In this interview with Suzanne Beukema for ‘In the Spotlight’, I share The 3 key pillars that show you How to Coach from Soul.
Topics that we cover are:
~ What is Soul-based Coaching?
~ How is SBC different from all other coaching methods out there?
~ Why is it so important to NOT let our minds run the show in SBC
~ The first key pillar: Holding space
~ The second key pillar: Essential Questions
~ What is the most important Question to ask?
~ The third key pillar: opening up to the magic of personal metaphors
~ Where does Annemiek get her knowledge and wisdom from?
~ How can people learn more about Soul Based Coaching?
~ Is this only for new coaches or also for experienced coaches?
And in case you prefer to read the interview, here is the transcript:
Suzanne: Welcome to In the Spotlight. Today my guest is Annemiek Van Helsdingen, founder of the Academy for Soul-based Coaching, and Annemiek is going to share with us the three key pillars to start coaching from your soul. Welcome, Annemiek.
Annemiek: Thank you.
Suzanne: Lovely to have you here. Let’s dive straight into things. What is Soul-based Coaching?
Annemiek: Soul-based coaching is a way of coaching that fully serves the deepest knowing that we have as human beings, our soul knowing. We Hold Space for that, and it guides us into incredibly potent transformations.
Suzanne: Sounds mysterious. Their soul knowing, our soul knowing, what do you mean by that?
Annemiek: Well, all of us have Shakti energy running through us. It’s life energy. It literally is the energy that creates the world. And that energy runs this year. We set that center stage through, not our fears, but our hopes, our dreams, and that unique personal thread of Shakti energy. Holding Space for that is the foundation for everything that we do in Soul-based Coaching.
Suzanne: So, soul knowing, Shakti energy, how is Soul-based Coaching different from all other existing coaching methods out there?
Annemiek: Well, one way that is different is that it requires the coach to stay out of the process. So, while we guide it, we don’t actually know what steps the client is going to take on their journey. So, we don’t have to outsmart them in any way, and we don’t have to know it all. That’s one way it’s different.
Another way that is different is that traditional coaching comes from a very masculine paradigm. It’s about the framework, it’s about steps to get to a goal, and in a way, as coaches will say, ‘let’s take this client to where I think they need to go.’ In Soul-based Coaching, we don’t do that. What we do is, we create a riverbed for that Shakti flow, and in that riverbed, everything is welcome. The feminine, chaos, the darkness, the light, anything that is part of it. And while we are Holding Space, our client can become what they need to be, to achieve their desired outcomes. And that’s what Soul-based Coaching is all about. And we do not let the mind run the show. So, we take our clients beyond logic, beyond the analysis that we are so fond of in our world.
Suzanne: That is very different from traditional coaching methods where the mind plays a big part. Why do you feel it’s so important that our mind doesn’t run the show?
Annemiek: Albert Einstein said that ‘The soul is our master and the mind its humble servant.’ We’ve created the society that honors the servant and has forgotten the master. Our souls know why we’re here and actually has the road map to live the life that we came here for. So that’s why we set that information center stage. The mind is welcome to join, I mean it’s welcome to play with it, just doesn’t run the circus.
Suzanne: The more you share, the more curious I get. Like how can we apply soul-based coaching, like really start coaching from the soul? You’re going to share with us three key pillars today, go ahead, what’s the first one?
Annemiek: The first key pillar is Holding Space. Traditionally in coaching, people come to us with a problem, right? (Suzanne: Yeah.) And they expect us to fix it. Well, they expect our help to fix it. So, what we do is we listen, we analyze what they’re saying, and we think, what is the tool that is going to get them to where they want to go the quickest, so the tools out of my toolbox. So, coach decides what they are going to do to take their client there. And while they are doing that, they are starting to fix it, they are starting to come from the belief that they are there to decide what’s the best tool is, what’s the best question is, and they take on the responsibility. As they’re doing that, they’re taking away the power and the possibilities that the client actually holds.
Every client holds everything that they need within themselves. So, that requires us to Hold Space.
Suzanne: So, Holding Space, no fixing. Can you share a little bit about how it actually works?
Annemiek: When a client comes to us, what we do is we listen. We are fully present with them. We receive them and the experience that they are having without interfering, because so often we start interfering because we start to feel uncomfortable. And when we do that, we get in the way of that Shakti flow.
Suzanne: Can you give us an example on how to apply Holding Space?
Annemiek: Right at the beginning, when I knew client comes to us, they start talking about their situation and the problems, unloading. They come to a space where it’s the edge of what they want, but are very, very clear about not having that yet. It’s a very uncomfortable place to be when they feel that tension. And that’s when coaches very often step in. To take that discomfort away and ‘let’s take you through a couple of steps.’ That’s something that we don’t do because that discomfort is really rich. Of course, we are going to help them but in a different way.
Suzanne: Does that mean you never interfere at all? You just hold for your client?
Annemiek: No, there is a way that we’re helping them, and that’s mean we are Holding Space and we interfere, but we do it in a different way that does not block that Shakti flow. And that makes all the difference. This is when we start to ask some essential questions.
Suzanne: Which naturally brings us to the second pillar, please share with us about what it is.
Annemiek: Yeah, they are the essential coaching questions. In Soul-based Coaching, there’s about 12, which make up probably 90% of any Soul-based Coaching conversation.
Suzanne: So, you’ve got 12 questions, what is the most important question to ask?
Annemiek: Well, without a doubt, it’s the million-dollar question, ‘What would you like to have happen?’ What it does is allows the client to dream, to express what they want without taking full ownership of that yet. And it also asks them to connect more closely with their desired outcomes even if they haven’t admitted them to themselves yet, which happens a lot more often than you think. So, the answer to this question is the light house. Everything else we do is in service of that answer.
Suzanne: So, the number one question, ‘What would you like to have happen?’ Can you give us an example on how to apply that question?
Annemiek: Definitely. And also, maybe about how it’s different from traditional coaching, otherwise if we don’t do this, when we don’t ask that question, when we don’t get that light house, we start to project. For example, when you have a client that says, ‘I feel ugly and fat.’ It’s easy to think, ‘Ooh, you want to lose weight,’ we might even say that as coaches and the client will start to think about that.
If we don’t do any of that, but ask them the question of ‘What would you like to have happen?’; what might turn out is that they might really like to feel shining and attractive again.
Suzanne: With their current weight for example.
Annemiek: Yes, absolutely. It’s not only that there’s a whole host of different things that need to happen in the course of that coaching session, but we don’t get the full motivation of people unless we ask them that question and really listen very closely to the answer. So, literally, don’t change your words., stay with what they’ve told you, that’s where the power lies.
Suzanne: ‘What would you like to have happen?’ Beautiful questions, ask anyone I think.
Annemiek: Absolutely. Especially in any situation where you feel stuck. (Suzanne: Yeah) Ask them and what you like… Or ask yourself, what would I like to have happen now.
Suzanne: So, that’s the second pillar. What’s the third key pillar to Soul-based Coaching.
Annemiek: This is where we invite in the magic. Soul-based Couching, the magic of Soul-based coaching really starts to happen when we apply these essential questions to something I call personal metaphors. So, you might think, ‘Here’s metaphors, ooh that’s like literature class…’ but it’s so much more than that.
When we look at metaphors, it’s actually the primary operating system that our systems operate on. One of the first things that we learnt to do when we’re very, very small is to express one thing in terms of something else. Everything that we experience comes from the lens of a metaphor even if we’re not aware of it.
So, when I tell you, when I’m coaching, I feel like a fish in water. Of course, I’m not an actual fish, I’m not in the water, but I speak of the experience of what it’s like to be a fish in water and not a fish on land or anywhere else. So, it speaks of my physical ease to be in that environment, to move with the flow, to be in connection with my students. All of that is kind of like zip up in that little metaphor that sometimes slips out through our language. (Suzanne: Yes) And that’s really powerful when we start to work with that. These metaphors are beautiful and great, and you can just leave them be. But sometimes they don’t serve us, and that’s a really good reason to start working with them directly.
Suzanne: Can you give us an example of a metaphor? A personal metaphor that doesn’t really serve us?
Annemiek: An obvious one is when you’re saying that you’re banging your head against the wall, chances are you’re not actually doing that, (Suzanne: hopefully) but still the experience you’re having is one that isn’t… it’s not resourceful, it’s not helping you get to where you want to be. So again, then the question is to ask that essential question of ‘What I want?’ ‘What would you like to have happen?’ ‘When this is how it is now, what would you like to have happen?’
To give you an example of a client, a coaching client of mine, she was experiencing a really, like tight situation. She felt so tight, so constricted in her life and she knew that she had all this power, like really wanting to get that out and it wasn’t really difficult for her to do that. When we started to explore that with those questions, what emerged was a metaphor of giant wings that were growing from her shoulders and that were wrapping around her really closely. When we started to explore those wings, they were there to keep her safe, which is of course beautiful. (Suzanne: Yeah.) Really good purpose of wings when they do that.
Only there was something else that she wanted now, she wanted to go out and fly. She didn’t want to be kept safe anymore in that same way. So, what we do then in Soul-based Coaching, we start asking questions of the wings for example. When we’re doing that…
Suzanne: So, you really start communicating with the wings?
Annemiek: Yeah, and all the other parts of her system, her soul, body, mind system that were part of this. Because the wings were keeping her safe for a reason, there were other parts involved. So, we were exploring that. And while we were exploring that the wings changed color at some stage, and other parts were shifting in her system, fast forward quite a bit, she was flying. When she was flying, that meant that something physically had shifted for her. Literally, on a level of neurons and her physical awareness, something has shifted.
Suzanne: Could you feel it in that moment when she started sharing about flying?
Annemiek: Absolutely. You can feel it in the energy. But more importantly, I can hear her say different things. She is feeling different things, she’s thinking different things, she started doing different things. This is where I really hold the magic very dear because that change has been integrated in her system in that moment. When the wings started flying, it was all embodied and integrated in her system.
So, pure magic, in a sense that you don’t know where it’s going to come from exactly, but when you stay there and you know how to focus your questions, how to hold that riverbed, that change is going to happen.
Suzanne: I just love how it’s not about you having an agenda as a coach, you wanting to fix and have all the answers, force your action steps upon your client, but how it’s more about relaxing, holding, and letting the magic unfold.
I am curious, where do you get your knowledge and wisdom from?
Annemiek: Well, for over 20 years, I’ve been in a field of facilitating change, so both in the corporate world and in one-to-one arena, I’ve just been so amazed by how much time and money is being spent on change initiatives that don’t work. When you come back, six months later, not only is nothing left of that situation, but often times, it’s worse than before they started. I was always really curious about what makes a change last, and to actually make things better for everybody, preferably.
So that quest brought me to Clean Language by David Grove, and Symbolic Modelling by Penny Thompkins and James Lawley. Once I started to have those tools in my toolbox, I could kind of let go of all the other tools I had because this was giving me such a different way of working with my clients and I could just see magical results. This is when people started coming to me and saying, ‘I want to learn what you do,’ which is about ten years ago now. It was great until I had my spiritual wake-up call, which is a really neat way of saying that my body completely stopped functioning.
And dealing with autoimmunity, I noticed that the only thing I could do was completely aligned with who I am and what I’m here for. That was the invitation to bring in my priestess-self, and to bring in the tools that I had gathered along the way for 20 years of spiritual and personal development, and really see how all that connected so beautifully. That was the birth of Soul-based Coaching.
Suzanne: And so, Soul-based Coaching was born. How can people learn more about Soul-based Coaching?
Annemiek: The Academy has a signature program called Invoke Your Client’s Magic. Within six months, you can become a Soul-based Coach. It’s an online program, which means you can dive into the content in your pajamas from the comfort of your home. However, we do have weekly live sessions and I think this is really, really key because you do not learn to coach from just watching something or just reading something. You need to have the practice hours and you need to get personal feedback. With modern technology, we can just do this.
So, we have these live sessions, which is a lot of fun, a lot of practice hours, and we build a very strong community.
After five months are over, you are a certified Soul-based coach, and you’ll see that you’ll be able to rock the world of the clients that come to you. And find that coaching is something that you can do with ease and with a lot of fulfillment.
Suzanne: So, you work in English?
Annemiek: I do, yes, I do work with people from all over the world and it’s brilliant to connect with all the continents and build that network.
Suzanne: I love that, the worldwide community. Is that program you offer, Invoke Your Client’s Magic, is that for new coaches or for experienced coaches also?
Annemiek: It’s actually an important question because it’s for both. That often surprises people. People that are already trained as a coach often think that they’ve already doing it, they’ve already Holding Space, they already know how to get to that magic. But everyone who enrolls into the program finds out that there is a whole new layer and levels of it, of magic to uncover, and it’s really a very different way of working. This is also why it’s for new coaches, it brings you all the tools that you need to start building your coaching practice.
Suzanne: So finally, what if people watching right now want to learn more about you, where can they go?
Annemiek: The best place to go is the website for the Academy, and you can always drop me an email and share what you’re looking for, and we can explore together what would be the best fit for you.
Suzanne: Less fixing, more Holding. Thank you so much for being here.
Annemiek: Thank you very much.