It is no surprise that there seems to be a coach for everything these days. The increasing interest in coaching as the next career move has been one of the frequent conversations among people lately, especially during extraordinary times like these.One of the common questions many have asked is the prospects of coaching and how one can make a successful transition.In my response to them, I asked them “why coaching?” Most responses would revolve around “sense of fulfillment, freedom” and “making a difference.”As I tried to dig deeper, almost all are unable to reveal a deeper conviction beyond these cliché reasons. Now if I contrast these response with those highly sought after coaches or top-notch ones whom I had the honour to interact with, the disparity becomes clear.The gap which I’m about to share is what separates a coach who is able to truly make a difference and thrive versus someone who is just one of those out there. A case of embodimentThis difference reminded me of an online interview I’ve watched recently about a transformational author’s story, Christine Kloser, who is also known as “The Transformation Catalyst.”After being an entrepreneur since 1991, she finally hit what most would consider the “jack pot” in January 2009: a successful coaching business. Her book, The Freedom Formula: How to Put Soul in Your Business and Money in Your Bank, became a best-selling. It also helped generated nearly a half million in revenue in a single weekend during a seminar she hosted in Los Angeles. Since then, a lot of new clients wanted to work with her.That seemed like a dream came true, that many are yearning for. Life was great back then but it was short lived.There was something missing in her game as a coach.Inside of her, she felt she wasn’t ready for what it takes to be a transformational author coach. She has yet embodied what it takes to be transformational. She has yet to embody what she wrote in her book, The Freedom Formula.And soon enough, she was filing for bankruptcy.She ended up with $100,000 in uncollectible credit card charges as the credit crunch hit everyone hard, including many of her clients.This is the price she paid by overleveraging her initial success.She couldn’t sustain the status of her initial success.It was during her journey of self discovery, healing and deep inner work at her rock bottom (bankruptcy, a strained marriage, and an unpleasant ending to a business partnership) that she came to live up to what it means to be transformational.She realised that helping other people make money was not a passion that truly inspired her, it was transforming people’s lives! As she emerged from her crisis, she started embodying this mission wholeheartedly.When she looked back, she realized she was putting the business level of transformation first before her core development as a human being – embodying what she was here for in this lifetime. She got it the other way around. She was writing the book back then as a way to succeed in business and not being aligned to be of service with her highest purpose and potential. Through embodying her own metamorphosis, she emerged living a life where her relationship grew stronger with her loved ones. Her impact grew to 50,000 aspiring authors since 2011 when she founded a new version of her business under as “Transformational Author Experience,” despite advice against it from her mentors who were well-known in their fields. She also GAINED so much more in her life having developed a deeper connection, faith, passion and fulfillment with the people, with her spiritual faith and her other aspects of her life.Are you working IN the system or ON the system?In today’s context for speed, convenience and results, we seem to take embodiment out of the equation.Many people seek to “medicate” their problem, hoping it will go away without playing their part to change themselves.Usually, they will demand something like: “Tell me what can I use or do so that this pain/problem goes away.” And then few weeks down the road, they start complaining: “I tried your method, it didn’t seem to work out. What’s wrong? Am I using it wrongly or your method isn’t effective?” They expect the technique or solution to work FOR them, instead of WITH them.That’s why many people struggled to make those strategies work for them, even if they had successfully worked for others before. Then there are also people who seemingly flow with ease and perform at such a high level of impact. They’ve gained so much more despite doing less or adopting an unconventional approach.The former group is working IN the system of things – blindly following the ‘HOW to’ stuff and what others have created. You will see them busily jumping from one tactic, strategy or content to the other and keep hustling like everyone else did because that’s what they were taught. They lack a strong understanding of who they are. They are usually caught up with the doing and not seeing the bigger picture – the interrelationship and subtleties among the details. As a result, they are constantly fighting against what’s not working for them and exert themselves harder, arriving at an eventual burnout sooner than they thought.The latter works ON the system of life.They are not panicky about not majoring the small stuffs (they usually focus a lot of attention on those things that don’t matter). Instead, they focus on setting up conducive conditions for exponential growth and sustainability in their pursuits.The difference here is embodiment.With a lack of embodiment, there is a lack of clarity as you will be busily chasing after whatever that glitters.Yet embodiment is so underrated.Because everyone wants the outcome, but nobody wants to own and to embody the process.We take for granted our own inner work and development as a person, which is what separates an extraordinary coach from a mediocre one, in this context.Those working ON the system of life train and grow themselves through consistent living practices, rituals and setting a certain kind of routine and lifestyle to work WITH them, rather than against them.Just like how top athletes prepare themselves for a competition – mentally, physically, emotionally and even spiritually.Unfortunately, our culture tends to favour the trends of “faking it to make it great” in the face of speed.That’s why there is so much pseudo success going around. What people say about themselves is either embellished or complete fiction, especially among the entrepreneurial crowd. People exaggerate their knowledge, experience, accomplishments, and compensation. The ones who will eventually rise above the noise are the ones who lean in to BE the message and to develop their voice rather than trying to “package” themselves by shortchanging the embodiment process.The distinction here is like someone who coaches with finesse, versus those who are skimming the surface, even though they are doing the right things as taught or following the protocol.Working ON the system of life focuses more on depth than width. They are able to work with higher levels of abstraction. They choose mastery over distractions of variety because eventually, they will get to a point where they become highly robust to handle situations from multiple angles.Most importantly, they dedicated themselves fully into the process, even when they are ‘testing the waters’ or validating their ideas.They go all out and take the first step, even without seeing the “whole staircase” in front of them. They do not wait till it all works out before buying into the vision and value of what is about to come.In relationships, these people would spend 50% of their time with 1% of their “network.” Maybe four or five total people. A really great friend will bring them ten times the happiness of a good friend and 100 times that of a loose acquaintance.In fitness, they would focus on doing just a few exercises exceptionally well. 1% of exercises account for 52% of results. By getting really good at those, they’ll do better than someone who spends their time trying to be “well-rounded.” That’s why Bruce Lee was afraid of those who practiced a kick 10,000 times!It wasn’t about strategies, tactics or techniques anymore…This was my case as well.Around late 2016, opportunities came knocking on my door because one of my Facebook page posts got viral, attracting more than 20k followers on my page and a sudden influx of enquiries.However, many of those enquiries weren’t the right fit. There are two cases of clients that didn’t worked out eventually as I realised I wasn’t ready in my capacity to go there.That’s where it dawned upon me it wasn’t about chasing after more marketing and branding strategies, tactics or techniques anymore. Even though those could still work, my inner misalignment couldn’t sustain the effectiveness of my efforts. That’s where I learned that I got to work on myself in order to step up to the game.Though it was a slow journey, I progressively came to connect with more people who are in the kind of ideal network I initially envisioned. Some came in to my pleasant surprise through referrals and discovering my shift in my communication, be it online or offline. Most importantly, I felt deeply connected with where I am going. Performance wise, there was an increase of creativity, influence and improvements in my communication and conceptualisation for my clients without burning myself out.And interestingly, I saw similar themes of transition with the people I worked with!Upon realizing this, I have killed my existing Facebook page (yes, the one with over 20k followers). I chose to focus my attention and energy on building deep, authentic and personal connections with people. Online content cannot replace relationship solidified and grown by being in person!Embodiment cannot be forcedTherefore, coming back to where you want to be, the embodiment process is sort of a prerequisite for almost anything you want to be great at.What I learned from my own practice as well as observing others is that this process cannot be forced. There are some schools of personal development that used disruptive and some even harsh methods to accelerate breakthroughs. While there are impressive results gotten right there, I also learned through the stories of many of those who attended such programmes is that they suffered dissonance (lack of integration) for a long period. Some till the extent of experiencing a breakdown because their body just couldn’t take it anymore. The transformation they created was premature and the side effects can be unpredictable.There are also many others who just touch and go.The ones I found sustainable incorporate a system of consistent practice, ritual and way of living (lifestyle) together with complementary modalities that support one’s own emotional, physiological, mental and spiritual development as a human being on an ongoing basis.This is the distinct advantage of coaching versus other modes of delivering value such as consulting, teaching, training and mentoring.You can model the experience and success strategies of others but it will come a point where you need to define your own version of success to reach the next level. This is where coaching comes in.And to level up in terms of embodiment, it involves working on one’s emotional mastery and spiritual intelligence, which is lacking in most coaching schools.And I am very grateful what NLP and the various complementary and holistic modalities of healing, transformation and personal growth I had in my repertoire.That doesn’t mean we are perfect. I still have my blindspots to work on. The difference now is that I am much empowered to live by my value and truth.Defining your voice on what truly mattersWhat’s standing in our way towards defining our source of embodiment is noise and distractions.So often, we are driven by too many voices in our head that we missed listening to our own – the one that whispers.In the movie Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character leads a team of “invaders” who are able to enter into the subconsciously shared worlds with other people and implant ideas there that alter their real-world behavior. The climax of the movie is DiCaprio whispering into the competitor’s ear the idea that he should break up the company.He goes on to eventually break up the company, believing it’s his own idea and corporate espionage, opening up the market for the DiCaprio’s patron.Because the idea was whispered, it had a far greater influence on the trajectory of the oil industry than if it had been said or shouted.And in order to listen to this whisper inside of you, be present with silence.In NLP, asking powerful questions is just the tip of the iceberg. The remaining power comes from getting oneself into a state of flow and being present. Only then, you are able to easily enter the vastness and stillness of your mind, for which you can then ask yourself those powerful questions that open up vast resources within you.While different people have their unique ways of tapping into this silence, generally, it helps to find a quiet spot where you are not disturbed.Put your other distractions aside especially your phones!Have your notebook or audio recorder on standby to record any insights that might come later.Choosing a conducive environment helps tremendously, such as nature.What you are trying to do is to get use to listen to yourself – your breathing, your thoughts, your body sensations and your feelings, whatever that show up, without filtering or censoring. The critical thinking and evaluation can come later.It also helps by looking into an open space gently, such as looking above the horizon into the sky, to activate the creative side of your brain.When you are fully present with the moment and with yourself, I like you to put yourself through this exercise of listening to your voice:Imagine you are auditioning for a role in an upcoming movie. And this is a rough synopsis of the character development.”You are given the full power to change anything in the world.With this understanding, you are about to set sail to travel around the world, with great dreams, ambitions and visions to change those things you have been wanting to change, to make the world a better place.But as you embarked on this journey, you eventually realise you have been told a lie about this ability or power.You encounter lots of betrayal and the dark side of humanity, which you felt powerless and helpless about.One day as you are travelling, you met a beggar, who appeared along the streets.He caught your attention. He was unlike the other beggars you have met during your journey. There is something extraordinary yet mysterious about him.And so you approach him, asking what else you can do to make his life better, beside offering him food and some money.Without much words, this is what he said to you:”Although there are a lot of things you can’t change about the world and even with the people closest to you, what is something you are dedicated and devoted to pursue and do it anyway, given this limited amount of time you have in this lifetime, no matter what happens, whether you will succeed or not?”This question got you into a deep reflection.And true enough, one day, you have an epiphany of some sort.”For the audition, you are now given this full stage to act out and fully express this epiphany in your own language, style and your own approach.Capturing your insightsAllow whatever insights or messages to come to you, even though they might appear illogical. Do not force it. It’s ok if you are stuck or nothing comes out of you. Nevertheless, persist with it and come back to this exercise at a different timing perhaps. There is no need to consult Google or your mentor for answers during the process. Because this is the opportunity to listen to yourself authentically.So cherish the moment to be with yourself, wholeheartedly!