Coaching, Transformation & Empowerment

QuestionsForLiving interview with Rena Hedeman September 29, 2012 regarding coaching, and personal transformation and empowerment.

QuestionsForLiving: Were there specific questions that led to becoming a life coach? If so, what were some of these questions?

Rena Hedeman: Following a personal tragedy during which my life was threatened in childbirth and my beautiful baby girl passed away a few hours after she was born, I went through a period of intense grief, gratitude (for being alive), and personal questioning. And with that questioning came an enormous amount of personal growth.

  • Why did this happen?
  • What is the Universe trying to teach me?

When you experience a brush with death, such questions tend to plague you, probably because you feel so grateful to have been given a second chance at life. It led me to ask myself,

  • When I die, how do I want to be remembered?
  • What kind of legacy do I want to leave behind?" and 
  • What is my purpose?
  • Have I really lived and loved with passion, intention, and gratitude?"
  • Have I made a difference?

I also asked myself, "How can I create a life of meaning, not just for myself but for others as well?"

Then I saw a question in a book which eventually helped me realize I wanted to help others realize their true purpose and create a life of passion, abundance and joy. This catalyzing question for me was "What would you attempt to do if you knew you couldn't fail?"

QFL: Were there specific questions that you were asking yourself that led to your work on empowerment? If so, what are some of these questions?

Hedeman: Before enrolling in coaching school to learn a framework with which to help empower others, I immersed myself in the teachings of many well-known spiritual and personal growth leaders of our time, such as Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Louise Hay, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, and Byron Katie. I didn't just skim their books quickly - I dove right in and really committed to doing the work they recommended. I wrote out pages and pages of answers to questions like

  • Who am I?
  • Who am I becoming?
  • Who do I want to become?
  • What am I afraid of?
  • Who would I be without 'my story'?
  • Am I living my own dreams? Or someone else's dreams for me?

And I found that answering these questions in depth and with total honesty was very eye-opening and extremely empowering.

QFL: Are there some specific questions that you ask yourself when working with clients that contribute to the effectiveness or your work together? If so, what are some of these questions?

Hedeman: Yes, definitely. First of all, it's crucial to practice "active listening" - that is, paying very close attention to everything the client is saying, specific words they choose, the tone of voice they're using with each phrase, in addition to what they're not saying (sometimes silence speaks louder than words). It takes a great deal of practice to become a really effective listener. As the person is talking, I ask myself,

  • What emotions do I sense here - fear? excitement? anxiety? resentment? relief?
  • What words does this person tend to repeat and how do those words play in to what they say they want?

For example, repeated words such as "need" and "should" often imply, respectively, desperation and judgment (from the self or others).

As I'm listening, it's important that I, as the coach, have absolutely no agenda - it's crucial that I'm in no way attached to the outcome of the conversation. There are absolutely no "shoulds" here. The questions I ask my clients, though they may sometimes be tough questions to answer, take them on a journey of self-discovery which is very powerful for them. In most cases, they have the answers they're seeking buried deep inside. It's my job to help them gain clarity by finding those answers, take action on them, work through fear and self-doubt, overcome obstacles along the way, and ultimately prevail. In essence, I help them through the process of "becoming." It's almost like helping a lobster shed its outer shell in order to grow into a bigger, stronger one.



QFL: Are there specific questions that you would suggest individuals ask themselves to improve their own sense of empowerment and personal performance? If so, what are these questions?



Hedeman: People often want a quick fix to their problems or whatever it is they're seeking. They want something as quick and easy as taking a pill or drinking a can of Red Bull. A greater sense of empowerment and personal performance comes first from true self awareness - really, honestly knowing who you are, who you're becoming, who you want to become, and why. This can take some time, and it is usually an ever-evolving answer - in other words who we are at 25 is obviously going to be very different from who we are at 45, which will be different from who we are at 65. So after answering the questions I posed in #2, I would suggest that people ask themselves what they really want out of life and why. "Why do I want this?" In other words, what are they ultimately seeking? Freedom? Recognition? Love? Approval? Appreciation? Self-love? Usually there are powerful emotions beneath our goals and desires. Then I'd invite them to ask themselves:

  • If I really want this, what's holding me back?
  • What am I afraid of?
  • Is that really true? Or am I justifying myself for not pursuing my dreams?
  • What's the worst thing that could happen if I try and fail?
  • What will my life look like and how will I feel if I try and succeed?

Research has shown that actually getting what we want is not nearly as satisfying and empowering as overcoming obstacles and challenges to achieve it.

QFL: Independent of your work as a coach, what questions do you believe that people should/could ask themselves to make our world a happier and healthier place?

Hedeman:  Gratitude - recognizing and appreciating what you've got - does wonders for changing your perspective from one of lack and worry to one of prosperity and joy. Ask yourself, "What made me feel good today? What am I grateful for?" I think you'll find the answers are endless, from your warm cup of coffee on a cold morning, to a compliment from a colleague, to the sight of your sleeping child, to the connection you share with a close friend or family member, to a breathtaking sunset, to your cozy bed and the roof over your head."

In addition, love & compassion - for one's self as well as for others - tend to melt anger and anxiety, loneliness and despair, and increase physical and emotional wellbeing. Even something as simple as a smile is so powerful, both for the person on the receiving end and for the smiler. Practicing the art of self-care and also reaching out directly to those in need do wonders to improve your mood and make the world a happier and healthier place. Ask yourself, "How is that person feeling & coping? How can I be of service? How can I give or share my gifts to help others? Am I honoring my own values and priorities so that I have a solid foundation from which to serve others in my family, community, and the world?"

Each of us was put on this earth for a reason. We have gifts, talents, love and our own unique wisdom to share with the world. By asking ourselves these many questions - and taking the time to really answer them - we open up within ourselves an entirely new world of freedom, personal fulfillment, and limitless possibilities.

For more information, Rena Hedeman can be contacted at:



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Good Coaching can play very

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