Coach Interview Series: Kahila Hedayatzadeh

by Brandon

Kahila Hedayatzadeh

Psychotherapist and Coach

Our main objective here at the National Coach Academy is to enable aspiring coaches to reach their full professional potential. One of the most effective ways to educate students about the world of coaching is by offering them a window into the world of real, practicing coaches and showing them all the different ways coaches make a difference in the lives of their clients.

We hope today’s interview adds another insightful glimpse into the dynamic world of coaching.

Today we are interviewing Kahila Hedayatzadeh. Kahila is a Psychotherapist and Coach based in San Diego, California.

NCA: Can you describe your coaching practice and the kinds of clients you typically work with?

Kahila: I help women walk through their emotional and mental blocks, whether that’s connected with their careers, their relationships, or with themselves.

The traditional process is going back to our past and digging to our past. I don’t really stay in the past with the clients. It’s about getting out of your own way. In the last six months, my work has definitely been integrated with the leadership part of being a woman and leadership in any sort of work environment.

NCA: In your experience, what are the most common ways that clients are in their own way? What kind of hurdles are you trying to overcome here?

Kahila: One of the biggest things is the self-talk that we have. It’s funny, me and my clients always joke around that we’re great storytellers. Whether it’s cultural, societal, or just part of the way we process, we continue to repeat the stories of the past to ourselves and we continue to have those conversations that are not serving us well. That continues to play out in our minds and it takes us away from focusing on the present and future planning.

One of the biggest hurdles is “What kind of stories are you telling yourself? What are those limiting beliefs? Even if it’s not your ideas, what are some of those ideas that you have about yourself?”

Once we recognize what that sounds like, we’re able to dig through the parts that are true and the parts that are not. As human beings, we don’t always need to sit there and think about everything that we think about on a daily basis. It’s just unnecessary. I’d say 90% of our time is wasted on stories from our past or stories that we fear that are going to happen in the future. Those future thoughts never happen the way we had anticipated for them to happen. They usually end up being a lot better than we had anticipated for them.

I think that’s the biggest hurdle not just for women, but for any human being.

The person that really helped shape me into everything that I am — whether it’s being an individual, being a therapist, or being a coach — is my mom. Her wisdom on life and her wisdom on how to treat and interact with other individuals. She just came from a place of unconditional love. That’s what I strive to do daily.

NCA: In working with your clients, what is the most rewarding aspect of that experience and on the flip side of that, what is the most challenging aspect of the work that you do?

Kahila: The most rewarding part is the text messages, the calls, the last sessions that I have with my clients. For example, a couple of days ago I received a text message from a client telling me that she was signing up for a gym membership. They were asking her about personal training and she was able to really dig deep in answering those questions. And the trainer said, “Wow, you know yourself really well.” She messaged me and said, “Thanks to our work, I’m able to recognize parts of myself that I didn’t know existed before.”

Comments like that are really humbling to me and energize me to continue this work and to continue to reach our community and our society and our world to recognize that we’re not limited. Again, what the past used to be doesn’t have to define our future.

As an individual and as a professional, I need to continue to learn and continue to remain curious as I work with clients. Reminding myself to always be curious is something that might be challenging for me at times because no one client is the same and no one client will operate the same. We all have different stories. We all manage life in a different way, so I need to remind myself that just because one formula worked for one person, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for another person.

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?

Kahila: I’ve had a lot of great mentors that were either professors, coaches, or consultants that I had the privilege of being mentored with. But the person that really helped shape me into everything that I am — whether it’s being an individual, being a therapist, or being a coach — is my mom. Her wisdom on life and her wisdom on how to treat and interact with other individuals. She just came from a place of unconditional love. That’s what I strive to do daily.

I think honestly as a coach, if my baseline is love, I can’t go wrong. Because at the end of the day as human beings, literally, all we need is love. And I know that’s a song and it’s cliché to say, but it’s true. It does create a space for people to let down their guard and to be able to dig into the deeper parts of themselves without judgment.

The educational part and the experience and all of that is amazing and I’ve had a lot of great people through that experience, but I don’t think anything can surpass what I learned from my mom.

NCA: What is one piece of advice that you would give to somebody who is just starting out in their coaching career?

Kahila: I would ask them to connect with their passion. It’s one thing that I would say to some individuals who have lost sight of what it means to be a coach. Some people lose the purpose of why they want to help people and why they want to become a coach because I think their thought process is that it’s going to be easy money and good money, and so they lose the purpose and the passion behind the work.

My advice would be to really sit with why you want to help change people’s lives. What’s your passion behind it? For example, some people become doctors because they had a childhood experience that some doctor was able to save their lives. So then they grow up thinking, “I want to save lives for the rest of my life.” Who was that one person that really created the space for you to be able to process something that was really challenging? Are you willing to create that space for someone else?

I would definitely advise them to check in to their purpose and their passion before they move forward with truly being able to do the work in an appropriate way.

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