Coaching Blog

Seven Amazing Life Coach Lessons Learned From Oprah's Lifeclass

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life Coach


I became a Life Coach because of Oprah.

Yup, that's how much an influence she's been on my life. I first got fired up to become a coach, while watching Oprah do a series with Life Coach, Cheryl Richardson, twelve years ago. Now I'm training other folks who are equally fired up, to become coaches, themselves. Thank you, Oprah!

Last Monday, I saw Oprah live at the premiere of her Lifeclass Tour. You might wonder why I waited 'til now to go see Oprah live. All I can say is, I won the ticket lottery for the world premiere of her Lifeclass Tour here in St. Louis and boy was I excited! Here's what I took away from this amazing adventure...

LESSON 1: Know When to Break the Rules. Moments before leaving my house in Washington County, I called my friend, Career Coach, Joanne Waldman, PCC, for some last-minute directions to her house, more than an hour away. Joanne, who was accompanying me to Lifeclass, mentioned that the rules said we were supposed to bring small handbags, not gigant-o bags, like the one I was planning to bring (Oprah likes her audience to look great on camera, so wear bright colors and keep your little bag under your seat).

No problem! I have a huge collection of cute little bags and I quickly found one just big enough for my wallet and cell phone. I got to Joanne's house right on time, despite some crazy road construction and it was an absolutely gorgeous day. We were psyched to be seeing Oprah in just two more hours and were about to get some lunch on the way when...

Holy Crap! I left our Lifeclass tickets in my big bag at home! (That's life with ADD.) If only...oh God! But it was too late. No tickets, no admission. I called the theater. No dice...

LESSON 2: Set Your Intentions and Act Like Your Hair's On Fire. I called my sister, Becky, and asked her to bring my big bag with the tix and meet us halfway. It was crazy. There was no way we'd get there before the theater closed its doors for the taping, but we went for it.

God bless Becky, she drives like a 5-Alarm Fire Chief even when there's no rush. She met us with the tix. I handed them to Joanne for good keeping and took off to make the hour-and-a-half drive with only an hour and ten minutes left 'til doors closed. Like good coaches, Joanne and I visualized walking through those theater doors with big smiles on our faces and handing our tickets to the ushers. And we made it. With fifteen minutes to spare! Career Coach, Joanne Waldman, PCC(Okay, there was some speeding involved.)

My friend, Career Coach, Joanne Waldman, PCC, in-line with a big smile on her face, just before walking through the front doors of the Peabody Opera House for Oprah's Lifeclass, feeling really relieved to be there on time (and in one piece). =====>


And you guessed it! Half the audience was carrying gigant-o handbags (see above pic) and nobody cared. So respect your limitations (mine is distractability) and adjust the rules to fit you. And if you screw up (which you will), set strong intentions and act on them like your hair's on fire.

Life Coach, Julia Stewart, MCC



<===== Here's me in the lobby, just before the ushers threw us out, insisting we get to our seats. Yeah, we broke their rule to 'keep moving', so we could nab a couple of pics. After all, we were feeling pretty special for getting there faster than humanly possible.




LESSON 3: Take a Chance on the Unknown. I had the option to enter the lottery for 4 different Lifeclass tapings, each with a different guest. Two were Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins, heroes of mine. One for Iyanla Vanzant, who's great. And one for a guy I never heard of, Bishop T. D. Jakes. I really just wanted to see Oprah, so I took a chance on the new guy and he was absolutely awesome. I won't even try to tell you what he said; you have to SEE him. The show airs Monday, April 9th, 8ET/7CT. Bishop Jakes is all about Finding Your Purpose.

LESSON 4: You're Here for a Reason. That was the key message of the show. You're here at this show for a reason (Joanne and I knew that. We were MEANT to be there, so we had to get there on time). Your life has a purpose and Oprah and Jakes taught us how to find it. Adversity doesn't stop you from achieving your purpose. In fact, Jakes' metaphor for purpose and adversity is an archer: If you're the arrow, and your life is the bow, then the farther the archer (adversity) pulls the arrow (you) back, the farther and stronger you'll go to reach your purpose (Joanne and I had just proven that on the way to the show).

LESSON 5: Your life is a class. I was already familiar with most of the lessons they taught that day. After all, I've been a life-long personal development junkie. Oprah and Jakes just have an incredibly intense and wonderful way of teaching it all. They connect to the audience more profoundly and reach more people, as a result. They are more animated (that's why you have to SEE them). They're more entertaining. After all, they are masters of television. They are stars. But aren't you are star, also? Oprah thinks so.

LESSON 6: It's what happens off-the-record that really inspires. At the end of the show, as we were about to leave our seats, Oprah came back out, not for the television cameras, but just for us. She talked about how her purpose was to use television to help people have better lives. That she was always asking God to use her. And she had focused on how to use the Oprah show to serve her purpose, not have the show use her. And that's her big vision for OWN TV. That she has made mistakes with the network and was digging out of a hole (the papers say she just laid off 20% of her staff). She asked for our help to spread the word, so our culture has at least one television channel that uplifts, instead of just pandering to our lowest common interests.

It was her candidness and vulnerability that spoke most clearly. Here is the biggest star in the world (according to one poll), a profoundly spiritual being who just happens to be a billionaire in kickass diamond earrings. It seems like she has the Midas Touch, but even she can make mistakes...

Hmmm, could it be that adversity will help her arrow soar even farther and stronger?Oprah's Lifeclass Tour

Yep, that little speck center stage is Oprah, from my iPhone in row Z of the orchestra. That's okay, I saw her with my own eyes and heard her message with my own ears. =====>

LESSON 7: Be a Servant Star. Oprah's Lifeclass made me realize that I'd lost track of my purpose, so I can't use School of Coaching Mastery to reach it. I started the school to help carry out Thomas Leonard's purpose to improve coaching worldwide with IAC coach certification. He infected me with his vision ten years ago, but then he passed away, the IAC changed, its certification has changed, the ICF has also changed. Now I'm mired in certification requirements...

School of Coaching Mastery has never really been about life coach certification. It's about the mastery coaches achieve on the way to coach certification. But what's the purpose of coaching mastery?

Coaching mastery is about helping people (coaching clients) learn the life lessons they need faster and more deeply, so they can create better lives and reach the highest, fullest expression of their beings. Period.

I've talked for years about the importance for coaches, of becoming Servant Entrepreneurs and I just had the honor of seeing the Ultimate Servant Entrepreneur.

Oprah is a Servant Star. Not because she's about being a star, it's because she's about revealing the star in you and asking you to use it to serve.

How inspiring is that?

In what ways might you already be a Servant Star? How do other Servant Stars light you up? How do you light people up? What do you need in order to use your life to serve your purpose? Do you know what your purpose is? How is adversity sending you even farther and stronger toward your purpose?

Are you ready to step up to Being a Star Who Serves? Please share your thoughts below...

Watch Oprah's Lifeclass Tour on Monday nights at 8PM ET/7PM CT. Watch two hours and call your life coach in the morning...

Topics: life coach, School of Coaching Mastery, become a coach, Thomas Leonard, Servant Entrepreneur, iPhone, OPRAH, life purpose, Cheryl Richardson, Tony Robbins, life coach certification, Julia Stewart, personal development

The Secret to Coaching Success: Servant Entrepreneurs Unite!

Posted by Julia Stewart

Thomas LeonardI've been playing with the concept of the Servant Entrepreneur, a phrase that I coined when looking for the entrepreneurial equivalent of Servant Leader ( I'll be speaking about it at a new seminar titled, THE SERVANT ENTREPRENEUR: How to Become Irresistibly Attractive to Money, Opportunities and People.

In a previous post in the Coaching Blog, I wrote that the Servant Entrepreneur was probably the only business model that will bring sustainable success to coaches.

What is the Servant Entrepreneur business model?

1. Do service for others.
2. Leverage that service (and everything else) to grow your business and create value for your clients, yourself and the world.

In that order.

Simple, huh? Maybe you're already doing it. But maybe not.

Most coaches start out with this as their purpose, more or less, but it gets lost, easily. Especially while you're getting hyped by marketing programs that tell you how to make lots of money as a coach.

Are you making lots of money, yet?

If you're not, then you may be focusing on the wrong step. Most coaches either focus on doing service and leave out the leveraging piece, or they focus on the leveraging piece and only do service as an after thought, which comes across as manipulative to savvy potential clients. Or they flip back and forth, which doesn't work, either. Do you see yourself in here?

How do you consistently do service first and leverage second and become enormously successful (like say, Oprah Winfrey or Thomas Leonard)?

I don't pretend to have all the answers and yet, I've seen it in action and it works and I've seen coaches who don't get it, even "top" coaches, crash and burn.

Here's the tricky part: The Ego and the Greater Self need to kiss and make up.

If you've done your personal development, you know what I'm talking about. (If not, get to work!)

However, most PD programs encourage you to live only from the greater self and get the ego out of the picture. The ego is what has driven humankind for tens of thousands of years. Now some folks are giving it the boot; calling it "pathological" or "dysfunctional". Maybe it's neither. Maybe the greater self is just an upgrade, like from DOS to WindowsXP.

Ego is a source of energy, expensive energy maybe, like foreign oil, but useful at least for now. The Self runs cleaner, but it can use a boost in order to get things done in the temporal world - the one where business occurs. The ego can be placed in service of the greater self and visa versa, kind of like hybrid cars use two different energy sources and produce cleaner running cars. You're probably already doing that to some degree: It feels better to come from the Self and the ego likes to feel good, so it's willing to go there, right? That's why doing service feels good.

Why not let the Self support the ego, too? Having a greater voice in the world, having the power and money to do great good - wouldn't that serve the Self? So why not let the ego succeed at the things it wants, when those things can also serve the Self? For example, why not let the ego have all the money and success that it craves - as long as it's doing service?

If you ever visited while he was still alive (You can still go there by going to and typing in and choose the dates that you want to look at. Currently his URL just goes to a memorial site.), you know that his tagline was, "Ego is good." Ever wonder what he meant by that? He'd already discovered that ego can place the Self in service of the world. Without it, you may as well retire to your cave and meditate for the rest of your life. Not a bad thing, but if you're an entrepreneur, it's not your thing.

Thomas made SE work.

How can you start putting SE to work for you (and the world)?

Topics: coaching success, Thomas Leonard, Servant Entrepreneur

Servant Entrepreneur

Posted by Julia Stewart

We need a new definition of entrepreneurship: The Servant Entrepreneur, someone who always places service above profits. Like the Servant Leader, this is someone who is not in it for the perqs, but for the honor of doing service. Not for the ego rush, but the fulfillment of purpose.

When I say, "someone who always places service above profits", I don't mean that the Servant Entrepreneur is any less savvy as a business person; He/she's still and entrepreneur. But service is first.

Thomas Leonard was a Servant Entrepreneur (He also had a big ego that sometimes got in the way, so there's hope for us all!) Thomas doubled the value of Coach U every year without raising the price. He added value to Coachville members for the sheer joy of it - and he made a small fortune!

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the Servant Entrepreneur may be the only business model that will deliver high-quality coaching and a profitable business, at the same time.

How can we become Servant Entrepreneurs? I believe it takes discipline to do it consistently. It may not always feel good. It may mean forgoing the intoxicating moments for the joy of fulfillment. And that means knowing the difference between the two, becoming aware of how each feels to you.

For me, spiritual fulfillment is a subtle inner knowingness, a joy that connects me to the whole world. Intoxication is that excited little buzz I feel that causes me to check my email at 7 AM on a Sunday morning!

Becoming a Servant Entrepreneur also may require asking yourself throughout your day, "What is motivating you? Who's in charge, your ego or your Self?" And not judging, if it's your ego, but choosing to put your ego in service of the world. This may mean shifting the way you think about your projects away from money-generating products toward value-generating products.

Instead of asking ourselves, "What do I want to do?", we may want to ask, "What does the world want or need that I'm excited to give?"

I believe that this discipline requires that we do not try to go it alone. Precisely because it is so easy to slip into ego-based desire without even knowing it. We need mentors who have mastered this (I'm not sure any have) or friends who are closely aligned with this value to hold us accountable, or spiritual teachers who know us very well.

We need to practice Servant Entrepreneurship, not just light a candle and hope for the best!

This is a big shift for most of us to make. Subtle but big. I'm attempting to orient myself around it, as an operating system. Please let me know if you think I'm missing the mark.

Copyright, Julia Stewart, 2005

Topics: Thomas Leonard, Servant Entrepreneur, Mattison Grey

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