Ep #238: The Art and Science of Coaching with Trudi Lebron

Y’all it is all happening around here! We have a new website, we’ve built an entirely new company and there is so much going on right now. One of the people who has been so instrumental in helping me create this new version of my company, myself, and my coaching is the fabulous Trudi Lebron, so I’m so excited to welcome her back to the podcast this week.  

As you may already know, Trudi is the Founder of The Institute for Equity-Centered Coaching®️ where I have been going through her equity-centered coach and leadership certification for the last 18 months. She is a coach, entrepreneur, and writer who works in the intersecting space around diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism and works to advocate for better business and overall practices. Trudi is on a mission to create a world where people’s life outcomes aren’t predictable by their race and zip code, and she joins me this week to dive deeper into the art and science of coaching.

In this episode, hear more about Trudi and the incredible work around equity, inclusion, and diversity that she does in the world. Hear more about the transformation that coaching can bring to people, the difference between coaching and how it is sometimes being portrayed within influencer and cancel culture, and more about Trudi’s developments in the art and science of coaching.

What You'll Learn From This Episode

  • Why a lot of people enter coaching and the coaching industry.
  • The importance of keeping up with your skill of coaching.
  • What any transformation requires.
  • How coaching is being tied to influencer culture, and the problems with this.
  • Why there has been so much confusion and backlash about coaching and the coaching industry recently.
  • How coaching can be a way we can dismantle some of our systems of oppression.

Featured On The Show

Full Episode Transcript

You are listening to The Design You Podcast with Tobi Fairley, episode number 238.

Welcome to The Design You Podcast. A show where interior designers and creatives learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth and joy, here’s your host, Tobi Fairley.

Hello friends, it is full on fall. We are in the last quarter of the year. Did you meet your goals? Did you create impact this year? Has it been hard? I mean I don’t know, I think this year’s been kind of hard personally. In a lot of ways, it feels like one of the harder years, over the last few for me and maybe that’s just because I’ve done so much growing myself. Maybe it’s because I’ve turned 50 and I just decided to rebel against everything, all the rules. No, but really I do think it’s because I’ve done so much growth, and personal work, and change.

You’ve just probably seen our new website. We’ve basically built an entirely new company as you probably heard on last week’s episode. And one of the people that has been so instrumental in helping me create this new version of my company, and really this new version of myself, and this new version of my coaching which has really, really uplevelled in the last few years is the fabulous Trudi Lebron. And Trudi Lebron is my guest today on the podcast, which I’m so excited about.

So, you’ve heard me talk about Trudi as my DEI coach, as my equity centered coach. You’ve heard me probably say I’m going through equity centered coach and leadership certification which we’re almost finished with. You’ve maybe heard her actual episodes. She’s been on the podcast before. We’ll link those in the show notes.

But if you’ve never heard about her before, don’t worry. Because she’s going to tell you in just a few minutes, starting at the beginning of our interview who she is, what she does and what she’s super excited about right now, that I’m also super excited about. And that is some new work that she and her team are doing around the art and science of coaching.

So, if you are a coach, or if you have been the client of a coach, me or anyone else, or if you spend any time in the online world, and have noticed that there has been an anti-coaching sentiment which I’ve talked a little bit about and it’s not just anti-coaching, it’s anti-coaching. It’s anti-health and wellness. It’s really anti anything that has basically merged with the influencer culture.

And you’ll hear us talk about this a lot on the episode today where people have come more about being a persona, or a personality, or salesperson, than really, really invested in the skill of the work they do in the world. If you’ve seen that happen in any industry, coaching industry included, that’s why you’ve also probably seen some backlash in the last few months or years where people are really in some ways not trusting the process anymore. But as Trudi and I talk about today, coaching has been around way longer than Instagram.

It’s not a 10 year old discipline, it’s way older than that, even though it’s a relatively new industry in comparison to other things. But it’s been around for a long time. It is actually based on psychology, on science, it’s really, there is a skill and a science to helping people create transformations in their own lives. And Trudi is so committed thankfully to developing the skill of coaches who are interested in a beautiful, equitable really inclusive way. So that’s what we talk about today on this episode. I hope you’ll listen, even if you’re just a client or customer who has had coaching.

If you’ve had great experiences, or even if you’ve had bad experiences, you may get some insight from today’s session. And at the end of our interview, we talk about the really cool things, both free things, and paid things Trudi’s doing to help develop the art and science of coaching and how you can get access to those.

So, enjoy the interview. I’ll see you on the other side of the interview just to remind you of a few things but definitely this is an episode worth listening to probably more than once because there’s a lot of great information here. So here we go, my interview with Trudi Lebron.

Tobi: Hey, Trudi, welcome back to The Design You Podcast. There’s not a lot of people that get to come back. I don’t know why we don’t make more room for that but you’re one of my favorite guests. And is this your second or third appearance? I don’t know.

Trudi: I don’t know. Yes, I have, I’m so honored to be back, thank you.

Tobi: I’m so glad you are. So, a lot of people hear me talk about you probably quite often, if they’ve been around the podcast and especially if they’ve been in our programs. But you have been such a teacher and mentor to me for the last, going on three years now. And now I would call you a friend. But for those who don’t really know who you are and what you do, can you give us kind of the synopsis, a little intro of what that looks like?

Trudi: Sure, yeah. So, I am a coach, an entrepreneur, a writer. I am working kind of in this really intersecting space around diversity, equity, inclusion, anti-racism, and really advocating for better business practices and just kind of practices overall. The way that we live in order to create a world where people’s life outcomes aren’t predictable by their race and zip code and that’s all people.

I founded the Institute for Equity Centered Coaching a couple years ago where we train coaches and leaders in a style of coaching that is very interdisciplinary. And that focuses on really strong coaching practice, even in our leadership work, we’re really putting coaching at the center of our work. Equity centered coaching in particular which is all about letting the clients and the context of the clients lead the coaching experience or lead the kind of team experience if we’re talking about in a leadership context, us.

And the reason that that’s important is because it just is happening too often especially right now with the age of the internet that we happen to be in. Where coaching is starting to become very tied with influencer culture, coaching industry and influencer culture for some reason are starting to intertwine. I mean there’s a lot of reasons. But they’re starting to intertwine and I think it’s causing a lot of confusion about what coaching is. And so, when we started to see that trend happening a couple years ago we really wanted to kind of focus on reprioritizing a really strong coaching practice.

I happen to think that coaching, the skill of coaching is one of the most transformational tools we have at our disposal. And I believe that high quality coaching in business context, and interpersonal context, can be a big way that we start to actually dismantle some of our systems of oppression. So that’s how those two things kind of come together for me is that I believe that coaching is a skill that if more people have we would be able to kind of create a better world.
And it sounds, you know, I say things like that and it feels very grand, change the world through coaching. But it’s certainly what I hope to do every day when I wake up and get on the computer, and work with my clients. I am hoping that the work that I get to do with them, that they go and implement these things that then are creating this better world. So, I just, I believe in that.

Tobi: So amazing. So, you and I have worked together personally for like we said, I mean well, I don’t remember if I said this in this episode yet or if it was before we started, we were chitchatting. I think I said it here, about three years. I started working with you right around the time George Floyd happened in a one-on-one way with our team. But since then, I have also been for almost 18 months now, December will be 18 months. And we’ll be finishing, April and I, my COO and I will be completing the leadership part of your certification.

We’ve just completed recently the coaching part and have just submitted our certification for that. And so, we’ve been working with you in the institute. So, I am one of your students. I know very much what it’s all about which is great. And we can talk a little bit about that. And then also since you were here last, I think you also launched your book which is new, which is The Anti-Racist Business Book, which is amazing.

And you started in that book to even talk on some things that are related to what your work is really moving towards now which is this difference between the business of coaching and the practice of coaching. And I think the way you started to touch on that is even just kind of helping people understand agency, you talk even in the book some about cancel culture which I think is part of what’s happening in this backlash between. Can we set the tone a little bit of that?

Can you tell us a little bit about this influencer culture meets coaching culture and kind of also meets cancel culture? Because that’s what’s being this weird bubble, this microcosm of sorts that we’re seeing that – I don’t even know how to name it exactly. You’re doing a good job of that. But that’s kind of what you’re starting to unpack. Can you describe a little bit of that for us?

Trudi: I will try. I certainly spend a lot of time trying to unravel. I feel it’s like those headphones, those Apple headphones with the cord, they get so tangled so easily. Just stick them in your pocket and you have a knot that you have to sit there and untangle. That is how I feel. This experience of trying to detangle just what is happening. And so, what I think is that we have a lot of people who came into coaching and personal development work with really oftentimes because they themselves want to experience a transformation and they do.

Or they have self-coached themselves, or got some really good mentoring in some places. And found themselves in a place where they really want to help. I think that the vast majority of people who come into coaching really want to help transform and support the transformation of other people’s lives. And so, they get certified or they start applying the skills that they’ve learned in their professional career. And they realize that they love it but they also have to figure out how to make money in order to do it full-time.

And so, folks do what I did, and what many others do which is you start to listen to all the podcasts that you can and you download all the freebies that you can. And you start trying to understand how to build an audience and get an email list together. And eventually you find yourself in some kind of coaching program that is about business, which is fine, which is 100% great. I’ve worked with amazing business coaches, I love teaching business. I do love that my work is now more intersectional. I get to kind of mix the business with some other things but I think that that’s really important.

And what happens is because we’re in this, again, moment where social media is a main driver of a lot of business and brand efforts, people find themselves online. And it becomes this constant hamster wheel of building a bigger audience, and getting people on your email list, and launching the right thing, and trying to get clients. And eventually hiring a little bit of help. And all of a sudden you have a team, or even a VA. And so, the focus can really become very quickly about how do I grow? How do I bring in more revenue? How do I support this business?

And again, there is nothing inherently wrong with that. But at some point what happens is that you have invested more time, and energy, and money, and all the ways that we make investments into our business. And our business has grown to a point where maybe our revenue is okay and we kind of feel like we know what we’re doing.

But it’s kind of outgrown your coaching skill because the more people you have the more types of problems, the dilemmas that your clients are going to bring to you the more types of identities and cultural context and world views your clients are going to have. Also, the world is shifting around us very rapidly. There’s all kinds of things shifting.

And so, if you haven’t continued to develop your coaching skill, and understand, and deepen your knowledge around coaching theory, then you kind of become, at some point you become more of a marketer or more of a salesperson, or more of a CEO than you do of a coach. And if that’s what you want to do I think that’s great. And I do think that still people go into this work because they want to help people. And you have to learn more about coaching. It’s such a powerful skill that if you’re not developing it at the rate that your business is developing your skills just aren’t going to be sufficient at some point.

Tobi: Yeah. And I can see even crossovers in the design industry or any industry that finds itself, I mean it’s maybe every industry now finds itself on social media and into the digital marketing, and the launching. That’s where a lot of the problems that we see people wanting to cancel companies, or cancel themselves and get out of practice because there’s such a backlash now about bro marketing and what you charge. And are you taking advantage of people? And we’re both following or have seen all these accounts.

I don’t know if we’re following them but we’re seeing them popping up, probably following some of them that are becoming anti-coaching. I mean and again I see the same thing in the design and creative industry where people are like, “Are they a real designer or are they just a celebrity designer? Are they a real designer or are they just a blogger influencer that started doing projects?” And not that there’s anything wrong with that either if you want to be that. But they’re not the same thing as a person doing design at a level of wellness, or lead certification or anything.

And that’s kind of the same thing you’re talking about. There is a discipline of design and there’s a phenomenon of marketing and influencer. And there’s a discipline of coaching. And there’s the phenomenon of marketing and influencer. And then the backlash to the influencer culture and the backlash to the marketing culture is what’s getting people really kind of confused right, right now?

Trudi: Yeah. People are lumping it into their coaching. They’re like, “This is just what coaching is, coaching is all about the branding, the sales, the chase for the next six figure or seven figure launch”, whatever it is. And it does cause people to make decisions or to learn how to make decisions that are business focused instead of client focused. And that’s why, yeah, I think that’s why we have a lot of just like throw the whole industry away. But the thing is, is that coaching was around before Instagram. Coaching has been around for so long.

Tobi: Absolutely, yes. And the part that people are upset about is just it happens all the time, I think we’re so good at doing this in America too. If something’s good, let’s bastardize it, co-opt it, turn it into something that a handful of people are out there doing business recklessly, taking advantage of people, overcharging people, maybe traumatizing people because they don’t have the trauma informed lens, and they don’t have good coaching skills. And they’re savvy salespeople. And they become personalities.

And any moment any of us I guess could do harm in any industry we’re in including interior design. But for the most part the people that are problematic are a handful of people. But then the world kind of starts to paint the whole industry with the brush of they’re charlatans, they’re taking advantage of people. It’s pseudo-science, it’s made up. And I think that’s what gets people confused, right?

Trudi: A lot of that is happening. And it also kind of creates space for people to assume that that is what coaching is. And so, people come and they become a coach, they call themselves a coach. And they really fall into these very cliché traps around what they think a coach is. And it just becomes this snowball, this snowball that we see more, and more, and more.

Alternatively, though there is this whole other side of coaching practitioners who are not at all connected to any of that kind of the toxic pieces of the industry who are excellent coaches and excellent facilitators. And are really doing amazing work with people, and communities, and people in relationships, and schools. All kinds of coaches who are helping really support transformations of all different kinds of things who don’t even know or care about what’s happening on Instagram, or what’s happening with whatever influencer of choice.

They don’t even know or they don’t even care, but they’re really dedicated to their practice of coaching, the skill of coaching. And it has just incredible impact on people’s lives and in communities. And what I am hoping is that we can help get more people who are in that kind of online space because I think the advantage is that for people who are in the online space and who are kind of in the industry if you will, is that there’s more opportunity to impact more people.

But again, if you’re impacting more people and you don’t have a more nuanced set of skills, just the risk of harm goes up because you’re just not – it’s like you haven’t had enough training to apply or you’re, what is it? You got to ninth grade and so you can support the middle schoolers. But what happens when you have now this huge audience of people who have all of these different life experiences and all of these needs? You just need more skills.

Tobi: Well yeah because me personally, I mean I was at some level one of those people I guess at the beginning. I’m not saying that I was out doing a ton of harm, hopefully not. But because I’m a person who loves learning and I’m always looking at how do I learn more, how do I develop my skill?

I think maybe it led me to things including your program. But if I look at where my initial training was from, I loved it. And it changed my life but I was only equipped to change other people who had the same life experience as me, the same privilege as me, white women probably.
That particular set of problems, yeah, I could do all day long. But when we started looking at other people in our coaching practice, that were Black or Brown businessowners that had a different lived experience, or a different lens that they were looking through. I really needed a lot of other skills that you taught me through this equity centered practice including, I mean I didn’t even have any trauma training at all.

And what people don’t understand about trauma training is not that it’s training us to be handling trauma as much as it’s identifying where we’re not equipped and we need to refer someone to a therapist or other things. And when you don’t have that lens you’re out there kind of willy nilly thinking you can handle any problem and that you can’t do harm. And I think at some point I was even told, “It’s not going to hurt anything. You can’t really do any harm.” Which is absolutely not true. There is harm that can be done all over the place, right?

Trudi: Yeah, it’s actually pretty significant harm. I mean if you’re dealing with people who, I mean depending on what kinds of things you’re coaching on. But if you’re coaching people around things that have to do with I don’t know, their livelihood maybe.

Tobi: Right, yeah, [crosstalk], survival.

Trudi: Their identity, who, core of who they are and how they see themselves. I mean the potential to mess it up or not mess it up, just mess it up. But to touch on things or to dismiss things that are actually really incredibly important. Because you don’t understand the cultural context, or relevance of that, or you just don’t have the trained ear to pick on subtleties and the way that someone said something. That would give a skilled coach information on we should either continue to talk about that, or pivot, or let me change the question, or let me push it.

But the amount, and you saw in our program, the amount of time we just spend on assessing where do I take this coaching question? There’s so many places. There’s so many pathways that you can go with a client which means there’s so much potential for transformation. But there’s also potential that you get it wrong. And that doesn’t mean that you’re traumatizing someone. But that you’re leaving someone with an experience that was not transformational, and kind of flat and generic. And that’s not leveraging the power of what coaching people…

Tobi: Especially when they’re paying a lot of money and not all coaching is cheap. And so, when people have, and not that it’s the coach’s responsibility to always get a transformation in and of themselves. But if you are consistently not able to help the people that are paying you, and they’re consistently not getting anything from the money they’re investing. Yeah, that starts to create a bad thing for sure for you, for your reputation and for the coaching industry.

The other thing that was coming up when you were talking is I was thinking about the fact that in my coach training I was absolutely told and I guess taught, this is not advice giving which I think people confuse. I think coaching is I’m really good at telling other people how to live their lives and so that sounds fun. And that’s not what it is. But my training before working with you definitely did not fully help me understand how to have a client centered, client led space or session, how to understand power dynamics.

Especially when you present yourself as an influencer online, people can put you on a pedestal. They can defer to you instead of their own belief systems, or inner knowing, or desires. And there’s so much that can come in not just with traumas that might come up but just things like the power that you hold in the relationship, with your identity. If you have a dominant identity and they don’t. There’s so many things.

And people have no idea that that’s even a thing or that’s even part of coaching or that it even should be because they’re not really looking at kind of the humanity piece, the humanness, the interpersonal relationship piece. And you all go into that so deeply for the reason of helping the person that is the client have agency over what they’re coming for and the transformation they want to create. Not just having someone else outside of them telling them what they should be doing in their life, right?

Trudi: Right. And the reason that that’s so important is because it’s very simple science. When people are hiring a coach it’s because they’re looking for some type of transformation. And that transformation, it could be all kinds of types of transformations. But essentially it’s going to require, any transformation requires shifts in behavior, in beliefs and mindset. It could be a couple different things depending. It could be spiritual shifts depending on what kind of dilemma you’re looking for a coach for. And here’s the thing.

The likelihood that someone is going to adopt new behaviors, or new beliefs, or come to a new realization that’s going to transform their lives is higher if the process that they’ve been through to kind of come to that transformation is led by themselves. So, you as the coach, your core responsibility then isn’t to tell them what they should think, or believe, or point out how they’re wrong about something that they currently believe. It’s to reveal that to themselves. And that is delicate work, it takes time. You have to watch your own judgments and bias in the process.
There is a whole lot of ways that we communicate just as humans, just as people that aren’t appropriate when we are in a coaching relationship because the risk that we’re implanting ideas or priming people to respond a certain way. This comes down to basic psychological principles that tell us, what are the optimal conditions for transformation to occur? And so, you as a coach, it’s not just about asking good questions. It’s about creating an entire experience that optimizes that the transformation is going to occur over time.

So, you do have to be thinking about power dynamics. And you do have to be thinking about how you present information and how you ask questions. And whether or not you talk about or take an approach that’s more of a mindset approach, or an emotional coach, or a cognitive behavioral approach. There’s all these different approaches that you can take but you have to, in order to, again, create that optimal container for transformation, you have to be able to match the right approach, coaching approach, the right tool with the right dilemma.

Tobi: Yeah. And so many of us learned coaching through one tool or maybe two at the most but usually one. And we don’t have a full toolbox. Most people that are coaches that are listening, or even clients that are listening probably are hearing things right now that they didn’t even know. They’re like, “What are all those things she just said? She just talked about emotional, behavioral, cognitive. What is all of that stuff?” And that’s what you’re talking about when you start to talk about the science of coaching, not the business of coaching, right?

Trudi: Exactly. Exactly. The business of coaching is about generating an audience and your intellectual property. And being able to sell and creating a client list, whether you’re doing that through old school in person networking or online webinars, and freebies, and things like that. It’s about your strategy to run your business. Coaching is not a business model. Coaching is a skill. So, the business of coaching does require that you learn these skills to run an effective business but they are different than the skills that it takes to be an effective coach. They’re completely different.

Tobi: Yes. And I think one of the things that becomes problematic for the coach. Because I’ve experienced this as well is there’s something about disproving or performative type of energy that you sort of default to when you’re being an influencer to try to prove to the world that you’re amazing so they’ll hire you. But accidentally you can trickle over into the coaching if you’re not careful, if you don’t really understand it. And then all of a sudden you are giving advice or you are trying, you’re judging your coaching based on if you’re getting a transformation or not.

You’re judging yourself if someone doesn’t get a transformation or an aha every moment. And that completely messes with the pacing that might be right for an individual student who might take weeks or months to get any kind of aha or transformation because they are going at a pace that feels safe or appropriate for them. Or they’re new to coaching or they’re tackling something that’s like a bigger dilemma for them. It’s a little more entrenched in their patterns or something.
And you have to be able to separate your ego as the influencer from your skill and your duty I guess almost as a coach. Which I think that’s also part of what gets comingled which can give coaching a bad name.

Trudi: Yeah. I like to call it showbiz coaching, that’s what I like to call it. And you can, you know, it’s like the assumptions that you can give one piece of advice and it’s going to apply to everyone, or you’re looking for the mic drop moment. And there is a place and time for those things. There 100% is a place for that. But when we’re talking about long term relational coaching, a coach and a group of clients or one-on-one clients that you’re going to be working with over the course of a couple months. You’re not looking for the aha moment.

You’re looking for a steady transformation, that’s going to lead people to where they want to be. Now, if you’re in a one day VIP day that’s a different type of thing. You do want quick, you know, you want to get to quick solutions but that’s also why not every dilemma is appropriate for a one time VIP day. So again, it’s all these things about matching the appropriate tool, the appropriate format, the appropriate skills with the appropriate client and the need of the client.

And none of those things have to do anything at all with whether or not your email list is growing at the right pace you want it to grow at.

Tobi: Right. And noticing that some of that is more teaching than coaching. And that maybe lives on your podcast, or in a book, or in a webinar, or in a training, or something that is not also the same thing as coaching as well.

Trudi: Or both, I think it’s totally appropriate for people to have these hybrid programs where they’re coaching, and teaching, and consulting. My work is like that all the time, 100%. I think that’s totally appropriate the differences. And when it becomes what the magic is, is when you as the practitioner understand the different hats that you hold in your container so that you can use. Because again, teaching skills are different than coaching skills, are different than the facilitator skills.

And so, if you’re mixing all that together, great. But you have a whole bunch of tools at your disposal that if you’re intentional you can create extremely powerful programs.

Tobi: And we learned from you and you’re good at teaching that there is a whole consent piece to that too to say, “Hey, do you want me to teach you something about this? I have a thought, would you rather us just talk about this and coach on it? Or would you like to hear some advice? Because it sounds like you also kind of want to know what I think about this. And you can decide if that’s appropriate based on.” And they may say, “You know what? No, I don’t really need advice. I know it came across as that way but I know what I need is to work through this.”

Or, “You know what? I think I do want some more information on this. Can you teach me about this concept? That could help me. Or do you have a concept that could help me?” But I think the difference here is the slowing down. And this is one of the most important, the simplest skills I learned from you is to slow down and ask the person what it is that they’re looking for, not decide for them, or move right into advice giving without slowing down and saying, “There’s a few ways we could go here. What do you want to do?” And you may have something to say about that.

So, I’ll let you speak to that but also can you start moving us into what you’re working on right now? Because I’m so excited that you’re working on some specific things to combat these problems, and issues, and to educate people that don’t require people to go through an 18 month certification like I have, if that’s not what they want. There’s other ways that you’re starting to create opportunities that can have impact on people if they’re listening, and they want a coach, or this impacts part of the work that they do in the world, yeah.

Trudi: Yeah, 100%. So, I just want to say and I think that a lot of people, if you’re a coach or have been in coaching, participated in coaching, you probably have seen this happen. I’ve seen it so many times where a coach starts a session, or maybe it’s in a group container and they start talking to one of the clients. And even just within the first minute of the client talking the coach has decided where they want to go. And sometimes that’s not actually even the question that the client showed up to the call with.

This has happened to me where I have come to calls thinking here’s the thing I want to talk about. And just in the check-in, the session got derailed because the coach heard me say something and decided actually we need to talk about that. And at that time, I remember when it happened, or in the couple of times that that has happened to me, and then I’ve seen it a lot since, not having the tools, or not feeling confident enough to say, “Actually that’s not what I want to talk about today.” At that time, it didn’t feel like something I could do. Again, because of the power dynamics at play.

Tobi: I was going to say, I’m sure I have done that exact thing to someone especially earlier in my coaching before I started learning from you. Maybe I even thought that’s what coaching was about. I’m like, “I see it, I know it.” And you go right in with an agenda for what you think you can transform which is way more about you than about them. And of course, the power dynamics, and of course there’s the whole whiteness thing and how people in the dominant culture always think that they know better by nature of how we’ve been socialized.

And so, there’s so much in there that people don’t even know it’s happening. I’ve been guilty of that for sure until I learned that this was even a thing.

Trudi: Right, yeah. So, what we’re doing is we do have our certification program which yours was 18 months because you did two certifications, not one. I want to be clear about that.

Tobi: Yeah, I did the coaching and leadership on purpose. And I’ve kind of done it in 12 but I decided to not so that I could have more space and time to do both sessions individually so yeah.

Trudi: Yes. So, in addition to that because our priority is to get more coaches trained in the art and science of coaching especially from our lens which is always going to be an equity centered lens. Not about just combatting racism. But this is about how to create spaces that work for everyone or everybody, even white folks.

Tobi: We get to be in the space too, and we get to live this.

Trudi: And I think it’s important to say that because for a long time my work has really focused on diversity, equity and inclusion in the coaching industry. And that is still a really important part of our work. And I think it’s important that we all remember that the reason that we need to have diverse inclusive spaces is because it improves outcomes for everyone, not just for people of color, not just for people with marginalized identities. It’s about all of us.

So, what we’re doing is earlier this year we started releasing some seminars, some free seminars that really were just about teaching. Let’s just start this conversation, the first one was called The Business and Science of Coaching. And it unpacked the difference between pyramid schemes, and MLMs, and cults, and why coaching often starts to be mentioned when these other things are mentioned. Is coaching a pseudo-science or not? There’s a whole science that supports coaching practice.

So, we did that and the response from that was so incredible that it actually shifted our plan for the rest of the year. So instead of launching another cohort of our certification program which we usually would be doing, that seminar and the response that we got from that seminar told us a couple of things. One, it told us that there was a lot of people who actually want to know about the science and the skill of coaching, who for all kinds of reasons aren’t ready to do a full certification program.

The other was that it verified that people are really frustrated with all of the industry side of things. And that the more that we can support people in understanding the science, the skill, the practice of it, that we’ll just be able to get the information to people faster and that is the most important. And so tomorrow I’m actually going to be recording the second installment of that seminar, that free seminar series. And that’s an intro to coaching psychology. There’ll be a third that we record later this year.

But we’re opening up the doors for really something that we have never done before which is something that will be a digital product. And so, it’s called the art and science of coaching. It’s going to be for professional development trainings that I will teach live. And then they will be available for people on recordings throughout 2023. So, I start teaching them live in November. We’re going to actually teach a full sequence on coaching psychology. I’m going to teach one on trauma informed practice, how to create safe spaces for transformation.

And then the last is facilitation skills for coaches. So, we’re going to teach those four courses, each of those courses have three modules in them. So, it’s 12 trainings altogether. And then throughout the year next year, 2023 we’re going to hold live calls. So, we’ll have one call where we kind of dig a little bit deeper into the context, so whether that’s coaching psychology, trauma informed practice, whatever it is. And then we’ll have one kind of open Q&A call.

So, wherever someone is in their journey, kind of digesting through the material, they can show up to a call and ask questions about whatever is right in front of them. I’m really excited about that because it’s something that we can offer as an evergreen product. We’re launching it now. People who join while enrolment is open will be able to participate live in the live sessions with me which are always super fun. And on those sessions I’ll be able to do live Q&A after we do the lecture component.

And then of course we have a bunch of bonuses for people who join during the live launch which includes access to a vault of content that we’ve been creating over the last two years. So, we’ve kind of curated all of the things that we’ve done and picked the best trainings, and the best learning journeys, and are going to make that available to people who come into The Art and Science of Coaching. But I’m really excited about it because it is going to be something that people can access really easily, join whenever. They won’t have to wait for a new cohort of something to start.

And then also get support right away. So, unlike just a digital product where people just kind of consume it on their own, they’ll be able to come in and ask questions and get support. And then be in a community of other people who share the same values and who are really committed to their practice. And the kinds of collaborations that we’ve seen and friendships and even just from our community. It’s just really beautiful to have a group of people, now hundreds of people who have worked with us in different capacities who are meeting you.

You’ve been meeting with one another and hanging out. And it takes away this anxiety around, I’m not going to have to defend any of my positions or I’m going to be able to not have to explain why this is important to me. So, I’m really proud of the community that we’ve kind of created overall. And I’m really looking forward to inviting new people into that at a price point that’s more accessible and something that people can join whenever they find it.

Tobi: Is that something that you can talk about now? Do you already have a set price and how it’s going to work?

Trudi: Yeah. So, The Art and Science of Coaching is 1997. And there’s a payment plan option, five payments of 497, yeah. And for folks who join during the live launch again, they’re going to get a bunch of bonuses including access to our intensives, which we run a couple intensives a year. And again, the vault, there’s going to be all these things that people will get access to right away.
Yeah, and then the live calls, those Q&A calls will start in January. So, we’ll be delivering all the content live for the trainings, for the four trainings from November through the early January. And then our Q&A calls, our community calls will start in January.

Tobi: Amazing. Yeah, it excites me so much to think about the possibility of that for even the other coaches that work in my community. Because we might not want to invest in a certification for every single coach. But they’re going to get so much of the foundational content in something like this. It’s something that could be affordable for us to invest in with them, or split with them, or pay for, for them, or whatever that arena is in coaching containers. Which is one of the things that’s been really important to me that it’s not just me that learns this.

Because I’m not capable of then turning around and teaching everybody that coaches in our communities. And if I’m the only one that has the information then how safe is the container really, or how equitable is the container really? So, I love that this gives different levels and opportunities to create this foundation of this knowledge across a company which is really, really important. So exciting too, yeah.

Trudi: Yeah. I think I got to the point where in talking to so many people, I don’t want people to have to choose between learning more about their coaching skills, and their business coach. And that’s the choice that people are making. They have money to invest in their professional education, their professional development. And sometimes it’s either I can either do this or that. For some of us we can do many things at the same time and that’s a great privilege. And that’s not what everybody is able to do.

So, we really wanted to have something that we can provide that would accomplish this goal of getting this education to as many coaches as possible without people feeling like they have to sacrifice the work that they’re doing on their business. Because I tell you, Tobi, I fully understand what it feels like to be in that seat where you’re like I can either do this or that. I have this limited amount of money and I need my business to grow otherwise I’m not going to be able to pay my bills. Or otherwise, I’m not going to be able to get out of this toxic job situation.

So, I get that and I don’t want people feeling like they have to make a choice. And I certainly didn’t want to be in a position where we had to be the business coaches and the coaching coach, the skill building coaches. And we don’t need to do that. There are people who are doing really great work on helping people build businesses. But it’s also not fair to think that those people also are in a position to teach you how to be a better coach.

Tobi: Absolutely not, yeah, they’re two totally different things and they should be. And I think about that, so many of us that go learn a discipline say in college, one of the things we say about interior design is you learn the skill of design in college which is a lot more like architecture than people realize. But you don’t learn how to run a business in that, unless you take business courses also or get a minor in a business. They’re separate for a reason because they’re two completely different things.

And there’s a much bigger void or a complete void in this skill building aspect when there’s a lot of people out there. Now, I don’t know that there’s a lot of people out there teaching ethical and equitable business. So maybe somewhere in your future, or maybe it trickles over, or maybe some of the people like me and others who are influenced by the work with you then pick up the ethical business piece.

Trudi: Yeah, I think that’s what we hope. We did business coaching first. My first iteration of the company I was first facilitating in school districts helping to improve school districts, and non-profits. Then helping people who were starting businesses. A lot of people who were coming out of non-profits like education systems, build businesses. And that was a great program and I really loved it. And I love teaching business.

And what I saw is that we were getting a lot of people who – not a lot but we were getting a good amount of people who had an underdeveloped skill in coaching and who wanted to be coaches. And which is great, but I want people to want to be coaches. And I think that we just started to see very early on that some of the issues that people were facing weren’t actually business problems. They were problems of the coaching practice. And so, in that program, it was called Amplified Impact Mastermind, AIM we call it.

In that program we started to have to do this hybrid of coach, teaching business and talking about coaching practice. And at some point with the events of 2020 and everything else, it just became more clear about where our best work was going to be able to be given, where our best effort was supposed to be. And what’s interesting is that it’s really for me anyway, it’s really like a full circle moment because again, when I started the company what I was doing, consulting for non-profits and for coaches, we were doing organizational development.

But my expertise particularly was working with people who work with students, so teachers, social workers, youth development professionals. And teaching them the science of youth development, how to work with young people more effectively so that there was transformation occurring. So, it’s really wonderful for me to kind of be back in this place where I’m going back to my roots. Youth development is really personal. It’s human development.

So, I’m getting to kind of teach some of the things that I used to teach when I was a professor of cultural psychology, and case management, and interview. I get to take all that and kind of put it back into what we’re doing now. So, it’s just really full circle for me.

Tobi: It’s so exciting. And I think that that hopefully is going to give some – I don’t know, maybe some confidence or a little bit of relief to the people that have found themselves wanting to distance from coaching. And maybe reconsidering whether they really were meant to be a coach. Because we talked briefly before we started recording, I was saying, it kind of reminds me of how yoga was co-opted. And then people almost even felt guilty doing yoga anymore because they’re like, “I don’t want to be just one of these white women that’s co-opted yoga.”

But there’s so many benefits to yoga and all about understanding yoga, and the history of yoga and just not co-opting it and giving credit to where yoga comes from. And so, it’s kind of that same idea hopefully that the people who know in their heart, and their gut, and their body that they’re meant to help do this work hopefully will give them a little bit of comfort around the fact that they can lean back into this work of skill development and separate themselves from the influencer kind of culture.

That may be they were starting to believe represented all of coaching, because it does not. And like you said, I was at your retreat just a couple of weeks ago. And you and I because we’re online a lot would name people’s names and people were like, “Who is that?” We’re like, “How do you not know this person?” But it’s so funny that the people out in the world don’t. It’s just like I always laugh, unless you’re Marth Stewart, no one knows any of the ‘celebrities’ that are in the design industry either other than designers.

And so, it’s not like that really is the whole world of coaching. It just starts to look like it if that’s the microcosm that you’re spending all of your time in. And so, if people are like, “Yes, Trudi, I hear you, this is resonating, I want to dive into the science of coaching, the art of coaching, art and science of coaching”, how do they find this? Where do they find you? How do they get onboard? And I think by the time this airs will be a week after the session you’re recording tomorrow which is free. So, if they miss that session where do they go and how do they find the thing?

Trudi: Yeah. If you’re listening to this live that means that when it drops that means the enrollment in The art and Science of Coaching is open. And we can make sure that you have a link to put in the show notes so that people can go and find both the seminar, the free seminar and The Art and Science of Coaching if they’re ready to join us.

Tobi: Awesome, amazing. And if they’re not quite ready but they just want to learn more, they’ll still be able to access the free seminar?

Trudi: Yeah, 100%, that’s free. And they’ll get both. If they register for the intro to coaching psychology, we’ll send, because it’s part of a seminar series. So, they’ll get the first one. Yeah, they’ll get the one where we’re talking about is coaching a pseudo-science, pyramid scheme, they’ll get that one. That’s free. And they’ll get the intro to coaching psychology. And if they subscribe to the fee, because it’s audio training, they’ll get the one that we release later on.

Tobi: Perfect. So, all they need to do is follow the link that we’re going to have in the show notes and that we’ll share on social. And they’ll just get into the queue of all the free things and they’ll also start getting the information about if they want to be part of the paid program, that they can sign up for that too.

Trudi: Yeah, exactly.

Tobi: Amazing. Well, this was so fun. We’ve been trying to get you back on the podcast for a while. I think mostly we were going to talk about your book but now everything’s evolved. We didn’t even have to talk about the book today because we have this new exciting thing.

Trudi: They’ll get information about the book. Yeah, get the book, yeah, it’s all connected. So, if they, you know, if folks are interested they should definitely at the very least check out one of those free trainings and then they can follow me on Instagram, and make sure everything is real accessible [crosstalk].

Tobi: And reading the book I think would also be a great foundation for them to know more about you and your work even if they want to, if they’re ready to dig into something right now before they even necessarily start some of the paid trainings and things. Because it does all support each other. You could go in either direction probably because I learned from you for a long time. Then I had the book, then I learned from you more. And there’s not a prescribed order, it all does reinforce each other. Amazing. Well, as always I love being with you, so much fun to have you.

You are always just brilliant and so in tune to what your audience needs which I love so much. And you’re so responsive to that, that’s really exciting to watch. So, bravo for that.

Trudi: Thank you, I appreciate that.

Tobi: Yeah, so fun, thank you.

Trudi: Thanks for having me.

Alright, as usual, Trudi is genius, that’s why I keep hanging around her, so I spend as much time as possible with her. That’s why I just spent an entire week with her in Connecticut a couple of weeks ago which was fantastic with Trudi and her team, and about seven other fabulous likeminded CEO women. And so, if you also want to spend more time with Trudi then definitely check out our show notes. I’m going to put a link there. It’s actually an affiliate link. If you want to use it, you’re welcome to. I do get paid a finder’s fee of some sort if you join from our link, that’s up to you.

But it would be fun for Trudi to know that you did come to her through our podcast, or our social media, or through listening to the work that she’s helped me do in the world. So, if that’s something you’re interested in, check out that link. We’ll also put it on social media. You can join, it doesn’t change anything about your price but it just has Trudi send a little thank you over to my team and me for telling you about her new program. And whether I’m ever paid for a dime of recommending Trudi or not, you definitely need to work with her.

She has been lifechanging for me. I would give her references and I would support any program that she does, just from the amazing transformation that she’s helped me create in my own life. So, check it all out. Thanks for being here and I will see you back next week with something I’m cooking up for you personally, so be ready for that. I’m going to plant some new seeds about some things I’ve been thinking about and chewing on, in your brain. So come back next week, I’ll see you then, bye for now.

Thank you so much for listening to The Design You Podcast, and if you are ready to dig deep and do the important work we talk about here on the podcast of transforming your mindset and creating a scalable online business model, there has never been a more important time than right now. So, join me and the incredible creative entrepreneurs in my Design You coaching program today. You can get all the details at

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Hi! I'm Tobi

I help creative women (and a few really progressive dudes) design profit-generating, soul-fulfilling businesses that let them own their schedule, upgrade their life and feel more alive than ever!

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