Meet the Coach: Rona Steinberg
What attracted you to become a coach?
When I was a little girl, there was a beautiful willow tree in the garden – I used to crawl beneath the branches where I felt safe and away from the hubbub of our busy house and I’d actually interview myself! I was interested in what made me tick I suppose, my hopes and dreams.
As I grew that interest in ‘me’ extended to interest in others but I never thought of that as something I could use as the basis of work.
‘Work’ was about homework and study and doing well at school, getting a good profession under my belt – in my case becoming a lawyer and then working in an office. The only problem was the work I chose, the law, just wasn’t for me. It’s very logical and process driven whereas I’m intuitive, lively and creative. I wasn’t at all happy as a lawyer but I carried on, did my work and ignored my difficult feelings. Eventually I had my kids and I was out of that office so fast. I knew I wanted to do a different kind of work – but what?
Through a long and circuitous route, I found myself working as a business developer for a careers consultancy where there were a number of coaches. I soon realised I wasn’t really cut out to be a business developer (although as usual I ignored my feelings and got on with it), but wanted to be a coach myself.
It was a monumental decision for me to change course and train as a coach, I was frightened of what it might involve. When I finally plucked up enough courage to do the training, I saw people sharing of themselves in the training room and because of all the things I’d learnt about being private and professional, I felt it was all very inappropriate.
I really wanted to run away but fortunately my inner voice which I finally listened to, told me that this was very much my place. And once I accepted that, I threw myself in and haven’t looked back. It took me a long time though to understand the value of showing vulnerability and this is something my clients often struggle with too.
Now I help others listen to their inner voice and find the life which truly reflects who they are and I find that so, so joyful. I often think about that little girl under the willow tree and see that she knew all along what she wanted. I marvel that what I do now isn’t so far away from what she envisaged for herself.
Where did you train?
I trained as a coach with the Co-Active Training Institute (CTI), I’m a fully certified coach and also participated in their prestigious ten month Leadership Programme.
What kind of coaching do you offer?
I’m the Out Loud Coach so I basically help my clients become more Out Loud through life, executive and leadership coaching and also as a public speaking coach.
How does coaching help?
Clients normally come to me because they’re attracted by the idea of becoming more Out Loud. For example, a client might be struggling at work with being both seen and heard. They may have all the credentials and qualifications and be extremely competent, conscientious and hard working but somehow get overlooked in meetings or for promotions. They see people less qualified but more vocal and extrovert are overtaking them. They think that if only they could become louder, they would progress more easily too.
At Out Loud Coaching we first of all take a deep dive in to what makes this particular client tick, who they really are, their values, hopes and dreams.
I’m always keen to point out that Out Loud doesn’t mean being more noisy. It’s for quiet people too. I’d help this client recognise the value of who they really are. If they’re quiet and reflective, to own that side of themselves. If, deep down, they’re wild extroverts who’ve been told they’re ‘too much’ and learnt to turn the volume down on their true nature, to embrace that exuberance.
Once the client has started to reclaim their true, authentic self, (and this is a process over time), we work on their self-acceptance and then progress towards them expressing that in whatever way feels right to them. They become more confident about who they are, less apologetic and willing to ‘show up’ in a way that is true to them rather than how they think they’re supposed to be.
This is all done through developing trust with the client, asking them lots and lots of questions, finding out what’s right for them and setting meaningful homework where they get to try out what they’ve learnt in our sessions.
What sort of coaching clients do you usually see?
Mainly professional, aspirational women but increasingly men; basically anyone attracted to the ethos of Out Loud for whatever reason.
Do you ever suggest books or other materials to clients?
Yes definitely. A favourite is Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson – it’s about the negative voices that all of us have in our heads which tend to get noisy (and protective), when we do things outside our comfort zone. Part of coaching is often about seeing those voices for what they are and turning the volume down on them so you can get on with doing the things you love.
As a public speaking coach, I watch a lot of Ted talks – I have lots of favourites but I really love Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke Of Insight. She describes her journey around coming to recognise and value all of who we really are and she does it in such an expressive, heartfelt and authentic way.
Forgive me for being a bit cheeky but after all I am the Out Loud coach – I also recommend my own book Live Out Loud: A Masterclass In Being Yourself which explains a lot more about how to live an Out Loud life.
What do you like about being a coach?
I genuinely love being with people, I’m curious and fascinated by who they are and especially what may become revealed in the coaching space. It’s always exciting (and often emotional), when a client discovers aspects of themselves which they may have kept hidden for years. It can be a relief and a joyful experience for a client to be seen and valued for who they really are and recognise that often the part of themselves they think is unacceptable is the very thing which is most compelling about them.
The possibilities for them in their lives begin to open up, sometimes in unexpected and thrilling ways and that’s so fulfilling for me as their coach to be a part of their journey.
What is less pleasant?
Running my own coaching practice not only means that I get to do the work I love, but I also need to take care of business, market myself and put myself out there – often the very thing I help my clients to do. This can sometimes feel quite hard and challenging especially when I long to get back to the coaching room.
What one piece of advice would you give someone?
Well, as a coach, our work isn’t about giving advice or guidance – it’s really about helping a client find their own wisdom. My assumption is always that the client does know what they want deep down – they might just need some support to access what that might be. That’s where I come in.
But I guess one piece of advice might be the thing I had to learn for myself – which is there’s no shame in seeking support and help when you need it. When I was conflicted about whether or not to train as a coach, I felt like I’d reached a point in my life where I simply didn’t know what my next step should be.
It was quite a leap for me to shrug off my very competent, professional, lawyer exterior and take the almighty step of phoning a life coach of all people and admit I had no idea what to do next. This was extremely counter intuitive for someone like me used to giving others advice and keeping my own counsel when I felt lost.
But once I sought the help I needed, a whole new world of joy and fulfilment opened up to me. I’d advise anyone worried about taking that leap to close their eyes and jump – you’ll be met with understanding, compassion and kindness from someone who’s walked that road too.
What do you wish people knew about coaching?
That’s such a good question. I think some people believe life coaching especially is quite ‘woo-woo’ or that I’m going to rummage around in their psyche in a way that will feel unsafe. I’d love them to know how seriously I take my work, how long and hard I’ve trained (and continue to train and learn) and that coaches are trained to know the boundaries of their competence and what they are qualified to do. I deeply respect what my clients share with me and I only go where the client wants and gives permission for. I have no agenda for them except perhaps that I want for them what they want for themselves.
Do you have a favourite client testimonial or particular success story?
I love this testimonial from a wonderful client who’s a theatre maker and performer :
‘Like the best things in life, they are not always what you want but what you need. My expectations were surpassed but in a very different way than I expected. I was open to whichever direction the process took and Rona guided with a gentle hand to address whatever needed most attention, while empowering me fully to take charge of my own growth. The coaching helped me identify in very concrete ways the nature of the blocks and fears which have their roots so far in the past.
This process has been intensely nurturing, given me a deeper appreciation and awareness of the vastness and depth of my imagination. The process in itself was fulfilling in how creative it felt. I can celebrate myself a lot more than before and the small accomplishments along the way. Rona gave me the resourcefulness, encouragement, and permission to fully explore what’s speaking so loud in me that it’s difficult to ignore it anymore.’