PODCAST EPISODE & TRANSCRIPTION
Glenn-Douglas: Welcome to InnerLifeSkills where we coach, guide, and lead with wisdom together. I’m your host, Glen Douglas Hague, master coach and global lead trainer of InnerLifeSkills coaches.
Colleen-Joy: And I’m Colleen Joy, master coach and founder of InnerLifeSkills.
Glenn-Douglas: And we are here to support you every week if you are a leader, a coach, a counselor, a teacher, a mentor, or even a parent – in fact, anyone who feels called to guide others. This week’s episode is taken from a masterclass where Colleen teaches us how to use our intuition to ask better questions, how to use our intuition to listen for what is not being said, and to help us maximize the impact of a coached conversation. She starts off by debunking some common assumptions about how our intuition actually works.
Colleen-Joy: Everybody will tell you that in order to access your intuition, a busy mind is in the way, and the first thing you need to do is quieten your mind. It can be a massive obstacle if you’re coaching somebody, if you’re leading, facilitating someone, and you’re trying to get them to go deeper than the surface conversation. If you want them to start being more authentic, more vulnerable, more real with you, and not just give you the kind of information that they would’ve already probably thought of in the weeks prior, then we do need to be able to take them to that depth. Their busy mind can be a huge barrier as well. But being able to distinguish fantasy, make-believe, fear from real wisdom, from real intuition is probably one of the most valuable skills I’ve ever cultivated. In fact, I really don’t think I would have any of the gifts that I have in my life today, including the business of InnerLifeSkills, including this amazing community and the work that we do.
Colleen-Joy: If I wasn’t able to tell intuition apart from ego and then finally I can use inner wisdom to shift stuckness or suffering, this is probably some of our most favorite, most delicious aspects of InnerLifeSkills work. We are very interested in going far beyond to-do list coaching. I don’t know if I need to ask you who gets a bit disillusioned by the coaching industry if you spend enough time going down rabbit holes online. But I think for any of us, if we just go down enough rabbit holes, we start to feel a little bit uncomfortable, perhaps, or a lot of the coaching voice in the world can be quite surface-level. Do you agree? Pretty much like what we call to-do list coaching, what we call to-do list coaching. Now I don’t want to knock to-do list coaching. It has a place, you know, coaching someone to come up with their goals, coaching somebody to clarify their priorities, being an accountability partner, helping somebody to create that action plan, stick to it, and get through it.
Colleen-Joy: That has value. But I would say that it was the most valuable about 20 years ago when coaching was new. And if you haven’t realized that even a chat AI can actually do that these days, and a lot of apps can actually do that. True. So to succeed as a coach in today’s world, we absolutely need to be able to do more than to-do list coaching. Would you agree at any way? To be honest, I don’t think I would enjoy coaching at all if it was just helping people make action plans (laughs). And the truth is that when people do face their actions, they know what they want to do. They know what they think they’re supposed to do. If a coachee or a client sits with you for an hour and only repeats what they already know, I’ll say that again. If a coachee sits in front of you, a client sits in front of you and only repeats to you what they already know, you really haven’t been able to take them deeper.
Colleen-Joy: So if they’re going to just tell you the solutions they’ve already thought of, if they’re going to just tell you the things they think they should do, that they already know, you’re not providing more value than an app could, or a good journal, or even a chat AI could. And that’s where, I know, it sounds a little bit scary because you think, “Oh my word, then what’s my role?” Well, that’s exactly the question. Your role is to facilitate that kind of inner transformation. Your role is to be more than what any of these surface-type devices can be. True.
Glenn-Douglas: Of course, that is a hundred percent true. If your clients don’t experience a genuine transformation of an old inner obstacle or a limiting belief, then you’re still working at the surface level. But of course, the question is how do we shift those old beliefs and patterns?
Colleen-Joy: So here’s an insight for everybody. This is an important takeaway. It’s a real “aha” if you can get it. When you’re facilitating deep inner work, helping clients overcome their inner obstacles, you cannot transform what happens in the body with the mind. You cannot transform what’s happening in the heart with the body (laughs). And you can’t transform what’s happening in the mind with the heart. In other words, you gotta meet body with body, mind with mind, heart with heart. Each of them speaks their own language. True.
So what do we mean by that? The mind speaks the language of thoughts. Have you ever tried to talk yourself down from being gut-level anxious with butterflies or that twisty knife feeling in your gut, using only thoughts to calm down? It’s really, really difficult to alleviate a physically felt sensation in your body with thoughts alone. Thoughts might take the edge off, but they won’t uproot it. To understand this is to recognize that when your body is holding something deeply embedded, coaching at the level of the mind or even the level of emotion isn’t effective. Heart somatic work is where the deep-rooted, felt, and known change happens. It ensures that the other two levels, which you probably already include in your coaching, are grounded, lived, and embodied. Because if your client leaves with “aha” moments in the mind but still has the same emotions and doesn’t feel the reality of the change in their body, they haven’t truly shifted their experience of being alive. You would have missed something important.
Colleen-Joy: If we only focus on coaching at the mind level, having beautiful conversations with “aha” moments and insights, we are missing out on deep work. If we only address emotions without incorporating some level of mind, it’s also not going to be complete. Working at all three levels is something I invite you to consciously do. So ask yourself when you’re facilitating, ask yourself when you’re coaching, “How am I addressing conversations and experiences that bring the body, mind, and heart into the coaching process?”
Emotions involve the heart, understanding involves the mind, and the body’s felt sense plays a crucial role. I think “felt sense” is probably the most accurate and helpful term. When you work at all three levels, your client will have a deep and significant experience with you. And folks, even if you’re at that stage of your journey where you’re thinking about how to secure clients and grow your business, remember that one client who has a profound experience will tell three friends, and that’s how businesses naturally grow. But if you’re only doing to-do list coaching, that one client will say, “Thanks, that was helpful,” and maybe do one or two more sessions with you, but they won’t tell other people. There won’t be that natural excitement about sharing the amazing discovery they found with you as their coach.
Colleen-Joy: Now, let me give you an example of a strange and unexpected place where somatic coaching can have a profound effect, something you might never imagine. One of my corporate clients for many, many years now is Chartered Wealth. In fact, I’ve been working with Kim, one of the shareholders, for nearly 20 years. She says that ABC’s (a somatic coaching technique) has been a game-changer for her. It enabled her to give more than 20 presentations in her financial planning sector. They actually teach all their financial planners the ABC’s.
I’m often asked to go there and run some training, and all their financial planners are also trained as coaches. So even in a financial consulting environment, ABC’s can be helpful. I also think of two accountants I once worked with who both stuttered. It was amazing, like one of those strange synchronicities. Both of them said that they reduced their stuttering by 80% using the somatic method. So that’s me selling you on please remember your ABC’s, and now let’s look at what they are. It’s very, very simple. I want to stick with something that you could actually use today. And it sounds deceptively simple.
Colleen-Joy: Many of us can’t live without our ABC’s. Even me, who created this, when I forget, I remember, “Oh, ABC’s.” In fact, my husband, he’s an attorney, and I said to him, “Oh, we’ve got quite a nice master class today. There’s, you know, at least 15 plus people.” And he said, “Don’t forget your ABC’s” (laughs). So I’m like, thanks, love, thanks. Yeah. You know, when your kids and your husband start reminding you of the very things that you’ve created, you know, it’s actually quite a sweet moment. So it’s very simple, right? Very simple.
A stands for attention. And I could talk to you about the importance of paying attention to attention for three hours. See how slowly I said that? Just for emphasis, paying attention to attention. Why? Because wherever our attention is, that’s what we’re tuned into, whether we know it or not. And your whole nervous system responds to where your attention is. Attention is first. So paying attention to attention, where is your attention? It’s quite important to realize that attention is not a sense. We can put attention on our senses like seeing, hearing, touch, taste, but it’s something prior to that. I know Lucy does a lot of incredible work in the resilience and stress space, very much like the heart math space.
We’ve had some little chats about this whole thing about attention. If you have your attention on your breath, for example, you can make a dramatic impact on the way your nervous system works. Many of us know this, but let’s put it together in this nice little package. So attention in the body, and where do we want to put our attention? In the center.
Colleen-Joy: So this is not a visualization. Be careful. Many people try to develop intuitive capacity with visualization, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But the problem is that visualization keeps you in your mind and doesn’t include the felt sense of the body. So if you’re a fan of visualization techniques, make sure they’re grounded in the felt sense so that you’re not solely focused on the mind and pictures. I’ve also noticed that visualization can be confusing because people don’t always understand the symbolic visuals. On the other hand, the felt sense gives you direct knowing, where less translation is needed. We want to put our attention in the body, specifically in the center area, and stay there. Our coaches will tell you that speaking from your center, with your attention in your body, consciously moving your attention into the felt sense for even just 30 seconds or a minute, makes a massive difference.
Colleen-Joy: In fact, when students listen to us teach this and try it out, they often say, “That sounds interesting,” until they actually do it. The moment they experience it, they realize, “Wow, it’s like a tunnel. All the distractions of my mind, my thoughts, and the distractions in the room just faded away, and I was able to truly listen.” So for those of you who want to deepen your listening skills, and it’s crucial to coach effectively, your clients will feel it. People know when you’re not listening. They feel it.
Colleen-Joy: So practice the simple skill of putting your attention in your body and your center, listening and speaking from that place, and even writing emails from that state. You can even make your to-do lists from that place (laughs). I’ve heard Glenn and other coaches do this, and some coaches even use ABCs as a warm-up exercise at the beginning of a session. And, let me tell you, I’ve heard Glenn do this even with CEOs of multinational Fortune 500 companies. People often think, “Oh, but this is quite woo-woo. You can’t bring this into coaching executives.” However, if you’re confident in it and explain it well, you can talk about how ABCs helps people switch from sympathetic nervous dominance to parasympathetic nervous dominance.
Colleen-Joy: These two nervous systems are responsible for stress and relaxation. Just two minutes of bringing attention to the body, along with a few slow breaths, not deep breaths, can make a huge difference in someone’s nervous system and how they manage stress. Even in corporate environments, you just need to adapt the language. In corporate environments, you can talk about golf and science, and when teaching a group of meditators, you can discuss yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. But the method is equally valuable. And here’s an insight, an “aha” moment. The felt sense of openness in the body means your attention is on a thought that reflects wisdom, clear seeing. On the other hand, a contracted or closed feeling in the body indicates that your focus is on a thought, belief, or perception that lacks wisdom, clear seeing. I used to have this wrong, and I thought closed meant “no” and open meant “yes.” It was my own “aha” moment a few months ago, even as someone who created these techniques. There’s always more to learn and discover.
Colleen-Joy: If you focus on a thought, belief, or perception that lacks truth, clear seeing, it’s the lack of wisdom that causes the closed feeling. It doesn’t mean “no.” Many of us want to use our intuition for quick yes or no answers, like “Should I do this?” or “Shouldn’t I do this?” Instead of thinking that a contracted feeling is a definitive “no,” it’s important to realize that it simply indicates a lack of clear seeing or wisdom. Does that make sense to everyone? I know it’s a bit of a leap. Let me give you an example. Think of a typical question asked by a client or even your own heart or mind. One common question is, “How do I make more money?” Have you ever asked that question? It’s a common one, or similar questions around decision-making like, “Should I do this or that?” Here’s an insight: Sometimes the very question itself causes a closed feeling because the question doesn’t come from truth or wisdom.
Colleen-Joy: So if you try this out, the moment you catch yourself using words like “I should,” “I have to,” notice what happens in your body. It contracts. That’s because the word “should” is telling us that part of the question lacks wisdom, lacks truth, and lacks clear seeing. Here we are thinking that a closed feeling means it’s not our path, when in reality, it could just be the question itself. As coaches, it’s not only valuable for us to ask empowering questions, but it’s also important to check the somatic sense of the words in the question. So if I ask myself, “How do I make money?” and I feel contracted, one day I realized that the question was not true. It was a humorous moment of realizing that making money is illegal (laughs). When I changed the question to “How do I create ways to earn money?” everything opened up, and the flow started. The lightness and openness happened. From that open state, intuition, wisdom, aha moments, and insights could flow because the pipe needed to be open to allow the flow. From a closed state, you can’t expect things to flow, including coaching others. It’s essential to be in an open state. So noticing my body and its open or closed state during a coaching session helps me gauge whether I’ve asked the best coaching question. It connects me to my intuition. By doing ABCs and paying attention to the open or closed feeling, you gain these little superpowers. Changing my question from “How do I make money?” to “How do I create ways?” was a shift, as the question is the bucket that we send into our wisdom. When you catch yourself saying “I should,” “I have to,” or “I must,” check if it’s closing you. For example, saying “I have to make dinner” when you don’t really have to, but rather you choose to, opens up a sense of willingness and choice.
Colleen-Joy: Feel free to incorporate visualizations, but ensure that when you use them, you also pay attention to the felt sense in the body. So if a client says, “I’m seeing this” or “I have this image in my mind,” ask them what’s happening in the felt sense, the body. By felt sense, I mean how the chest responds, the sense of gravity, the overall bodily sensation, and temperature, as well as the open or closed feeling. Otherwise, you risk staying in the mind and missing the discernment between ego and truth. Truth opens, while ego often deprives us of wisdom. The closed feeling serves as a clue that something is off and deserves deeper inquiry. The deepest truth is that we are ultimately pure openness. Closedness is a result of the mind, under ignorance, causing us to feel anything less than pure freedom and openness. So, that’s my teaching and the tool I promised you. These are taught in intuition coaching along with worksheets. This is like giving you a taste of the cake to see if you want more, in which case I encourage you to enroll in our intuition coaching.
Glenn-Douglas: Remember to visit our website at innerlifeskills.com if you’re interested in attending the online Intuition Coach module. We only run two a year, so don’t miss out. As we head towards the end of this masterclass, Colleen shares some profound insights about the true meaning of wisdom and how intuition gives us access to it.
Colleen-Joy: For me, wisdom is not just knowledge; it is clear seeing. When we see something clearly, we experience a sense of freedom, openness, and what many of us call happiness, peace, and wholeness. This is profound. We’ve been amazed by the simplicity and value of these insights. When I’m feeling heavy, tight, and closed, which we often call sadness, stress, or stuckness, that’s my red flag, my way of knowing that I lack wisdom. If I don’t regularly do this inner work myself, I can’t even imagine. Everyone who knows me well knows that whether it’s a business decision, a relationship matter, or any part of my life, regularly accessing my wisdom well is what I’m most grateful for.
Colleen-Joy: Some of you are asking about the first steps to get started. Let me add how to use this for decision fatigue (laughs). The first thing any of us can do for ourselves is to change the questions and the lens of our mind until we feel a sense of openness. That’s the clue that we’re seeing things clearly. Don’t trust thoughts and perceptions that cause contraction. When you do, you’re dishonoring yourself and doing yourself a disservice. Isn’t that a good thing to take away from today, at the very least? Now, let’s be brutally honest, are any steps better than no steps? The problem is that a closed state will also keep you from taking any action. My wisdom once told me that not choosing is still a choice, and I’m still responsible for the outcome. I used to procrastinate about stepping up into my role as a guide, teacher, and facilitator, and as a result, I wasn’t making any choices. Do you know that feeling? You end up doing nothing, and it’s not a blissful, open nothing. It’s a tight, contracted nothing, which, of course, is not nothing (laughs). So that contracted heaviness was my clue, and it’s your clue too. When I looked at that contraction, I realized that not doing anything, not making any choices, was still a choice, and I was still responsible. The next thing was to gather information and look for information that opens you. Don’t buy into anything that uses fear to manipulate you. By staying open, you honor the sovereignty of your being. Doesn’t that sound like a good idea? Not buying into typical marketing messages in the coaching world is important. And by the way, you don’t have to market yourself that way either. Any step you take counts. You won’t know until you’re on the river, as I teach in business building as well. Trying to create a perfect product at your desk, for example, is the worst thing you can do because it’s impossible. You learn through doing, through being willing to be willing. That’s courage. Start with what you have right now, where you are right now. Okay, I’m going to contradict myself here, but on purpose: Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not qualified to be a coach. Your true self is like an apple tree. Would you ever go to an apple tree and question its qualification to make apples? No. So, here I am, someone who strongly encourages you to get certification (laughs).
Colleen-Joy: Okay, however, I absolutely honor the fact that first and foremost, if being a guide, a teacher, a facilitator, makes your body open because it aligns with your truth, no one can take that from you. No one can qualify you. You can only improve your skills, add to your toolbox, and seek support. Technically speaking, in the deepest truth, if this feels open in your body, that’s a clue. I serve guides. I’m a guide of guides. And we are surrounded by amazing souls in this group and our community, who, if fear isn’t robbing them of who they truly are, show up as teachers and guides. Is that true for you? All of us have our unique ways of expressing it, but that’s part of the truth. So, is coaching for you? I’m going to sound radical here. Coaching is for no one. Coaching means nothing. It’s just a word on a piece of paper, a sticky note. I don’t encourage you to label yourself solely as a coach because you are so much more than that. Always strive to coach at master levels and offer your skills at master levels. In fact, I often encourage many of our coaches to build brands and then include coaching as a service under that brand, rather than making it their entire identity.
Colleen-Joy: If we know how to access our wisdom, we just have to step away from the vehicle (laughs). By practicing ABCs and focusing on our bodies, even when our minds are rambling, we enter a state where our thoughts become softer because our attention is on our bodies. When we show up with the intention to be of service to another human being, wisdom has the potential to guide us. That’s what started happening for me. If I compare what I can offer now to what I was capable of at 17, I was right to say no (laughs). The learning and experience have been crucial. But you know, folks, simply listening to someone without being judgmental can be a gift to them. Providing a space where someone can fully show up without being judged is a powerful gift in itself.
Glenn-Douglas: Wow, Colleen, you’ve blown my mind as usual. Using intuition to access our own inner wisdom is probably the most powerful tool we have as coaches, guides, and leaders. Thank you for sharing. Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoyed this episode of Inner Life Skills. Remember to join us next week for more powerful insights on becoming the best guide you can be to yourself and others. Be blessed.