Special Feature: Interview with Kate Swoboda

I don’t know about you, but I learn some of my biggest lessons from the stories and chats with others.  When I first discovered Kate Swoboda, I was hooked by her brilliant voice of wisdom and truth.  I jumped at the opportunity to chat with Kate so I could share her wonderfulness with you here (as well as over at All Things Girl. )

Tell my friends and clients a little about yourself

I’m a Life Coach, speaker and writer who works with clients who are interested in living 100% fully alive through practicing principles of courage. When I’m not wearing my entrepreneur hat, I’m probably in the middle of ten different books, or training for an upcoming road race, or gabbing with dear friends.

Your nickname is Kate Courageous.  Define Courage.

I define courage as: feeling afraid, diving in anyway, and transforming.

No one–not even me–gets out of feeling afraid. What we can do is powerfully reframe our relationship to fear. We dive in anyway because it doesn’t feel good to simply remain stuck in our fear. We transform–always–because that’s what happens when we are courageous enough to meet our own personal edge and step beyond what is known and safe. The transformation is not necessarily this big “a-ha” where the heavens part–but it’s always some kind of shift, and that willingness to practice courage and keep transforming and shifting is everything.

Who needs a Life Coach?  What are the advantages of working with a coach?

I don’t believe that everyone needs a Life Coach, which might sound surprising, coming from someone who is one. I respect all of the different forms of support that people seek, whether it’s through spiritual practice, workshops, or working with Coaches.

With that said, I’m going to turn the question around a bit and speak into what doesn’t work well for Coaching: there’s a stereotype that Coaches are the people who motivate you to do things that you know it would be good to do, but that you don’t feel like doing. When that energy is present, the client might do whatever their Coach says to do without learning to trust their own vision, and there’s the danger that the Coach would get into a head-trip about being that person’s “guru” of sorts. It takes a skilled Coach to see when their client is coming to them for that and to avoid the traps of being that person for a client.

The biggest advantages of working with a Coach lie within the immediate, pragmatic, and grounded tools that it has to offer. A good Coach will hold up a mirror for her clients, and ask her clients to keep looking into that mirror and be accountable for what the client sees. I’m not just talking about goal-fulfillment here. Coaching is starting to reach beyond that paradigm, by leaps and bounds. Coaching is shifting into what my friend Julie Daley calls, “more of a way of being.” It’s about fulfillment and living in a vital, fully-alive way, and really having a powerful ally who is going to support your vision for that kind of living.

Tell us a little about Sacred Space, Truth, Choice, and Integrity

Mmmm, I love the open-ness of this question. I’ll riff for a moment:

  •  Sacred Space — it’s within you, wherever you go, whenever you take the time to cultivate it.
  •  Truth — live your truth, question the Stories.
  •  Choice — “Keep the focus on yourself, keep the focus on the present moment, and remember that you are always in choice.” –Matthew Marzel.
  •  Integrity — “Integrity is: when your words and actions match, and they are in alignment with your values, beliefs, commitments and life vision.” — Matthew Marzel

What are your top 3 tools people can use to step into their essential selves?

Tool One: Take time to create stillness. That can look like formal meditation practice. It can look like staring at a flickering candle. It can look like breathing deeply during yoga. But take time to be quite and still and breathe. There’s a reason why people run from this practice of getting still with themselves, and it’s because within such a practice lie our most valuable and powerful gifts (and that terrifies the shit out of most of us).

 Tool Two: Practice dropping resistance to what-is, and reframe your life from the perspective of BEing your journey. Embrace everything that is coming into the circle, because it is all your teacher. That’s hard to do, of course–no one feels good about working with their own resistance when they’re in the thick of something. But if you want to see your essential self, be willing to see even the pieces that you aren’t so comfortable with, and that means noticing where you resist and seeing what can be done to accept.

 Tool Three: Practice courage. Feel your fear, dive in anyway, and transform.

I realize that these tools might sound oh so unappealing, so I’ll add in my sales pitch for what is possible within the experience of them as well as on the other side of the walls that we’ve built in our lives: gentleness. feeling joy-full. gratitude. dropping the conflict. ease. a sense of peacefulness, even in difficult situations. more love–more ferocious love. a sense of purpose. true possibility. getting off the hamster wheel and feeling 100% fully alive.


I’m a big believe in continuing education.  Kate’s latest project is The Coaching Blueprint for new and emerging coaches.  I’ve previewed a 40 page excerpt and found questions that brought me to crystal clear clarity about my coaching practice.  I’m looking forward to the full e-course, available in October.

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Debra is a life coach, writer, and tarnished southern belle. She resides in Dayton, OH.