Coach Interview Series: Lynne-Anne McGrail

by Brandon

Lynne-Anne McGrail

Certified Personal Success 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 Lynne-Anne McGrail. Lynne-Anne is a Certified Personal Success Coach based in Los Angeles, CA.

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

Lynne-Anne: My husband and I own a company called A Better You, Inc. We’re located in Los Angeles, California. He is the clinical hypnotherapist of the group and I am the personal success coach.

The clients that we see are typically looking for ways to find a better permanent, positive way to live on this planet. The clientele that I work with are mainly women going through transitions, and a lot of them are extremely stressed out. Often times, and this is human nature, when up against the wall in making a decision, we will ask everyone in our lives what we should do. Then our heads get filled with other people’s opinions about what we should do, leaving us confused and stressed. This can lead to negative self-talk that we should know what to do and lay on top of that some self-judgment and bam! Not only are we stressed, we feel really stuck!

My method is an inside out approach. Be in appreciation and gratitude for what’s happing in this red hot moment while simultaneously having a vision and intention for our future. I do this to get away from the mindset that “Once I get what I want for my future, then I’ll be happy. Then I’ll feel complete.” This sends out energy of lack and desperation. If we can take a moment to look within, find that still quiet space, fill it with gratitude, then the message we are sending out into the universe is more positive. The Law of Attraction—that which is likened to itself is drawn, send out negative vibes, get more negative, send out positive vibes get more positive.

Bottom line? It’s all about being aware of our thoughts. Awareness is key. Once we are aware of what we are thinking then we can do something about it. Imagine you are in a transition that’s challenging. What are the thoughts that come up? Most often the thoughts are not self-serving but self-degrading. The “shoulda, coulda and woulda” often lead the inner dialogue. Once an understanding of how we think takes place, with tools and practices, then that frees up the energy to take actions steps toward what it is we want for our lives.

That’s basically what I do in a nutshell: help people make decisions that are for their health and well-being. It’s what they want. Not what they think their spouse wants, or their parents want, or society wants or their best friend or whoever. What is it that they want? What is it that they’re here to do? Ultimately, that’s what people want to do: find out what their purpose is. Why am I here? Coaching is about guiding them in discovering what that is.

NCA: What initially got you interested in coaching and what degree or certifications did you need to complete, if any?

Lynne-Anne: What initially planted the seed for me to serve in this way was that I went through a traumatic event myself. We had a big fire in our home and we lost our brother. We lost all of our possessions. All of the things that I identified with as‘my stuff” was gone — we lost everything in the house. And then that compiled with losing a loved one. It made me go through this really dark time, like “Why am I here? What is my purpose? Why is all this happening?” Turns out this experience made me realize one really important lesson.

That I am so much more than my stuff! I thought I needed all the external material stuff to make me happy, to make me feel complete, to be excepted and loved. Slowing down and looking within for happiness is a scary thing. It’s so easy to attach to the stuff instead of dealing with what’s going on inside my head. There was so much judgement about past decisions and choices that I had made. But I did one really important thing. I s l o w e d down. I learned mediation and mindfulness that eventually brought me to a place of feeling appreciation and blessed for the experience. I was blessed to be close to my brother and realized that for the rest of my life, I don’t need things to dictate whether my life is good or bad. I am truly content and happy with just me.

It came a time to figure out what next steps were for me. Do I want to continue with my current career? I felt like there was something more I wanted for my life. So I went to see a life coach! Best thing I ever did. She helped me immensely (and still does) and I thought, “Wow! This is so good. I want to do this.” While seeing my life coach, I was in school to get my Master’s in Spiritual Psychology through the University of Santa Monica here in California. I graduated with my MA and continued on to complete my coaching certificate from the Fowler Wainwright International Institution of Professional Coaching. They have since sold out to Strategic Alliance, so they’re now called Strategic Alliance Professional School of Coaching.

I also have my degree in Sign Language Interpreting. I’ve been an interpreter for the deaf for almost 30 years, so a lot of my clientele are deaf. What this affords me to do is to converse with them in their native language of American Sign Language so that we don’t need to get an interpreter in there to communicate. There are not a lot of life coaches that know sign language, so I got myself a little bit of a niche here in LA. 350,000 deaf people live here in L.A. alone. I still do interpret on the side just because I’ve been doing it for so long. It’s in my blood and I just love to serve this underserved community. It’s something that I’ll probably continue doing until I can’t move my hands anymore.

Working with the deaf is extremely gratifying work because they’re so grateful to be able to express their feelings, their needs, their desires, their dreams, and their passions in their native language knowing they are being understood. They don’t have to explain what their culture is about because it’s different than ours. Hearing culture and deaf culture are very different. I get that and so there’s a big huge hurdle that doesn’t need to be jumped over and I can just dive right into, “Okay, what is really stopping you? What are the barriers that you have that are keeping you from going forward? Is it your self-esteem or lack of trust in yourself?”

That’s basically what I do in a nutshell: help people make decisions that are for their health and well-being. It’s what they want. Not what they think their spouse wants, or their parents want, or society wants or their best friend or whoever. What is it that they want? What is it that they’re here to do?

NCA: Going back to something you mentioned earlier regarding the tragedy that occurred earlier in your life, what’s always striking to me is coaches’ uncanny ability to flip the script on these kinds of early traumatic events and devote their careers to helping others who may be going through similar situations.

Lynne-Anne: The most powerful part of experiencing that tragedy for me is coming out of that on the other side, realizing that I’m really good. I’m really okay just the way I am and that I can validate myself. I don’t need to have somebody else approve of who I am. It’s like the trauma of it, as traumatic as that was, allowed me to realize I’m still here. I realized “Wow, life is really bleeping short.” It’s too short to put stuff off. You keep thinking “Okay, I’ll wait until I have enough time, enough money, enough resources, enough people then I’ll do what it is that I want to do.” But guess what? It will never be enough.

So as I understand those that have been through a similar experience, I gently nudge them to take a step now, just one small step, into what is scary —change only happens on the edge of our comfort zone—and it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. And you’re doing this while you have a support system in place with a coach. When you can do that and realize, “Oh my goodness. Okay, I just took a step towards something that’s scary and I’m still here. Yay!” then you can take another step and then another step and another step. Those are the steps that I took with my coach that really helped me become who I am today.

Because life is short, and there are so many ways that we can serve, our company A Better You, Inc. has decided to add another component, an End of Life Doula (EOLD). I am currently in training for this. EOLD is like a birthing doula only at the other end of life. It’s a non-medical professional that provides emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical support to a person who is transitioning as well as support for their families and loved ones.

As a life coach I always ask people, “How are you living your dash?” That dash in between when you were born and when you die. What does your dash look like? Is it rich? Are you happy? Are you feeling joy? Are you content to get up in the morning every day to go to work?

Life is too short to not be happy! We all deserve to be loved not just from another person but more specifically from ourselves. And getting into a career that you’re so passionate about, waking up each morning and saying “Oh, I can’t wait to go to work.” Nobody says that. [laughing] Very few people do. I feel really blessed to be on this path that I’m on and it’s something that I’m mindful about. And sure there’s stuff that comes up that triggers me and that’s okay. It’s just another opportunity for me to learn and grow. Barriers come up but they’re not barriers, they’re just opportunities to grow.

NCA: Absolutely true. On the flip side of those positive experiences, what would you say are the most challenging aspects of the work that you do?

Lynne-Anne: I think the most challenging for me is to really allow a person who is repeatedly choosing unhealthy choices in their life and let it be okay. I’m not a savior. I’m not the one that’s going to go in there and say, “If you do this and this and do exactly what I tell you to do, then you’re going to come out the other side being this awesome person.”

There has to be a willingness to let go of old beliefs and misinterpretations of reality, the beliefs that we’re brought up with from our parents, for example, or our caregivers. And sometimes people just don’t want to let go of that.

Some people have a lot of energy still stuck in the past, through trauma and through beliefs. That, I think, is one of my biggest challenges. To just let that person be in that space. Sometimes they never get out of that space, that’s where they need to be at that moment and I just have to let them go.

It’s really important to not let the outcome of another person’s journey define my success. It’s knowing that I’m still good holding space in this unconditional, non-judgmental environment with my client — holding them in a place of pure, unconditional, loving –which is my background in spiritual psychology. I see them through soul-centered eyes.

When you see someone through soul-centered eyes, you can really be with them even if they’re not able to be fully present themselves because you connect to the higher part of them. It’s that higher part of them that I try to align with. If they aren’t able to see that higher part of themselves for whatever reason at this time and space, then it has to be okay.

I give them what I can from what I know and create an environment of healing, success and loving for them to grow. 95% of the people take advantage of that. The 5% that can’t handle it right now just can’t handle it right now. That’s all. I feel it’s true that even if their physical ears aren’t hearing, there’s a higher ear that’s listening and when they are ready, they may hear it. I truly believe that. I think it’s all about planting seeds and adding water and helping them grow. You can guide them and support them and be in their corner as much as humanly possible and then there comes the time where they need to take accountability and take responsibility for where they’re at and some people just don’t want to do that. If this happens, I have an awesome list of psychotherapists/psychologists that I can refer them to if they so desire.

It really boils down to accountability. Being an accountability partner with my clients is a huge part of what I do as a coach because oftentimes when we’re looking to change something, the first or second step is always easy because it’s new. And then something eventually has to change. You have to work longer hours or you have to go back to school or something has to give in order for you to complete that desire that you want. Then it’s like, “Uh, I think I need to do laundry. Or I gotta go to the dentist and get my teeth worked on.” All of these excuses are coming up and that’s where the accountability comes in. I say, “Look. Let me remind you of what your path is here. This is what you’re here for. This is your desire, your dream. Nobody said it’s not going to be easy and just because it’s tough doesn’t mean it’s a bad decision. I’m here to get you over that hump. Let’s talk about it and get over that.”

So we discover what the barriers are, remove them, “There you go. Now you’re free to go onto the next step and the next and the next.” Keeping people accountable is a huge part of what we do.

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

Lynne-Anne: The first one that comes to my mind is to be truly patient with yourself and to follow what instincts really feel right. What happens to a lot of new coaches is you’re told a hundred times, “You gotta get a niche. You gotta get a niche.” Because if you just do everything, it’s really hard for people to understand what you do. But sometimes you don’t know what your niche is right out of the gate. You just don’t know. You’re main goal is to serve and you know you want to help anybody who wants to move forward in their life.

As a newer coach, it was a challenge for me to say, “Okay, wait a second. Do I want to work with just women? Do I want to work with just women and careers? Do I want to work with just deaf people?” And then I decided to just relax into it and allow the clients to show up. They showed up and slowly but surely, a niche started to form on its own.

You don’t have to find a niche right out of the gate. Just allow it to happen organically because you may find that your niche is something that you never would’ve ever thought of.

So to a newcomer, I would just say to allow yourself to be patient. Just see one client at a time and see what happens. Just keep doing it. Just keep doing it. Just keep doing it. 😊

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