A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed by Brandon from Life Coach Path, in collaboration with National Coach Academy.
You can check it out by clicking here, or "read more" below.
NCA: Can you describe your coaching practice and the kinds of clients you typically work with?
Eze: My coaching involves a whole lot of listening. I’ve heard the term “Friends for Hire” used and I think it’s a fun term, except that usually friends buy each other’s nonsense and excuses. What I do is a blend of compassion, empathy and supporting individuals to take a look at themselves and look at where they can take responsibility more deeply for what they are experiencing in their lives. That frees them up to create something different.
The population that I see is quite varied. I’ve had a long-term client in Canada even though I’m based in Florida, so they come from all different places. The age range tends to be from 20's to mid 40s. It’s really people from different walks of life.
The one thing they all have in common is they really want someone to hear them. We all have plenty of people in our lives to tell us what to do or give us advice. Something that I often get from my clients is that they like talking to me because I don’t tell them what to do. I’m ready to listen wherever they go. And that’s really so much of what it’s all about. For me, it’s about lending a genuinely caring ear.
NCA: What initially got you interested in this career path and what kind of degree or certifications did you need to complete?
Eze: I was doing a lot of coaching when I was very young, just not under the name. This is a recurring experience in my life that people, often strangers, would start talking to me and they would eventually open up. They would often be in tears. They would be sharing these vulnerable things that they had never shared with anyone.
One person particularly shared, “I’m sorry. I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I’ve never told anybody — not even my girlfriend.” Those words really stuck with me because of how much this person trusted me. Whenever I explain that phenomenon, I would describe that I’m genuinely listening and then that listening space naturally wants to be filled. I am genuinely curious to understand people, their thoughts, and what was going on with them.
My progression was from mechanical engineering. That’s where I started and I moved into Reiki healing, then moved through massage therapy and all throughout, I had this experience of people coming up to me. I found myself wishing, “Man, I just really wish that I could do this for a living. Whatever this thing is, I love it.” And when I learned the term “life coaching,” I just jumped on it. I knew that that was it and so I got started.
My certification is from the Satvatove Institute. Sattva means goodness in Sanskrit and tov, like mazel tov, means something fairly similar in biblical Hebrew. It’s an institute whose mission statement is “Spiritually-based personal and group transformation through empowered communication, courageous introspection and purposeful action.”
I’ve gone through their personal transformation seminars and their life coach training certification. That seminar and the experiences that I’ve had there really refined me from having the natural talent as a coach where people would naturally open up to me to having tangible skills as a coach where I could more appropriately support people in growing in the direction that they wanted to go. That was the skill that I added to combine with the empathy and genuine care that I already had.
NCA: What is the most rewarding part of your career and on the flip side, what is the most challenging aspect of the work that you do?
Eze: For me, the most rewarding is when through careful consideration, curiosity, empathic listening, and holding space, seeing a client realize that they can accomplish things that before they didn’t think they could. For so long, I viewed myself as static and unchanging — whatever aspects I believed about myself were really just locked into place. It was such a prison. Realizing I can actually change is something so empowering and so liberating that I love to see someone’s facial expression when they have that “Aha!” moment — when they have that shift. When they have that sigh of relief that they don’t have somebody else in their lives telling them to cheer up or how to do things differently but getting to be allowed to be where they’re at. And through that allowing, things would shift. It’s so beautiful.
The most challenging is when I’m coaching a client who is going through a similar struggle that I’m going through. Then I have to separate what’s going on with me so that I can be fully present for them. Then I often get to learn about myself through fully supporting somebody else’s process through that similar situation.
NCA: Can you think of a mentor who was the most vital to your success as a coach and in what ways did this mentor help you thrive in your career?
Eze: 100%, this is Dr. David B. Wolf, one of the founders and facilitators of the Satvatove Institute Seminars and Coach Training. He was and continues to be a major influence.
He’s been so influential not just in his thoroughness, his clarity, his ability to clearly and concretely communicate his ideas, and his concepts, but also in his rock solid, unwavering ability to be present for someone’s despair without being despaired himself. In his being rooted and holding space for them, being empathetic, and getting to elicit a transformation in them. It’s something that I admire and still learn from to this day.
NCA: What is one piece of advice that you would give to somebody who is just starting out in their coaching career?
Eze: What I would offer is this: start now.
Whatever it is, whatever direction you want to go in, start now. Offer whatever it is that you’re drawn to offer depending on your level of comfort and expertise. Offer individual coaching, whether it’s pro-bono or for a very low fee, start now so that you can build experience. Whether you do certification or not, your greatest teacher is going to be experience. Through the coaching is how you’re going to build your coaching skill, your coaching expertise, and your coaching confidence.
I am exponentially more confident now than I was two years ago or even one year ago. I’m more confident than I was three months ago simply because I’m cultivating more and more experience. Don’t wait until you’re ready.
Someone recently told me this: Being self-employed is kind of like having a child. You’re never ready. And so my addition to that is “Start now.” Not necessarily with a child. [laughing] But if you are wanting to be coach, get that experience and start now.