My Business Coaching Approach (and concerns about “mindset coaching”)

Stephanie Wasylyk
5 min readMay 16, 2023

After 10 years of coaching, you can probably imagine I’ve tried a lot of different styles and approaches, especially since I’ve coached in so many other businesses where I’ve had to adopt whatever approach they asked me to. I’ve been a chameleon, and although tough at times, I’ve learned tons about what works, what doesn’t, and how to flex for different clients with different needs. Between that and hiring my own coaches during that time, I’ve realized that choosing a coach is kind of like having a job interview; until you actually start to do that job, you don’t fully know the company culture and how they do things there. The same is true for coaching.

Hiring a coach can feel like a mystery box; you’re really not sure what’s in there until you take off the lid. Starting a new relationship with someone is hard enough, but not knowing what you’re getting into can make it feel insurmountable.

To mitigate this, I do three things:

1. Free Coaching — I gift a coaching session, no strings attached, so you can get a feel for what it’s like to work with me without making a commitment

2. Write Articles — Writing is a way for me to share my point of view and beliefs so you can start to decide if we might be a fit or not

3. Transparent Services — I list my pricing and package structures on my website so it’s easy to see what options are available and if they fit your budget

Today I’m going to share some behind-the-scenes details about my coaching approach and philosophy as another way for you to see what coaching is all about. I’ll share what I think great business coaching is, what I don’t do, and how I continue to improve my skills.

But first…

What’s The Deal with Mindset Coaching?

As a consumer, you have the option of working with a “mindset coach”. Lots of people out there will coach you based exclusively on your thoughts, beliefs, and patterns. This is their first (and sometimes only) tool, and they assume the solution to most problems begins and ends in the mind. They believe if a person can just think differently, they will be different.

My concern with this approach is that it ignores the reality of the person’s life as a whole — their responsibilities outside of their business, any bias held against them in society, cultural and economic pressures, and so much more. It assumes that the thoughts are the person’s fault and puts the blame and responsibility on them alone. Some mindset coaching can become quite toxic and cause shame and decreased self-worth, even though it’s aiming to do the opposite. The focus is to erase negative thoughts, and it doesn’t acknowledge why that person has those thoughts in the first place.

I want to be clear that this is not the case for all mindset coaches, and some practice very responsibly and respectfully. Please don’t mistake good marketing for good coaching.

How I Incorporate Mindset into Coaching

I tend to take the reverse approach, and instead I’ve noticed that most of the time clients can use actions and behaviours to teach their mind new ways of being, so we start with actions first. I don’t assume your mindset is “broken” right off the bat. Often, better systems and processes can build confidence and can be faster and more effective than starting with “mindset” alone.

It usually looks like this:

1. We start with the big picture — your hopes and dreams, your values and desires. What is it you really want?

2. We come up with a plan that takes into account the realities of your life, and work towards it strategically

3. If there are bumps along the way, we look at organization, productivity, and systems to see if we can smooth them out

4. If those aren’t working, then we look at patterns, beliefs, and what’s getting in the way

Whether you’re dealing with an external obstacle (systems, team, time management, etc.) or an internal obstacle (inner chatter, lack of confidence, overwhelm, etc.) I will be there to support you because I’m trained in both.

I’m a trained self-belief coach with a trauma-informed and ADHD-informed approach, so there’s lots I can draw on, but really, it’s just about looking at your humanness and what makes you who you are. No shame required.

The bottom line is there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, which is why I don’t have a very specific program I take business owners though. I meet them where they’re at, and we go at their pace, whatever that is. I don’t know all the answers, so we explore them together.

How I Keep My Skills in Tip Top Shape

It’s incredibly important to me that I’m the best coach I can be. That’s my responsibility to you as a client, and it fulfills a desire of mine for mastery. To do this I take courses and read books, but my biggest wins come from working with a private coaching supervisor. It’s like having a personal trainer for my coaching skills. Not very many coaches have coaching supervision on a regular basis, but it has been a game-changer for me. If you’re about to hire a coach I highly recommend you ask them if they have regular coaching supervision, because it means they’re serious about honing their skills. To be fair, most coaches haven’t even heard of supervision; I only learned about it three years ago which was my 7th year in business. Unfortunately, it seems like an industry secret, but I hope it will catch on.

(If you’re a coach reading this and you want to know more about supervision, have a listen to this podcast episode with my mentor Sas and my supervisor Kris.)

In the end, this is my approach and what works for me as a coach. I draw on my decade of experience working with hundreds of business owners, and I wear the hat not only of coach, but also consultant and mentor. I sit with the person in front of me with my full attention and tune in to what they need in that moment and beyond. Something magical happens when you’re fully present with another person, judgement-free and completely on their team. It’s so special, and I’m honoured to do this work.

If you’d like to experience my flavour of coaching, I invite you to apply for a gift coaching session with me. You can learn all about them here and follow the directions to apply. I look forward to meeting you!