I’d like to introduce you to Liv Miyagawa - Self-Esteem Coach, who I met in Tokyo at an informal 2010 New Year party (Shinnenkai) for coaches associated with the International Coach Academy, where I did my life and career coach training in 2005/6.
What struck me about Liv were three things:
She’s a coach with an academic foundation in psychology, credentials I believe will become very important as people grow more familiar with the idea of coaching and begin to demand some form of professional accountability.
Liv specializes in self-esteem coaching and has much to offer in this area - see her website for what she’s done so far.
She was planning to stay in a Tokyo capsule hotel before heading home to a town on the West side of Japan; the bit facing Korea/China that gets all the winter snow. We Tokyoite softies know little of snow, being in the rain shadow of most snow storms that make it from Asia.
After the party I checked out her website and then asked her to do an interview by email, which she kindly accepted. (My ten questions are numbered in yellow below, with Liv’s replies underneath.)
That’s an interesting question that I have been asked many times but never been able to find a proper answer to. To me it seems like my life has always been leading me in this direction.
I was always interested in people and in personal development (both my own and others). Even as a child I was curious to find out how people work, and how to make people work better.
I was a hobby coach before I even knew about coaching as a profession. I loved asking others questions that made them realise something new about themselves and that would help them to move forward in their lives.
So, the answer to the question is that I don’t know how I got into the field of coaching because I have always been in this field.
Self-esteem coaching is about making positive and lasting changes in your life by going back to the very basics.
During my university years I conducted lots of research about self-esteem (I studied psychology in University of St Andrews in Scotland).
The more research projects I conducted the stronger I realized that:
SELF-ESTEEM AFFECTS EVERYTHING
Your self-esteem affects who you will select as your partner and how long and satisfying your relationship will be.
It affects your mental AND physical health.
It affects how you interpret what happens to you and how you react to it.
It affects what kind of people you attract into your life, where you live, what job you get etc.
Therefore, whatever it is that you would like to improve in your life you will have to start by working on your self-esteem in that area.
This doesn’t mean that I exclusively talk about self-esteem with my clients. Often my clients may not even realize that I’m actually working on raising their self-esteem.
Self-esteem is so basic so the people who contact me come with a wide range of coaching topics:
I coach them either face-to-face (if they live close by) or via phone/skype.
I make them see all the positive qualities that they posses but cannot see, discover the opportunities that their lives are full of, identify exactly what steps they need to take to move forward, and feel more appreciated and loved by the people around them.
Although quite a small city according to Japanese standards, Nagaoka is still the biggest city I’ve ever lived in. One of the challenges of living here is that the international community is fairly small and many Japanese people don’t speak English well enough to be coached in English.
The positive part is that it is extremely exciting. I love getting to know the Japanese way of living better and better and I enjoy all the things that the Japanese do so much better than the rest of the world (food, technology etc).
Working here has not really been a problem because I can coach people from every corner of the world via skype/telephone.
So far, most clients (both for personal coaching or for any of the distance courses that I lead) have actually found me via FaceBook or word of mouth. This is true for both the clients in Japan and overseas.
Other people get interested in me by reading my online articles or my book, The Self-Esteem Toolbox. I also have a website where people can find my contact details, look at all the self-help materials that I have there or sign up for my free self-esteem ezine.
Ah, easy question! What I love the most is when I manage to make my clients realize something about themselves that they have never realized before and which changes their life so profoundly that it will not be the same after our coaching session as before.
It’s such a wonderful feeling to see how I can, usually with some small and simple but yet immensely powerful question, have such a huge impact on another person’s life. These powerful aha-moments usually happen at least once every coaching session so it is very easy to love my job!
On my website (www.livmiyagawa.com), you can find many different self-esteem products that you can use to work on your self-esteem at home.
My thinking behind all of the products is that raising your self-esteem should be FUN and EASY.
I have developed one board game with which you can do amusing self-esteem exercises at the same time as you’re having fun with your family or friends.
There are also three different versions of The Self-Esteem Toolkit.
There is the original version which includes things like a self-esteem quiz, worksheets, a visualization audio and also my book, and the self-esteem board game.
There is also the For Busy People version. Most of the items in this pack are audio recordings that you can listen to while you’re driving to work, cooking, working out at the gym etc or small items that you can easily carry around in your pocket.
The Deluxe version includes all the items of both the original and the For Busy People packs PLUS two free personal coaching sessions with me.
At my website you can also download or get the printed version of my book The Self-esteem Toolbox. This book is a collection of forty tools that you can use to raise your self-esteem on your own in a fun and easy way that does not take up too much of your time.
When you coach people from a different culture than your own you have to listen extra carefully so that you will understand them in the correct way. This can be a challenge but I certainly see it as an advantage rather. Keeping the cultural (and language) differences in mind makes me more open and more sensitive.
When I coach Swedish clients I sometimes get lazy and take it for granted that they think in the way I do. Of course this is often wrong. Because of this I think I may actally run into more misunderstandings when I coach Swedish people than when I coach people from other places.
Another joy of coaching people from around the world is that I learn to understand this interesting species homo sapiens better. There are certain things that all people, regardless of culture, have in common, but we all express it in different ways. By getting inside the skin of so many different people, I learn to understand everyone better.
Japanese people in general speak less about their emotions, thoughts, weaknesses and problems. I have never had any problems to make any of my Japanese clients speak to me about these things, but in many cases I may be the first person that they open their heart to.
This is especially true of Japanese men. However, such people exist around the world and it’s not some kind of personality trait that is only found in Japanese people.
I got married two weeks ago, and within the next couple of years I hope that I will have a baby. For that reason I don’t want to spend too much time on my coaching business.
I will accept as many clients as possible within reasonable limits, and I still want to continue to publish articles and lead self-esteem distance courses. I’m going to play my way forward and only do those things that I enjoy doing.
As you can read in my book, I think there are three steps to raising your self-esteem.
The first step is self-awareness.
You need to find out how your self-esteem is at the moment in different areas of your life. You also have to find out what has made it like that during the life that you have lived so far. In what specific situations do you wish you had stronger trust on yourself?
Secondly, you need to rearrange your life so that it supports a higher self-esteem rather than pulling it down.
This includes not meeting any people who drain you of energy, not watching TV programs that give you the impression that you’re not good enough unless you wear the right clothes, go on holidays to exciting places, live in a fashionable house, socialize with the right kind of people etc., not listening to any music with negative lyrics and much more.
Thirdly, you need to exchange the old thoughts that you had about yourself with new accepting and loving thoughts.
The easiest way to do this is by brainwashing yourself. There are lots of traditional brainwashing techniques, such as affirmations and visualizations, that you can use.
However, you can also be a lot more creative than that and brainwash yourself in more fun ways. For example, I have a self-esteem playlist on my ipod. In this playlist I have collected songs with lyrics that really cheer me up and tell me that I’m a great person. (In The Self-Esteem Toolbox I have written many more suggestions of fun ways to brainwash yourself.)
End of interview.
You can find out more about Liv and her self-esteem coaching by signing up for her free ezine and receive several chapters from her e-book. I’ve signed up and also downloaded the e-book chapters. The material is worth checking out, and her e-book (about $10 or so, last time I checked) is on my to buy list.
PS Please note that this interview is provided for educational use only and is not to be used as an endorsement of Liv’s coaching or info products. Having said that, I was impressed with what I’ve learned so far about her coaching services and products.