Charlie Lyric

How To Avoid Drowning in The Pool of Empathy: With Charlie Lyric

It’s human to care. It’s human to be emotional. To connect. To empathize. But what happens when these start affecting your business? Your relationships? Your mental well-being?

Today on the Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast, I’m really excited to coach a fellow Coach. My guest today is Charlie Lyric, and he is both a Relationship Coach and a Tarot card reader. In this episode we explore his job as a Coach, how it’s been affecting him lately, and the coping mechanisms he uses to stay grounded.

Tune in as we immerse ourselves in the pool of empathy, where we define and describe it as it is, and what a Coach or Leader should do to avoid drowning.

Do you feel your empathy is giving you some trouble? Are you struggling with this or any other problem? Share your story! If there's a challenge you'd like to talk about on the podcast or privately, please reach out to me at:

Episode Transcript

Kim Ades: [00:00:05]
Hello, hello. This is Kim Ades, from Frame of Mind Coaching, and you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching Podcast, where we invite leaders from all over the world to come to the podcast and get coached live and in person.

Today, my guest is Charlie Lyric. He comes to us from North Carolina and he is a Relationship Coach.

Charlie, welcome!

Charlie Lyric: [00:00:29]
Hey, thank you.

Kim Ades: [00:00:32]
So relationship coaching, what does that even mean?

Charlie Lyric: [00:00:37]
Well, relationship coaching is, for me, it's mostly about teaching people how to love. (...) Not necessarily, I would say how to better themselves in their relationship, and how to communicate because a lot of times we often have habits from our previous relationships in life, whether it be romantic or platonic or family, and we pick up bad habits.

And so people come to me and I teach them how to cultivate a culture of openness within their relationship and be able to exchange, rather. Than focus on all the negative aspects.

Kim Ades: [00:01:29]
So give me an example of a habit you're talking about, where someone picked up a bad habit and how it might affect a relationship.

Charlie Lyric: [00:01:39]
There's so many. One thing, one of the ones that I've focused on a lot is stonewalling, and I picked up from another theory. Stonewalling is when we are presented with an issue and instead of giving the full validation and the full attention of the situation, we brush it off and we just don't want to talk about it. We want to sweep it under the rug and that creates more issues.

The more we decide to push aside what the true problem is, the greater the issue.

Kim Ades: [00:02:23]
So, what do you recommend to someone who has a partner or spouse who does that, who does stonewalling? So they have a really important thing, something that matters to them, something that triggers them, something that creates a great deal of emotion and they go and they talk to their partner, but their partner stonewalls. What do you recommend for the person who's experiencing that?

Charlie Lyric: [00:02:50]
Well, when something like that happens, we can't really control how our partner comes to us and say these things that we don't want to hear, or we don't want to face. So in that moment, being the person that's receiving that information, that's getting ready to stonewall, I say, take a few moments, listen to what your partner has to say, and, you know, even though you don't agree, it may upset you, let them know, "Hey, can I have a few minutes?"

Because often the stonewalling happens within the conversation it's not immediate. It's when we are told something we don't want to hear. So when that happens, I suggest coming back to it. Just let them know, "Hey, I hear what you're saying and I'm validating you and I want to validate you farther, but I would like to take a few moments".

And I know that's difficult to say in the moment, especially when tensions are hot. So just say, "Hey, I just need... I need 20-30 minutes. Let me walk away and let me come back", unless they address the issue because stonewalling-- Go ahead.

Kim Ades: [00:04:01]
So what you're saying is that when someone is stonewalling you, it's a good idea for you to walk away and come back and try again?

Charlie Lyric: [00:04:11]
Ooh, when you're getting stonewalled.

Kim Ades: [00:04:13]
Yeah. That's my question.

Charlie Lyric: [00:04:15]

Kim Ades: [00:04:15]
If someone is stonewalling you, what do you do?

Charlie Lyric: [00:04:21]
Yeah, when it happens to me, I let my partner know it's okay. What's happening is okay. I understand that you're upset. I'm going to give you a few minutes because we're not getting anywhere, but this is an issue that has to be handled now.

So let's decide, can we walk away from this even a few minutes or do we need to take some time? You don't want to take too much time away from the issue because the longer you wait, the bigger the problem becomes. So...

Kim Ades: [00:04:51]
Do you tell the person who's stonewalling like, "Hey, I understand you're brushing this off, but this is important. If you need time, I understand, but this is something we need to address"?

Charlie Lyric: [00:05:01]
Definitely. You want to be assertive as possible. Not to the point where you're forcing it, but to the point that you let the other person know that this is an issue, and if it carries on, you know, it may be the end of the relationship. Often stonewalling is that point.

Kim Ades: [00:05:20]
Okay. So tell me a little bit about how you came to relationship coaching. Like, how did you get into this field and what made you interested in this altogether?

Charlie Lyric: [00:05:31]
It's kind of funny. Well, over the summer of last year... I'm a tarot reader as well. And that's kind of--

Kim Ades: [00:05:42]
I'm sorry. Say that again? You're a, what?

Charlie Lyric: [00:05:44]
A tarot reader.

Kim Ades: [00:05:45]
Oh, a tarot reader! Got it. Okay. I have to say I heard a terrier, so I think the audience needed to hear that one more time. A tarot reader. Got it.

Charlie Lyric: [00:05:56]
Tarot reader. Sorry about that.

And someone came to me for a reading and it wasn't unusual. They were nervous, and they just started talking to me. You know, I started putting down my cards, and they started talking about the issue in somehow some way, what should have been an hour or two turned into five or six.

Kim Ades: [00:06:16]

Charlie Lyric: [00:06:17]
Of just talking about her issues and her emotions and her relationship with her partner. And I didn't say this before, but BDSM is of our niche and that's what they are. They are BDSM, they're a polyamorous couple. So they have people outside of their marriage and is open. And basically I just talked to her for a while. It carried on for the entire weekend and it just got to a point where I was like, "okay, this is a lot, and you just keep coming back for reading after reading. So let's set up something" and I didn't really know what a relationship coach was.

I just have a friend, a family friend who's a therapist, and I told her about it and she was like, "well, it's not like you can go to school for like 10 years now. So why not look into relationship coaching? Because that's exactly what you're doing". And I said, okay. And I looked into it, I learned about it. And I was like, "Whoa. This fits me more than I realize".

So when I went back to the couple, they agreed, they said, "yes, we would love to set this up". And that's how it started.

Kim Ades: [00:07:29]
So you just started coaching people?

Charlie Lyric: [00:07:32]
Yes. And I've always been doing it. Like, before the tarot reads, it's just always been a thing. People always come to me about their relationships or come to me when they need a pep talk. And I'm that guy, I'm the cheerleader. Cheering them on.

Kim Ades: [00:07:47]
You're that guy. Okay. So, what you're really saying is coaching comes naturally to you.

Charlie Lyric: [00:07:53]
I think. Yes. Yes, definitely.

Okay. So, tell me right now, what is your greatest challenge? Maybe in your relationship or as you're growing your business? All coaches need a coach, right?

Definitely. I think the toughest of being the coach, is just being the best coach I could possibly be. But outside of coaching, how's it affecting my relationship, my businesses? My business is affecting my relationship? Would have to be just balancing out everyone and everything, 'cause being a coach is tought. You get burnt out and then everybody else in your life wants your attention as well.

So that comes to be a difficulty after a while, because sometimes I separate myself from everybody else to do what I have to do, and sometimes that's not just one day or two weeks. Sometimes it's three or four months at a time.

Kim Ades: [00:09:00]
So let me see if I got it right. Are you saying that sometimes you really feel kind of a sense of burden of responsibility when you coach others and that causes you to need some time off, some time away from people?

Charlie Lyric: [00:09:19]
I think so. It doesn't take away from the fact that I'm passionate about it, or that I love it, but it's just a lot, you know?

Kim Ades:
Well, tell me what part is a lot. Is it, like, the emotions that people feel? Is it the drama they bring to the table? Is it--

Charlie Lyric: [00:09:34]
The drama...

Kim Ades: [00:09:36]
Is that it?

Charlie Lyric: [00:09:38]
The drama, it's the drama.

Kim Ades: [00:09:40]
Okay. So what you-- 'cause based on the story you just said, you spent a lot of hours with someone who came for a tarot reading. And so she came for an hour session and you ended up giving her five, seven hours, right? Question for you is, did she pay for those hours?

Charlie Lyric:

Kim Ades: [00:10:00]
Definitely. Okay. Very good. She paid for those hours. So that's a good point. So, you're hearing someone's story, their drama, and you get kind of caught up in it. You get reeled in because they're good stories, right?

Charlie Lyric:
And it's not just because it's the stories. More so because I care. I care a lot.

Kim Ades:
Okay. So are you calling yourself empathetic?

Charlie Lyric: [00:10:25]

Kim Ades: [00:10:26]
Okay. So I'm going to tell you something that's probably gonna cause you to cringe, but I'm going to tell you, anyway.

I teach people to coach. I teach people how to coach. I've been coaching for 16 years. I have a team of coaches. I teach leaders how to coach. I've been doing this for a long time. And one of the biggest mistakes that I tell people they make when they coach others, is empathy. Shocking, right? Because everybody believes that empathy is a really critical skill for coaching, but let's really describe and define empathy.

A lot of people don't understand what it is. And I think empathy is one of the greatest coaching/leadership traps. So empathy is an emotional experience, right? So I see you as a pretty sensitive person. So empathy is not something that is an intellectual experience, it's an emotional experience. It's the process where you put yourself in the shoes of another person and feel their emotions. Okay. It's a feeling experience.

And so when you're working with your clients, you're so caring, you're so engaged, you're so focused that you're putting yourself in their shoes and feeling what they feel.
The issue is that when someone is drowning, how do they feel?

Charlie Lyric:

Kim Ades: [00:12:00]
They feel scared. They feel panicked. They feel helpless. They feel low. And so the minute that you feel those things, you've effectively disabled yourself from being able to help them as a coach.

And so, I'm not saying don't be compassionate. I'm not saying don't be understanding. But what I am saying is that empathy causes you to get stuck. And you've described it so beautifully by saying, "Hey, when that happens, for me, my emotions are so heightened that I need a break". Who could blame you? So, how do we not be empathetic and still be helpful?

So think about it like this. When I see someone drowning in a pool and I empathize and I feel their feelings, what I've done is I've jumped in the pool and started drowning beside them. In order for me to be helpful, I need to see them drowning, acknowledge they're drowning, have a huge amount of compassion, but I need to stand solidly on the outside of the pool, reach in and pull them out. Does that make sense?

In order for me to be able to do that, I need to understand that they're drowning. I need to understand the implications of the fact that they're drowning, but I also need to have a vision of them being safely outside of the pool. And I have to have the strength to pull them out. So I can't get distracted by their emotional state.

The same thing applies in coaching. When someone tells us their story and shares with us, their drama in their highly emotional state, it's important for us to acknowledge their emotional state. But it's also important for us to stand outside of their emotional state, and envision them in a really good, solid place, having an amazing relationship with themselves, with their partner, without their partner, doesn't really matter.

But being able to envision them being well, whole, healthy, happy, productive. Right? In or outside of their relationships. And when we have that vision and we hold on to that vision, we don't get trapped in their story, and we don't fall into the process of empathizing. When we're able to have that vision. Now we're able to take them from where they are to where they want to be. Does this all make sense to you?

Charlie Lyric: [00:14:42]
It does make sense.

Kim Ades: [00:14:43]
It's pretty crazy, right? It's radically different from probably what you've heard elsewhere.

Charlie Lyric: [00:14:51]
Definitely. Definitely. I've been taught, you know, when you deal with someone, especially as a coach, you should be open and you should be ready to listen and be all in for them. But that makes sense.

Kim Ades: [00:15:09]
Well being all in doesn't mean you have to give up your emotional state. And, as a coach, you would probably provide coaching to say, "Hey, nobody else is responsible for your emotions. You are".

Charlie Lyric: [00:15:25]

Kim Ades: [00:15:25]
When you have empathy, what you're doing is you're handing over your emotional state to your client, which is exactly the opposite of what you're trying to teach them.

Charlie Lyric: [00:15:36]

Kim Ades: [00:15:37]

Charlie Lyric: [00:15:38]

Kim Ades: [00:15:39]
So like, you know, I was married and I got divorced and I remember when I was married, I got married very young, but when my husband was upset about something, it would completely and utterly rattle me. I was thrown so off course.

So his emotions had such a profound impact on me, and I realized that my happiness was contingent upon him. That wasn't a good formula. Not for him, not for me. But when we set that up with our clients, it's even worse because our job is to take them to a new, emotional state.

Charlie Lyric: [00:16:17]

Kim Ades: [00:16:18]
We can't do them if we empathize.

Charlie Lyric: [00:16:23]
That makes a lot of sense. That's exactly how I feel when I'm dealing with not only my clients, but everybody, you know? 'Cause I'm so... I am sensitive, I'm a very caring person. And even when I don't want to deal with anybody, I'm still right there cheering them on. So what you're saying makes total sense. Maybe that's... Go ahead.

Kim Ades: [00:16:46]
How do you not feel empathetic if it's something natural that you do, right? So how do you take yourself to a new place? That's an important question. And what I would recommend is when you're, you know, when you're triggered, when you're feeling that emotional pull, ask yourself, "what is a vision of success, of wellness, of health of a good relationship" And move your head, your vision in that direction.

Charlie Lyric: [00:17:14]

Kim Ades: [00:17:15]
And tell the story of that vision. So say things like, "Hey, here's what I'd love to see for you, dear client". And what you're doing is you're moving them from where they are to a new possibility. And your job is to hold onto that vision so that they can join you there.

Charlie Lyric: [00:17:34]
Okay. I like that. That makes sense. It makes a lot of sense.

Kim Ades:
Yeah, go ahead.

Charlie Lyric: [00:17:44]
I was going to say that I felt like, there's definitely a technique that would take time to develop, but... I like it a lot because it makes a lot of sense.

Kim Ades: [00:17:55]
So one of the things that I do when I coach individuals is I ask them to journal in an online journal. And that really helps me to see the story in front of me, outside of me. So that I can have compassion, but also clarity. As opposed to getting drawn into that emotion. I talk to them as well, but that journal gives me the space and time to be able to see things from a safe distance.

Charlie Lyric: [00:18:25]

Kim Ades: [00:18:27]
Right? And that also enables me to add tremendous value to the client from a space, a vision, an emotion of clarity, of calm. As opposed to an emotion of turmoil.

Charlie Lyric: [00:18:45]

Kim Ades: [00:18:47]
I think this is a really... for me, from my perspective, it's one of the most powerful concepts in coaching, which is diametrically opposed to the vast majority of the coaching industry.

Charlie Lyric: [00:19:01]
I think that is very... that's a very powerful thing to be able to do because as a coach, I feel like in any form of... when it comes to any form of health care or mental health care, whatever type of practitioner you are, I feel like it's very difficult not to be emotionally invested to your client. And... because you want the best, you want to see them succeed.

And often when I work with people, I'm very critical of myself as a person, anyway. So when I work with my clients, I am hard on them. I let them know, "Hey, like I want you to do work. I want you to stay focused". And when I see them fail, it feels like I'm failing too. So, to be able to do something like that will be really powerful.

Kim Ades: [00:19:55]
So when my clients fail, I don't think I'm failing. When my clients fail, I see it as a temporary blip in their lives. Because in my head, my mind is focused on their success. And as humans on the path to success, we have lots of blips. You see? So what I'm doing is I'm still standing firm in their success.

If I take their failure as my failure, I just jumped in the pool again.

Charlie Lyric: [00:20:21]
Okay. That makes a lot of sense.

Kim Ades: [00:20:25]
Right? Their failure is temporary. It's not critical. It's not that tormental. It's not life-threatening, normally. Right? So, okay. You failed. Get up, move along, right? So it's not a tragedy. It's something that needs a little bit of attention. Not a lot of attention.

Charlie Lyric: [00:20:45]
Right. I like it. I'm gonna definitely try to do that more often.

Kim Ades: [00:20:53]
It's a different view, right?

Charlie Lyric: [00:20:56]
It definitely is. It definitely is.

Kim Ades: [00:21:00]
Charlie, I hope that our conversation today brought you some insight, some value, some things to think about. I want to thank you for being on the podcast with me and sharing your challenge. I think it's very interesting and it's not unusual to have this challenge, not for coaches, but also not for leaders. So thank you for sharing that with us.

For those of you who are listening, if there is a challenge that you want to share on the podcast, please reach out to me.

My email address is

If there's a challenge that you want to share, but not on the podcast, please reach out to me anyways.

My email address is

Charlie, thank you so much for being on the podcast. How do people find you, if they're interested in relationship coaching?

Charlie Lyric: [00:21:47]
You can find me by going on to my site,
There I have my contact information. I also have several forms of social media. The one I'm often on is Instagram. You can go there and find me as @charlielyric_tarot as well, just typing anywhere and you can find me.

Kim Ades: [00:22:07] Got it.

Charlie Lyric: [00:22:11]
Yes, ma'am.

Kim Ades: [00:22:12]
Thank you so much.

Charlie Lyric: [00:22:14]
Thank you.

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