As we take stock of the year that has passed, this famous quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt seems to sum it up on so many levels. “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” These sage words still ring true as we enter uncertainty in 2022. Therefore, we have decided to make this our year of “Possibility” and use this theme as our guide.
At Moving the Human Spirit, we spent last year trying to perfect the ‘knot-tying analogy,’ working on training trauma informed coaches so they may share their gift and do the work that is so needed while we all hold on tight. We want to take an opportunity to thank not only our team but those who walked this path. That would be ‘You”. Choosing to become part of something that not everyone can work in or hold space for. Choosing to participate with a group of individuals who wanted to adapt coping skills within the trauma lens instead of being drawn into traumas abyss. You helped create a community that remains curious and compassionate, sharing wins and losses in an essential body of work. Please know we hold only admiration as we thank you.
With these intentions, in 2021 we were able to certify over 100 trauma informed coaching students worldwide. Globally it may seem like a small amount compared to what is required, yet we are growing, adding to the few that have come before. We hope you take great pride in being among the first Trauma Informed Coaches globally. We certainly do. The seeds have been planted; the garden will grow.
We have seen massive changes through the professional governing body of coaching, the International Coaching Federation. They have incorporated new levels of standards with the training programs they accredited. These high standards are being implemented moving forward to guarantee things such as ROI (return on investment) and ROE (return of expectation). Their dedication to ensuring that we are ‘on our game’ and adhering to the ethical practice and competencies will keep us faithful to the quality that we strive for with our course delivery. It will also contribute to the caliber of those individuals who certify through our training. All in all, a move in the right direction and very “possibility” driven.
Our plan for 2022 involves developing and expanding our presence globally by delivering our trauma training to more English-speaking regions in America, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The demand in 2022 has us incorporating more classes than we originally planned. With the traumatic environment that the pandemic has created, our effort to continue to provide support with well-trained trauma informed coaches is paramount. We continue to explore, research, and incorporate new information regarding client regulation, brain-body connection, the neuroscience of trauma, behavioral maladaptation, symptom relief and recovery, and other developments as they become available. To help us with this initiative, we have invited some fantastic new members to our team. They will help support the growth and further expand areas that we feel are needed. Please take some time and welcome the new members of our team. We are delighted to have them.
The Wounded Warriors Canada program Couples Overcoming PTSD Everyday (COPE) that we have worked on for six years was reinstated near the end of 2021. This is the work that we do primarily with First Responders and Military Couples, which served as a case study in our training. The COPE Phase I consists of clinical group-based facilitation conducted by Psychologists and is designed to combat isolation and shame that is part of life in families working through operational stress issues. Moving the Human Spirit has been part of COPE’s Phase II delivery with a six-month follow-up of Trauma Informed Coaching. Phase II assists clients in managing the impact that trauma can have on a relationship while building healthy habits that sustain the couple moving forward. As we learn safe ways to be in the group setting, we hope the pandemic will not delay this crucial work again. We are ready!
At Moving the Human Spirit, our focus in the future is working to fulfill a need with the expansion of more trauma informed coaches. We are growing our team to support the development and delivery of the quality training being offered throughout 2022 and further. As we evolve as a company, we aim to keep our clients at the heart of our vision and help others evolve, awaken, and grow as we engage those who need us. We will consistently deliver our training and coaching with courage, commitment, and respect. We continue to hold each person as a capable individual who belongs. In doing this, we hope to maximize all human potential toward change.
MTHS stands united by our mission; to move the human spirit, one person, one family, and one community at a time while generating powerful solutions in a positive environment. We move forward this year inspired and filled with “Possibility” as our guide! Bring it on 2022!
This article was written for the Erickson Coaching International blog.
As leaders in Trauma Informed Coaching, Moving The Human Spirit is often asked how coaches can become involved with coaching clients who have experienced trauma, specifically coaching clients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The questions are: What is needed? Is the skill set different or are there special requirements to be able to do this type of coaching? What we have experienced with our various clients so far, is that each and every person, and their experience and definition of trauma, is different. What works for one does not always work for others.
The next question becomes: How do you get started in this field? There are no hard and fast rules, but based upon our experience, here is what we have found to be the most helpful to successfully working in this field called Trauma Informed Coaching. A Certified Coaching Program in which you are being trained to coach at the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) level, and a coaching program that is recognized by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) - is certainly the first and most mandatory step to becoming a Trauma Informed Coach.
We work along with our Moving The Human Spirit Associate Coaches who are trained in various other areas including the latest brain sciences, Emotional Intelligence, Conversational Intelligence, trauma counselling, Somatic Experiencing, Masters of Counselling Psychology and Master Practitioners of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, along with other various modalities that support in the process of healing and mastering the effects of trauma. As a Trauma Informed Coach, it is very helpful to bring an awareness to the process of trauma in the physical body, how this connects with the mind/brain and how it may manifest itself in both. This is good insight when uncovering and releasing anxious states. There are other programs offered by several universities or colleges which Trauma Informed Coaches may consider learning about cause and effect which will assist them when encountering clients who have experienced trauma.
As Trauma Informed Coaches, we do not treat trauma – we are simply aware of all of the nuances of working with clients who have experienced trauma.
Trauma Informed Coaches can help alleviate symptoms in trauma survivors by helping to create new positive experiences and diffusing event flashbacks. We assist with emotional and conversational intelligence, giving language to feelings when possible, supporting when there is no language for these, learning to manage the window of tolerance and supporting our clients to start to create a picture of a better future that they want for themselves, building this capacity little by little over time. As Solution-Focused Trauma Informed Coaches – we acknowledge and honor the past where it is, honor the person for who they are now and focus in on starting to bring an awareness to the present and the positive possibilities of the future, including post-traumatic growth. We bring awareness to other feelings that may/may not serve the client at this time such as anger and unnecessary arousal.
It is recommended that the client has been cleared to work with a Trauma Informed Coach by their family doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist or providing Trauma Informed Coaching in conjunction with these other professionals. If at all possible, it is best if you can create and have a working relationship with the psychiatric or psychologic treatment area that your client has been working with. It is highly recommended that your client discuss with their psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor that they would be seeking a Trauma Informed Coach to compliment the healing process. As long as the client feels strong enough to participate with the coaching sessions themselves, then you can form a client relationship that is supportive and successful for everyone involved.
From a Trauma Informed Coaching perspective, the more specific coaching approaches or tools that have proven to be effective for post traumatic stress are:
Positive short-term results include building trust with any trauma survivor. Usually, the client’s world has been turned upside down and they lose trust in most areas of their life and with most people in their lives. This makes them more susceptible to post-trauma stress. As a Trauma Informed Coach, it will take time to build this trust with you and for your client to understand what trust means to them now. If over time, you are unable to build this trust with your client, we recommend that you support a safe process of referring your client to a more advanced Trauma Informed Coach in that specific field or seek another trained professional in which to refer your client to.
Trauma Informed Coaches must be able to conduct sessions that may have lengthy silences, involve highly agitated states, or involve shutdowns in the moment. They require advanced listening skillsets when things are being said, understanding what is not being said or even a very brief “hmm”. While it may seem like nothing has happened in a session to us as coaches, this could seem completely different for the trauma survivor. When doing Trauma Informed Coaching watch for these things: anxiety, disassociation, redirecting, and delusion. Tone and sound are incredibly important to the trauma survivor as it can take them in and out of a flashback. Be very aware of the breath and breathing of the trauma survivor when coaching them. If you are having a visual session, be aware of the body language being created.
The overall goal of Trauma Informed Coaching is to support the client to move towards mastery of their particular situation and supporting them to find and learn ways and practice tools and skillsets. This will help them to continually move towards a life that they want to create for themselves – perhaps a calm, peaceful and more enriched life.
Brad Hardie, PCC, ECPC, PNLP, MPNLP Trauma Informed Coach,
Families & Couples Coach, Stress & Chaos Management, Facilitator,
Founder of Moving the Human Spirit.
What we can learn if we listen.
As a life coach I know that one of the most important things in our work is the ability to listen and listen well. It is referred to as “active” listening, where you want to catch every word and hear exactly what is being said because it is essential to your work and the client you are serving. On National Indigenous Day, I couldn’t help but think what could be different if only we listen.
If listening skills are employed from the beginning, then the nuance of the Indigenous peoples stories can teach us so much more about who they are and how they show up in this world. What I “hear” is, the Indigenous peoples have the ability to step into a Coach position in almost anything they take on. Within their unique culture, amidst all its diversity and resilience, they replicate several of the tools used by a master coach.
Indigenous peoples skill for patience is something that has been handed down over years of big picture thinking when it comes to things like the environment and its management for future generations to be able to care for and sustain their children. They recognize the power of selection and taking only what is needed for life to continue.
Self-questioning that promotes intrigue and self-reflection mirrors the solution focused approach and solution problem solving. Indigenous peoples tend not to tell, but to ask what is next, how can this be different, not unlike a Coach helping a client become empowered to produce positive outcomes from inside of themselves. They have always demonstrated a curiosity, which gives them a creative edge that looks forward in a joyful way.
While most of us rush through our lives looking “busy” and being heard loudly, we think that translates into self fulfillment and productivity, our Indigenous neighbours are completely comfortable in the quiet. Knowing when to be “silent” is another tool required to be an amazing Coach. When you allow yourself to think or reflect as opposed to having to react, a flood of ideas can be realized. We may feel like we are afforded little time to be silent, yet if we were to incorporate this as a habit then we would soon learn that being with ones self in silence has a therapeutic effect and can increase healing and resolution through reflection.
One of the biggest triumphs that I honor with Indigenous peoples is their dealing with fear through incredible bravery. Coaches, especially us who work in the Trauma and healing of trauma, know that the one thing that is needed to survive and create new ways of moving through life is the ability to face fear and change without recoil. The indigenous people have demonstrated this over decades. They have faced the unknown, their stories are filled with bravery and resilience. They have risen up time after time and survived all that has been dealt to them. With the awareness that National Indigenous Day brings, my hope is that this time we listen, and listen deeply to support our fellow humans in their healing, identity and presence.
Brad Hardie, PCC, ECPC, PNLP, MPNLP Trauma Informed Coach,
Families & Couples Coach, Stress & Chaos Management, Facilitator,
Founder of Moving the Human Spirit.
Make a plan, form a habit!
When we speak to any of our clients about the importance of taking time for themselves and making sure they are acknowledging "self-care", we have a responsibility to also educate them on what that is. Self-care refers to the ability, in a healthy manner, to deal with and be successful at everyday living as an individual. Making healthy choices, getting enough exercise to contribute to your physical wellbeing, eating properly and staying mentally and emotionally fit so we are able to work through, and enjoy life are all signs of self-care. Some of the basic approaches to self-care involve things like, choosing a healthy diet, monitoring and controlling drug and alcohol consumption, physical exercise in many forms, self regulation of emotions and making sure you are keeping up with hygiene and medical conditions that may need attention. Healthy Mind + Healthy Body = Healthy You!
In our line of work we start by looking at what our clients “want” and how they may “get it”. Self-care is no different. As with all things, it is necessary to take the time to go in deep and find what self-care actually means to you. What may work with one person does not always work for the other. One commonality for all is to make self-care habitual in your life and to have a plan in place to do so. Lets consider what a basic self-care plan may entail.
Make sure you are getting your sleep and eating healthy options that keep your body happy and maintained. As important as it is to spend time with friends, family and partners, you need to ensure you have clear boundaries so we can tune out for a while. Have a routine that gets you out and exercising on a regular basis and make it something you enjoy and want to do. Enjoy mindfulness, relaxation and self-reflection when possible. Meditation, nature walks and yoga are some activities that people report as therapeutic. Get a mentor that represents the positive aspects of living that you would like for yourself. A person in your life that you respect and look up too that is living a life very close to the one you would like to be living and use them as a supportive role model.
As with any plan we must now implement it and make sure we maintain it for best results. Something to think about here is your level of commitment to this plan and what may prevent you from actually following through with it. Aim to remove obstacles that may discourage you from completing the plan. Set out a twenty-one  day challenge for yourself to help make the plan a healthy habit. Above all, make sure you enjoy what you are doing for self-care and you will be more likely to continue and make it part of your lifestyle.
Brad Hardie, PCC, ECPC, PNLP, MPNLP
Balancing the aftermath of trauma through Solution Focused Coaching with MTHS.
For some people living with PSTD, the idea of having a balanced life can seem an impossible feat. Moving the Human Spirit (MTHS) has been successfully navigating these waters with great results. With 1 in 10 Canadian’s affected by this diagnosis, it cannot be easily ignored or forgotten about. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder became mainstream news when numerous troops who where subjected to horrific situations in war torn countries returned with sever mental disorders and constant hyper-vigilance. This was due to the conditions they were witness to and the traumas they survived. Living in this state, the most severe cases found no other relief but to end their own lives. Most recently we have seen the effect of trauma locally with the wildfire in Fort McMurray and the environmental factors, poverty and violence within our indigenous communities.
As Certified Trauma Counsellors and Trauma Informed Coaches, we provide the guidance for clients to respond to these difficult challenges and live a full and rewarding life. We foster positive inquiry for the focus of changing negative conditions and creating powerful outcomes that are measurable.
• “Life is complicated, and often muddled with expectations, habits and emotions. It was very helpful to have the one-on-one coaching sessions to help to dis-entangle the attachments and clarify my options.”
• “If you are looking for clarity in any given area in your life, and an effective way of coming up with solutions for yourself, I would highly recommend MTHS.”
• “In the hectic business of our lives, it's easy to lose focus of the health of the relationships that matter most. MTHS has given us (couple) the tools to navigate through our own relationship complexities.
People become focused on the negative consuming their lives; they forget to ask, “what could be?” That is where the change begins. So we ask the simple question “What do you want instead?” We start there, right at the base. A solution-focused approach employs a number of techniques that engage and stimulate actual change. MTHS specializes in post-traumatic growth, trauma informed coaching, trauma counselling, anxiety and stress management and mindfulness in all aspects of life.
Providing a supportive and logical framework for clients to generate their own powerful solutions fosters resilience, contributing to their own health and wellbeing. They become inspired to over come barriers and form new neurological pathways. They choose the path; we walk beside them on their road to change.
It is to everyone’s advantage to become more aware of a solution focused approach and what they can do to change the environment they live in. Go to www.movingthehumanspirit.com and find out more about Trauma Counselling and Trauma Informed Coaching and its benefits.
Brad Hardie, PCC, ECPC, PNLP, MPNLP
MTHS talks PTSD, Anxiety and Stress at