PP 674: When to Hire a Coach, a Mentor, and a Therapist Noelle Cordeaux
“Who you already are is your unique gift.” – Noelle Cordeaux
“Life is a journey”- sounds so overrated. But for us who are still along the way and understanding life, having a guide is absolutely a lifesaver. But with the choices laid before us, how do we know which one serves our needs? In this episode, Kim and Noelle Cordeaux talk about the subtle differences between a coach, a mentor, and a therapist so you can save yourself a lot of trouble before you hire one. Noelle also shares the benefits of being authentic rather than humanizing just so one can appear “perfect”, especially those who are seen as “leaders” of their own company. Your hesitations and what ifs are slowly stealing away your future! Tune in and discover how to hack your brain so you can make decisions better!
04:26 Fake It Till You Make It
10:37 Heart-Centered Business
17:07 The ICF (International Coaching Federation)
23:19 With Or Without Accreditation?
25:56 Therapy versus Coaching versus Mentors
35:06 Community Building For Each Other
40:15 Why Being in Middle Age is Awesome
“Money is a tool… We need to be thinking about it in terms of creating a life versus gaining riches.” – Noelle Cordeaux
“The best way to look at our present time and even understand the future is to look to at past patterns.” – Noelle Cordeaux
“The goal of therapy is a state of awareness and peace.” – Noelle Cordeaux
“The world of life coaches is based on intuition.” – Noelle Cordeaux
“Letting go of the what ifs and sharing has such a power to change lives.” – Kim Sutton
“Who you already are is your unique gift.” – Noelle Cordeaux
“You can’t make a good decision when you’re having big feelings.” – Noelle Cordeaux
“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” – Noelle Cordeaux
About Noelle Cordeaux:
Noelle Cordeaux is CEO and co-founder of JRNI Coaching. She is also a feminist scholar, ICF-certified coach, speaker, and sexologist who specializes in the relationship with the self. She has carved out a unique niche in the world of coaching, combining positive psychology with clinical sexology to help her clients gain true progress. Noelle holds a B.A. in Literature from Rutgers University and a Graduate Certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching from the University of Texas at Dallas.
Kim Sutton: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity. This is your host Kim Sutton, and I’m so happy to have you here today. I’m thrilled to have our guest with us as well, but before I even introduce her, I want you all to remember that, we, here behind the microphones are people just like you sitting there listening to us today, or it look tickling, driving, trying not to burn your dinner and listening. We make mistakes, we have bloopers, I just mispronounced our guests company name wrong, and I’ve mispronounced or even forgotten my own name on my own podcast so I don’t want you all ever to get down when you make a blooper, when you have a mistake in any given day, because those bloopers and those imperfections can provide a wealth of content and learning lessons for your community. Pay them forward, share them with others. With all of those said, our guest today is Noelle Cordeaux, who is the co-founder of JRNI. And the reason why I mispronounced it, you know what? I’m not even going to get into that yet, but Noelle, thank you so much for joining me today.
Noelle Cordeaux: Of course, it’s been a pleasure already. We’re having fun.
Kim Sutton: Oh, we totally are. I already tripped over my mouth a few times and I know I will a few more, but I used to be so embarrassed by that. You’re a podcast host yourself so I would love to dive into podcasts just for a quick second, if you don’t mind.
Noelle Cordeaux: Sure.
Kim Sutton: When you launched your podcast, did you find yourself being perfectionist with it?
Noelle Cordeaux: No, I didn’t.
Kim Sutton: Oh, I love that.
Noelle Cordeaux: My story, the story of how I became a co-founder, how I became a CEO, a podcast host and a public person was really accidental. I didn’t think too much about what it meant or what it would be like to be pushing out into the world and speaking my truth, and joining others and lending my voice to the public, this consciousness. And then one day, it happened. I was kind of like, Oh, my. And it wasn’t until somebody recognized my voice that I realized, Oh, this is a real thing. I don’t take myself too seriously. And my whole brand, our whole company, my own podcast is very irreverent. And we celebrate humanness because all of the messiness is also what makes up the tapestry of our life. And if we’re thinking about novels, art and what we love, nobody likes a boring story.
Kim Sutton: You said a really relevant word, which was push, you hadn’t thought about pushing. I think that’s what I was trying to do too hard at the beginning, I was pushing. And as a mom of five, I mean, well, I’ve seen myself do it, trying to push square pegs through round holes. It’s just not going to work. But when we can finally stop pushing and find the pieces that are meant to go together, then it becomes so much easier to get out there.
Noelle Cordeaux: Oh, yeah. And that slow space, that flows stride, I think for me, at least the foundation of it has been, what do I enjoy? Am I doing this for me because I’m genuinely intellectually interested in what I’m talking about? Or am I doing it because I’m trying to showcase some version of myself that I have yet to become? And when we’re reaching to present something versus inhabit it, it’s always way harder than it should be.
Kim Sutton: So I think I know what your general thought is on this, but I would love to hear it. What is your thought of the expression, fake it till you make it.
Noelle Cordeaux: I actually really like it. I’m coming from a place that you might not expect. I’m coming from the perspective of learned optimism and confidence, and I’m such a positive psychology head so where my mind went was, Oh, goodness. Well, if we’re thinking about happiness, and extrovertism, and confidence, and optimism, those are things that we can fake until we make it. I would invite anyone who’s listening to consider the future state of making it, what is that like for you? And how will it be so different from where you are now? Because you’re living now, you’re existing now. So you can kind of, I don’t know, try things on to see how you like them for sure. But don’t try too hard because it gets exhausting.
Kim Sutton: Yeah. That’s not all of the response that I expected, but I so appreciate the response that you gave because I hadn’t thought about it from that perspective before. The perspective that I had thought about was from the online influencers who will show the perfect side of their life and not share the imperfect.
Noelle Cordeaux: Oh, yes. Well, that influencers aside, I always like to think of the systems and not the people and just say, okay, well, what does it mean to live in a world where we have something called the attention economy, whether it’s Instagram, or Facebook, or Snapchat, or Slack, or looking at small pixelated versions of each other. Everyone is inhabiting these full gorgeous, complex lives but all we get are these little tiny pictures, how is that fair to anyone?
Kim Sutton: So going back to the fake it till you make it. I am working right now on, so my husband has his video game designer and I am a gamer myself, which can have its struggles with also talking about productivity and automation, and how we can make our life work easier. It made me start thinking about what next level Kim looks like/ when we play some video games and I’ve started gamifying my life to make it just a little bit more fun. What does the next level do that I am not currently doing? So I guess with that perspective, I fake it till I make it a little bit just so I can make it real. It is becoming real the more I do. So last week, I actually, it was Wednesday, I do work smarter not harder Wednesday live videos on my Facebook feed. And I’ve been consistently getting showered, doing, well, not really doing my hair. If I’m going to be totally honest, there are days that I’ve gotten on and I don’t think I’ve brushed my hair. It doesn’t look like it, you would never know, but I look presentable. But on this day, I was in the zone of doing work for clients. The kids went to school, I stayed in the zone and then I looked at the clock and I realized, Oh, my gosh, there’s no way I’m going to get this video done before the kids get home if I don’t just get on as I am right now. So there I was with second day here, I am jealous by the way of people who could have third or fourth day here that still looks super awesome. That’s not me, second day here, but with no makeup. Second day here doing my life and that one has gotten more views and comments back to me than any of the other so far just because I let the usually unseen side of me with the raccoon eyes show.
Noelle Cordeaux: Yeah. I’ve had that experience too and it really makes me feel, first of all, I have curly hair so I’m completely out of luck, no matter what I do with the hair situation. But I guess that on podcasts where all of a sudden it was a video and I was like, Oh, I wasn’t prepared for that one. I do public appearances on behalf of my company, but we have our own private group for my coaches. What I do intentionally for my coaches is when I do Facebook lives for them, I don’t have makeup on. I show up as I typically am, day in and day out. And I’m in my home, which is a beautiful home, but it’s a modest home because I think it’s so easy to curate these images and to hear the words, Oh, CEO, and to make assumptions about who I am, how I live. And I want to pull the wall back and really humanize myself in all the ways. And part of that, especially for me as a woman is showing up with no makeup on and sometimes wet hair and saying, Hey, I just got back from the gym, I walked the dog, I may or may not have had a cup of coffee and what are we working on today?
Kim Sutton: I love that. And I love it even more so because I’m, I just turned my head, my husband and I went on a date last fall, and the older two were supposed to be watching the younger three. Well, apparently, whoever’s turn it was, slacked on his looking over duty. And the younger three should know better, but they found my permanent markers and decorated the wall in my office, including a picture of a hand with the middle finger sticking out. So that is thankfully not the wall that I use during these. And I want everybody to know that my kids are respectful. I mean, I don’t think my littles even know what that means, they just know they shouldn’t do it. And nobody owned up, or maybe it’s just a four to five year olds drawing skills. I haven’t really pushed it because I didn’t want to make it any more than it actually is, but I’ve shown it. Because just like you were saying, I mean, we can see the beautiful office pictures, or once in a while, we can show the big laundry pile that’s on the couch because that’s life.
Noelle Cordeaux: Oh, yeah. And usually my dog is sleeping on top of the laundry pile.
Kim Sutton: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I usually got a cat or two. So how did JRNI come to be? What did that journey of JRNI look like for you?
Noelle Cordeaux: It’s a great story. I have a wonderful business partner, John Kim, who is the angry therapist. He and I met during a period of time when we were both struggling. I’m on the East Coast, I’m in Philadelphia, he’s on the West Coast. He’s in Los Angeles. He’s a writer, he’s a podcaster, he’s a coach, he’s an influencer. And at the time he was really struggling because he needed to structure his organization. And in his own words, he felt like a plant that had outgrown its pot. And I got divorced when I was 29. I set about rebuilding my life at a very tender age and position. I was just to the point where I had decided to become a coach. I had gone through coach training. I was engaged in graduate school, a PhD in human sexuality. And I was really struggling to get my business off the ground, even though I had such a strong voice and I’m a good writer. I read an article that John wrote. At the bottom, instead of saying how great he was, he had a really humble call for help and said, I need help. I need coaches. I’m struggling. And I emailed him, stranger, complete stranger from across the country and said, Hey, John, that was really humbling to see you write that. I’m a coach and a writer, here’s my credentials and here’s my story. And he wrote back to me and said, you’re a really good writer. Can you join my team? And that was the beginning of a peanut butter and chocolate partnership where he jumps off cliffs and I run behind him building the structure. He’s a visionary in many ways. And then I’m the analytical Virgo that asks a billion questions. So what we discovered was that it’s really hard, and if this about, this was almost seven or eight years ago when coaching was really emerging. It’s really hard to do things on your own. It’s hard to do things without a partner. It’s hard to do things about community. So we set out to build a community based organization that we wished we had when we started out. So it is ICF accredited, evidence-based training, but there’s also a really vibrant community of coaches that literally holds and support each other, and motivate each other, and keep each other going. That is life giving. We’ve let it grow organically over the years and now we’re in our third iteration of the company profitable, successful. I ended up making the very hard choice to leave my PhD to take over the company. I became a CEO when I was 36 with no business background, whatsoever, and have been successful because we lead from a heart centered place.
Kim Sutton: That makes my heart glow, just hearing, especially the end part that you lead from a heart centered place. Because I’ve seen, and I work almost exclusively with business and life coaches. I’ve seen so many organizations that lead from a money centered place and not a heart centered place. I don’t want to say belt walls, but become super clear that I want to work with the heart centered business and life coaches, the rest are sort of fading away and I’m attracting more. The differences are just night and day, sometimes it feels like.
Noelle Cordeaux: I agree with you. I think too, as we’re looking at folks with compassion and empathy, it’s really scary to shed those robes and mantles of what we’ve all been taught and conditioned to aspire to. The big house, multiple cars, the career to gain, gain, gain, gain gain. What I think society is starting to look at is at what cost. We have epidemic levels of loneliness, we have epidemic levels of depression, heart disease. Isolation is killing people and their society is really fragmenting. People don’t know their neighbors, we’re losing touch with how to live in community, how to make eye contact with each other. So there has been a grave cost to chasing the almighty dollar in many ways. The way that I approached this is, look, we all need to live. Money is a tool, it has an energy to it, it can flow with abundance. We need to be thinking about it in terms of creating a life versus gaining riches.
Kim Sutton: You have me thinking because there was a point when I went from income-based, 2016. I hit my lowest low in my business in 2016. Everything that you just described, anxiety, depression, I was suicidal in my business in 2016 to make the shift to being 100% impact. And then thanks to my podcast, I was having this discussion with a guest who said, well, why do you have to choose one or the other? And I hadn’t really thought about how focusing on impact could lead to greater income. Because when you’re really living into your heart based work, it shows in the referrals flow. What I found was that, by doing better work, because my heart was in it, now, this is hard for me to say considering I do marketing for clients, that I’m not relying on my marketing to do lead generation for me, it’s my work that does lead generation for me.
Noelle Cordeaux: And I think I agree with you. I experienced something very similar in my private practice. I have 100% referral based private practice. And then for JRNI coaching, which is a large company, we do rely heavily on marketing, but it’s really leaning into the authenticity of the message where we’re not interested in selling anyone, anything, we’re interested in finding folks who need what we provide and making an equitable and mutually based exciting connection.
Kim Sutton: Well, for people who aren’t familiar with ICF, could you talk a little bit about that? I’m familiar, but I know that quite a few listeners may not know.
Noelle Cordeaux: Yeah. I think it’s important to kind of peel back a little bit at the start of this conversation and broaden it out to what is accreditation? What are accrediting bodies? How do they function in many fields, not just coaching? So the best way to kind of look at our present time and even understand the future is to look to the past and look at past patterns. So in the world of coaching, probably the most visible comparison is therapy. So everybody’s familiar with the fact that therapists are quote unquote licensed, and there is an accrediting body. There are many accrediting bodies depending on what branch of therapy or counseling you might be in counseling, social work, therapy, psychiatry. There are different fords, and accrediting and licensing bodies for all of the different disciplines. So when you train to become a therapist, you go to graduate school and you do the coursework that teaches you the theory, the framework and the intervention. There is an accrediting body that takes a look at that graduate program and says, yes, this is legit. This is worthy of study. This will prepare you for the work that you want to do once you are through, and you are done, your training and your education. Although education is never quite done to become credentialed, there is a separate process. So education comes first, credentialing comes second. The same through coaching. I was probably 40 or 50 years ago, coaching as now. So in 1977, that was when all of the States in the US were first on board with accreditation and licensure for therapists. It wasn’t until 1987 that everybody was finally grandfathered in. And the process actually started in the 40’s and 50’s. So it took a long time to kind of bring the entire field together with step standards and ethics. Coaching is at the point where there are a couple of organizations who are just now really starting to gain traction in creating recognizable standards and ethics for the field. The ICF is one of five organizations globally that has a significant foothold, a significant following, and is an accrediting body where they look at coach training programs and say, yes, this is in line with the core competencies. This is in line with those standards and ethics of the field. So the ICF stands for the International Coaching Federation and they accredited coach training programs. And once someone has gone through a coach training program, which gives you certification, if you choose, you can then go on for credentialing through the ICF to get a deeper cut of credentialing to present yourself.
Kim Sutton: Absolutely. I’m a fan of this because I have personally worked with ICF coaches or ICF accredited coaches and non-accredited coaches. When I started my business in 2012, I saw so many people who had maybe been in business for 6 months or 12 months start to call themselves coaches, but with no accreditation. I know this is Positive Productivity, but I do believe that having a coach is what took my business. Oh, I know it’s what took my business to each of the next levels that I’ve reached so far. And the coaches that didn’t necessarily have accreditation didn’t do as much as the ones who did.
Noelle Cordeaux: Yeah. And I think, again, it’s like looking at the systems and not the individuals. Because coaching is an emerging field, because it’s unregulated, the public’s consciousness is just beginning to understand what coaching is and how it can be beneficial. Not many people understand how truly deep and vast the science is, or that there’s even an associated science. So when you’re going for coach credentialing, whether you’re looking at a program that’s accredited by the ICF or not, the thing that I feel is the most important is the visibility of evidence-based technique where you’re learning theory framework and intervention. Theory explains why this stuff works. Framework is the overall framework that you put your practice and your interventions into to move someone from point A to point B. And then the interventions themselves are what you, that’s your art, it’s technique. Whether you’re looking at appreciative inquiry, positive psychology, the VIA character strengths assessment, strengths-based coaching, solution focused coaching, those are all of your interventions that you use to move someone forward.
Kim Sutton: Before I became an entrepreneur in this round and before I moved to Ohio, I was an interior designer for 10 years. However, I couldn’t legally call myself an interior designer in New York State. Because in New York State, you need to have credentials, you need to pass the exam. And it’s been now, it’s been 12 years since I was an interior designer. I’m in Ohio now and in Ohio, there was no accreditation, or it was actually a pretty hefty exam that you would have to take. Did it help your resume to show that at the end? Heck yes, but it wasn’t required here. So I could see the difference between the two. Please know, to listeners who are a coach and are not accredited, I am not discounting your experience or your expertise at all. I don’t want any hate, it’s just what I’ve seen from my experience. But even in interior design, I’ve seen the difference. And it was amazing for me to see the difference between how people call themselves things in different areas, and their experience and their expertise is different.
Noelle Cordeaux: Yeah. And I think no one ever has, I always assume Goodwill, right? If someone is calling themselves a coach and putting themselves out there into the universe, it’s because they have a desire to serve and have a desire to be of service, so I always want to champion that. And something that John talks about, my business partner, he is an influencer, and he was a coach first, and a therapist first, and a writer first, and then became an influencer. And he always feels poorly when he sees folks who have large numbers of followers and then begin calling themselves coaches with the misinformation, that coaching is actually about giving advice rather than leading someone to their own conclusions. He kind of says: “guys, guys, you need to train up on this stuff. It will benefit you in the end. It will keep you ethically sound and it’ll protect you from liability.”
Kim Sutton: It’s actually why I have never considered being a coach because I liked to, and I would love your feedback and maybe your pushback on this. But considering my background in marketing, I have preferred to call myself a mentor because I share a lot more. I would love to hear your pushback on this, who are your thoughts? But from the coaching perspective, I did see it as more of a therapist role guiding people into finding their own solutions. Whereas, I love to show what’s working for me and how people can implement it into their own businesses.
Noelle Cordeaux: Oh, yeah. And I think you’re spot on. And this is one of the areas where definitions become incredibly important. If you’re choosing to work as a mentor, if you’re choosing to work as a coach, if you are a therapist, or if you’re choosing to work as a consultant, because there is such a spotlight on all of these areas and they all kind of get blurred together, having the proper definitions to sort and define all of those different groupings is important. So I can break it down for you. So a therapist, quote unquote therapist would be somebody who’s a licensed psychologist, a licensed counselor, licensed social worker, or a licensed psychiatrist. All of those folks have gone to graduate school, pass their boards and upkeep their license. When they are treating a client, I use the word treating on purpose, there is a treatment plan. So there is a power differential. The individual goes to see a therapist because they’re experiencing psychological anguish that is getting in the way of life and they need a diagnosis code for that psychological anguish. The goal is to get to baseline, to get to a position of functioning, where you’re getting out of bed everyday, where the psychological anguish, which, Oh, by the way, is natural. I mean, people have anxiety and depression that flows throughout life, but it might not be clinical level to get that person to baseline so they’re able to move on with their life. Oftentimes, the goal of therapy is a state of awareness and peace. And then coaching picks up where therapy leaves off and takes well people further down the continuum to reach a state of flourishing. And there is no treatment plan in coaching. Coaching is a coequal strategic partnership where coach and client dump out the life let go’s, and the coach uses the art of inquiry. Strategic inquiry, asking questions, and then mirroring the client’s words back to them so that the client can draw from their own inner wisdom. Set strategies, set action steps, and then be held accountable by the coach. A mentor and a consultant are both direct. So someone is hiring a mentor or someone is hiring a consultant directly because of the experience that they have, the wisdom or quote unquote advice that they will impart. So you’re actually paying for the knowledge to do this, do that. Coaching has a caveat to it called psychoeducation. So if you’re sharing with your clients, facts, things that are true and real, not just your opinion about what they should do, that’s fair game. So in my own work, I work heavily in psychoeducation. And the types of things that I share with my client might be the neurobiology of anxiety. Something I say a lot is, it’s not you, it’s your brain. Let me explain how that works. And I’m not telling my client what to do, I’m giving them legitimate information about the chemicals and what’s happening in the brain so that they can make the best decision about their own time.
Kim Sutton: I don’t think I’ve ever had it laid out for me so clear before, so thank you. I just thought my mentor sounded good and that it would give me that greater freedom to talk more. I’m an introvert, but when I get really passionate about what’s working for me, it all spills out.
Noelle Cordeaux: That’s awesome. Those are the passion bubbles.
Kim Sutton: Absolutely. So now to call yourself a therapist, at least in the United States, do you need the accreditation?
Noelle Cordeaux: Yeah. Becoming a therapist in the United States is a pretty lengthy process. You go through two to four years of graduate school, and then once you’re through graduate school, you go for licensure. Licensure involves collecting a series of hours and then sitting for an exam before a review board. And therapy is also in the medical model so we’re coaching would be in the wellness model.
Kim Sutton: Do you see coaching going down that path as well?
Noelle Cordeaux: I think there’s a really long way to go before we get there, because coaching comes in so many different forms and formats. I mean, we could take a baseball coach, an executive coach, or a Reiki healer, a personal trainer and put them all in the same room and say, okay guys, let’s figure out how you need to work. It’s really broad and I don’t think that there’s public consciousness recognition or support around standardizing the field. People are kind of like, Oh, Oprah has a life coach. That’s cool.
Kim Sutton: They hadn’t really thought about the baseball coach aspect of it before. I mean, my husband and I have our little league, like T-ball coaches for one of the two older kids when they were younger. I never played baseball outside of gym class and I was not good at it. But there I was because they needed parents to coach in order for the league to run. There I was stepping up to bat, not literally. But calling myself a coach, I will not do that again, by the way.
Noelle Cordeaux: And there’s deep theoretical roots no matter what direction you go in. A baseball coach, especially at the professional level is probably really well versed in sports psychology. And then when we’re flipping over, I saw you talked a lot about the law of attraction that actually comes from the science of priming, that comes from sports psychology. So for a long time, the world of life coaches is kind of based on intuition. And we’re now at the point where I can talk to folks who work from an intuitive perspective and actually put science to what they’re telling me, to back up their thoughts, techniques and feelings. Everything is kind of shifting, the ground is shifting underneath everybody right now.
Kim Sutton: Yeah. Just yesterday on Twitter, and I haven’t been on Twitter in quite some time, although it’s probably the network that I have the most followers on, being careful about what I’m saying here. I stated a political opinion, which I don’t normally do and I never do on the podcast. I noticed a whole, a big drop off in followers. And I joked about how I was voicing my truth in my political opinion. If I could lose weight, like I lost followers from that, then that would be amazing. I don’t remember where I was going with that. I had a way to circle that back around to what you were just talking about. There you go people, Positive Productivity is not about perfection.
Noelle Cordeaux: Yeah.
Kim Sutton: Yeah. I don’t know.
Noelle Cordeaux: We hear you talking about the ground shifting and I can relate to, it’s kind of what you were saying. Because as I said, I kind of became public by accident. And now that I’m out here, I realize how people swarm, and we do live in a world where all you know about someone is the little curated soundbites or pixelated images. It’s so easy to not see the whole human or understand their full context and just take one snippet. And in a lot of ways, I feel like that aspect of our own existence has made me a little bit more two dimensional, that because I have a responsibility to be the steward of my company. As a CEO, I am hesitant to allow my full self out into the world.
Kim Sutton: Which is somewhat ironic because, and I’m not picking on you or jabbing you at all because right on your website, your story, you can help others. I feel and I’ve seen so many clients hold back because they’re afraid of the what if’s. I was afraid of what if’s. Letting go of the what ifs and sharing has such a power to change lives.
Noelle Cordeaux: And I think it’s nuanced too. So when I first started out as a coach, I talked a lot, and sometimes I still talk about it but not with the same frequency. I talked about a lot with my past, with eating disorders. I talked a lot about my past depression. I talked about what it was like to get divorced at 29. Those were very, very poignant topics to me as the years have rolled on. It’s not that that’s any less of my story, it’s just so much further in their rear view that it’s not on the tip of my tongue anymore. And it doesn’t excite me as much to talk about eating disorders and depression. I’d rather talk about brains, biology and how we really work at a nitty gritty level. And I think that’s just a reflection of my own personal evolution.
Kim Sutton: Oh, those are just like chapters one through four, and now you’re on to the rest of the story. What are you most excited about in the upcoming months? I don’t necessarily want to timestamp for your sake, but what excites you the most about what you are working on right now?
Noelle Cordeaux: Yeah. Oh, so much. I’m really passionate about the concept of community building, because I see isolation as one of the major problems that we have to overcome as a society right now. What I do obviously is I build my organization, but I’m very clear that my coaches must gather and we must create community with each other. So I infuse that with professional development experiences. So I know how scary it can be when folks are starting out as baby coaches and how small wins like writing your first blog post or having your first client can be just, they move mountains in terms of confidence and intellectual curiosity. So I’m blowing the barn doors off, and every year I take my coaches, we’re part of the Wellness Expo for South by Southwest. I throw them to the wolves and we coach live on the floor outset at South by Southwest. There’s 15,000 people who come through that expo center everyday. I get to watch my coaches go from terrified to rock stars by the end of that weekend. And it’s the best experience in the world. So I have that coming up, or having a fantastic retreat in June in Los Angeles where everybody comes for a whole weekend. All over the city, we gather our coaches to run workshops for each other to expand learning. We have bonfires, we eat pizza, so those are probably my two greatest hits. And the reason that they’re my greatest hits is because we’re in person and we’re really seeing and connecting with each other.
Kim Sutton: I absolutely love that. And especially because through the podcasting community, I’ve made a lot of incredible friends who are also podcasters. It’s sort of funny because you say you’re from Philadelphia, I’m in Ohio, but most of my, who I consider my closest friends are on the other side of the country, LA, San Diego. So we’re actually working to coordinate an annual or semi-annual retreat where a small group of us gets together and punches out the goals for like three to five days together.
Noelle Cordeaux: Oh, how awesome.
Kim Sutton: Masterminding, but the community, yes, you’re so right. I mean, the community has been so vitally important. And at the beginning of my journey, I was afraid to show up because I was afraid of not being enough. But as the journey has gone on, I’ve realized that where I’m not enough in one area, I’m more than enough in another. There’s always somebody out there who can compliment and we can support each other and build each other up.
Noelle Cordeaux: Oh, yeah. And that the concept of enoughness is something that we talk about a lot because when folks come into our organization, that’s a really common feeling is I’m not enough. And the answer is who you already are is your unique gift.
Kim Sutton: I wish that was taught to my kids in school. I wish that was taught to me in school.
Noelle Cordeaux: So much of the work that I do, I wish was taught in second grade. When I sit with my coaches and we talk about negativity bias, we talk about neuroplasticity, and we talk about, literally, the fact that your prefrontal cortex, your logic center cannot be turned on at the same time as your emotional center, your limbic system. The way I teach this to little people is that you can’t make a good decision when you’re having big feelings because your logic center is turned off. And when I explained this to my coaches, who are adults? Minds are blown. They’re like, why didn’t we learn this sooner? I don’t know.
Kim Sutton: Can you say that one more time? Did you say we can’t make big decisions when we’re having big feelings?
Noelle Cordeaux: You can’t make good decisions–
Kim Sutton: Good decision.
Noelle Cordeaux: Yeah. So your prefrontal cortex, right in the center of your forehead, third eye, your logic center, literally what your prefrontal cortex does is it decides what to drive focus from one task to the next and it’s what sustains our logical decision making. Our limbic system, our emotional brains govern emotions, both good or bad. There’s a good reason why they turn on and off, and that is your fight or flight response. So it’s an evolutionary trait. When our ancestors were learning how to survive, they didn’t need their logic center to be present. If there was a woolly mammoth charging, they needed their muscle memory to kick in and their emotional response to be afraid and to run. And now here we are with this mechanism where you’re the evolutionary trait towards negativity bias to look at fear, and the fight or flight response often hijacks our systems and shuts down that logic center. And in modern life, there are very few things that we can actually outrun.
Kim Sutton: This is also relevant right now. Last week, there was an assembly at the high school here in my town. Next year, so the next school year I have one child entering his freshman year of high school and another entering his senior year. And Noelle, would you believe I’ll also have two kindergarteners and a first grader? So I’ll have two kindergarteners and a senior. But anyway, so we were getting the rundown of what high schoolers need to know about. When the freshmen come in, here’s how he needs to plan for the next four years. But then we had to be there for the incoming senior because he’s in college level courses. And for some unknown reason, we didn’t have this session when that one was entering high school. So we got all this information that we were never aware of, but one of them was that we didn’t realize that in our school district, seventh graders can take college level courses. And these college level courses could actually entail that they go to the college campus and are sitting in the auditoriums or in the lecture halls with who knows what age. I mean, my husband started college when he was 31 or 33. I went straight out of high school, but I know my stepmother went to school when she was 50. She went to college when she was 50. So one of the things that they let us know, and I have a point for all this, and I do remember at this time was, as parents who have kids taking college level courses, there’s actually regulations on how much we can be involved. Whereas, we can be involved in their high school education and call the guidance counselor and get our questions asked. We can’t do that when they’re college students.
Noelle Cordeaux: Wow.
Kim Sutton: Yeah. Isn’t that crazy? I mean, I came home and I talked to my husband because our kindergartener now is exceptionally bright. We will never force her to do anything that she doesn’t want to do or that we don’t truly feel she was ready for. But in that moment, I was like, there’s no way that when she gets into seventh grade, I’m going to put her into that environment. Could that be holding her back? Possibly. If she decides she’s really ready then great. But where I’d like to see her even before then is going through all the learnings that we have just discussed. But looking back at the person that I was when I was in seventh grade, I don’t think I was equipped for it. I don’t think I would have been ready to learn a lot of these life lessons. I don’t think I would have truly understood the power of mindset, therapy and life coaching because I had not gone through a lot of the life experiences, which took me through the 20, 30 years after that.
Noelle Cordeaux: Oh, yeah. There’s a book, and I’m searching the drawers of my memory for the name of it. I think it’s called Late Bloomers. I heard about it on an NPR report. And the premise was that, there’s such a push to have kids grow up really fast and it’s, where am I going to go to high school? Where am I going to go to college? In startup culture, I have to build a company and make it rich before I’m like 25. And there’s a reason why wisdom comes in middle age because you knock around, and you have your life experiences, and then you reach a threshold where you do have gravitas. I don’t think that I would be able to do the job that I do with the efficacy that I do it with. Had I undertaken this at an earlier age, I had not enough impulse control.
Kim Sutton: I wanted to ask that because I started my first business and I’m totally dating myself or aging myself right now. I was 25 when I started my first business, and I didn’t know what I was doing. But it did provide a lot of the learning, and the experiences, and the failures that I learned from to do what I do now. But I’ll be 41 in a month. My 40th year of life provided more learning than I would have to say the first 40 years did.
Noelle Cordeaux: Wow. That’s awesome. Yeah, I’m around the same age, I turned 40 this year. I really enjoy aging because of the kind of settling into my skin, the confidence of shedding things that I thought were important but really aren’t. I did a lot in my time, for as old as I am. It was kind of a life reboot when I got divorced. Then I went through a triple degree program, two master’s and a PhD, and collected my coaching certification. I’ve been through five graduate programs, it’s kind of nutty. I haven’t graduated from them, but I’ve undertaken this study and then built a company and became a CEO. So looking at that, it’s like, wow, I was busy. I was busy and I did a lot, and I learned a lot, but I think there’s a difference between learning and synthesis. And when you reach a point where you can kind of view your learning in context, that’s when you start to synthesize, put things together and truly build.
Kim Sutton: Personal question, do you have kids?
Noelle Cordeaux: I do not.
Kim Sutton: Okay. Because while you were talking about the five degrees, I was thinking about the five kids. I can see the parallel between what you went through with your degree programs and me growing up with my kids. It was the experiences and now I’ve got that synthesis,. even just that, and there’s their stigma that goes along with titles, like mompreneur, or momboss, or boss mom, or whatever you want to call it., but that really does shape my work now. I have no doubt that your past experiences have totally shaped your life. I mean, you’ve just expressed to us how it was, so I’m loving it.
Noelle Cordeaux: Yeah. And it’s so interesting to be at this point because I always thought that I was going to be a mom. That was really something, it was an identity that I attached to. And when I got divorced, it kind of turned my whole world upside down and I had expected to have kids by then. And then as time marched on, it didn’t happen for me. And not that it couldn’t now, I’m 39, but I don’t think it will and that’s okay. I had to kind of grieve that for myself and then also be in community and partnership with all of my wonderful friends and family members who have kids. Recognizing what a big deal it is with a capital B and how it does alter every single facet of your existence.
Kim Sutton: I was just about to say, Hey, anytime you want to borrow mine, ‘m not that far. You can borrow mine for the entire season.
Noelle Cordeaux: I spent 48 hours with a one year old and a three year old. I came home and my husband said, what happened to you?
Kim Sutton: Yeah. Yeah, that’s all I got to say about that. People, I love my kids, but I have loved all aspects of our conversation here today. So thank you so much for joining me. Would you share with listeners where they can find you online, where they connect and where they can get to know more.
Noelle Cordeaux: Sure. jrni.co, J-R-N-I.C-O is our site. And if you type in jrni.co/podcast, you’ll see a special offer for anyone who listens to my podcast, your podcast for our coach training program. And it is the JRNI Coaching Intensive. So if you liked listening to me, you’d probably like training under me as well. And I’m happy to have conversations with any of your listeners that are curious.
Kim Sutton: Fabulous. Listeners, if you’re driving, try not to burn dinner on the elliptical, whatever you can go to the kimsutton.com/pp674 and find all the links right there. Noelle, thank you so much again, this has been an absolute pleasure. And thank you for actually letting me know that choosing a mentor as the title, just gave me so much confidence in using that name, so thank you.
Noelle Cordeaux: You’re welcome.
Kim Sutton: Do you have a parting piece of advice or a golden nugget that you can offer to listeners?
Noelle Cordeaux: Goodness gracious. So I will leave you with my favorite powerful coaching question. What would you do if you knew you could not fail?