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Should Coaches Lose their Ego?

Could it Mean They Lose Themselves?

Ego has gotten a bad rap lately. Plenty of negative words or concepts are built from ego. Egotistical, egomaniacal, egocentric. Which when someone is described in these terms, it's another way to say they are prideful, self-absorbed, or vain. The current trend in self-help & wellness (coaching included) seems is to deny the ego; to let go, deny the self, and to stop thinking so damn highly of yourself. You aren't the center of the universe! But what if we lose something valuable in our attempts to drop our ego? Or…here us out…what if it was never possible to lose your ego in the first place? The CLCI Live team dives deep into the psyche this week and we sit down with Brooke Adair Walters (M.C.P.C.), Jerome LeDuff Jr (M.C.L.C.), Anthony Lopez (M.C.P.C.), Lisa Finck (A.C.C.), and Sam Gozo (A.C.C.) and discuss the pros and cons of coaches letting go of the ego. We will discuss what an ego really is, the dangers of embracing the ego, and why we should accept who we truly are.

Ego, Ich, & I. It's all the same thing.

When coaches, people, and armchair psychologists talk about the ego, they are really talking about the “self” in the most literal way. Sure it seems fancier to translate “I” into Latin, but when our good friend Sigmund Freud first conceptualized what we commonly think of as the ego, he used the everyday German word “Ich”, which literally means “I”. To put it in the simplest terms and without psychological jargon, ego is how we view and conceptualize ourselves. Our ego is both a combination of what we believe our “true selves” to be along with the image of ourselves we curate for the rest of the world. Here's an example. There is that version of you who would rather loaf on the couch (Id), they are contrasted by that other version of you that creates a beautifully tailored job resume and tried to always put their best foot forward. (superego), those are both mediated by that version of you (ego) that has to exist every day and balance what you want to do vs what you should do. So where does our emphasis on self-image go wrong?

Losing Yourself when it's all about You

We might be beating a dead horse by saying that since the advent of social media, we've all become a bit more self-absorbed. Year-by-year It's becoming easier and more necessary to put yourself out there in the world if you want to get anywhere in business. As an entrepreneur and life coach, people tend to expect that you at least have a website, bio, and some sort of social media presence. Don't believe us? Just type in “Life Coach” on Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok. You'll begin to get the impression that some of these people's actual business has little to do with life coaching. Their true business is self-image and how well they can tailor an image to a target audience. So what can happen when you mix your self-image with your business, and by extension your self-worth? The good people at VeryWellMind link this use of social media to damage to your self-esteem and external validation. What starts to happen is that the self-image you create actually has an impact on your business. So the logical move is to then tailor who you are to your audience. Then at a certain point, if you are successful, there exists separate versions of yourself (alter-egos). The version many people believe you to be vs the version you believe yourself to be. This can lead to friction and then distress when you yourself begin to doubt who you really are or what your self-worth is. And then we come back full circle. Self-help gurus who teach you to let go of your ego, to be free, to drop off social media and find your “true self”. Heck, maybe you know a life coach or two whose whole business is “helping people find their true selves” (opposed to the fake-selves, if that is a thing). But the truth is you can't run away from yourself, and there may be something to gain by embracing your ego.

Don't Leggo your Ego!

Brooke Adair Walters, our Chief Strategy Officer, put it best when talking about ego-strength and how coaches operate their business.

[Ego-Strength] is someone's ability to maintain their identity. To know who they are completely and wholly. This is a place where ego can be very beneficial. It's also something very important when you are putting yourself out there. Because you have to put yourself out there and know who you are, you can't be wishy-washy...You have to be committed and believe in the product you are presenting... It's that concept of knowing who you are, how important it is, and the importance of authenticity.

So then it comes down to knowing who you are and authentically living that self. You don't tailor your ego to the world, but define the world through your ego. “But wait!” you might say, “how do you actually go about figuring that out? The real me?” Sam Gozo, a CLCI facilitator, shares his insight on how you discover and build the real you.

When I think of who the real person is, I think deeper than values; the word that pops up for me is "foundation". Who [or what] do you rest upon come hell or high water and what are the nonnegotiable strong towers that your life is built upon, and from that, what do you value at that point?

This goes beyond just talking life coaching and business. You invest your self into every aspect of life and it's not something you can actually get rid of. You may be able to deny it, suppress it, or be consumed by ego. But to be a whole, functioning, and flourishing human being you must learn to embrace your ego and stand by who you choose to be.


ACTO is Accepting Applications for Student Scholarships Now!

The Association of Coach Training Organizations (ACTO) is pleased to open the application for its annual (2022) Coach Training Scholarship.

As in years past, two Scholarships will be awarded – each in the amounts of $2,000 USD – to the individuals who best meet the established criteria of the Scholarship Award.

This opportunity is open to both new coaching students, as well as students currently enrolled in an Accredited Coach Training Program to complete a coach training program from one of the ACTO member participating schools.

The criteria for the ACTO Scholarship Award are narrowly focused as follows:

  1. Applicants must express a commitment to pursue a career in coaching, ultimately credentialing through a recognized professional body. The award must be accessed (but not necessarily completely used) within a one-year period and training completed within two years.

  2. Applicants must express a clear and specific intent to use their acquired coaching skills to positively impact society by working with underserved and/or historically excluded populations. (Examples of underrepresented people and communities include, but are not limited to: Black, Brown, Indigenous and other people of color, ethnic or religious minorities, lower socio-economic or caste status, LGBTQIA+ persons, youth, elderly, economically or educationally disadvantaged, incarcerated or formerly incarcerated individuals, immigrants or migrants, etc.)

  3. Applicants must share a credible expression of financial need for this award.

Completed scholarship applications must be submitted to ACTO by April 1, 2022. Scholarship Awardees will be announced at the 2022 ACTO Conference (June 15-17, 2022).

Important Dates

January 1, 2022 – Scholarship application process open

April 1, 2022 – Completed scholarship application submission deadline

June 15-17, 2022 – Scholarship Awardees will be announced at the 2022 ACTO Conference


Thank you,

Lisa Finck, Brooke Adair Walters, Jerome LeDuff Jr, Anthony Lopez, and Sam Gozo!

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