of fancy methods to be an amazing and effective coach.
  • The difference between learning from scarcity versus learning from abundance.
  • Why amazing coaching looks different for every coach and there is no right way to do it.
  • How to show up with curiosity and approach your coaching style from that place.
  • Why you don’t need to experience something yourself to coach your clients on it.
  • What happens when you let these myths dictate how you coach your clients.
  • How to see your thoughts around these myths and why they’re probably not true.

Listen to the Full Episode:


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Full Episode Transcript:

Hey, this is Lindsay Dotzlaf and you are listening to Mastering Coaching Skills episode 45.

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.

Hello coach, friend, coach friend, whatever you prefer to be called. How are you today? Before I dive in, I want to tell you a little something fun about my daughter that my daughter and I have been doing together. She is nine, or she’s going to be nine in a couple days. And last year my grandma bought her a book called The Big Life Journal For Kids.

It’s a journal, but it also has some pages kind of teaching some things, and then writing prompts, and discussion prompts. And the kids are supposed to pick someone, a partner, to kind of go through the journal with. So she picked me and it has been so fun. We usually do a couple pages before bed. And one of my very favorite parts, of course, is hearing her answer the questions.

Most of them are very kind of thought provoking and just interesting questions. They really get her talking. And I love kind of hearing her answers, hearing how her little mind works and how she thinks about things differently than I do.

The other part that I love about it is it’s basically a life coaching journal for kids. It’s all about really diving into growth mindset. Of course, it doesn’t use those words, it uses kid’s language. But also really learning to pay attention to your inside voice, aka your thoughts. And just how to normalize failure, how to feel all the feelings, everything.

It’s so fun. So if you follow me on Instagram you may have already seen me talk about this. And if you don’t, what is happening? Why not? Come find me. It’s just @lindsaydotzlaf, I keep it simple.

But last week we were going through one of the chapters and the chapter was all about failure. And it was asking questions about times that we have failed. It had me give an example, it had her give an example, and kind of what we did to get through the failure. I think they may have even called it mistakes. But how did we feel? How did we move on? What did we learn from it?

And the teaching was all about kind of how when you do things perfectly, or when you do when you like nail them on the first try, how you don’t actually learn or grow. Which is good, right, to not after fail, that’s great.

But it also says when you do make mistakes, or when you do have a fail, not only do you learn from them but it really dives in a little bit, which I think is so fun, about how it actually changes the structure of your brain, how it makes your brain stronger. And how kind of the more learning you do, the better it is for your brain.

And they gave an example of dropping an egg and dropping a ball on the floor. And they say the egg just cracks and like splats on the floor, while the ball bounces back up and it keeps bouncing. And I love that example, they talk about how these are kind of two choices you have when you have failures or make mistakes. You can be like an egg and just crack and learn nothing. Or you can be like a ball and bounce back up and just try again and again.

So the new motto in my house has been, I say it so much now we kind of joke about it, but my daughter has also started saying it. And now we’ve all started saying it, we say, “Be a ball, not an egg.” And I just love that so much. It’s just such a good reminder of yeah, you made a mistake, it’s no problem. We don’t have to sulk about it. We don’t have to feel defeated, we just bounce back up.

And of course, we do talk about feeling the feels and how that’s okay too. How to have negative emotion when you do make a mistake or when you fail and that’s not a problem. But I just love that visual of just being a ball, bouncing back up.

So I wanted to share this because it’s such a good example of how we can talk to our kids about our brains and their mindset. And of course, this is exactly what we are teaching our clients to apply to themselves as well. No matter what kind of coach you are, I’m sure your clients have a lot of failure going on because it’s normal.

So take this with you, use it every day, be a ball not an egg. If you want the journal, they have adult versions as well. It’s called, again, The Big Life Journal. If you just Google it or I know they have it on Amazon, but I’m sure they have it at your local stores too. I am a big fan.

One more thing before we dive in, somehow I am almost at a year in this podcast journey. What is even happening? And I am putting together something very special for you for my one year anniversary episode.

Sometimes you guys send me questions and they’re just kind of like, random questions, and some of them have nothing to do with what I talk about on the podcast. I want you to send me all of those questions, anything you want to know and I will answer them all, in a full Q&A episode. At least one, maybe more than one depending on how many questions I get.

But really, no questions are off limits. You can send in questions about coaching skills, like the thing I talk about on the podcast. You can send them about my business. You can send them about my personal life and about just me as a human. I will say, I am a pretty open book, I don’t keep a lot to myself.

So really, nothing’s off limits. Just don’t be inappropriate. I’m not going to answer questions that are inappropriate. Other than that, I will answer pretty much anything. I’ll give you a little shout out. I’ll read your question. And then I’ll tell you the answer.

Moving on. Today, I want to spend a little bit of time talking about some myths that I hear often in the coaching industry. These are things that either I hear my clients say, or things I hear my colleagues talk about, or see people post, maybe on social media or see other coaches even teaching sometimes.

Listen, first of all, these are my opinions from the years that I’ve spent building my business and being a coach. And maybe you do sometimes have a better answer or maybe your answer is also correct, but I just want to share my thoughts on these things.

All right, so let’s just dive in. Myth number one, I think I’ve talked about this a little bit before, but I’m just going to say it again because I think it’s so important. The more methods I know, the better coach, I am.

This isn’t true. We know this. I can prove this because I work with so many coaches who don’t have tons of fancy methods, don’t have tons and tons of learning. But they’re still an incredible coach. And I do talk about this in my mastermind because I think what it comes back to, is not knowing more and more and more. It’s not a race to who can know more. It is how can you be really great at what you already know.

Now, again, not that I think that you shouldn’t do learning. It’s just there’s a difference from learning from scarcity versus learning from abundance. Like noticing, “Oh, there’s this thing that I think would be super helpful for my clients or that I’m just really interested in, and that I want to learn. So I’m going to go learn that thing. I want to add this tool to my tool belt,” versus, “I need to know more because I want to be a better coach.”

And I’ve talked about this before too, but I say truly what coaching comes down to, like the things that you really need some kind of tool for, you need a tool for awareness, for setting goals, for helping your clients make decisions. You need to be really great at asking open ended questions. And then maybe have some strategies of your own that you have created for your specific clients. That’s it.

That’s the most simple kind of framework of the things you need to know how to do as a coach. Everything above that is just bonus. But not bonus in like a, the more bonuses you rack up the better kind of way. But just a fun like, “Oh, and I know this certain method or this tool because I thought it would be so great for my clients.”

I do apologize, by the way, I’m a little hoarse today. I’m not sure why. But that’s just where we are.

Okay, myth number two, and the next couple are a little related. Myth number two, coaching a group is easier and it will save me time. So I have a lot of clients. And I’ve just heard a lot of coaches saying this, but I have a lot of clients who come into my mastermind, and they say, “I think I’m going to create a group coaching program.”

And my first question is always like, “Great. Why?” Because I love to explore the reasons. And when they say, “Oh, because I just think it’ll be easier. And I just have to spend less time in my business, it will save me so much time. I’ll be coaching 10 people or 20 people at one time in the same amount of time that I will coach one person.”

This is not a great way to think about why you want to have a group coaching program or a group container. Because there’s just different amounts of planning, like different things that you have to think about when you coach a group that actually ends up taking usually as much time as just coaching all the clients one on one. And if it doesn’t, then you might not be preparing for your group enough.

Now, I don’t always mean an exact one for one. I’m not like, “Okay, if you have 20 one on one clients, you should be planning 20 hours for your one group call each week.” That is not what I’m saying. What I am saying is, it’s just not that simple. And there’s a lot that goes into group coaching that you don’t have to think about with one on one coaching.

I think I talked about this a little bit, maybe last week, but there’s just a difference in holding the space for a group of people. And what I mean by that, when I say holding the space, how I think about that is just clearing your mind as much as possible. Showing up with just a calm, curious, confident energy.

When you are coaching in a group, especially if you’re in Zoom, especially if you have 20 faces staring at you, it’s a lot harder to keep that clean, empty space in your brain. There’s just a lot more to think about.

There’s a lot more of like, “What’s everyone else thinking? Why is that person making that face? Like, what is she thinking right now? Why did this person go off camera?” You know, just all the possibilities. You know, “Is this person paying attention? Oh, her kids walked in the room.” Whatever it is, there’s just a lot of possibility for you to have more thoughts as the coach.

It can also be a little distracting when you’re thinking, “Oh no, does this really pertain to the group? How can I talk about this in a way that it does pertain to the group.” There’s just a lot more going on.

There’s also a little more, especially if you’re a one on one coach that kind of lets their clients come to the call, and you coach on whatever they bring from day to day. There’s a little more planning that goes into a group because usually with a group there’s going to be maybe a little more teaching, just a little more structure. So you have to spend time outside of that planning.

Myth number three, it’s definitely related but kind of the opposite to myth number two. One on one coaching is more effective than group coaching. I hear this a lot, “Well, my clients get a lot more out of one on one, because it can be customized, it can be individual to what they need.”

Now, I’m not saying this is never true. Sometimes there are times when a certain client is going to get more out of one on one coaching. But there’s actually things that you get in a group setting that you don’t get when it’s just you and your coach, or when it’s just you and your client.

In a group setting I think the energy, just the energy that’s created when people are succeeding, when people are hitting their goals, when people are working on things together and creating connection and community, it can be so powerful. It creates this like “I’m not in it alone” energy. And it really helps your clients see like, “Oh, when this person is getting results, that means I can get the same results too.”

So it’s just that it’s different, neither is better. And really, whatever it is probably that you’re spending a lot of time doing right now is probably the one that you think is better. Or at least that’s how it usually is for me, because I spend time selling myself on the thing.

So right now I have a mastermind, I think my mastermind is the best space to be in the world. It’s the best coaching, it’s the best place my clients could be. But that’s just because I spend so much time thinking about it and really creating that space for the group.

All right, the next one, this is for some of you that might be brand new coaches, or I know some of you listen that aren’t actually coaches yet and want to be. Myth number four, I can be a great coach because people come to me all the time for advice.

No, this is not what coaching is and it’s definitely not true. Kind of the thought error that you’re having when you think that, is that you think coaching is telling people what to do and that’s not true.

Now, if you’re the one that like all of your friends come to you for advice, you might have skills that do translate into you being a good coach. You might be very personable, you might be really good at finding that compassion for your friends.

There are things that it’s like, oh, yeah, that actually does play into you being a great coach. But it’s not because they want your advice. Because coaching is not giving advice.

So if you’re confused about that, figure that out. Maybe I’ll do a whole episode about that. I’m not going to go super into it. But I just hear people say this all the time and it’s just not true.

The next thing, and as I go through these I can see they’re all a little bit related. But the next one I have is, I have to have experienced something myself in order to coach someone on it.

Nope. Also not true. What you’re forgetting, when you think this you’re forgetting that you aren’t in charge of telling your clients exactly what to do. So if you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t know how to coach my clients on this because I’ve never done this. I don’t know how to coach my client who’s going through a divorce because I’ve never had a divorce. I don’t know how to coach my clients who are losing weight, because I’ve never focused on losing weight.” This isn’t true at all.

What you’re forgetting when you have thoughts like that is that what’s important is seeing your clients’ thoughts. When you remember that it’s your client’s brain that you’re exploring, not your own, this is when you can step into, “Oh my gosh, turns out I can coach any client on anything.” Because it’s always a thought. It always comes back to thoughts and feelings.

Now, it could be true that you can’t give someone strategy or give someone – For example, most weight loss coaches they have some sort of weight loss strategy that they like to use what their clients. Maybe they have their clients do no flour, no sugar. Maybe you’re a vegan coach. Maybe you are a love your body coach.

Those are all different things and you might have strategies that you use. So you might not be great at saying like, “Oh, here is this strategy that’s going to get everyone results.”  But you can definitely spend time looking at your client’s thoughts about the thing.

So let’s say that your niche is something that you love. Your niche is marriage, you’re a marriage coach. And your clients come to you with wanting coaching on something that’s outside the scope of marriage. Great, coach them. See that it’s their thoughts, show them. Teach them how to use their brain, not yours.

But I will add a little caveat to this, which is I wouldn’t build an entire niche on something you’ve never experienced, just because it will be harder for you to create maybe strategies. I don’t know if it’s something that you would love. I don’t know, this is just my opinion, there might be exceptions to that. But for the most part I would advise probably not to pick a niche on something you’ve never done.

The next one, the more resources I create or give my clients, the better my coaching is, and the better my clients results will be. This is a big, huge, fat No. Nope, on a rope.

Have you guys seen, I think it’s called Yes Day, maybe? I don’t know. Jennifer Garner says that on there. And I haven’t stopped saying it because it’s my favorite, nope on a rope.

This is a very not true. I see this happen, this is one thing that we coach on a lot in my mastermind. Because my clients come in, and they’re like, “Okay, here we are. I have 20 worksheets, I have all of these resources. My client gets their own private login on my website. And they have Voxer access to me, and they can text me anytime and leave me voicemails. Sometimes we do extra calls.”

No, no, no, no. This comes back to you are teaching a client to use their brain, not yours. So if a client becomes very dependent on being able to talk to you at any time of the day, whenever they want, that is not teaching them to use their brain.

Now, this is very different than if you have been a coach for a long time and you have a very established niche with strategies that you use and you have some worksheets that go along with it.

But for the most part, what I’m going to say, this goes for one on one coaching and really for group coaching. A program or a course that’s very different. But when you’re working a lot with your clients one on one, working closely with them, usually the less you have, the less you’re providing for them to get confused about the better.

You don’t actually want to send your clients like 10 worksheets and have them do all the things on their own. Now, maybe you have a call with a client and something comes up and you’re like, “Oh, I have a worksheet for this that would be really useful.” Give it to them for homework, and then talk about it on the next call.

But you don’t have to give them 20 worksheets. And just think about this, if you’ve ever experienced this with a coach, I know I have. Where we’ve gotten out off a call and she’ll start sending me like 20 things. “Oh, here I have this if you want to look into it. I have this thing you can do. Here’s a meditation. Here’s a worksheet.”

And it’s like, yes, some resources, amazing. But more than a couple can be very overwhelming for your clients, especially when you first start working with them. They’re still trying to navigate in their mind, what is this whole coaching thing? And you’re like, “Here are 50 resources because I don’t know what this whole coaching thing is either.” Don’t do that. Obviously, that was an exaggeration, hopefully.

Okay, the next myth, selling business coaching or coaching coaches is easier than other types of coaching. Either easier to sell or easier to do. Also a big lie that some of you believe because you’re telling yourself.

Now, obviously nothing wrong with selling business coaching or coaching coaches. Clearly, it’s what I do. I love coaching coaches. But consider this, one reason is because you are a coach, you’ve probably surrounded yourself with coaches, right?

I hear people say this all the time, “Well, coaches, that’s everyone that’s coming to me.” And I’m like, “No, no, that’s not true.” I mean maybe, but that’s not a good reason to change your niche or to decide I’m only selling this specific thing to coaches.

The reason all the coaches are coming to you, is probably because you’ve surrounded yourself with coaches. You’re in coaching communities, you’re in masterminds. Whatever you’re in, you’re in Facebook groups, social media groups, surrounding yourself with other coaches. It doesn’t actually mean it’s easier to sell, it just means that’s who is around, which is fine. But if you want to sell something else, go surround yourself with those people, you need both.

The other reason it feels easier to sell to other coaches is because they already know what coaching is so you don’t have to work as hard to explain it, to really sell it, to really learn how to describe the value of what you do. And I actually think this can hurt you in the long run.

I’ve seen coaches do this, where in the beginning they just start kind of what I said, they have this like, “Okay, well, it’s just coaches who are coming to me.” And then they just start doing sales calls or consults with coaches. And then they don’t actually learn to really sell their thing. Because when you’re talking to a coach, you don’t have to tell them what coaching is, they already know. And it prevents you from really deeply learning the value of coaching.

And then when it comes to selling business coaching, or any type of business coaching, the reason you think that’s easier is because you have a thought that selling making money is easier than selling anything else. That’s 100% not true, I can promise you that, I don’t sell making money. I barely even talk about making money and I still make a lot of money selling coaching.

You’ve heard me interview some of my best friends, marriage coaches, sex coaches, relationship coaches. All of them, those things are equally as important. People want those results as much as they want money. The only reason that doesn’t feel true, if you’re thinking that, is because you’ve just spent time telling yourself, people only want to buy coaching if I’m helping them make money, not true.

Change your thoughts, your results will change. I know that’s a novel concept. But truly practice that. If you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I feel so called out.” Or like, “This is me, or I want to change this, I want to work on it.” Fine, do it. Change your thought first and see how it affects your results.

The other thing I will say about this, and this is just from personal experience, I spent a lot of time coaching all of the people, mostly women, all of the women. I was a general life coach, I loved it so much. Eventually I did pivot into because what I love to think about all of the time is coaching, is our brains, is how we can be amazing at coaching. That is what I think about all the time.

What actually happens is that in the beginning it does feel easier to sell coaching to coaches. But as your business grows and as you scale, and you want to sell to a lot of people. So when you switch from one on one coaching, to selling a mastermind, or selling a program, or a group, anything that has a higher number of people, and you want to keep growing that, it actually gets a little trickier because now you have lots of competition.

When you’re selling one on one coaching you only need to find 10, 20 people. When you’re selling a group or a program, the numbers go up and there’s just a lot more competition. Because there are other coaches who are really, really good at what they do and they’re all selling the same thing you’re selling.

So it’s like you just dove into a pool with thousands of people that look just like you. You have to really work on how to differentiate yourself. It’s not bad, I’m not saying don’t do it. Just don’t do it with the thought, “I’m doing this because it’s going to be so much easier,” because I promise you it is not.

And this is really true for any time you’re thinking that about any niche, it’s never true. It’s never easier over there. The grass is not greener, I promise you.

All right, and the last myth I’m going to talk about today, when I make a lot of money as a coach, all the other things will fix themselves. Now, this is something I have thought before, this is something I hear a lot of my clients say, something my colleagues and I laugh about when we notice that we are thinking it. It’s kind of a very sexy thought, right? All I have to do is focus on the money, and when I get there everything else will work itself out.

Nope, on a rope. 100% not true. So, I’ll give you an example. This is part of why I sell what I sell. Because when coaches come to me who are making a lot of money, like they’re there, they’re doing the thing. They’re making hundreds of thousands of dollars. When they’re thinking that they’re not the best at what they do, or they don’t know what they’re doing, or they’re not a great coach. Any little thought like that that sneaks in, as your business grows, that thought just grows and grows if you don’t do something about it.

For example, with coaching, it is true that obviously you get better and better the more practice you have. But when you have some really invasive thoughts that are like, “I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know how to coach in a group. I can’t even imagine coaching people in my program with hundreds of people watching.”

Whatever those thoughts are, if you don’t fix them, if you don’t get coached on them, if you don’t learn how to be the best coach for your clients, those thoughts are just going to grow and they’re going to eat you up. I have seen so many clients just experience so much pain from this thought in particular.

And one reason that I offer the mastermind that I do, is because I know the coaching is my zone of genius, right? It’s why I’m not selling or marketing or any of those things. I sell coaching, how to be an amazing coach, how to work on your coaching skills, because I don’t want my people to have that thought.

I want you to get off every single session and think, “Oh, I just nailed that. Boom, so good. I’m the best.” Whatever your thoughts are. And of course, there’s always more learning to do, but I want it to feel good, not terrible every time.

And I think I said this before, but I really always think about we need more coaches in the world. Everyone needs a coach. Everyone should have a coach, the world would be a better place. Which means I see it as partially my responsibility to make sure people are good at coaching. Like really good, not phoning it in, not half-assing it, none of the things. Really good coaching.

Now, I know I used that as an example, but the same is true for other things. When I’m making a lot of money, my schedule, my systems, my whatever, they will fix themselves. Nope, also not true. All of it is going to grow with your business, all of it. So whatever problems you have now, in your business, whatever thoughts you have that feel terrible, they’re just going to grow with you.

Not to scare you. But what I mean by that is they’re going to grow with you if you don’t choose to focus on them and fix them. If you just ignore them and keep kind of like sweeping it under the rug, they’re just going to keep bubbling back up. The dog is going to come running through and move the rug, and they’re all the problems all over again.

All right, I love you. I will see you next week. Do not forget to email me or find me on Instagram and get me your questions. I will answer any of them, and I can’t wait. Bye.

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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