This week, I’m excited for you to meet some of my Advanced Certification in Feminist Coaching graduates. They’re here to share what feminist coaching means to them, and how learning to coach or provide therapy from a feminist lens has changed the way they show up in their businesses.
Osaru Anyumba, Jen Fadden, Nicolassa Galvez, and Rachelle Siebke are coaches and therapists who come from different backgrounds. They all found and decided to join ACFC for their own unique reasons, and they’re here to share how the program broadened their understanding of feminism and how the ACFC container has helped them navigate their specific niche with a feminist lens.
Tune in to hear how going through ACFC has influenced the way Osaru, Jen, Nicolassa, and Rachelle coach or provide therapy in their businesses. They’re sharing their thoughts on the biggest misconceptions about feminist coaching, what surprised them most about going through the program, and what they would offer anyone who’s currently on the fence about joining.
Welcome to Unf*ck Your Brain, the only podcast that teaches you how to use psychology, feminism, and coaching, to rewire your brain and get what you want in life. And now here’s your host, Harvard Law School grad, feminist rockstar, and master coach, Kara Loewentheil.
Hello my chickens, hello everyone listening, whether you identify as a chicken or not. I am excited, I’m always excited to talk to my graduates in my Advanced Certification in Feminist Coaches, my feminist coaches. And I’m excited for you all to meet some of them, hear what they do, hear who they work with, follow them all immediately and learn from their wisdom. And to talk a little bit about what feminist coaching even is and how learning to coach from a feminist lens changes the way that you show up as a coach in your business.
So let’s go around and have everybody introduce themselves, tell us how did you even get into coaching, who you work with and also where people can find you. Let’s do that upfront so everybody knows who you are and where to find you. And I’m just going to, let’s have it be chaos, somebody volunteer and just sort yourselves out, empowerment.
Osaru Anyumba: Great, I’ll go. Hi. My name is Osaru Anyumba and I coach entrepreneurial leaders. I got into coaching about three years ago because I was in search of a coach for myself. I was at a major inflection point, had a business in case management. I knew I didn’t want to do that long term. I was kind of just looking to have a conversation about what my options were. And the people that typically are around me that serve as advisors were not cutting it. I needed someone who was unbiased. And that’s kind of how I found coaching.
So I got a coach, worked through that, loved the process, realized that this is the thing that I should be doing and I should have been doing my whole life and yeah, that was it. I am really not on social, so most of my information will be on my website which is osaruanyumba.com.
Kara: And we’ll put all this in the show notes also. Alright, who’s next?
Jen Fadden: I’ll go next. So I’m Jen Fadden. I am actually a licensed marriage and family therapist. So I came across Kara’s podcast in 2022 and the title alone was what kind of pulled me into it. And then the topics and just how engaging and genuine the program was and whatnot. So then I heard about the Advanced Certification in Feminist Coaching course and decided to take the plunge and go into that.
And I currently am an Associate Director of Clinical Operations at a private university out here in Washington state. But I also have my own private practice on the side, which you can find me at radicalinsight.net is where you can find me.
Kara: Yes, I should not have just said coaches upfront, I apologize, we of course have Jen who is also a therapist.
Jen: It’s okay.
Kara: We’re broadening our world, growing, we’re catching up. Alright, who’s next?
Nicolassa Galvez: My name is Nicolassa Galvez and I call myself an anti-career coach for women whose edges have been dulled over the years at work. And I have been a Clutch member since 2019. And I actually started my coach certification in 2011 with IFC. I always call it IFC or ICF. And I became homeless and I couldn’t finish it and just was never interested in going back to it. And then you announced the feminist certification and I signed up that week.
Kara: Where can people find you?
Nicolassa: Chingona.coach, that’s C-H-I-N-G-O-N-A.coach.
Kara: Rachelle, what you got?
Rachelle: I’m Rachelle Siebke and I’m a money coach for life coaches and other heart centered purpose driven business owners. And I got into coaching in 2017.
Kara: And where can people find you?
Rachelle: At rachellesiebke.com and on Instagram @rachellesiebke.moneycoach.
Kara: Awesome. Alight. So I’ve got some questions I want to ask each of you, but we’re also going to kind of mix it up depending, you guys are coming from different backgrounds. But I would love to just start with sort of what was your familiarity with feminism before you came through the advanced certification? I think some people come in and they’re like, “I have a PhD and a feminist theory angle. “ And then some people are like, “Not actually sure what feminism is.”
So I’d just be curious, kind of where you all were and what attracted you to the program or what kind of brought you in other than my facility at naming things in a way that grabs your attention for Jen? And go whatever order you want, whoever wants to answer can.
Osaru: Sure, I’ll go. I think I just had a broad understanding of feminism as an ideology and about equality, just that general idea of equality for women. And I say women broad strokes. So I think that was the thing that really got me interested in your program was the fact that obviously intellectually I knew that there isn’t a broad strokes that defines us. But the idea of kind of looking for solutions and kind of putting women in one bucket.
I really wanted my coaching practice to be able to focus way more individually with people and that’s kind of what I said I did and just kind of realizing that that wasn’t it. I was really, really just interested in understanding how I could work with people at a deeper level and understand how their experiences really tied into who they are and decisions they make.
Kara: right. It’s a huge category but the individual intersections are so specific.
Nicolassa: Feminist to me meant that girls can do anything boys can do. And I mostly thought that I did, but it didn’t really occur to me much beyond that. It was something that I thought was, that’s in the past. That’s how it used to be for women even though I knew that there is a gender pay gap and even though I’d always been fearful of the male gaze. And even though I had always been taught to do all the outside labor and then to come in and do all the household labor on the inside of the house as well.
But I really had no idea that the feminist revolution was also meant to end racism and class elitism and imperialism until I read the book that you gave us at the start of the course, which is Feminism is for Everybody by Bell Hooks. And it just really brought in my eyes for all of the things that I had never really been exposed to as I didn’t go to a college that had social justice courses or women’s studies. And so I really had a very narrow view of what feminism was.
Kara: That is such an interesting thing that people have some split consciousness of, well, feminism is a thing we did in the past, even though also all the wives are cleaning up after the dinner and the husbands are sitting on the couch. And we all even talk about how annoying that is, but somehow these things are not connected or have nothing to do with each other.
Jen: So I guess I’ll go. So I was raised in a very feminist household. It was my mom and my sister and I. And my mom is definitely a feminist. So she was always encouraging my sister and I to be independent, have your own career, all that kind of stuff. Also on my dad’s side, my paternal grandmom was a suffragette. So I often heard stories about her and the things that she did to help bring women forward into the world. And so I’ve always had this kind of social justice mindset and working from that feminist mindset.
Then I had my daughter who’s now 21. And seeing that she was still experiencing a lot of the same things that I went through during her ages and getting frustrated with that and really pissed off actually that these things were still occurring. And so, I try to as part of my therapy practice, I really bring it into that and really working with women.
And then my own experience of going through a very terrible, awful marriage and extricating myself from that and going through a court system for years and years and years because of him. Just really allowed me to be stronger in my voice and in myself and wanting to bring that forth also for women. So in my private practice I only work with women ages 18 and up and come with that feminist mindset.
And then hearing about this program I was like, “Okay, these are my people. I want to work with other women that are into this and want to do it.” And I also want to learn more because I think we’re constantly learning. I don’t think there’s any time in my life where I’m just going to stop learning and reading. I’m kind of a bookaholic, so to speak. But yeah, I think that’s where the roots for myself come from is really from my mom and both of my grandmothers were very strong women, so yeah.
Nicolassa: My undergrad and graduate school research and studies were in social justice topics. So my focus was race and class, not necessarily sexism and patriarchy. But it’s interesting, studying the Chicano Latino movement, there was so much misogyny even in those kind of movements. So it was always present. And then also in the non-profit work, it’s just something we’re always thinking about, what’s wrong, why is it wrong? So working for a domestic violence shelter and seeing how the court systems treated women and mothers. So it was always there but yeah, definitely my focus had always been race.
Kara: So I’d love to hear from kind of each of you how going through the advanced verification, whatever you learned has influenced the way that you’re coaching or providing therapy. And Jen, and I’d be particularly interested to hear what it was like going through, this is the first year we had therapists come through the program and kind of what that was like. And I can call out people. I always feel it’s like almost like a feminist test to do these podcasts and have everybody like, you know if there was one dude on here, Chad would be starting us off every time.
Jen: I was just listening to one of your recent podcasts where I think she said, “Male, pale and sometimes Yale.”
Kara: That was Jamie Lee. That was so funny.
Jen: I was laughing.
Kara: I had never heard before, especially because I went to Yale. Why is it not my main descriptor? Yeah.
Jen: So when you said, Chad, that just popped into my head.
Kara: I always feel bad, I have a cousin named Chad and I’m like, “Listen, I’m not thinking about you. It’s just the name.” Do you want to start us off?
Jen: Sure. Yeah, so going through the program, I definitely was nervous at first. I was anxious about being in the group. And that whole tape in my head of I don’t belong and why did I get chosen? And I think we all have a loop that kind of goes that way. So I was just very nervous at the start of it, yet it was just such a welcoming, genuine environment. And we broke out into our small groups as well and Brigg’s energy was just so wonderful and engaging.
And everyone in my small group was just really laid back and cool and didn’t really care what kind of background you were coming from as far as being in that belonging but I just really liked the open conversations. And then also seeing how the coaching process is a little bit different than therapy and because they are. And what I really like about the coaching process in itself is it’s not such a deep dive into the trauma work which I’ve been doing for years and years and years as a therapist. And can get a little much, can be a little much.
And that’s not to say that you don’t go into deep topics or conversations, but it’s just you’re not kind of going into that really huge deep dive. That can lead to some places that can be really super triggering and might set off some things that then you need to refer them out to go to a therapist for and get that deeper work on. I’ve loved hearing from everyone’s perspectives. And I think it also made me feel more grounded in my own work as a therapist as far as I’ve always been kind of an outside of the box thinker in therapy land and a little bit of a rebel.
And so I think this really helps solidify that for me and that I don’t have to apologize about how I work within the therapist kind of umbrella because it is, many of the theories come from white men. So it’s very set up for them and make all those women hysterical and lock them up. Yeah, so I think it kind of helped just solidify my own self and being and bringing that core self even more into my therapy and my coaching and combining the two.
Kara: I’m doing a limited series kind of podcast about how to coach like a feminist. And one of the things I’m talking about, and it’s all of the base theories in coaching and feminism, also developed by pale male.
Jen: Sometimes Yale.
Kara: As white Christian men and so, all of it. We have to question everything, everything you’re taught about why do you have to do things a certain way as a therapist? Why do you have to do things a certain way as a coach? All these theories are based on straight cis white Christian men who are like, “Well, I am the norm and the norm is me and my friends Brad and Chad at the men’s club all think the same. So this is obviously just the way things are and we don’t really have to think about any other perspectives or think about, we are the neutral.” And all of it is built on that. What about you, Rachelle?
Rachelle: Yeah. So for me, my focus has really been about saying less. So letting my clients’ brain do the work and really trying to minimize my talking so that there’s an 80/20 ratio where my client is speaking 80% of the time. And I am allowing that space and then reflecting back and then allowing. So Sarah says to allow the little blue spinner to be on your clients’ brain more often than it’s on yours.
Kara: Sarah is one of our small group leaders in the program, Sarah Fisk. I love that little spiel.
Rachelle: Yeah, it’s such a great analogy for me to remember that. If the client is thinking this is the best part of the work and to allow them to think and not to jump in and assume that then I need to give them more prompts to help them with the answer. What’s actually happening is the most important part here is where they are thinking.
And then the other thing that has been a real full circle moment for me because when I joined The Clutch in 2018, I really joined because I was going through a very difficult divorce and transition in my life where I was really questioning if I could trust my own intuition. And I coach from the perspective that my client has their own innate wisdom and that they always know their best answers. And the feminist principles help me to have some practices that allow those to come out more and more and allow my voice to be quieter and quieter so their voice can be louder and louder.
Kara: I also love that spinning wheel because if you try to force your computer when it’s doing that then just the whole thing freezes and shuts down. And I feel like we do that in coaching where if somebody’s thinking, if you have an agenda for it. You’re like, “Let me throw some more prompts at it, maybe another metaphor, maybe another.” And then you get the wheel, the spinning wheel of color, and then you have to go to the force quit because the whole thing is just nothing’s going to be happening.
Rachelle: Yeah, the only thing that my small group coach, Sarah had taught me was in the review process. So I love the review process of, in the small group coaching we do the coaching, we turn it in. The small group instructor reviews it and then gets back to us with, “This was good. And then also you could do this instead and think about doing this. And this is not the way that you do it, but just think about.” And one of the things that she gave me in feedback was, “I love that you have this trifecta, which is validation, information, more exploration.”
And that really helped me solidify not only the way that I help coach my clients, but also the way that I self-coach. Yes, I am giving myself validation, that makes so much sense that I feel this way. And then giving myself some information or giving the client information, let’s research or reference the historical context for why you might be thinking this way and then explore it further. Now that we know that it makes so much sense, and these are the things that we’ve been taught. How do I want to think about this instead?
Kara: That’s such a good way of thinking about validation because one of the things I think is so powerful about understanding the curriculum is very focused on what is the history. Because most people don’t know a lot of it, of all of these different issues and how women, what their legal and social and political rights were in these areas. Because it’s not validation as in, yes, your thought is true. It’s validation as in it’s not weird or crazy that you think this. There’s a reason that you think this. It does make sense.
Sure, if you look around now and you’re like, “I don’t know, it’s so weird that I don’t believe that I can make money or should be in charge of anything.” Well, yeah, okay, but you’re looking at 1997 to now and we’ve got to back-up until 2000 BCE, there was a different situation. I do feel validation gets misunderstood as you’re not supposed to validate, meaning tell your client that that is true, no. But you’re validating the sense of there’s a reason you think this. It’s not something weird happening in your brain. You were taught this and now where do we go from here is really powerful.
Rachelle: Yeah. And I think the other thing that’s really interesting for me is one of the things that I try to do is give myself a variety of backgrounds in coaching and training so that I’m not only in one world getting this echo chamber of ideas and philosophies. And I’ve been doing some somatica coaching so I’ve hired a somatica coach. And one of the things that she taught me in a repair conversation is that getting to the solution or changing the process of whatever the repair process is for is secondary.
And that the most important part of the process, if you can’t remember anything else, is to just validate and verify that the other person knows you don’t think they’re crazy. So I’ve been using that in my self-coaching too. And it really takes away that idea of, I’m just gaslighting myself if I’m changing my thought. No, I totally understand you and I don’t think it’s crazy that you think that.
And I think especially through this feminist lens, it’s really important to think about that, because how many times throughout history has doing something that felt innate wisdom to you has been reflected back as crazy? Actual witch hunts, actual being admitted into hospitals for electric shock therapy. I mean just my whole body has chills when I think about, yeah, you’re not crazy.
Osaru: Yeah, I think I came in kind of expecting more of validation for myself, the work that I was personally going through. And I’m born Nigerian so I have that cultural background in addition to this and just realizing a lot of things over the last three years. I think the course was definitely really helpful to validate a lot of things I was feeling and why. What I wasn’t really expecting was, I guess the next step from the validation for me, which was just being able to, one, accept that I wasn’t making crap up. And two, really allowing myself to dictate how I move forward.
I think that as a Black person, sometimes I feel like it’s just a hard walk every single day, if I allow myself to dwell in the realities of life. But I do have a choice. I really do get to choose, in spite of, because of my experiences, how I want to move forward. And I can use that to not just empower myself, to empower. I serve men also, I work with men. And I think that I’ve been really excited now that I have these tools because I feel l am able to really challenge a lot of assumptions that they make in the work we do together.
And it’s just been really, really powerful to see the light bulbs go off, to see them kind of question some of the things that they just take for granted. I was definitely really appreciative of the experience. The groups were small, they were intimate, I liked all of that. But I think it was really just very, very comforting to see so many women, very diverse backgrounds, all of us going through our own realizations to one common end.
Kara: This is definitely something we’ve improved each iteration of the course. Because the first time I taught it I didn’t realize that everybody was going to have a nervous breakdown about their own life. I didn’t realize how much people were going through their own personal transformation. So the original version didn’t have any of, the first month now has a couple of weeks integration and how is this impacting you and work on your identities.
I’m just immersed in it and had done it along the way and I didn’t really think about that, which is your work gets better every time, we revise it every time. And so, I think this is the first round where we had multiple weeks on sort of, yeah, some of you might not experience that, but if you are, that’s to be expected, that’s part of the process, that’s a positive thing that comes out of this.
But I think the other thing you said that’s super important is, yeah, a lot of people come through who work with men or work with men and women or people of all gender identities. And I hope we get more of that. I would love for men to apply to the certification. I love for people who work with men. Obviously men have it better under patriarchy. It doesn’t mean that patriarchy is good for men and especially around emotional life, sort of being taught to be shut down or that anger is the only appropriate emotion or all of that gender socialization.
So it’s challenging, hopefully coaches who work with men who go through this are able to, yeah, challenge how they think about women in their lives. But also how they think about themselves, what are they receiving about the gender binary? I mean, someday I would love to have a full version of this that is for coaches who work with men and what is the male socialization? I need a good male coach to partner with on that but that’s part of my vision for the future too, of course.
Jen: Yeah, I think that gets lost sometimes about how the patriarchy actually affects the men that are living under it too, so yeah.
Kara: Yeah. Well, if you’re raising a little boy, I have a stepson who’s seven, you’re looking at those messages. I mean things are definitely, I feel we made a lot of progress on that since my brothers were kids. There’s definitely a lot more fluidity around, even just stuff like what the kids wear, what he wears to school, what the kind of gender expectations are, but there’s still so much work to do.
Nicolassa: And I coach folks socialized as women, so I do have a few trans clients. And it’s interesting how they deal with the work stuff because they present as male. And they still just have all of that internalized sexism but maybe they’re treated as how they present. But then there’s just this mind switch that goes on and so just coaching them through that.
Kara: That must be even doubly more confusing. Some people are listening to what I say but I still don’t think anybody should listen to what I say.
Jen: And then the guilt they take on for being given that privilege, they tend to have a lot of the guilt or my clients, I wouldn’t say everyone.
Kara: Yeah, that makes sense. Rachelle, I have a question for you and then a question for everybody. But just because you were in my UnF*ck Your Brain program too, even before The Clutch. I mean Rachelle was in a small group program I did five/six years ago now. So I’m curious, for somebody who, you were in UnF*ck Your Brain, you were in The Clutch. So you have a ton of exposure to my work.
Did ACFC add something to that? What was your thought process about kind of going through this even though you’d learned a lot of what I teach in some ways as a client?
Rachelle: Yeah, I would say that I went deeper. So there wasn’t really more breadth. I had already been exposed to the idea that I am my own decision maker and I have my own agency and the different feminist and anti-racist and anti-oppression systems. So I was aware of all of them but I was able to take them so much deeper and again, break down, what does this mean to me that it exists?
Kara: Yeah, that…
Rachelle: So yeah, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cut you off there, but what I was going to say is even though I have listened to every single UnF*ck Your Brain podcast. And even though I’ve been in The Clutch since it opened its doors and even though I’ve listened to all the workshops, there’s still more work. There’s so many layers. And I actually remember one of the first times I was being coached by you in UnF*ck Your Brain and I was just feeling particularly positive that day.
And I was like, “I don’t know. I think I’ve already worked on everything, I don’t think I have anything left.” And you just laughed and you’re like, “You’re going to come up with something, I’m not worried about it.”
Kara: Yes. And here we are. I was like, “Just wait till we unpeel that layer of your brain.” I think the other thing that I find because I still work on this as a coach is when you come through as, maybe you’re in UnF*ck Your Brain or you’re in The Clutch or whatever else. You’re learning how to do it for yourself and so you can have a lot of opinions about your own self-coaching, But then if you want to coach other people as a feminist coach, you almost have to back up back to neutral in some way.
It’s like learning how to bring the feminist lens to the coaching you do for other people, is related to the coaching you do for yourself, but is also different. Because they may interpret feminist values differently than you do, they may have different opinions about what is feminist or how they want to do things. And so making the space for what we try to do in the advanced certification, obviously it’s taking everything and applying it actively to coaching other people, which is different to coaching yourself.
But also yeah, how do you take that skill set you may have learned for yourself and now how do you offer it to anybody who might come in with very different ideas about feminism or very different ideas about how they want their life to look? You might think it’s feminist to have a job and have financial independence. And they might think they want to quit working and stay home with their kids and that’s feminist to that.
How do you coach people who have different beliefs about feminism and different ideas about it than you do? Which can be challenging because there can be closely held beliefs we have about what is feminist, and how do we balance that with the feminist coaching goal of really empowering the client to make their own decisions because you really aren’t the expert on their lives.
Rachelle: Yeah, I think that’s one of the biggest misconceptions about coaching is that I or we give people advice about how they should handle a situation. Which again goes back to the whole transformation for me in this process was how do I say less so that the client can access more.
Kara: Right. People are like, “So you give meal plans and to-do lists?” And you’re like, “That’s not what I’m doing, that’s not.” Do you give people a budget, you’re a money coach?” No, that’s not what we’re doing here.
Rachelle: Yeah. And it’s really helpful for me that I am always taught from the idea of there is no one right or wrong way. But again, I’m learning more and more language of how to present that. There is no one right or wrong way. And why it makes so much sense why we think that there is one right or wrong way because we have been taught in so many ways that one person at the top of this pyramid has the right answer and everything else that you do, probably somebody else could have done it better.
And so because I have had that experience, watching so many different people with so many different circumstances with their money, it’s really not about should they pay off their debt or should they not. It’s always something much deeper. And when I allow them to access their wisdom, they always come up with the best answers.
Kara: Yeah, I actually think that’s really important because I think part of the reason people associate feminism with there being well, there is the one right way. There’s the what is the feminist way to do this? What’s the feminist answer? And I have been talking a lot in my book and in this private podcast series I’m doing about the difference between feminism as a philosophy and feminism as a political movement.
You may or may not agree with various things that specific feminist political movements do, which is going to look very different in America versus France versus Kenya versus somewhere else. So many different people, different goals, different contexts. But philosophically it’s women being basically having just the autonomy to be free, human complex, messy people like men. That is philosophically where we all, I hope most of us except for some threads on Reddit want to be.
But I think that one of the things people think about what they hear from this coaching is, yeah, so that means, well, I have to, first of all, I better be perfectly feminist. Is there going to be a checkup? Am I going to come into the program and we’re going to go through living my life and I’m going to find out that it’s not feminist enough because I’m married to a man and I do more of the housework or something? That that’s what it’s going to be like or we’re going to have to take things like a loyalty oath.
It’s really not about any of that. It’s about feminism as a philosophy, which is how do we empower women to be full autonomous people in the world, even though we may not agree with what that looks like sometimes, even though we might even think some of it is anti-feminist and they think it’s feminist, how do we have that space for those disagreements?
Osaru: I totally agree with that. I think this always kind of came up in our small group is even with the differences, as long as you like your reason why, which is always my takeaway. I more than likely will differ. Our opinions will differ. Our experiences differ so that makes sense. But if you’re making the decision and you feel empowered in making that and you love why then hey, I’m happy for you.
Kara: Right. We have people who are active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and their version of feminism is different than somebody who’s running an anarchist, polyamorous commune in the desert, [inaudible] a feminist coaching practice there. We’re going to have those differences. Did you have something to add, Jen?
Jen: Yeah, I just was thinking of what Rachelle said about, in coaching everyone seems to assume that we are telling people what to do. And that’s the same thing that people kind of think of therapy, that I’m here to tell them what to do with their lives and how to do it. And I always start off with clients saying, “I’m not the expert on your life, you are. I’m just here as a sounding board, a guide on your journey.” And it is about again, allowing that space for them, silence. If you give them some silence, they’re going to fill that space in instead of you filling that in.
So kind of speaking also to what you were saying, Rachelle, about slowing down and doing that 80/20 kind of listening and versus speaking more. And I also thought it was interesting when I was in grad school back in 2010 to 2012, I was the oldest one in our cohort. I think I was 39 when I started that program. And I remember getting really upset because some of the younger people in the program, when the word feminist would come up, they were very, “I’m not a feminist and that’s horrible and they hate men.”
And I was like, “Whoa, where did the message get so messed up along the way? And so it was interesting to kind of get their viewpoint and see where they were coming from and how do you define feminism? What does it mean to you? And it doesn’t mean you have to hate men. It’s not about that. But I remember the first time someone said it in class, I was in shock, I was like, “Whoa, wait.”
Kara: I think the third line of my book is being a feminist doesn’t mean that you have to hate men. We all don’t have to be compulsory lesbians who live on separatist communes. That never took off for a reason. That’s not what we’re doing. But I think we’re just saying it’s important and I feel, especially in therapy, there’s this, the therapist has the sector of healthy versus unhealthy, and they’re going to bless your choice. This is a healthy one. That’s an unhealthy one. But that is subjective, what we think as healthy here versus what they think is healthy somewhere else.
Jen: Because the choices I’d make for myself are not going to work for somebody else’s life. So, I want them to have that autonomy because eventually I’m leaving the picture and they’ve got to make those decisions and choices for themselves, yeah.
Rachelle: I just want to mention the non-hierarchical coaching that we learned. As you know I have an issue with authority figures that we worked on. And so I had always brought that to my sessions, but to me it was an anti-authority thing. And so learning through ACFC, the non-hierarchical coaching and having a different name for it and then seeing it in practice. That’s given me something more to move towards.
Nicolassa: Yeah, I’d like to actually expand on that too, because I think it’s really important that you model it so well. One of the things is, yes, you do lead some sessions, but we also have small group coaches that use their own methodology. And our feedback comes from small group coaches and so it is about removing yourself from the center of the program and the curriculum and the methodology that we’re learning. And I think that’s really important because as you’ve taught in The Clutch before too, we can dismantle a system and then get in a new system.
And then rebuild that system based off of the only structures that we know which are hierarchical, this one person knows more than I do, this, no gods, no gurus. And so I love that you teach that concept. And then you show us in ACFC, when you notice the client doing this, this is how you hand it back to them, continuously hand it back to them and point out explicitly. I see you doing this, you might not be aware of it, let me give this back to you.
Kara: Here’s the hot potato. Hold on to it again for a little bit longer. Yeah, I mean, I think that I could teach it with I just teach everything, and it’s a big group and I’m in charge. But I think each of the small group coaches are geniuses in their own ways. They have gone through the program. they’ve integrated it through their own lived experience, their own expertise. And being able to have that perspective, I think only richens and deepens the learning. The idea that I would have the monopoly on how to do this is very antithetical to everything that I’m teaching.
So I’d love to just hear, I think kind of what, if any hesitations or concerns, I know Jen’s already spoke about having been concerned about being a therapist in a room of coaches, although we had multiple therapists. But other than that, any concerns or worries or fears that you all had before joining the program and kind of what you think about them now?
Osaru: I was curious, I was just so eager to find out how this was going to blow my mind and it did. I really wasn’t, no, I had hesitation. As soon as I saw the email come through, I knew, there was no doubt, I’m signing up, I’m getting this thing done.
Jen: It was funny. I didn’t have any hesitation about applying for it. As soon as it came on and you announced it on your podcast I’m like, “I’m going to apply for this. I have to be a part of this.” And then it was once I got, “You’re in the program.” and then the reality of starting it. Then my little anxiety wheel started up and was like, “Wait a minute, I’m not a certified coach, I’m not official.” And all the stupid tape running in my head. But yeah, once I was in it, it was awesome, it was just such a great experience and all the women were amazing.
And to watch some of the women that were new to kind of this work as far as feminism and their brain kind of opening up. And I mean I did coaching, some of the coaching sessions with them where they were like, “Ah.” The light bulb moment. It’s just amazing to watch and it’s such an honor to be able to be witness to that much like when I’m doing therapy and hearing people’s stories. So yeah, there was no hesitation in applying, it was just then once I got into it and accepted it was like, ah.
Kara: There’s all these coaches were like, “I’m not official, I’m not a therapist.” And then you’re a therapist and you’re like, “I’m an official coach.” It’s almost like women just don’t see themselves as official and sanction, while this group may have been all in. But I will say for anybody listening who has questions, concerns, that’s totally normal. You can always email us firstname.lastname@example.org, ask your question.
I mean I did an episode once with Simone and Judith, where Judith was like, “Well, I thought you were going to make me, tell me I couldn’t believe in God.” And Simone was like, “I thought you were going to try to make me a communist.” And I was like, “You can do either of those things. There’s room for everyone.” That episode is back on the feed.
Jen: That’s hilarious.
Kara: I’ve definitely come in with, “Oh, no, what’s happening?” And it’s been fine. So any questions you have, we’re happy to answer and it’s completely normal if you do have concerns or doubts, that’s fine too.
Nicolassa: I think my concerns were also I had been through different layers. So my very first time I signed up for a coaching program I was really concerned about the cost and really concerned about sending money to a stranger on the internet and that people would think it was crazy and come and take my checkbook if they knew I was doing that. But I have been through so many different layers and levels of certifications now. But I do also want to say, not uncommon to have a lot of hesitation or questions.
And I think knowing what you want to get out of the program, what you think you’re going to get out of it, and really being clear on what do I get for the exchange of this when I sign up and I pay this? What do I want to get and what do I think I’m going to get and do those two things line up?
Kara: Yeah, I mean, the first time I signed up, when I signed up for coach certification, I definitely was like, “I cannot tell anyone about this, everybody will think that I am doing deranged.” In 2015, it was a lot less common. I was like, “So I’ve listened to this woman’s podcast and that’s it. And now I’m going to give her thousands of dollars and fly to a strip mall outside of Sacramento.” I didn’t tell anybody. I love that it’s so much more normalized now but it is still completely normal to have concerns.
I definitely got on the phone with Brooke, before the certification, she used to talk to people that to do. And I in the end was like, “Is this a Ponzi scheme?” I was all up in it. I was like, “I don’t believe the world was made perfect and is this a Ponzi scheme?” She was like, “That’s fine and no, it’s not.” So all of that, yes, all of that stuff is normal. Is there anything any of you wanted to share that I didn’t come out in a question I asked or anything you want to just tell people who are listening and considering applying?” Anything you didn’t get to share.
Rachelle: I just wanted to talk about this question, what would you tell someone who is considering joining. And we talked about this a little bit, but really giving yourself plenty of space to feel and allow the deconstruction process. But I read the materials on Sunday mornings and then I reread them on Monday mornings with a highlighter. And then I went to a small group and discussed them on Monday afternoons.
So I would say to anybody who’s considering joining, make sure you have a lot of time and space to be able to not only how can conversations with people inside the program, but look for people who is in your personal life that feels safe for you to have these deconstruction conversations with.
Kara: I think that also brings up a super important point, which is I’ve definitely had people come through who were well versed in feminism, but maybe weren’t as well versed in an intersectional feminist analysis. Or hadn’t thought about things like their own internalized sizeism or their own internalized ageism or their own internalized other forms of kind of bias. And I think obviously we focus on gender in the program but there’s an intersectional lens to it.
And I think that those kinds of awakenings it can turn out to be something that you’re like, “Yeah, I kind of had worked through a lot of this other stuff but holy shit, I didn’t realize how sizeist I was and how much I had internalized weight stigma and fat bias in myself. And now I’ve got to rethink.” I have weight loss coaches who come through and who stick with it and teach it in a more radical way. And I have people come through who are like, “Oh, shit, I don’t think I can coach on that anymore.”
It really depends on the person but there’s sort of all these other systems of oppression that we talk about that are threaded through that are equally important.
Nicolassa: One other thing I’ll just add is that in The Clutch you have this body image workshop, it’s four days long, five days long. And one of the things that I had done when I first started working with you, I was like, “I don’t have a lot of body image negativity.” But I was concerned about getting older and so I did the challenge for social media, not on body image, but on ageism. And so I started following women of much older age groups than I was.
And I did the same sort of thing when I went through ACFC, I had very specifically started following groups of people who were teaching things that I hadn’t heard before. And it wasn’t like I was ever following hate groups or white supremacist groups. But I wasn’t really in conversations or really following outside that actual chamber. And so really changing my social media diet also really gave me a much more depth of the program and the modules that you were teaching.
Kara: And Jen, did you have something you wanted to share?
Jen: I would just, as a therapist myself, I would encourage anyone that’s out there in therapy land that wants to sign up for this program or is interested in doing it, I would really encourage it. Unfortunately, I think there is kind of within the therapy umbrella, there’s a little bit of backlash against coaching as a profession. Well, there is, I mean, that’s the reality. And I remember a couple of my colleagues were like, “Why are you going to sign up for this coaching certification, you’re a licensed therapist?”
And I was like, “Because I want to, have you listened to this podcast? It’s amazing.” And it goes along with a lot of the work that we do, it’s the thought process and your thoughts become your reality. And don’t you want your clients to have different thoughts coming out at the end of this that fit their life and their world, but also helps them unpack all this socialization and messages and everything that we’ve been getting from the time we were born or even in utero?
So I would, I would encourage therapists, people that are masters or social workers that work in therapy land, social justice fields that this was really great topics to touch upon and learn about and open your brain about. And intersectionality is very much a reality that we’re all living in now. And to learn about that and unpack that, I think it’s super important with whatever career you’re kind of going into in this field.
Kara: Yeah, I mean, the reason I opened it up to therapists was that I had a couple of therapists be like, “We’re not getting these trainings and you’d think we would be, but we’re not in our programs or in our continuing education, so can you open it up?” And I think I use coaching as a vehicle because I happen to have gone to law school instead of going to get my PhD in psychology, which was my other option.
But it’s really, this work on a deeper level is not, coaching is the vehicle for it and self-coaching is a way that people can have their own practice in the feminist speak and do it themselves. But it’s really just a big idea of that is what I am trying to teach is that we are missing a big part of the picture when we try to help people with their thoughts, feelings and lives.
If we are not thinking about not just what is the evolution, not just what is your family of origin, but what has society taught you to think about yourself based on your identity. It’s not more of a coaching idea really than it is a therapy idea or any other kind of idea. It is really, if you are working with people’s brains then you need to be thinking about not just, I give this example on the podcast, but people pleasing as a perfect example.
I have people who come into The Clutch being kind of like, “I don’t know, man, my parents weren’t emotionally, I didn’t really feel like I had to people please as a child. I went to therapy and nothing really came out there about this but I still feel this so deeply.” And I was like, “Yes, welcome to socialization. You have been trained since birth that your goal in life is to make other people happy. So even if your parents didn’t give you this, you weren’t parentified, you didn’t have to caretake your parents emotionally. You didn’t have to, fine, but society taught you that so it’s still there.” That’s why the context is so crucial.
Jen: And you can find it too even in therapy and coaching with clients that they want to please the therapist or the coach and so that’s another unpacking.
Kara: [Crosstalk] coaching. I just did an episode about that’s what, you can get people pleasing in the context, that’s why doing this work not only makes you better able to help your client in terms of the tools, but also how you relate to your client, how you build that relationship. You guys are all amazing. Thank you. We are over an hour so we have to wrap this up. Let’s just go around one more time, tell people where to find you if they want to and who you work with, just to refresh their memories and then everything will be in the show notes.
Osaru: My name again is Osaru Anyumba and my website is first name, last name osaruanyumba.com. It’s O-S-A-R-U A-N-Y-U-M-B-A.com and I work with entrepreneurial leaders.
Jen: And I am Jen Fadden. My website is radicalinsight.net. And I work with women ages 18 and over, basically just on how to find their voice in the world and kick some ass along the way.
Kara: If you want a therapist who’s got the best of both worlds.
Nicolassa: My name is Nicolassa Galvez and I founded Chingona Coach. And I work with folks socialized as women who forgot that they are a badass and whose edges have been dulled over the years at work and life. And Chingona is not a term used that often. So if you just search Chingona Coach and Google, you will find all the things.
Rachelle: And I’m Rachelle Siebke, I’m a money coach for life coaches and other heart centered, purpose driven solopreneurs who wants to make good money doing what they love and to make decisions based off of anything other than their bank account. And you can find me at Rachellesiebke.com and on Instagram @Rachellesiebke.moneycoach.
Kara: That’s S-I-E-B-K-E. Alright, thank you so much for coming on my friends.
Remember, we are enrolling now for the last ever class of the Advanced Certification in Feminist Coaching, which will be starting in January 2024, and registration is only open until October 6th. So text your email to +1 347 997 1784. And when you get prompted for the code word, just text back the initials acfc, all as one word, or visit unfuckyourbrain.com/acfc to enroll. We do have scholarships available, and there is an application process. For those, you can find the link on that same website.