Tools for Coaching Mastery

This column is provided by an IAC Coaching Masteries®-Licensed School or Mentor.

The Advent of Yoga Life Coaching™
by Deborah Williamson


As a long-time life coach and yoga teacher/teacher trainer (more than 20 years of experience in each discipline) I've put a lot of thought and energy into how I can empower clients to shift into high gear on the road to their truest joy and authenticity. The same qualities found in powerful and effective life coaches exist in powerful and effective yoga teachers. The intent and mission behind both pursuits is really no different: to co-create with clients a life that is lived in brilliant color and full expression.

Yet it was almost by accident that I found my own best life. I was working in the corporate world, managing a training facility for the Chicago Blackhawks as well as five-star resorts and spas. A co-worker's last minute cancellation resulted in my reluctant induction to group team-building exercises and presentations. I had only hours to prepare before being asked to inform, inspire and empower a large group of total strangers.

I was terrified, but before I knew it, I was being requested again and again by group after group. While I continued to do other things (national fitness champion, professional in-line skater, personal trainer, business consultant, life coach and every yoga certification under the sun), I'd had a taste of what would become my greatest passion.

Later, when I opened my first of four yoga studios, I began an apprentice program for new teachers and ours became a state-approved yoga school in Wisconsin. I'd found my way back to my true calling, which is training new teachers and life coaches to go out and boldly share their own light and joy. With this in mind, I created and trademarked my Yoga Life Coaching™ program.

I researched dozens of organizations before deciding, without a doubt, that I wanted to pursue affiliation with the IAC. The IAC Coaching Masteries® offered such great curricular support, but still allowed for individuality from coach to coach. I also saw an immediate connection between the Masteries and teaching yoga, which was a delightful surprise.

IAC Coaching Masteries® on and off the mat

Yoga Life Coaching™ incorporates the IAC Masteries in a big way. Coaches learn how to point out limiting beliefs and obstacles that the client might not otherwise see, and to hold clients accountable to overcoming old patterns that no longer serve them. Open-ended, agenda-free questioning techniques move clients beyond simple goal-setting and outcome-based results to a place of total transformation and freedom.

In the same way, yoga teachers who have taken my YLCC program report back that they use their IAC Coaching Masteries® on the yoga floor by empowering students to self-direct new learning through inquiry and experience. Learning how to appropriately and effectively use silence (a GREAT tool for coaches) can be mind-blowing for students in a yoga class. By using the essential language of life coaching, my yoga teachers prompt a much more meaningful and long-lasting opening for their students.

The program

Coaches in training for my signature program are encouraged to complete a 200-hour yoga certification in addition to completing their certification with me through the IAC. This can be done prior to Yoga Life Coach™ certification, or retroactively within one year of completing the YLCC. The extra training provides a more well-rounded approach to total health and well-being by giving coaches tools to address mind and body simultaneously.

My rewards

The most beautiful thing about my work in training new teachers and coaches is in witnessing the way they change their own lives in huge and tangible ways. Many come to me for their own personal improvement with no desire to change careers. But as their own lives start to shift, they reach out immediately to share what they've learned. Transformation is like a smile—it spreads quickly once shared!

Though my deepest joy is always in training new coaches and teachers, I still love to work with my individual clients. When my schedule is too full, I am now able to refer new clients to coaches that I have personally trained. I take pride in knowing they'll reserve great service and support from caring, compassionate, straight-talking coaches who will not stand for anything but the best for their clients. It's a good life and I am grateful.

Yoga Life Coach™ and Master Teacher Deborah Williamson travels the world to teach, speak and coach with humor and deep humanity. Debbie's signature brand of Yoga Life Coaching™ evolved from over 20 years of coaching and wellness industry experience. Visit for upcoming Yoga Life Coach™ Certification Programs and more.

1 thought on “Tools for Coaching Mastery”

  1. Very nice to meet you Deborah. It’s so heartening to read your story. I had wondered how you saw yoga and coaching going together since you must have so much deep insight into this particular combination.
    Will you share more with us one day through the Living the Masteries Column? I’d love to know more specifically how the Masteries can help yoga practitioners.

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