Q+A with Angela Bisset, Certified Executive Coach | Changing direction with the help of Intuition, Guidance, Fear, and Healing
Angie has been in my life for a few years now. We met each other from the local business that she was COO of and then I got to know her more personally through mutual friends. A couple of years ago, we all went to Hornby Island together and I'd say that's when I really realized that she was a true pal. She had just started her coaching program at Royal Roads and, as you'll read on, it sparked quite the journey for her. I read her tarot cards (something that came to happen a few times for each other over the years) and we bonded over the transitions that life can throw our way. Later on in the evening, I cried with laughter over something that her husband said during a game with our friends. I'll still never be able to think of Mos Def without hearing her husband's voice in my head trying to give us the clue of what was written on his piece of paper by saying, "can't hardly hear ya!". If that makes no sense to you, dear reader, it's likely that you had to be there. Post education, I knew that she was looking to work specifically with women as they were navigating a start or change in their business. I am still very intrigued (personally and professionally!) which is also why I've asked her these curious questions. I am truly in awe of this woman and incredibly excited for her to have honed in on a pathway to offer her guidance to others. I teared up reading her answers here, and I really hope that you get as much out of this interview as I have!
B: Something that I am really curious about lately, is how people come about making the decision to change industries/careers, and go back to school. Can you tell me about what you were doing before you decided to start your coaching business and what led to this shift!?
A: To be honest, change sort of happened TO me. A few years ago, I was temporarily laid off from my job, which felt like one of the worst things I could’ve imagined at the time. My identity had become so enmeshed with my work that I felt lost without it. But amazingly, this moment became the catalyst I needed to propel me towards who I am today. It forced me to question, “Who do I want to be? What’s important to me?” And so began a challenging but necessary process of soul-searching.
I used my time off to connect with people I admire, asking them essentially the same question you just asked me (ha ha). It was during one of these conversations that the idea of coaching first appeared in my mind. The more the idea marinated, the more I realized that I had been unofficially coaching for years- through my job and even in personal relationships.
The idea had a tasty potential to it, while also feeling wonderfully familiar.
My sister-in-law had taken a coaching program at Royal Roads 2 years before and called the experience “transformative”. That’s exactly what I was seeking: something to shake shit up, a way to get unstuck, a path to better understand myself and my purpose. Thankfully, that’s just what I got: training to be a coach was ungrounding in the best possible way. I think of this time as my firewalk, an initiation bringing me closer to my truth.
I reflect on this process of change often when working with clients. Change is terrifying, yet it’s inevitable and it’s often out of our control; but how we meet these moments can turn “tragedy” into transformation.
Her expertise & offerings as a coach
Your website highlights an 8-week program called “Welcome Home - Foundations of IFS” that you and your business partner, Robyn Dickson, have created. I’m really intrigued. Can you tell me more about what IFS is, and what people can expect from working through a course like this?
IFS is a modality of therapy, it stands for Internal Family Systems. IFS is based on the premise that we are not one mind, but many minds. We are made up of many parts that are all inherently good and well-intentioned, but that have different strategies, dreams and fears. Accepting this multiplicity allows us to better understand the internal tensions we feel, and we begin to experience our parts from a place of curiosity and compassion.
This course has two main components: group sharing circles and individual therapy. We set out to balance inner shadow work with community support, because we believe that going together is better than going it alone. We’re crowd-sourcing healing.
Do you notice a pattern of trauma or a common thread that your clients bring to their work with you?
Yes! Unaddressed trauma is pervasive in our culture and common in the clients that I work with. This is why I’m so excited about my partnership with Robyn. Together we can address two things: first, we can heal trauma, and address whatever is holding you back. Then, we can look forward to next steps: how to integrate that healing in your life so you can move towards what you want to create in the world!
How do you define the difference between knowing whether someone should work with a coach or a counsellor?
Counselling and therapy are focused on healing trauma in the past, whereas coaching is focused on moving towards the potential of your future.
The thing is, Robyn and I truly believe that these two aspects of ourselves cannot be separated. And that’s why we’ve decided to work together: we recognize that who we are and where we’re going are two sides of the same coin.
In coming together, we address these two components of creating meaningful change.
You are also a certified Trauma of Money Facilitator. Tell me everything about that!
Trauma of Money is an online financial literacy program that brings together the psychology of trauma and scarcity and our relationship with money. I took the professional facilitator certification program last year and it is the best gift I’ve given myself in a while. I was initially drawn to the program because when I started my business I was trapped in a cycle of chronically undercharging for my services. The Trauma of Money method helped me explore the layers of generational, relational, systemic and societal traumas that were impacting my dealings with money.
Armed with this knowledge I’ve been able to resolve my own disordered financial behaviours and embrace a more abundant mindset. I now integrate these theories and methods with my clients to help them create greater financial security.
Insights, Intuition & Fear
Something that I have been personally working on for years now is learning how to discern the difference between knowing when it's fear or intuition that’s leading me. Can you relate, or tell me about how you define this for yourself? Is this something that comes up in your work?
Brilliant question! Yes, this comes up often in my coaching conversations. Here’s one way I like to look at it:
EVERY action we take in the world is either motivated “towards” something important to us or “away from” something we fear. As a mindfulness practice, the goal is to become aware of the difference through how it feels in the body.
This can help clarify intuition: when we become clear on how it feels in our body to move ‘away from’ something we fear, and what it feels like to move ‘towards’ something that feels juicy and inspiring, we’re actually discerning between fear and intuition. Fear is an “away move”; intuition as inspiration feels like a “towards move”.
And to clarify, a ‘towards move’ might look like stepping away… for example: choosing not to go to that party might be TOWARDS the value of rest and relaxation; while choosing to go to that same party, might be AWAY FROM the fear of missing out. So it’s not about the direction of our actions, but rather their relation to either fear or inspiration.
Can you share some (anonymous) success stories, or ah-ha moments that you’ve been able to help your clients with?
What I love about “ah-ha moments” is that they are a remembering or a return to a truth my clients already hold; they definitely don’t come from me. These “ah-ha moments” aren’t complicated or convoluted, they’re powerful in their simplicity.
For example - recently a client was working with a belief that she is “too sensitive”, and there were inner judgements and criticisms around that because of a story she held that says “sensitive is bad”. But when holding the idea that all parts of us are good and welcome, she realized what she called “the other side of the coin” - that this part is also what makes her empathetic, caring, and kind.
The power of this “ah-ha moment” is that it came from the client herself. If I had told her, “I think being sensitive is great because... blah blah blah” that re-frame might not have landed; it might have felt vapid or prescriptive. But instead, it was meaningful and profound because the truth came from her core.
These inner shifts ripple outwards and generate remarkable changes in the world: I’ve seen clients decide to pursue their dream careers, create harmony in their relationships, realize wellness goals, impact meaningful changes in their communities, and more. Success looks different for every client, but it always involves a return to their own brilliance.
This may be common knowledge but it definitely took me by surprise: running your business is a LOT more than just providing the service or product that you offer. I thought starting a coaching business would mean coaching all day long, when in fact building and running a business requires a whole new set of skills that I needed to learn quickly. I find the administrative side of things to be incredibly draining, so I need to be really intentional about how I manage them.
Tips & Tools
What lights you up about your work?
Having really truthful, meaningful conversations with people that are seeking more. Meeting other humans heart to heart. It’s just the juiciest way to connect, and it truly lights me up like nothing else can. I feel such a burst of energy at the end of every session, that’s how I know I’m in the right place.
Do you have any favourite tools that you bring to your own practice and/or client work?
- Dr. Carol Dweck’s research on growth mindset: holding the belief that we can grow and change is the most important predictor of our future success. It takes embracing the vulnerability and uncertainty of learning as a necessary component of growth and transformation. Accepting these ideas involves rewarding effort over end-result. I believe this approach is the ultimate antidote to perfectionism (something I see in so many of my clients).
- The power of recognizing incongruences: understanding that abundance (however you define that) comes from a resonance with your own vision for the future. Where we get most stuck is in hidden incongruencies: our identities, beliefs, or behaviours that are not aligned with our vision of the future. Some people refer to this as manifestation.
- Mindfulness: being present to what’s here for you today, not defining yourself by where you come from, but rather existing in the truth of the present moment. We can get stuck when we identify too strongly with our past, rather than recognizing that in each moment, in each decision we are faced with truly infinite possibilities. We often hold narratives that limit our perspective, but when we connect to the present moment, we recognize that it is truly vast.
If someone reading this was to consider also becoming a coach, what would you want them to know!?
I thought becoming a coach would put my focus completely on other people, but what I found is that this work also requires you to confront yourself in a completely honest way. I had to go in before I could show up for others. It was incredibly terrifying to take such an honest look at my own life. My journey to becoming a coach began with a process of energetic excavation. It was painful at times but incredibly liberating. If you’re considering becoming a coach, be prepared to meet your own truth first.
If someone reading this was considering working with a coach, what would you want them to know?
First of all, way to go! If you’re considering working with a coach it means you’re seeking some sort of greater fulfillment in your life, which means you’re willing to invest in yourself, which I think is pretty amazing. So, kudos!
Secondly, I think it’s important to know that coaching is safe, but not always comfortable. For coaching to be truly transformational, there’s a high probability that some of your ways of thinking, being and doing will be challenged or questioned. Try your best to stay curious and open to what’s outside of your comfort zone.
Recipes, Fun Facts & What she'd
tell her younger self
Can you tell me a favourite meal or two that you love to make?
Rainbow Chicken Salad is my most favourite summer meal! I get so excited when blueberries come into season so I can make this for dinner.
I also love to make spaghetti aglio e olio with shrimp, it’s a really simple pasta dish my mama used to cook. Like most of my favourite meals, the ingredient list is short and it’s fairly simple to make. It’s a great date night meal, and it makes me feel connected to my Italian roots!
What would you tell your younger self?
I love this question. I would say:
“It won’t look the way you think it will, but it will be better than you imagined. Trust the journey. Also, I love you.”
Tell me 5 random things about you
- For all the astrology buffs: I’m a Sagittarius sun, Sagittarius rising + Aries moon
- I sang in a soul band for a couple of years pre-pandemic
- I grew up in Malaysia
- My partner and I became avid frolfers this year
- We’re having our first baby in August!
If you've read this and thought to yourself, "damn, I want to work with her", then check out her personal website , Instagram, or the North of Nine Website OR you could share this blog post with your friends and social accounts if it aligns with you!