Improv and Transformational Coaching
Lumia Coaching instructor Deanna Moffit talks about her journey to become a coach, and how building improv skills can enhance your coaching practice.
The Everything Life Coaching Podcast, featuring Lumia Coaching founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, is a deep dive into the experience and business of being a life coach. Subscribe to get new episodes weekly!
A conversation with Lumia Coaching instructor, Deanna Moffitt
Deanna Moffitt helps people turn “what if” into “why not.” She elevates their experience in life and leadership through the power of their conversations, questions, and decisions. She has helped folks at companies including Google, American Express, DocuSign, Microsoft, Viacom, Marriott as well as 100's of individuals outside of the corporate world.
To learn more about Deanna’s coaching practice, you can visit her website at www.deannamoffitt.com or connect on Instagram @deannamoffitt.
A Day In The Life
In this episode, Deanna and Noelle improv in coaching, being a transformational coach, where Deanna started with coaching and where she is now. If you enjoy this one, you won’t want to miss the podcast about Deanna's class in Lumia’s life coach training program: The Art of Asking Questions.
My Path To Becoming A Coach
Deanna’s early career was in the technology field, where she served as a Senior IT Manager. The work was good, but - as is the case with many coach “origin stories” - it didn’t feed her soul. As an IT leader, her greatest satisfaction came not from setting up computers but in building and empowering teams.
To feed her creativity, Deanna started doing improv on the side. After a few years, she left her job, sold her house, and moved from Portland to Chicago to pursue a career in improv. From there, she discovered the world of corporate comedy! This lead to opportunities in meeting facilitation and business training, which gave her the chance to travel the world while doing what she loves.
It was while Deanna was working as a corporate training facilitator that she had a chance encounter at the gym with Lumia co-founder John Kim. After taking one of his mindset classes, she became curious about life coaching. Talking with John, she realized that a life coach certification would be a useful tool to have in her toolbox.
After completing coach training, John encouraged Deanna to create a course for the program to address a topic she's passionate about: asking better questions. Since that time, Deanna has successfully built her coaching practice alongside her work as a facilitator, storyteller and writer. And nearly a decade later, Deanna continues to teach the course she created for us - which remains a student favorite year after year!
When it came time to launch her coaching practice, Deanna kept it simple. She just started mentioning it.
“Our clients are all around us,” says Deanna.
Deanna jokes that announcing on social media that she's a coach feels like the equivalent of walking into a bar, standing on a table, and declaring “I’m single and looking for a date!”
This might work for some people, but for Deanna it wasn’t the right approach. For her, marketing her coaching practice has been a process of experimentation. A process that begins with engaging people who are already in her orbit for meaningful one-on-one conversations.
Noelle recounts a similar realization in the early days of her coaching practice. She began by booking speaking engagements in places where her prospective clients were likely to hang out. She offered lectures at yoga studios, universities, cancer survivor groups, salons and spas. At those events, she mentioned she was a coach. And it was from those audiences that she slowly and methodically built her coaching practice.
Deanna and Noelle exemplify how there's no one path to building a career in the coaching industry. There are many ways you can ramp up your coaching business and make a name for yourself.
It’s all a conversation, and learning your personal methodology for making those connections. Some people do it best on social media. Others shine in writing. Still others get there through their referral networks.
Rather than looking for the perfect marketing strategy, return again and again to the basics of coaching in every facet of your life.
When in conversation with someone, simply be present. If it feels right, you can offer your help if you think it might be useful to them. This begins begins with a single question: “I think I can help you with that, would you like to talk about it?”
Tips for New Coaches
Sometimes the desire and excitement to work with a new client can override your own intuition. Optimistically, as coaches we believe we can help anyone. The truth is, some partnerships click better than others.
Over time, we refine our understanding of who we will work best with through direct experience. This may mean we have a few bumps and awkward experiences with the "wrong fit" along the way. It's part of the process, and just means you're learning more about what feels RIGHT.
What Deanna has learned about this is that she needs to feel just as excited and inspired by the potential client as they are about working with her.
To tune into your knowing, start by noticing your own energy during a client session. Is time spent together energizing or draining for you? Do you generally look forward to your sessions with this person?
Sometimes we take on clients who turn out to not be a good match. It happens for a variety of reasons. Growing as a coach involves learning the signs, trusting your instincts, and referring someone out when a prospective client doesn’t feel right for your services.
What Improv Teaches Us About Coaching
Many of us are conditioned to have a plan and execute on it. By contrast, in improv you’re primed to take action without knowing exactly how it’s going to turn out! Like improv, coaching methodologies offer us the ground rules for engagement.
Coaching also asks us to respond in the moment, without having a script. We don’t know what a client may bring into the session that day. The emotions, themes, and opportunities are unknown until you’re right there in it.
Good coaching involves being in the moment, with an ability to respond to what arises. Trust that this will become more fluid with practice. Lots of practice helps to develop your confidence. And confidence, in turn, produces a stronger coaching presence.
Want to Become a Coach?
One of our values at Lumia is that we dare to be different. Our coaches like Deanna ignore the expectations society tries to impose on them, and seek to live from their own truth instead. If you are ready to step into your power as a coach, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, and business instruction to prepare you for liftoff.