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The Value of Coaching

Do you need a coach?

We believe strongly in the value of coaching of all types- relationship, business, mindset, etc.

If you have ever wondered why some people have coaches, why they find it useful, or if you should have a coach of some sort in your life, this week’s episode is a good one for you.

In it CrisMarie is sharing her insights as recipient of coaching, how she believes it helps you see your blind spots, make actual change, and helps you balance all the aspects of your life.

We are both coaches as well, so you’ll get some insight into how we ended up coaching and why we think it benefits us all.

We hope this new episode helps you understand a bit more about what coaching can do for you and if it’s right for you right now.

Learn More:

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Full Transcript:

CrisMarie: Welcome to The Beauty of Conflict, a podcast about how to deal with conflict at work, at home, and everywhere else in your life. I'm CrisMarie.

Susan: And I'm Susan. We run a company called Thrive and we specialize in conflict resolution, communication, and building strong thriving teams and relationships. Conflict shows up in our lives in so many ways. Most people unfortunately are not very good at handling conflict. Most people have never been taught the right tools for dealing with conflict. And then it leads to unnecessary friction, arguments, passive-aggressive emails, tears, hurtful comments, stuckness, all kinds of things we don't want.

We're on a mission to change all of that.

CrisMarie: We spent the last 20 years teaching our clients how to handle conflict in a whole new way. We're here to show you that conflict doesn't have to be scary and overwhelming. With the right tools, you can turn a moment of conflict into a moment of reinvention. Conflict can pave the way into a beautiful new system at work, a new way of leading your team, a new way of parenting, a new chapter of your marriage where you feel more connected than ever before. Conflict can lead to beautiful things.

Susan: Well, welcome. Today, I get the privilege of interviewing the one and only, the inspiring, in my opinion, very inspiring, CrisMarie Campbell, and today we're going to be talking about why coaching. Because CrisMarie is a relationship coach who I think does some pretty amazing work and I think her story around coaching is quite interesting to hear about. So, she has, just so you know, a little of her history. For those of you that don't already know her, she was an Olympic athlete in the women's eight and went to Seoul, Korea in 1988. She was on two national championship teams for the University of Washington. She went on to a career at Boeing as an engineer and was one of... She was a flight test engineer for the 777 and she also went back and got her MBA and had a career in consulting in a top-five consulting firm.

She's done a little bit of everything. She even does hip-hop now and various other things. And her story around coaching, I think really speaks to why coaching is something that's very valuable. So welcome to the show today.

CrisMarie: Thank you, Susan. This is CrisMarie and I was in the women's eight in rowing, so that was my event in the Olympics.

Susan: Did I not say that?

CrisMarie: You said women's eight, which if you know rowing, that makes sense. But-

Susan: She's always so good at adding a little more detail for me. So hopefully, you guys all know that now. And feel free if you want to learn more, there are some other episodes that dive deeper into that particular story, but today we're going to talk about coaching because you are why I, I mean I consider myself a coach too, but the reason she's talking about this is because she is a coach, but she has also come by it and is totally dedicated and believes in coaching. Not that I don't, but not quite to the... I think that her story is a little more inspiring. So CrisMarie, tell us, how did you get engaged in coaching?

CrisMarie: Well, I came upon it pretty naturally because I wanted to try out for the rowing team and I did. And I was 5'6", which was very short for rowers. 5'8" was a minimum and they were more like 6". And I was in my first quarter of rowing and I had been out with the head coach on the top tier of the team and then all of a sudden I wound up in the bottom half with the assistant coach and I was like, what. I should be doing that. I was, kind of had a full attitude of myself and I went up to the assistant coach and I basically said, "Why am I not out with them?" And she gave me, if looks could kill. She gave me a dirty look and said, "Listen, you are a squirt. If you're going to do anything in this sport, you got to lose that attitude and you got to learn. You've got to learn how to, you need to get strong, you need to learn how to make boats go fast and you need to learn to bring people along on your team."

And I was like whoop, okay. But she, as my coach, held up a big mirror and showed me where my blind spots were and then pointed me into a direction that I could take action in. And I did. And I just kept coming back to her and I got stronger and made boats go faster and low and behold, that year I made the first boat as a freshman, which was amazing. And then I went on to continue to get coached and I made the varsity as a sophomore and we won nationals and made varsity and stroked the boat, which is a lead position in the boat, my junior year.

And every time, there were times that I needed different support. So when I wanted to learn how to be the stroke between my sophomore and junior year, I asked an upperclassmen, "hey, will you go out in a pair," which is a two person boat, "and teach me what's special about being the stroke?" And she did.

So I would always ask for, okay, you've got something I need to figure out, help me. And that worked really well and it got me to the Olympics. And I kind of, I'm amazed at people in our lives today. We're doing all these things, trying to balance your career, get healthy, have relationships at work, and we're trying to do it alone. We don't ask for help. And I think, oh my gosh, sometimes I see people and I think, you should just get a coach. It would be so much better. Because it is like pointing a laser and helping you recognize, with my coach, it helps me recognize where are my blind spots? Where do I keep repeating the same patterns and not getting where I want to go? And giving me a path to move through that. So it's quite powerful.

Susan: And it seems like you've had coaches, at least as long as I've known you, and you continue to have coaches like currently.

CrisMarie: I do. I do. And I've, currently, well, for the last seven years I've used a mindset coach. And for the last year I also added a speaking coach. And I'm about to start a business mastermind.

Susan: So you, and I mean it seems like you know that this helps you and facilitates you making change and direction in your life. But you said, sometimes people just don't seem to get it seems so obvious to you.

CrisMarie: Well it does. I think an example for me. When we first started our business, which we've been doing now for 18 years or so, 19, I said I want to be a speaker. I tried it once, had a bad experience and I'm like, nope. But I kept pining away to want to be a speaker and nothing was happening. So this is well over a decade that I'm saying I want to be a speaker. Nothing happens. So finally we met my speaking coach and it was expensive, but I was like, okay, I'm going to dive in and now I'm speaking, I'm keynoting, I have a talk. And she was able to say, wait a minute. She showed me my blind spots and gave me a path through.

So, so many people stay where I was for that over a decade of I want this, I don't do anything to change it, because our brain, our ego, wants to keep us safe and safe is status quo. And so there's a lot of inertia in our systems where we think, oh yeah, someday I'm going to write that book. Someday I'll have a happy relationship. Someday I'm going to lose weight. Someday I'm going to get promoted or start my business. And that someday doesn't come. Because often, we're not willing to reach out and invest in the time, the energy to change, which a coach can help you do.

Susan: Okay. So tell me a little bit about how you landed on a relationship coach.

CrisMarie: So my background in coaching, well I had somebody, gosh, this was over 20 years ago, say you know what, you should be a coach. Because she said, I, so this is my partner at Arthur Anderson. She said, "I relax around you. You don't have an agenda. You're interested in me. You're easy to talk to, I trust you." And she said, "and I see other people trust you." So I thought, okay, but I didn't do anything about it. And then it was probably, gosh, that was a long time too, over a decade. And then I finally went to, well, I went to Haven. So in between then I went to Haven and I learned about communication, getting feedback, seeing people's patterns, my own patterns. And then I went to get official training at Martha Beck Institute. So I'm a Martha Beck trained coach and I got my master certification. That was in 2011.

However, that was great for the brain, but I was missing all of this mind body stuff I had learned at Haven, but on a regular basis, working with my nervous system. And so I did mind body training. I did focusing, which is, Eugene Gendlin developed a body of work where you have a relationship with these parts of yourself. So even when I wanted to do speaking, let's say, and I didn't, there was some part of me that wanted to do speaking and there was another part that was like, nope, don't do it.

And often people get caught in what I call that action block. They want something and then they don't do it. So focusing is a way to actually make friends with not just the part that wants to do it, but also that part that doesn't want to do it, that it's there for some good reason. And developing a relationship, that intimacy, internal relationship, once you do, you don't actually need to change that part, but what starts to happen is that part starts to move forward. You have more facility to take steps forward.

Susan: So, it sounds like you're using the word relationship a lot in terms of this focusing. You recognize that a lot of the work you were doing even in the mind body, while it was more about establishing a relationship inside yourself.

CrisMarie: Yeah, because I think so often, we walk around like we've got these computers on our shoulders and we kind of ignore our bodies. And the sensations, the emotions that are happening in there are clues to what we're really wanting and the stuck spots that are holding us back. And until we slow down and create that connection, that relationship, we'll just keep repeating the same patterns. You can do affirmations, but until you get your whole body involved and your heart, you're really not going to, you have the thrust to go forward.

Susan: Okay. And so I assume this applies internally, but-

CrisMarie: Yeah.

So I also... Well, in our work we do business consulting with teams and that's essentially helping them build relationships. So we're often helping people actually have the courage to be direct and not talk behind people's back. But figure out how I can say this tough thing to you. And even though I think you might get mad, you might fire me. These are all the excuses we use that keep us stuck. No, I can't say that. I'm going to get fired. She's going to get mad at me. She won't like me. I'll be uncomfortable. And so then that's that same action block so we don't speak up. So we, you and I together, coach individuals, leaders, and teams to create a place where they can actually say what they really want. Cause that's when change occurs. Just like inside, when I say what I really think, what I really feel, what I really want, that has an impact and that changes the direction of the team, of the business.

Susan: Okay.

CrisMarie: And we also, the work that we do with couples, it's the same thing, it's actually slowing them down so they can actually hear each other. Because often couples, they have the money... You and I, we can get into a money discussion and we're trying, do we save? Do we spend? And that's the top level. But when you can actually slow down and develop a relationship like, why is this so important to me right now that we save? And can I be interested in you as why it's so important to you that we spend. So slowing that down and hearing and building those bridges-

Susan: I think you've narrowed that down. You get to save and I spend. Hmm, that's an interesting one. Sorry, I went off my interview track. There we go. We're talking about money again.

CrisMarie: I will admit I am spending money on this mastermind right now.

Susan: You have your choices about where you spend money. But, we don't need to have this bickering session and yet there you go. That's a perfect example where if we had a coach working with us, we might not get into our bickering around it. It would be a way to do it differently and we have learned ways.

CrisMarie: Well, and you're a master at coaching couples and you do that beautifully and we do it together, but that's one of your areas. And the area that I have kind of decided that I want to focus on is helping one person in the relationship, because often both parties are not interested. There's usually one person and it tends to be the woman in the relationship who, cause women are tenders of relationships, who thinks I married the wrong person. He's never going to be the person... I have to do all the work. They're pretty frustrated, resentful, and doing too much in the relationship. And so I'm coaching her to actually recognize where she's giving herself away and find her center. And when she starts taking care of her, she winds up impacting the relationship and that person over there goes, what's going on over there?

Susan: And the outcome is different.

CrisMarie: Yeah, it changes the whole dynamic of the relationship.

Susan: Okay, cool. I mean it sounds pretty exciting and I imagine like you said, that's true in a couple and on a team when you're doing, a lot of times people in business prefer probably to call it a performance coach, or a business results coach, or business coach and you've chosen relationship coach even in your executive work. So say more about that.

CrisMarie: Well yeah, and it actually does link, it all leads, all roads lead to Rome, or whatever. It does improve performance, but you're right. I was coaching an executive and we were working with his team and I was coaching him one-on-one. And what turned out is he thought he had good relationships with these people and he was so obtuse. He had no idea they were so frustrated with him. A few people in particular. And they had tried to give him feedback and it like bounced off.

So it was almost like, well, being there and witnessing that and then debriefing and saying, hey, you really have to take this in. You are totally off track here and that's painful to do. Painful to hear. But again, it's like my assistant coach saying, hey, whoa, lose the attitude. Until somebody does that, we tend to think everybody thinks like we do and our view of reality is the reality and it's not and a coach can often jiggle that loose so you can make change. And when we debriefing that, it really became clear this was actually not a good role for him. He needed to shift because he really had damaged these relationships and it really wasn't his style. He was more of an independent contributor.

Susan: It wasn't his role.

CrisMarie: Yeah.

Susan: So you, sometimes, I mean I imagine people always think, okay I'm going to get a coach and I'm going to make it to the Olympics. You know, I'm going to become the CEO of the company that I'm now just moving up the ladder on or whatever. So it doesn't always happen like that.

CrisMarie: When I'm being coached or when I create a coaching relationship, it's often, it could be that's what the person or I even think I want. I want to be president of the company. And as we get into it, really there's often something else that's missing. And so it's not like we just focus on one thing. We really, I look at kind of in relationship with a person, where are there gaps in your life and what are you trying to fill those gaps with? I mean, and this was a really benefit for your feedback to me Susan. Cause I would always be like, I want to get to the top, I want to do it. And I'd get quite driven and I'd leave myself behind. And I've, since I could still fall into that trap cause that's a style of mine, but I take care of my health. I take care of hobbies. I have relationships.

My life is so much fuller and I'm still successful. I'm not successful at the cost of all these things. And I don't know if that was really what was behind that question that you're asking.

Susan: Well, no, you took it slightly different than I thought, but I liked where you went cause I think that's pretty, having been on this journey with you, a pretty vital part of recog... And probably why you want to be a relationship coach because you actually want people to have a more sincere relationship with themselves and have better quality relationships around them. Recognizing that all those results in the world aren't necessarily going to fill you up if you're not home.

CrisMarie: Right.

Susan: And if you don't have people around you, to connect to and enjoy that.

CrisMarie: Yeah, and I think, relationships, we really don't do anything alone in this world. You really can't create much without creating healthy relationships. And so whether it's at work or at home, learning how to speak up, be vulnerable, and curious about the other person goes a long way towards bringing people along on your journey.

Susan: So tell people, how can they work with you?

CrisMarie: Well I was-

Susan: I can tell you some ways, but I'll let her tell you how you could coach with her.

CrisMarie: Well, I wasn't even... I didn't know we were going there quite yet because I was thinking about one of the things that's been difficult for me is to actually put myself out as a relationship coach. Even when you said performance coach, I was like, yeah, that sounds better. I should put performance coach.

Susan: Okay, I know I'm not supposed to do this. But you know, one thing, can I tell the vulnerability story? Because when CrisMarie and I, we did a TEDx talk several years ago and, Conflict Use It, Don't Diffuse It. And it was based on this idea that really the key to change any relationship is the willingness to engage in conflict with vulnerability and curiosity. These were the rocks of our message and are still the rocks of our message. And so we practice for our TEDx talk.

CrisMarie: We only had four weeks, so we weren't perfect.

Susan: Hey. It was a lot more practice than I usually do for anything like that. So lots of practice and we were there the day before. Well, one thing, we did our thing with the coach that's out there, the coach, the speaking coach, and basically-

CrisMarie: If I had known she was, I would have wanted to work with her a lot earlier. Cause I would have loved to have her help.

Susan: Yes. Anyway, she basically said to us, "you know it's a solid talk but you're talking about vulnerability and curiosity and I don't really see it." Talk about crushing. But it was actually the perfect thing we needed to hear and we actually went back home and realized, yeah we've got the lines down but we haven't embodied it. But the funny part was the next day we get there and it's all happening and it's so cute cause CrisMarie, we're outside, just taking a break before we're going to get ready to go on. And she's like, you know, I'm not really sure that vulnerability is a good word to use. I just couldn't believe it. I was like, oh, okay. So when you say, oh, maybe relationship is, maybe I should use performance. That is so classic-

CrisMarie: I know. I was raised in the corporate environment. You got to be tough. You know all those things. Don't let them see you sweat, don't show you're vulnerable. And I recognize that's not a healthy way and business is changing and we help people change. But I do bump into my own, I don't want to be vulnerable. I don't want to look bad. And relationship sounds so squishy, relationship. I'm doing air quotes. When I'm inside of myself, I really get it, cause it's really helping people find their voice and speak up and create what they want. I mean, the reason I'm joining this mastermind is because I've had such a hard, it's like the speaking. I've had a really hard time. I've done tons of coaching. My body coaching, business coaching, executive coaching, and relationship coaching. But, the idea is CrisMarie, you need to focus on one. And put yourself out there and I'm not good at that. So I'm asking for help and working with a group of, there's a group of us getting coached by one woman and coaching each other.

Susan: And you are committed to being a relationship coach.

CrisMarie: I am. I am committed, yes I am, to being a relationship coach. To naming that and putting myself out there.

Susan: Okay.

CrisMarie: As a relationship coach.

Susan: Well, I mean for me, when I hear you tell that story, I would be drawn to wanting to work with you because you seem real. It's like you're saying, I'm not pretending that it's easy. This has not been an easy path, but I know this path. And so, and I think that is a path that a lot of people face, like not wanting to name who they are because of the fear of what it is or whether it's-

CrisMarie: Yeah, I mean that whole outside in like what are they going to think. Am I going to lose respect from people because I'm a relationship coach? All that goes on for me. And coming back to really what fits for me and right now this fits for me even though I feel vulnerable.

Susan: Yeah. Huh. I appreciate you stopping me and coming back to that. So now though I am going to ask you, because I think people are-- I was listening, like I said, I'd be inspired. So tell us how they can get in touch with you for some relationship coaching.

CrisMarie: On our website to and we have this nine box system. You go down on our page and it's personal coaching. You click that box and that's me and you can sign up for a consultation with me.

Susan: Okay.

CrisMarie: It's free.

Susan: And you know, if you sign, if you decide that you're a leader of a team and you don't really, you want both some coaching for yourself and your team, you can-

CrisMarie: Oh well we have that, that's also in that square box. There's team and leadership development. You can click those boxes and we've got downloads that talk to you about how we work with the team. And we always bring in business when we focus on teamwork.

Susan: And we coach the leader of that team going forward. So anyway, this has been fun and I so appreciate your willingness to kind of both be, you let people see just how awesome you are and also see behind the awesomeness sometimes there's a little wobbliness.

CrisMarie: Oh, there's definitely wobbles. I'm real for sure. One of the things I didn't cover is the difference between coaching and therapy, which a lot of people don't understand because a lot of times people are like, I don't want to get a coach. And really both are valuable and I've been through therapy and have used therapy alongside my coaching. Therapy is really where you look backwards and find your kind of wounding that happened in childhood, little traumas, big traumas and heal through that. Whereas coaching is really about where do you want to go, what's stopping you, let's work through that so you can move forward and having, gosh, who wouldn't want somebody on your team that's driving you forward and wanting you to be successful?

I find that so... To have a safe place to land. We were at an offsite and this, I love this one gentleman spoke up and he said I've had my coach for 15 years and it's really helped me develop my self awareness and gotten out of my own way and he's very high up in his organization. He's really accomplished a lot. So I really loved his willingness to say that, cause a lot of times people keep their coaches in the closet.

Susan: Or their therapists in the closet.

CrisMarie: Yeah.

Susan: I mean, I have the therapy background, so I do get both sides of that equation. And one of the things I think that's really powerful, and you've brought this up periodically, but I think a coach is really good at giving realtime, direct feedback. Sometimes, as a therapist, there's always that question, is this the time to bring yourself into the equation or not? But in coaching, it's actually usually what people expect, want, and desire. And so it's a very, and you brought it up so many times how important feedback is, and it's not that in therapy, you can get that but it's different. It's a different dynamic. So I do think that's a pretty big piece to name.

CrisMarie: Yeah. So, and a lot of times people say, well, I don't have the time for coaching, or I don't have the money to do that. You know that is just your brain trying to keep you in that status quo. And it's your ego that feels safest in that status quo. And you really just notice how don't be like me. Don't wait a decade or longer to say you want to do something and keep falling back and staying in the same place.

Susan: Fortunately, even though you may sometimes say, wait 10 years to say you want to do it, once you say you want to do something, you're pretty darn good at getting there.

CrisMarie: You have that Olympic gene.

Susan: She does. So anyway, thank you for joining us and it's been a pleasure.

CrisMarie: Thanks for the interview,

Susan: Yeah.

Well, thank you for listening to the Beauty of Conflict podcast. If you're dealing with a difficult situation in your life or work, remember, every conflict is a chance for you to be vulnerable and curious and find creative solutions that you hadn't considered before and make your situation even better. Beautiful breakthroughs can be born out of conflict. We've seen this happen thousands of times over the last 20 years and we know this is possible for everyone, including you. We're grateful you listened to this show and we're rooting for you.

CrisMarie: And if you enjoyed this show, please tell a few friends and/or post a five-star review on iTunes. Your review helps new listeners discover this show. More people listening to this show means less friction and arguing and suffering out in the world. So that's a great thing for everyone. Also, visit our website, to read our articles, join our newsletter, buy our books, and learn more about the services that we offer. Thanks again for listening. We hope you have a peaceful, productive, and beautiful day.


CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke

Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict

CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.

They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.

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