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The Art Of Self-Awareness For Coaches – A 5-Part Series Part 4 – Are We Navigating Authentically?

Written by: Dr. Jackie Lau, Senior Level Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Dr. Jackie Lau

Life coaching — is it about people’s need to be coached, or a coach’s need to be coaching?

image of the universe reflecting on body of water

In this fourth installment of our thought-provoking 5-part series, I invite you to embark on a journey of profound introspection, building upon the insights gained from the previous installments, titled “Is my story of becoming a coach current?”, “Am I open to admitting where I am?”, and “Are we here to create dependence?”. These explorations have revealed how our coaching experiences can serve as powerful catalysts for Self-enquiry, illuminating the path to a deeper realm.

Let’s navigate the labyrinth of our inner world as we venture further, unveiling the conscious and subconscious elements that shape our coaching journey, and exploring the intricate tapestry of our relationship with coaching from the inside out. It is here, in the depths of our being, that we uncover the artistry of guiding others genuinely and the profound impact it can have on our own virtuous growth.

The Coaching Industry – Is It Just A Circus Of Self-Proclaimed Experts And Promises Of Overnight Glory?

The coaching industry has exploded in popularity over the past few decades, becoming somewhat of a pop culture cliché. With a wide variety of coaches and modalities available, it can be challenging to discern their backgrounds, qualifications and creditability, as much as this does not necessarily impact the quality of the guidance and support that they provide. As a result, we find ourselves in a sea of self-proclaimed individuals aspiring to become coaches, whose intentions may not always be well-considered.

The coaching scene in the online climate has become increasingly concerning, as it has given rise to numerous marketing agencies and coaching schools that are aggressively promoting the concept of "online coaching success". They are throwing around enticing headlines like "How to become a millionaire through coaching" or "Generate a six to eight-figure coaching business". Aspiring coaches may now be fixated on scaling their high-ticket offerings and attaining a high volume of sales and bookings per day. This has enabled an atmosphere of self-promotion and hype, where an increasing number of individuals aspire to become "celebrity coaches", making bold claims about guaranteeing life-changing transformations.

Image this, would you allow your child to attend a school that promotes a program called “How to become a millionaire school teacher?” Or would you feel comfortable consulting a doctor who offers an online masterclass on “How to build a 7-figure medical business?” The commodification of coaching and the exploitation of the current crisis in mental health for personal gain is a concerning trend. It is alarming to see coaching being used as a means to pursue personal agendas, akin to fishing in troubled waters.

It's no wonder that the coaching industry can feel a bit like a circus full of hot air at times, with coaches popping up left and right, claiming to possess the secret to life.

A Needle In A Haystack

Let’s face it ― life is an intricately complex journey, filled with ever-changing dynamics and ever-evolving variables. Even if the coaches boast certifications, acquired through either short or extensive and complex courses, what do these accolades truly signify in the grand scheme of life?

As much as certifications can showcase a baseline level of knowledge and expertise in a specific coaching methodology or technique, providing a limited indication of the standards and training involved, this may or may not even be relevant to actual outcomes. Certainly, certifications alone do not reflect the effectiveness or meaningfulness of the resulting coaching interactions, especially considering the vast disparities among emerging coaching schools.

It would be imprudent to think a mere certification can adequately equip an individual to provide tailored support, devoid of personal agendas, and genuinely guide others toward their aspirations. So, how do we navigate through the complexities of the coaching world and align with that special someone with whom we could co-create an impactful experience?

“…always remember that teaching is an act of service; and to not feel elevated, but rather to be humbled by the ripening of our own awakening…” ― Dr. Barbara De Angelis

As with any other professions, the true measure of a person's credibility that is conducive to the resulting impact of co-creation lies in their experience and skills, empathy and compassion, connection with and support for others, and most importantly, intentions and inner work.

From Self-Promotion To Introspection

The first step to getting a glimpse of our sense of alignment on the coaching path is to recognize the outer manifestation of the inner unexpressed realizations that point us to the emerging doorways.

Suppose we perceive every action we take as a decision made by our mind, aiming to contribute to our existence on different levels, regardless of its magnitude. Whether it is a thought or an action, it emerges from a moment when our mind is taking cues from our experience based on our conditioning and says “this is important information for you”.

Considering the mind feeds on residual energy from our emotional world, shaped by our past experiences, its interpretation of the present moment is intertwined with records of various unresolved matters stored in our unconscious. In other words, intuition is our current perception after absorbing emotions that our unconscious mind has instinctively held onto. For many of us, this is where our calling is derived from. As far as the coaching industry is concerned, this is also the place where we define and understand “success”.

The term “success” is almost always defined through comparison with others by the unconscious mind, which tends to stagnate a remnant sense of inadequacy, hence always a form of approval seeking from the externals.

It is no wonder that marketing agencies or coaching schools tend to use enticing headlines such as “Quit your 9 to 5 job” or “Secrets to starting a 6-figure coaching business” to grab our attention, which may seem especially captivating for the part of our personas that is associated with a sense of lack. Despite that by sensationalizing the outcome or financial success, these catchy headlines overshadow the true essence of coaching, such distraction serves a great opportunity for us to get curious with our intentions.

Why Is Quitting Our 9-to-5 Job So Alluring?

First of all, let’s ask ourselves “Are we just using coaching as a means to escape a 9 to 5 job or achieve financial gains?” No matter what your answer is, we are about to embark on a fun journey that is going to bring us closer to authenticity.

Let’s consider that the society we live in today is the result of the collective efforts of countless ancestral and present generations. How would we like to engage with this evolved version of the collective unconscious that we were born into, in order to honor history and the creation of the universe?

The idea of leaving a 9-to-5 job appeals to our yearning for freedom on multiple levels ― freedom from the constraints of authority, rigid schedules, and the feeling of being trapped in a repetitive cycle. This goes hand in hand with our desire for autonomy and independence, to seek a place where we can live on our own terms, to pursue passion with the flexibility to explore different paths and create our own schedule. These perceived merits are especially appealing to those of us who have become accustomed to defining our identity largely through our occupations or careers in this highly capitalized society, which prioritizes profit pursuit and financial accumulation.

The concept of success, particularly external success, is often measured by quantitative parameters surrounding financial wealth, such as income and popularity, which ultimately ties back to financial profits, such as the number of followers we have on social media nowadays. This emphasis on financial wealth and online exposure as a marker of success can lead us to feel trapped and defined by our dominant mode of production, as predominantly associated with capital investment, profit maximization, and market competition, which shape the economy, politics, and social structures.

Now, what role does the 9-to-5 part play in the whole game?

In a capitalist society where individuals' worth is often equated with financial wealth, there is significant pressure to overwork in order to achieve financial success. The 9-to-5 work schedule, originated during the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, is therefore indirectly associated with capitalism. Industrialized capitalist nations have implemented this schedule to limit excessive work hours and ensure that employees have a reasonable work-life balance. Although the original purpose of such work schedule was aimed at maximizing productivity in factories rather than specifically to address the issue of overworking, it indirectly serves as a means to protect workers' rights in a highly capitalist society.

Every Solution To A Problem Becomes A Problem Itself

For those of us who feel the allure of quitting a 9-to-5 job, it is important to acknowledge our initial propensity to pursue a role with this kind of work schedule in the first place, in contrast to those who did not opt for traditional employment. What sets us apart despite the universal ingrained sense of lack? Examining our conditioning from a non-dualistic perspective can provide valuable insights.

We often perceive a job with a 9-to-5 nature as more stable, which stems from our inclination to secure a steady income, in order to pursue various forms of freedom that we view as directly linked to financial freedom, such as personal or creative pursuits.

We have clearly listened to our intuition and weighed the pros and cons. Yet, we fall into the illusion of lack of options, overlooking the degree of freedom we actually have, as with other life situations.

We tend to fixate on the perceived imperfections of our current life situations, which resulted from our conscious and unconscious decisions. And in this context, this likely applies to those who eschewed the 9-to-5 path as well. We start to consider the potential consequences and challenges that come with quitting a stable job. These may include financial instability, the loss of job benefits, and the hassle of establishing a new professional network. We get used to the daily chattering in our minds, and we often stick to the same job, unwilling to change our perspective and instead adopting a victim mentality that projects our internal discomfort onto our external circumstances.

Over time, the whole culture begins to glorify quitting the 9-to-5 job, creating a context-removal narrative that presents it as the ultimate dream for everyone. In turn, we impose this mindset on others, expecting them to follow suit.

Embracing Authenticity Through Recognizing Inherent Freedom

"Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life. The external world is always in flux, but your internal world can remain anchored in stillness and presence." ― Eckhart Tolle

So far, we have been focusing on the horizontal dimension of life and the outer act of coaching ― the surface level. Here, mass media hype operates to target our sense of lack and the need for control, stemming from our insecurities and approval-seeking survival state.

However, the essence of coaching lies in guiding individuals towards the vertical dimension of life, where we can see beyond the illusion of finding fulfillment solely through external achievements. Here, we can realize the nature of suffering and discover a new perspective, to be aware that the internal world doesn't have to be a continuum of the external world. This is the beginning of the end of suffering.

Ironically, many coaches themselves are driven by the same pursuit, using coaching as a means to find their identity and relying on external validation, outsourcing their sense of freedom to a coaching career that is often overshadowed by flashy promises. This has led to the proliferation of self-proclaimed life coaches with questionable intentions, as marketing agencies and coaching schools exploit this trend. If we were to serve others from this victim mentality, we would only perpetuate a collective victim ego.

Let’s be fair. There is nothing wrong with aspiring for financial abundance, as long as we maintain a healthy understanding of how to navigate the materialistic dimension. However, when it comes to coaching, profitability should never take precedence over the primary focus of educating and supporting others. We are here to serve people, not money. It’s important to remember that money is merely a form of appreciation, although it often takes on a life of its own. The question comes back to what we discussed in the earlier parts of this 5-part series – what am I trying to fulfill through engaging in the act of coaching?

Similarly, there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to quit a 9-to-5 job, as long as we truly understand what that change represents for us. Are we simply moving from one illusion of freedom to another that we identify with? On a practical level, the absence of 9-to-5 jobs would fundamentally alter the structure of the traditional workday. While some flexibility may arise, it could also pose challenges, such as coordination and scheduling issues, particularly in industries that rely on fixed working hours like healthcare, transportation and logistics, and emergency services such as police and firefighters.

Ultimately, the answer to true inner freedom lies in the vertical dimension, not the horizontal one. Where are we expanding into or running away from?

What outer acts are driven by our own avoidant strategies, and how does it feel to embrace the present moment as it is?

By focusing solely on external measures of success, we risk losing sight of the core essence of coaching. Our attention may be diverted and drawn towards our persona and image, rather than our mission to serve and the profound transformations that coaching can foster. Rather than fixating on our outward appearance, or rearranging our behavioral or thought patterns on the surface level, genuine growth requires profound creativity. It involves shifting our perspectives from the inside out, through which we can relate to the world on a different dimension.

By recognizing the inherent freedom and liberation within, we can create an authentic sanctuary of truth and presence that co-exists harmoniously with, rather than excludes, the external world.

Let’s explore the depths our inner being.

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Dr. Jackie Lau Brainz Magazine

Dr. Jackie Lau, Senior Level Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dr. Jackie Lau is a neuroscientist and an experienced international life coach who is fascinated with human behaviors and the mechanisms underlying our mental and emotional states. With a deep appreciation for the integrative approach of modern psychology, neuroscience, and spirituality, Jackie is a top life coach in Australia and has co-created with people all over the world to radically transform into more self-awareness, sense of purpose, and inner freedom.

Jackie is trained as a strategic interventionist and breakthrough specialist with Robbins-Madanes Training, directed by Tony Robbins, which combines effective techniques evolved from neurolinguistic, psychological, and therapeutic inter-disciplines. As a curious researcher, Jackie completed her Ph.D. in neuroscience at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia, studying the neural circuits governing motivation and reward. She is currently researching neurodegenerative diseases, with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease, investigating the molecular basis relating neuroplasticity to cognition.

Leveraging her diverse cultural background, Jackie is profoundly devoted to studying Eastern and Western philosophy and literature, learning transformative wisdom from influential life strategists and spiritual teachers. In the fervency of her gratitude, for over a decade, she earnestly empowers people from all walks of life to live our authentic virtuous Self and commit to becoming love. Through ingenious modalities including mindset transformation and meditation, Jackie is inspired to cultivate our connection to a deeper world, one that nourishes our spiritual heart rather than feeds our time-bound predicament of patterns, one that channels our fear of pain into lasting pull to joy, appreciation, and peaceful presence.

Jackie loves the art of music and dance. She trained as a classical violinist from a young age, later on, discovered her passion for classical guitar, and has also been a dedicated hip-hop dancer and instructor since her college years. Her creative journey has never ceased to open doors for the extraordinary in the ordinariness of life.

Jackie’s vision is to co-create with the human family as part of nature, to tune in consciously and align with our thoughts, emotions, and actions, and to live passionately and playfully with full presence.



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