Part of becoming an authentic brand: Commit yourself to the Three Ts:

  • Truth
  • Trust
  • Transparency

That means loving yourself as much as you love your family, friends and clients; and loving your family, friends and clients as much as you love yourself.

And while you’re at it, love your community too. Look around you, and make a point of noticing what’s going on. Make the world a better place, even if that’s just by being authentic; just having a positive attitude and not hiding from difficult situations, people or challenges.

And, oh, by the way: It’s no shame to charge for your services when you consider how much you help clients transform their lives and attain joy and fulfilment.

Deepen your listening.

You can’t get much more authentic than silencing your own ambitions for a while; silencing your projections about tomorrow or worries about today, long enough to really listen to those who seek you out.

Be in the present moment when you’re with a client. Don’t be like the psychiatrist who famously fell asleep when his client was finally unburdening memories of a horrific event after years of being unable to speak of it at all.

When you keep an open mind and listen deeply, with respect, you will know the right questions to ask each client: Questions they need to ponder and answer for themselves. That’s the true joy of coaching: Helping people to achieve what they were always able to achieve anyway. Helping them to see the road ahead of them. Helping them to also reach their dream goal, and knowing that you made a difference.

It could be as little as one single, small question that you ask, like the psychologist who asked a client as the latter reached her office door on her way out, in that client’s final session, “If you could do anything in the world and money was no object, what would you do?”

The client answered spontaneously, saying with sudden passion and conviction something she had never consciously thought of: “I would go to Art College and learn how to paint.”

Turns out the client had driven past this particular college for years, feeling as if it was a door forever closed to her, thanks to years of abuse plus a Grade Nine teacher who had scoffed at and repeatedly ridiculed her artistic abilities.  It was just one question, at the end of six sessions in which the client dithered about, not daring to speak her truths, but on the way home she shocked herself by driving into the College parking lot, still surprised and in the grip of her own passionate answer to the fateful question.

“Driving onto the college grounds in itself was a huge achievement. That was all I meant to do, at first; to break a pattern. I thought that would be huge, to give myself the right to drive into that parking lot instead of going past it. Then I thought, it wouldn’t hurt to go see if they have a brochure. Maybe there’s a night class I could take…”

Forty minutes later, she found herself leaving the College in a daze, with a bunch of paperwork clutched to her chest, signed up as a full-time student. “They helped me with funding, told me I could apply as a mature student, booked an interview appointment for me and gave me instructions on how to get hold of old records.”

Five years later, she graduated with honors—plus several awards and scholarships, as well as several exhibitions under her belt.

All because of one simple, perfect question, asked at exactly the perfect moment by someone who listened and wanted to help, instead of judging and dismissing.