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Coaching was our career escape, but it won't be our liberation.

When you’re tired of the nine-to-five, and you have a dream of working for yourself, the go-to strategy is often to become a “coach” in your area of expertise. 


I’ve done it myself. 


In 2017, I started to imagine making my big break away from the inflexible hustle of working a day job in educational leadership and into the realm of coaching. 


Coaching, an unregulated industry, seemed to me to hold the promise of freedom I craved. Having spent so many years amassing degrees and certifications, it was a bold move to define my own niche, knowing I was more than qualified, and set up shop. 


Would I do it the same way again? I would not. 



LEARNING THE GAME: 


The first coach that I hired to coach me - because this is what the coaching industry is, everybody has a coach - was very expensive. I joined a mastermind that was supposed to get you to $10K a month quickly, and while at the time some people were paying me $3-5,000 to work with me, it was not consistent enough to agree to pay her the amount of money that I did. It was scary, but the whole thing in the coaching industry is that you supposedly have to invest at the level you want to play at, and the more fear, they say, the better. 


From a trauma-informed perspective, just about the last thing you want to do is scare yourself while you’re trying to grow. 


Among the lessons she taught me was how to “overcome objections” with potential clients on sales calls. In other words, how to not honor someone’s “no.”


Over time, this and most of the coaching game started to feel “off.” It didn’t feel like freedom, it felt like a repeat of patriarchy, with plenty of dominator energetics at play. Power games and manipulation, and out of alignment with the true holistic transformation and sovereignty that I want for my clients and for all people, whether or not they ever become my clients. 


The following is a list of 7 characteristics of the coaching industry that indicate that it’s the same patriarchal wolf dressed up in different, expensive clothing. It is followed by a list of 9 possibilities I see for a new model that has yet to emerge, but one I find myself building through experimentation over the last two years.  


You could say that my two lists contrast the old coaching models reborn of patriarchy with a New Earth energetic that considers the health of feminine, masculine, families, sovereignty, the environment, children, and the betterment of all. 


It is my hope in writing this that more women who are leaving their careers to enter an idealized “coaching” industry realize that if they are not careful, they will find themselves behaving like the hierarchical structures they seek to be rid of. But it doesn’t have to be that way. A new way is emerging, and it will likely come through women. 



WHAT THE OLD COACHING GAME TAUGHT US:


  1. Learn to overcome objections: Learn to tell someone else what is right for them, to counter their “no,” to sell them something of extremely high price via any means necessary. I think we all are aware that we live in a world with growing awareness that consent is incredibly important. If someone talks someone else out of their “no,” isn’t that…. Manipulation? Or worse? 

  2. Never enough: In the coaching industry, everything is a climb. You need more content, more followers, more attention. You need more money, so you need to build an empire. There is a “never enough” mentality that you get swooped up into. Why is more always considered better? Is that even healthy? Many women I know are opting out in favor of sustainability. 

  3. Self-promotion: In the coaching industry, everyone is a self-proclaimed guru. There is an inherent hierarchy that forms between teacher/coach and student/client. The coach is trying to look like the expert, and get “followers.” What kind of pressure does this put on the coach to always hold it all together, to never show humility or mistakes? And aren’t hierarchies part of what we didn’t like about traditional work culture? 

  4. By any means necessary: I once had a female coach (another expensive coach I regret) say to me when coaching me about coaching, “I do not care how a woman pays me. I do not care what she has to go through to get me the money. I don’t want to know. I just want her to pay me.” I was a woman paying her monthly installments that became difficult to make when my circumstances changed midway through our contract. She was modeling that we need to turn our hearts off and make ourselves numb to what our clients are going through and demand high prices from them anyway. Isn’t this extractive? If we care about our female clients, out there trying to be coaches and healers and make the world a better place, then shouldn’t we care about what her actual life looks like? Yes, we should. 

  5. Humans as transactions: In the empire-model and the “never enough” mindset, there are few points of actual satisfaction. When one woman buys a program from you, you might say, “But why haven’t five more bought it? What is wrong with my approach?” instead of saying, “Awesome, I’m so glad that her life is going to change and I was also able to receive for my efforts!” One of the greatest changes I’ve experienced since letting go of “coaching” is a shift in perspective about what is enough. All the money that might come into my practice is from human beings - all with their own stories, and each one counts. Whether I know what is behind the name, or the transaction if someone buys a digital product, each number is connected to a human being. When I get an email alert that Jane Doe subscribed to my email list, I say, “Hello Jane,” out loud, with my hand on my heart. 

  6. Unrealistic perceptions: One characteristic that my former self and my clients share is this sentiment that more traditional work caused this feeling of “having to be one person one place, and another person elsewhere.” There is now a movement advocating to be able to “bring your whole self to work.” When we have to act or pretend in any environment and cut ourselves off from the entirety of our experience, we create separation and performance pressure in our lives. I see the coaching industry doing the same thing, with coaches presenting an endless stream of posts showing an idealized life… but what are they not showing? 

  7. Accumulation of resources: Many of us don’t question whether the accumulation of wealth and resources is even a good thing. Part of the reason we’d leave a salaried position for coaching is the allure of limitless earnings, and I am all about us all having enough to live prosperous lives. But the energetics of hyper-individualism, guru status, and wealth concentration are all ethically questionable on many levels. When wealth accumulation is the goal, as we know from centuries of evidence, ethics are often sidestepped and inclusion becomes impossible, not to mention flow is stifled in our own lives and in systems. Do we as female coaches really want to emulate patriarchal wealth structures, or do we want to invent new ones? 

  8. Giving in order to get: This was what I became the most burnt-out on over time, was that I was always producing more content, more sales emails, in order to “get clients.” I mean, many would say that that is the point - you’ve got to take action in order to run a business. But my feminine system didn’t want to “give in order to get.”  I don’t want to make things so that someone wants to buy them, I want to first create because I’m flowing Creation through me, and I want to offer from the heart. I am still learning all the time about what it looks like to give without expectation, to have faith that the money I need will come - maybe through clients, maybe through something else. But if I am going to put anything into this world, it needs to be through my authentic desire to create it and give it to the world, not a desire to get something in return. The former is true inspiration and loving, the latter is transactional. 




ENVISIONING THE NEW PARADIGM OF COACHING:


  1. Choose your pricing: I first saw this idea at the local acupuncture clinic - a sliding scale with accompanying education. The lowest suggested pricing tier was accompanied by the caption “Choose this tier if you are struggling to meet your basic needs.” The middle category was, “If you are all caught up on your bills but don’t have a lot of extra.” And the third and highest tier was, “If you are financially comfortable.” Patrons all get access to the acupuncture and can choose where to pay on the scale based on where they fall financially - no shame. I’ve begun to do this one one-time events as well as group programs with good feedback and gratitude from participants. I do notice that few are choosing the highest pricing tier, but perhaps accessibility to my offerings has increased. 

  2. Coming from Abundance: What if we never sold from scarcity? What if there was plenty to go around? What if you didn’t get people to join your program out of a fear of what they’d be missing out on, but instead from the abundance of what they would gain? The latter is likely already true, so there’s just no need for us to try to sell from scarcity. 

  3. Replace the guru with the network: I do believe that we will always have leaders and teachers and I’ve grappled with this topic, as I am a natural leader and teacher. However, my wisdom is not the only wisdom. My teachings can be made more full by others’ contributions. I started the Sacred Remembering Community for women to build a network of other women who are integrating their sacred nature and mystical gifts into their lives, and eventually into their work. AKA, for women who are practicing standing in the holistic truth of who they are, and then getting paid for their contributions! I wanted to provide a home for women who are taking leaps and making bold moves, to be surrounded by others doing the same. And you know what? These women are wise - all medicine women in their own right. When we share our wisdom and visions, the whole is made stronger. And no one has to go it alone, nor be like someone else in order to fit in. In this way, we can create work cooperatives, partnerships, and bring shared visions to life, which completely changes the energetics from hierarchical and transactional to collaborative and circulating. This requires that we trust that there is enough to go around, and that more is possible for all when we uplift one another. 

  4. Inner and Outer Sovereignty: I had one client my first year of coaching who completely resented me because she gave me her power, and once we were in that pickle, it was really uncomfortable for us both. I don’t want your power. I do not want anyone to forgo their own thoughts, intuitions, clarity or direction because of anything I’ve said. What I want is everyone to have their sovereignty. That is what the Sacred Remembering Community is all about - we learn about and practice the energetics of sovereignty, with one another. When I say “inner” I mean the sovereignty between you and Source Creation, and then the outer is how you interact with the rest of life. If everyone is respected as sovereign, can you imagine how much more is possible? 

  5. Enoughness as a norm: You’re enough, I’m enough. And, we’re humans on an immense journey of becoming all that we are - sacred selves and all. There is no “getting there,” there is no end game, no perfection on this spiritual and evolutionary life path. So let’s just drop that false illusion and pressure and be human together. Let’s investigate the mystery together. I’m so happy to share with you what I’ve gleaned on this deep journey of being human, and, we’re all still human. Not only is that enough, I think we can actually go further together in our humility and holism. 

  6. Circulation of resources: Resources can either be exchanged transactionally or given freely. I am still not totally sure how the new models will look and how we’ll all have enough, but this is what I want to experiment with, more and more. The ways of Nature. Resources have to circulate rather than accumulate if we ever hope for everyone we love to have enough. Can we have enough and then circulate the excess/overflow? I believe and experience that as we heal the transactional and extractive energetics in our lives, we can cultivate the experience of overflow. When we do experience that point of truly being saturated and satisfied in the resources that we have, we can overflow resources to others. Also, if accumulation is our only financial goal, it negatively impacts the energetics of our own prosperity. We have to keep the flow going. 

  7. Creating to add to life: I used to have this Elizabeth Gilbert quote hanging beside my desk that said something like, “Creation isn’t finished yet, your contributions are needed.” Meaning, the Universe is still unfolding, and your creations are a part of Creation. This is what I was getting at in number 8 above. Create to create, create to give, create as an act of love. We can trust, I do believe, that if we create what we are really meant to create, we can also receive - whether directly or indirectly - from that willingness to express from the true essence of who we are rather than from inauthenticity or performance. The Universe will know the difference, and, I believe, anyone who you hope to hire you will also know whether or not you are faking it or really moving from the spark of God. 

  8. Soul purpose: To add to the last one, there is a river of life, an energetic space that when you are in it, you are doing the thing that you’re on earth to do. Most of us abandoned that thing so long ago, and then Sacred Remembering is about having the courage to go after it. And I’ll tell you, that even though I wanted so much to get in that river, and I truly feel the best when I am, I have also struggled with crippling doubt that I would ever be able to truly be prosperous if I went in. Over the years, I went in a bit, then a bit deeper, and life right now is beckoning me to get the whole damn way into that blessed river before too much more life passes me by. This is where I am learning to trust God, personally. And it’s what I yearn for for literally all women, it is the premise of Sacred Remembering. We can, I know it, be fully supported on our most soulful path. And, by goodness, there are still extraneous patriarchal systems that we’ve also got to change while we’re doing it. In my case, actually helping to change the systems and create new ones is part of me getting in my river, so there you go. 

  9. It’s okay to go slow: I wish I could tell my 2017-self to slow way down. I wish I could tell her that she was about to have to face every authentic obstacle one has to face on a soul path, so it would probably be best for her to get a regular side job while building her business. Putting financial pressure on our soul work is just not a good idea, and perpetuates us repeating the habits of patriarchy - sell sell sell at all costs, seeing our clients as commodities. And when we are presented with the soul-level obstacles, and rest assured if you are on any kind of authentic path, you will be, it is important to tend the old traumas slowly, to allow space for the breath and body to move, to acclimate, to find the new pathways. 

  10. What we are could never be put into a word or label: For over five years, I have not known what to call myself professionally. Perhaps it’s my own limitation, or perhaps it is just that we are in this in-between time where in the old paradigm, we had an education degree that gave us a label and position, and in the new paradigm… we’ll perhaps see the human first and realize how multidimensional we all are. I have called myself a coach, consultant, healer, medicine woman, support, guide, systems analyst, mystic, gridworker, energy worker, and more. I am all of those things - they are descriptions, not “jobs.” Most of the time, when people choose to hire me for any one of the above things, they say, “I just feel a gut feeling to work with you.” Those clients are already on the bridge to the new paradigm, because they are trusting their felt-sense. I’ll continue to grapple with what to call myself, and I just choose a word or two depending on the situation. But less and less these days is that word “coach.” 



Sarah Poet, by any description or title, is here to assist in bridging humanity from old-paradigm to new. Putting Nature, the Heart, and Love at the center, so much is possible.

Individuals, couples, and organizational systems are very welcome to reach out to Sarah for support as a consultant, helper, healer, coach or guide.



Women in community
We rise together.

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