In-tu-it Coaching with Sifu Terry Hodgkinson
Retrospectively speaking, I realize I’ve been coaching people since the age of 16. It started when I was promoted to the position of junior martial arts instructor at the martial arts school where I was training. The Master at the time asked if I would meet with him and in that meeting he said he had received positive feedback from the instructors who had been teaching me. He continued saying that he was well aware, due to my age that I was still physically growing and had to struggle constantly to find my centre of balance, each time I had a new growth spurt. This makes martial arts training very frustrating at times, as one day I could have great coordination and balance and the next it was all thrown out the window. I would be right back to square one trying to recapture it! He said the feedback he had received regarding me, was that no matter how much I struggled or how frustrated I got, it never seemed to break my spirit. He continued and said I showed qualities of dedication, perseverance, self motivation and the ability to maintain mental and emotional stability, even though I struggled physically. Little did he know my struggles were not limited to only the physical. I had many struggles at home that equally tested me mentally and emotionally; however I found the meditation we did each class was incredibly helpful.
Little did I know at the time that these qualities he mentioned and the struggles I experienced to hone them, would also be great assets for something else I developed a passion and talent for later on: coaching people in various areas of their life.
Having started teaching martial arts at 16, I found myself helping a lot of other kids who had problems. They would come to me after class and share particular challenges they were experiencing at home or at school and ask me for my advice. I never really thought much about it and considered it an honour to be able to lend some kind assistance where I could. By the age of 19, I was fully managing my first martial arts school and found that now I was having a lot of adults coming to me after class, not only for guidance in martial arts training but also for advice for different areas of their life. Looking back on that time, I was at a young age to be dispensing advice on life, especially in areas like addictions, health, relationship challenges of many different kinds, and abuse, including physical and sexual abuse.
Being a martial arts instructor I would get to know my students’ strengths and weaknesses quite well. There are parts of the training where some people would hit personal barriers or walls and were required to push past their comfort zones in order to achieve the desired training results. Many of these personal limitations would appear during grading, or when other high intensity activities were undertaken like self defence training or sparring. It’s here quite often student’s mental and emotional struggles were triggered by the task’s intensity, and would visibly manifest as they bubbled to the surface. Until these challenges were overcome they would continually impede the student’s physical progress.
I found that as I worked on overcoming many of my own personal limitations and was active in helping a large number of students overcome theirs over a decade of teaching, I started to develop intuition regarding such matters. Or maybe it was just experience that made it seem that way. Not always but often I was aware of students fears and would speak to them about it before they even knew I knew what they were experiencing. This led for some interesting comments like, “Are you able to read my mind?” I would often let out a laugh and assure them that was not the case.
After spending 20 solid years in martial arts, managing and owning schools, I decided to branch out and open up my own coaching & hypnotherapy clinic called Positive Changes. Beforehand I had taken a number of courses and seminars in hypnosis, NLP, coaching, psycho- linguistics and behavioural psychology from some of the best names in the industry. I learned a lot of excellent new ways in working with people, yet I’ve always found that the ability to in-tu-it (intuit) coach has been by far my strongest resource. I’ve now owned and operated my health clinic for over 12 years and about 8 years ago I had Dr. Bronwen Gates join me as a colleague. As a medical doctor, she sees the strong value that coaching and hypnotherapy has held for people. Both of us at the clinic have seen thousands of clients come in receive help for issues such as:
- better eating habits and weight management
- smoking cessation
- overcoming fears & phobias
- confidence and self esteem building
- better focus on personal and professional goals
- relationship problems
- sports mindset improvement
- school mindset improvement
Over the years I’ve been coaching people, I’ve discovered a number of really useful tools. It’s important to realize though that tools are only as effective as is the client’s motivation to change and the ability of the coach to connect with and guide. This is why I’ve titled this post, In-tu-it Coaching. It’s a play on the word intuition because while intuition is an incredible and not so common resource, the coach actually has to be IN TO IT. Meaning that they are fully committed to the person’s betterment, they have to truly care! When you combine intuition (or vast experience) with commitment to a person’s betterment and a range of appropriate resources, tools to assist with the clients progress, then you have a powerful formula for transformation; at least in my experience of working with thousands of students and clients.
There are many areas of a person’s life that may require coaching. Sometimes a person may not even know where to start so I provide some guidance for them. I will ask the client simply to rate these different areas of their life from 1 to 10. 10 being that area is fantastic and they feel totally fulfilled. 1 being the area is pathetic and they couldn’t be any less fulfilled.
Areas I will give them to rate range from but are not limited to:
- Health and Fitness
- Personal relationships
- Family relationships
- Personal development
Once they rate the different areas then we have a look at the numbers and decide which area warrants immediate attention. When the area is identified I will then begin asking them a number of precise questions that will help to shed clarity on what needs to happen or occur to improve this area. One of the questions will be accountability, where we establish an agreed upon method that they will be accountable to what we agree upon, as to what are the necessary steps of action to take. Often when progress is made in the selected area they notice their energy is improving and they are able to identify other areas more easily that they could use help with, which would make a significant impact for them.
If the client feels they are lacking in resources such as persistence, dedication, focus, confidence or motivation then we may decide hypnotherapy is a good tool for them to undertake. This is a time tested method that can assist a person’s subconscious mind, expanding upon resources or develop new ones that are required for accomplishing their goal. If you are unfamiliar or sceptical about hypnotherapy then you might want to watch the TV program called The Nature of Things, the episode called “The Brain that Changes Itself). The last 15 minutes of the program clearly illustrates how powerful our thoughts are and how they have the ability to change our physical brain in regards to modifying our habits and behaviours. Or you can read the book but I find the show a great way to actually see real people who have greatly benefited in using their brain in particular ways to create massive changes.
There are a number of other tools I use with clients but I will not list them here.
The best advice I can give someone who wants to become a personal coach is simply to be coached first yourself. If you can’t relate to what your client is going through then you lack the necessary rapport needed to naturally make the client feel at ease with you and your ability to help them. I’ve fired coaches who had far more training then I have. I would hire them and let them work at my health center with some clients. Even though they had a PhD, say in NLP and coaching, they lacked one of the most basic and fundamental skills of simply gaining rapport. Thus our clients became resistant to their methods and to them. Within a few short weeks I would let them go and with all that training to boot! Remember one thing: what you have learned is important, but it’s only a part of what makes you effective as a coach. If you haven’t dealt with your own personal challenges or you’re not in the process of attending to them, then you lack authenticity and people are not stupid; they will sense this at some level. At this point you are simply a drill sergeant telling people how it should be, rather than relating with people on how it is. It will be a wall that creates distance between you and your client. It’s pretty hard to be in-tu-it when you have walls up!
So if you have a desire to be a coach and you know you could use some assistance in some area of your own life or even if you don’t think you need assistance, I recommend you get some personal coaching anyways! It’s pretty hard to lead in an area that you have no personal experience being led in before. Yes you might have the textbook knowledge but that simply won’t cut it with 90% percent of the people who may come to you for assistance. My last bit of advice is get in-tu-it, coach with total commitment like a ninja with body, mind, heart and soul!
By Terry Hodgkinson
Terry is author of book:
“Memoirs of a Wandering Ninja, Walking the Path of Enlightenment” A learner’s manual in the school of life.
He has also created 8 nature inspired guided meditations that anyone can benefit from.
For more information on Terry’s book, meditations, seminars or coaching services please see his website.
Terry’s website: www.InnerOuterYou.com
Quote for the week:
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt