Coach Interview Series: Rebecca Hall Gruyter

by Brandon

Rebecca Hall Gruyter

Founder, Your Purpose Driven Practice

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 Rebecca Hall Gruyter. Rebecca is a Leadership Coach, Empowerment Leader, and Global Influencer. She is the founder of Your Purpose Driven Practice as well as a Best Selling Author and Radio Show Host.

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

Rebecca: We serve a variety of different clients. In our RHG Media Productions side, we’re serving clients that are looking to reach more people. Sometimes in the media, sometimes they’re the host of their own show or perhaps being interviewed on others’ shows. Clients are asking themselves, “How do I navigate those waters? What do I need to do? How do I show up powerfully in those spaces as an expert?”

For example, you need to show up differently in an interview versus on a stage. Different platforms, different ways of showing up. What makes sense to do in print and what doesn’t? Is it important to be a published author or not? Those are some of the things we help with on our media productions side.

We also have the Speaker Talent Search where we help people who are looking to get on more platforms, increase their visibility, and get in front of decision-makers that are looking for experts. We help clients so they’re actually being heard and have that opportunity to be considered for different opportunities in order to grow their practice.

Especially when they’re just beginning in the speaking realm, I find that so many people want to speak just to speak. They don’t necessarily have a purpose or have it tied into their business plan. They’re just looking for experience and I think that’s a mistake. It’s really important to have some goals. You want to get experienced, but you want to be able to represent yourself in your business and know why you’re there and who you want to be in front of.

NCA: It sounds to me like the one word that encapsulates the coaching you do is in communication.

Rebecca: Yes. Communication and sometimes their mindset and time management. On the Your Purpose Driven Practice side, that’s where we get into some of the business skills like how to make an offer and what that means, what offers do you want to have, do you need a gift, how are you going to grow your list, how are you going to reach your people, do you know where your time and energy are going so that you’re spending those wisely and in alignment with your skills?

I would say on the Media side, it’s communication. On the Your Purpose Driven Practice side, that’s probably more the business skills side because we need to be able to run our practices like a business and still heart-centered and powerful.

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

Rebecca: I love seeing them shine. I love to see the light bulb go on and see the impact they’re making. That they’re really stepping into their genius. They are reaching more people.

Because that’s the other thing: if they can’t hear you, see you, and read you, you can’t help them. You’ve got to be visible. You can be the most amazing expert out there, but you’ve got to be willing to be seen and go where your people are, not just where you’re comfortable. I love seeing them step into that space and be willing to reach out where other people are. That makes me so happy to see. That lights me up.

The most challenging is perhaps recognizing what is a busy season versus true growth. Making sure that there’s the right support needed for where the business is going and not getting caught up in the doing part. It’s making sure that there’s time carved out for the vision and directing where the business is going and then bringing in that right support and recognizing when that is. Because sometimes it is just a busy season, and sometimes it is true growth and it’s on a path and we need to prepare for that.

If they can’t hear you, see you, and read you, you can’t help them. You’ve got to be visible. You can be the most amazing expert out there, but you’ve got to be willing to be seen and go where your people are, not just where you’re comfortable.

NCA: Can you think of a mentor who has been the most vital to your success as a coach and in what ways did this mentor help you thrive in your career?

Rebecca: There have been many, but one stands out in my mind. It was when I first started entering the speaking world and I had been in the financial industry for a lot of years coaching and training in that space. I remember hiring a mentor that had worked with Drew Barrymore — that kind of caliber. It was a really big investment for me at that time. It involved travel, so I was very committed to having results and I’m very result-oriented.

I made a list to tell the expert exactly what they needed to fix about me. I double-checked my list as I flew down and handed this list over to them for our first session. With great passion, I shared all of the things. On the top of the list, I had to go with my laugh. Something should be done about that. It was not what I thought a professional speaker should laugh like that. I thought, “What’s that? It’s not okay and you’ve got to fix that.” That was the top of my list.

I remember him taking the list, lifting it patiently and then setting it down. And here’s where he really became an amazing mentor because he held that space for me, but then he told me what I needed to know, not what I thought I needed. He said, “Rebecca, you’re in finance, right?” I said, “Yeah.” And he goes, “So you know assets and liabilities?” I said, “Oh, yes.” And he goes, “When you have something that people remember about you that you carry across the room and people are drawn it, and it makes them smile that they associate with you as a part of your brand, that’s an asset, not a liability.”

He told me, “Your laugh is an asset. It’s something people enjoy. It lifts their spirits. They remember that. They associate it with you. It’s contagious in a good way. If anything, you should be doing that more. The things you work on are the things that interfere with your message and that give inconsistency. You might be saying one thing, but your body is communicating another. Those are the things that you work on. Those are the liabilities. But your laugh is in the asset column. You keep that.”

Not only did it totally shift my perspective around that, but it made me appreciate it. It made me appreciate being more of myself instead of trying to be what I thought a professional was. It was actually okay to fully accept who I am and to bring all of that forward and it made me more powerful in all the work that I did. And for the first time when I laughed, I can actually hear the echo of my grandmother’s laughs in it. Those are the gifts she gave me that I could never see as a gift until that shift that he gave me.

NCA: That’s an amazing story. Thank you for sharing that. A related challenge, I’ve found, with beginner coaches is self-doubt. Some coaches call it Imposter Syndrome, where early on they feel somehow inadequate to take on the role of coach. What is one piece of advice that you would give to somebody who is in the beginning stage of their coaching career and dealing with these doubts in their mind?

Rebecca: Take the steps that help you step more into your power. It’s important to have a certification after your name. I did that. I felt like it was important to who am I to step into this space and it gave me more confidence.

At the same time I think what can happen is we get too caught up in the “I need to learn the next thing. I need to get the next certificate.” We think we need another thing after our name so that we start to feel like we can help. But we can help all along the journey. People need people now and if you have that calling in your heart to step forward and share your gift, do it. Get that training on the way. That’s great. You can always grow. You can always add more. But if you’re being called, that means people need your help now. Not someday. Not eventually when you have 17 things after your name. They need you now.

To share a little more about my own background: I grew up in a very dysfunctional, unhealthy environment. I experienced things a little girl should never know about. When I cried out for help, I wasn’t believed and I was put back and it would become more severe. So I learned that I didn’t matter. I’m not okay. That it must be my fault or something is desperately wrong with me that’s causing this. To act like everything was okay, to smile really big and pretend like everything was okay when it wasn’t. I was that little girl that never wanted to go home. You could tell something wasn’t quite right. I had a big bright smile but sad eyes. That was me.

Eventually the truth came out and I was rescued and I got to move into a new environment starting from my teen years. What I discovered on that journey is that it wasn’t my fault. That I was beautifully and wonderfully made. That I mattered. That I was lovable. I didn’t know that I could share my voice. That it was okay and safe to be seen and heard. That was the hardest, hardest, hardest part of my journey.

On the cellular level, anytime I had to stand up in front of two or more people all the way through my 20s, I would start shaking. I would lose my voice. I would turn purple, not red. I went right to purple. I would shake my knees and just lose all my thoughts and then had to spend time recovering from that moment. It was so severe on a cellular level. I learned to act like everything was okay. If I wear the right outfit, if I wear the right shoes, if I put forth the right image, I could stand behind that. And then if they rejected me, they’re rejecting information. They weren’t rejecting me personally.

When I eventually received what felt like a calling from God to start telling my personal story, I felt like I shouldn’t have to and I had suffered enough. “Who am I? There are all these other people that can actually speak and are more qualified. That’s what they want to do. I’ll mess people up. I don’t know how to do that. I’m a financial advisor. This isn’t what we do and I don’t want to and I’m afraid.”

Eventually, I wrestled for nine months. I felt like God was playing tapes in my head about the journey and I used to tell him all the time, “Okay, God. I’ll do this mean, hard, horrible thing you’re asking me to do if it can help another little girl. If my taking the stand or telling the truth or taking these steps can make a difference for another, I will do this thing that’s so scary and hard for me.” And that was every step of the way because I cared more for others than myself. As he was playing those tapes, I eventually said, “Okay, God. I will tell my story if I don’t have to speak to more than 50 people at a time. I don’t want to be recorded. No television. No radio. No books. I’m not a writer. I don’t know how to do offers. I’ll use a microphone because my voice isn’t super loud. I can give on that. No pictures. No filming in any way. No television. Let’s go change the world.”

And there was silence.

I remember going, “God, I said yes.” And the message came back to me, “Rebecca, these are not contingencies. There aren’t boundaries where you go where I call you to go and share what I call you to share or not. It is your choice, too.” I knew this was one of those things that if I had said yes to, there was no going back and I didn’t know where it would lead. But I also knew deep in the core of my being that if I can make a difference for someone else on the path, I was willing to be scared and do it and that’s what pulled me forward.

I said, “Okay, God. I will do this. But I really hope I don’t have to do everything I don’t want to have to do and I was scared of.” And at the time, no one was asking me to do any of those things. Those were my greatest fears and I do those things all the time now in my daily life and I love most of them.

Every step prepares us for the next. About three months from that point, I had a couple of book deals in the works. One went into becoming an international best seller in all of these different categories and put me on the radar for radio and then that led to television and to all kinds of things internationally. I was on stage in front of 300 people in live streams. Cameras were rolling. All the things I didn’t want. [laughing] I remember being so scared, but I knew there was someone in the audience that needed what I had to say.

What shifted in me at that moment was that I was choosing to do it, and that was a much more empowered place than to be forced to. I stayed and I shared my presentation. I know I cried. And I got a standing ovation.

When I got off the stage, there was a line of men and women and it felt endless. I know it wasn’t but it felt that way in a good way because they started to say to me, “Rebecca, thank you for sharing. I was the one.” And then the next person said that, “I was the one. Thank you for sharing. I needed that. That gives me courage.” Then it started to shift to, “I could tell you were scared. It was obvious. But you were willing to do it anyway. That gives me the courage to do this.” And it went on and on the full day. It felt endless to me.

What I took from that was that I didn’t have to be perfect. I just had to be willing. And that’s been the case with every step along the way. We just need to be willing.

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