Jenny is an International Coaching Federation (ICF) Associate Certified Coach (ACC) who runs her own coaching practice, River Life Coaching Pte. Ltd. Jenny is also a qualified lawyer in the U.K., Singapore, and Malaysia. She is passionate about coaching individuals to align their lives with their core values and purpose, enabling them to live fully and joyfully.
Life Coaching With Jenny Toh
When you’re in a good place, do you sometimes find yourself in situations when you still need
A Life coach can support you.
This episode features Jenny Toh, a life coach, and lawyer based in Singapore. Her career in legal practice in the UK, Malaysia, and Singapore has led her to work with clients from all walks of life, with some of them based in the United States.
Her passion for life coaching has earned her prestigious credentials from the International Coaching Federation, solidifying her expertise in the industry.
Jenny talks about the difference between a life coach and a therapist. While the latter helps people cope with emotional pain and overcome traumas, life coaches provide support systems for people at the peak of their careers or are building them.
This includes making smart decisions, being accountable for their priorities, and framing a positive mindset when things start to take an unexpected turn. With life coaches, anyone can get through life with confidence and courage.
[1:10] What is a life coach?
[3:26] What does a life coach do?
[6:16] What are the differences between a life coach and a therapist?
[7:49] Coaching isn’t regulated yet.
[10:00] What is mental fitness?
[12:12] Being realistic helps in addressing situations in life.
[13:45] What is the best plan of action for unexpected situations?
[16:30] What are alert signals?
[18:50] Our thoughts can influence our behaviors.
[20:15] Reach out to Jenny Toh.
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Learn more about Johny Cordray: www.johncordray.com
Disclaimer: The Mental Health Today Show is for educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as therapy. If you are seeking therapy, please contact a licensed therapist for help.
Today. I have the pleasure of speaking with Jenny to she is a life coach and is an international coaching Federation associated certified coach. Matter of fact, and she runs her own coaching practice and is called river of life coaching. And she is based out of Singapore and she also used to be a qualified lawyer in the UK, Singapore, and. And she is passionate about coaching individuals to align their lives with their core values and purpose, enabling them to live fully and joyfully. So we're gonna talk to Jenny to coming up right after this. Oh, don't worry about day or things. We cannot change it's over the past week. Can erase Jenny. Thank you so much for coming on to the mental health today. Show I really appreciate it. Uh, it's gonna be interesting to hear your story. Uh, you are a certified life coach, and so I wanna, I wanna know, first of all, how did you become a life coach? What is a life coach? And what did you do before you became a life
coach? Hi, John. Um, thanks for having me for on your show and man, that's a loaded question, John and I know that we don't have that much time together, so I will, uh, do my best to be sing. Um, so my, my first career is actually a lawyer that I was a lawyer for over 25 years. And why did I transition to become a life coach? I'm a Christian. So it was a personal journey for me. I believe it's what God is calling me into in this face of my life. It wasn't such an easy decision because naturally, uh, being a lawyer, I'm very intellectual and I'm also very practical and rational. So I struggled a lot, you know, asking God, is this really what you want me to do? So with a lot of reflection, a lot of discussion with my husband and a lot of prayer, um, I felt that I cannot. Push aside, this feeling. It became so difficult and uncomfortable if I didn't start my, uh, coach training. So I decided to take that leap of faith. I trained as a coach with, uh, an Australian, uh, school. They have a global student base, so we were doing online lessons even before COVID. So it was pretty cool. That was in 20. During my training, I also worked towards being certified. So I'm certified with, uh, international coaching Federation, which is a global body that sets high standards for coaches to be certified. So we do have to go through quite a stringent coaching program with mentoring, with supervision as well in order to be credentialed. So I'm an associate certified coach with ICF. I started my business, um, at the peak of the pandemic actually, because. Plan to launch it in April, 2020 without knowing that, you know, what, what would happen in March, 2020. But again, it was a step of faith for me. Uh, since I held off starting my business as a coach, I didn't want to hold off anymore. So it's been, uh, interesting journey. We've, uh, quite a lot of ups and downs. And then, uh, John, to answer that question, what, what does a life coach do? Uh, so, uh, a lot of people here in Asia, that's where I'm at. I'm in Singapore. Uh, when I tell people that I'm life coach, there are immediate response, almost always is, oh, Jenny, I'm fine. I don't need life coaching. So, so there's a bit of hesitation. They think it's. Something, that's not so nice. So basically I think in their minds, they mistake life coaching with, uh, therapy. So, so for, as you know, for, for therapy and, and counselors, they are trained and I'm not a trained therapist or counselor. So a counselor deals with an emotional pain or hurt from the past and helps you recover. Whereas coaching, uh, you don't have to go through an emotional pain to, to, you know, hire a coach. Uh, you are basically at a good place. It's possible that you just want, um, some space to talk about your career changes or success in your current role. So basically you're at a good place. You could just be blocked in certain aspects or some people just want a coach to get better. So I've coached senior managers who want to lead their team better. So there's nothing wrong with them emotionally. Uh, they just wanna do better so they could work on simple things. Like how do I engage my team better, especially now that we're all working remotely. So life coaching, how I see it is I am your partner. John. So I'm not saying that I am better than you, and I know more than you, that that type of relationship would be a mentoring relationship with John. You know, I will mentor you. I'll share my knowledge and wisdom with you. So that's not coaching. I see us as being partners as peers. I'm your accountability and support partner. I provide you with this safe space where you can tell me all your thoughts. And I, I won't judge you. And a lot of times I, I coach quite a lot of women as well. And a lot of times they say, I can't tell my husband this because my husband will go into solution mode so I don't jump into solution mode. I believe the power lies in you to find your own solution. It's there. It's just that we are so busy and we don't take the time to slow down and reflect the, therefore we don't open. Ourselves to our inner resources and strength. So in short, a coach is how I would say your accountability partner and someone who will journey with you in this stage of your life, where you need, you know, a little extra support. And once you know, you're good to go. We usually end the coaching relationship because I also don't want to be a crutch where, where you keep holding onto me. But I have returning clients who come back to me and say, Jenny, okay, that worked out, but I need your help in this area. So it's a, it's a long term relationship, but you don't need a coach every single day of your life. Hope that answers all your questions, John
absolutely it does. And I think it's a really good distinction. Uh, now I'm a board certified counselor and you are a life coach. And so there are differences. There are some similarities as well, but there are differences. And I know a lot of my listeners. They may not necessarily need a therapist. Like you mentioned, where you really kind of dig into the emotional part and come up with, uh, strategies to help with coping mechanisms and, and kind of work through their past in a lot of ways. But with life coaching, this could be somebody that's. Is there something there? Maybe it's not a major thing, but they would love to have someone to give them their undivided attention. Someone who has been trained in that type of support. And for you, you said you're international. So literally anybody who's listening to this can be able to access your services as a life coach, as a therapist. At least in the us, we are very limited by states. And so we have states and I have a license. I I'm actually licensed in two different states. And I'm applying for two more, but I can only do therapy in those states that I'm licensed in.
Yes. Yes, John, thanks for highlighting that. So it's true. I am, uh, credential with ICF, uh, but as we discussed before this show was recorded, coaching isn't regulated at. A moment. So I do want to inform your audience that anyone who has a social media presence right now, and who can speak very well would call themselves a coach. Unfortunately, that's the case of the industry right now, unless UN unlike what you are doing, John, which I, I really want coaching to move in that direction. ICF is working towards it, but it's taking a long time, uh, for. Profession to be regulated because John, we both want to help people mm-hmm and we wanna ensure that they get the right type of help. Yes. So a lot of times, uh, you can work with a therapist and a life coach. So you could be recovering from some emotional trauma, but at the same time, you need to get yourself a bit more balanced at. Place. So I would advise everyone if you're seeing a therapist and you wanna engage a life coach, please let your life coach know, or your career coach know. And likewise, if you are seeing a coach and your coach sort of recommends that you need to see a therapist, let your therapist know so that both of us can work together to bring you to a better place. There is no need to hide, you know, one from the other. I always encourage people to just be open because think of us as your support. So, you know, who you can reach out to for a particular need. It's really great that, uh, you know, that the two professions can work together.
Absolutely. And, and so often I think when people feel stuck and they are struggling with stress or overwhelmed, they feel like they're one, they're the only one that's going through it. And two they're all alone and there's nowhere to get help. And so you just mentioned two therapy. A therapist or, and, or a life coach. And I think both of those together, like you mentioned, can work in tandem. Uh, and, and I can see how being able to have both, or at least maybe therapy first and then life coaching or vice versa can be very beneficial in someone who is really trying to overcome that mental barrier that they're experiencing. So. We're talking about since I've brought up mental barriers. So something that I'm really interested in hearing, and I know we've, we've talked a little bit about some of the things that you address, some specific things as a life coach, and one of the things is mental fitness. And can you, can you elaborate a little more about what you mean by mental fitness and the inner judge? Sure
sure. John. So, um, I do take my clients through understanding how their mental health is, and it's more of a mindset. So mental fitness is the ability to look at a situation with a positive and resilient mindset, as opposed to a negative one. So similar to physical fitness, you need to build. Your physical muscles by exercise, by being disciplined, by being committed to a routine. So we all know about physical fitness, but with mental fitness and mental health, um, we don't really consciously think about exercising our minds and keeping it in good shape. So how. How do you know whether you're mentally fit? If something happens to you, the circumstance, how what's, what's your default mode of looking at it? Do you, uh, look at it, you know, objectively and, and calmly, or do you get hijacked by that particular situation? So the simple instance would be you're on your way to an important meeting and you spill coffee on your shirt. so what's, what's your default approach to that? You know, a lot of us would find that we, we spiral downwards. We think negative thoughts. We think that, oh, no, I've blown my chance at the meeting to make this good impression. And because of that negative thoughts hijacking you, uh, the, the meeting does end up badly. It's, it's kind of like a self fulfilling proficiency, but if you are able to take a step. And look at the situation calmly, you'll probably be able to borrow a blazer from someone or, you know, or do some quick cover up. And then you are able to attend that meeting still with confidence and, and it goes well, so. If you are a mentally fit and strong person, you'll be able to handle this kind of small situations in a calm manner. And, and you build your muscle to be able to handle the more difficult circumstances in life. So I wanna tell your audience, it's not about putting on this fake smile, 24 hours a day. It's being realistic, uh, because as you know, um, whatever happens to us, it's our reaction to it that actually. Sets the scene of what happens next. So mental fitness ability to look at the situation through a positive and resilient mindset, as opposed to a negative one.
I love that answer. Uh, that's one of the things that I talk a lot about is a resilient mind can get you through just about anything, but it takes ti it takes practice. It, it, you don't just wake up one day and all of a sudden you have a resilient mind. You actually go through a lot of hard things in. Uh, and then you realize that you are strong enough to get through it and handle just about anything that life throws your way. And, uh, and I think your, your example of spilling a coffee and going into talking to somebody in the office, I think that's a, that's a very timely one, cuz it's people can relate to that. Uh, especially people who have social anxiety. So you add social anxiety to the. Uh, making an accident like spilling coffee and how that could really derail somebody and maybe they would get so embarrassed, they would leave and go back home and not go to work. Yes, yes. But what you're saying is part of what you do is help people look at those situations. and work through that resiliency that you talked about and come up with a plan. How, how will you handle, what is your plan in case something happens unexpectedly. Mm. And so you kinda help walk them through. And do you do scenarios as well or role play, or how, how do you introduce that with your.
Yes. I, um, trained with Dr. Straza Shain on positive intelligence coaching and, uh, basically in, um, the positive intelligence method of coaching. We all have the, in the judge in this. So the judge shows up in three ways. That's the judge of self. So using our coffee ex uh, example, the judge of self basically will tell me, Jenny, you're so clumsy, then that's the judge of others. Uh, what will others think about me? Others will also think I'm very clumsy. And then the judge of circumstances, basically, you know, you, you are not able to. Be your best self at the meeting because you've already been hijacked by the judge. So on his website, positive intelligence.com, there's a free assessment to identify your saboteurs. So we all have the judge he's our master saboteur, but when he's activated. It will also trigger your top accomplished temperatures. So each one of us roughly has two or three top temperatures. So mine's the stickler. That's the term used for being a perfectionist. And I knew this all along, but doing the assessment really brought it up to surface that I, I saw my stickler appearing everywhere. And the second one is hypervigilant, which means I am always looking out for the worst case scenario and causes me anxiety. Think it's from my legal training where, you know, I, I, uh, , I, I'm trained to look out for possible worst case scenarios and to, uh, come up with plan B, C and D. So, so when the judge is activated, the stickler comes out saying that, you know, you have to look perfect for this meeting. Now it's short, you know, you cannot look perfect anymore. And then the hypervigilant comes up and, and, you know, gets anxious about trying to plan all possible worst case scenario, which as a result, you become an emotional wreck and there's no way the meeting will go well. So I, I talk through my, uh, when I have a first session with my clients, when I speak to them about what they wanna get better at, I can hear their saboteur because, you know, I know each saboteur that's about nine accomplished saboteur. Uh, so I can hear traits. And then, uh, only the client's willing to. Take the assessment to find out more, uh, then they go through the assessment. If not, I'm happy to coach them where they are. And a lot of them have, uh, perfectionists have controller. That's also the pleaser where you wanna please everyone, which is fine because they come from a very good place. But at the same time they feel empty themselves. And sometimes they please, because it's just that nature to do, but resentment builds up. And then I, I highlight, you know, what, what is actually going. So what's the benefit of knowing your saboteur. It's like an alert signal. So the moment you notice that your judge is acting up, your stickler is acting up. Use that as an alert signal, to be able to pause, take a step back. You know, some people use deep breaths. So in PQ coaching, positive intelligence coaching, we recommend a lot of shot exercise. That leverages on your five sensors to get centered again, to pause, because if you don't pause, you're gonna go into that autopilot mode of temperature thinking when you pause, you can consciously make a decision to think calm and the thing more high level. So like our example with the coffee, you're able to stick a step back and actually. Find a rational solution, not being overwhelmed with emotion. So in that instance, I'll probably stop, take a few deep breaths and then, you know, um, I could leverage on my, my sense of hearing. So while I'm breathing, listening to the sounds, that's closer to me, closest to me. So that could be my breath. And then listening to the sounds further away that could be the people talking down the corridor. So when you do. John, you're not thinking about the coffee on your blouse anymore. You're thinking about the sound of breathing and then the sounds of people laughing, and it only takes 10, 15 seconds. And then when you pause, you're probably like looking around and you can, you can see a solution to your coffee situation, but if you are not pausing, that's when you spiral downwards. So I. Coach my clients to choose a few of these simple exercises that they can practice when they're not stressed when they're not hijacked. So when they're hijacked, you know, it's easier to activate them. So again, like physical fit fitness, you need to practice this, you know, and during the good times, and during the stressful times, so that, you know, when it's really stressful and you can't think going into this exercises is your new autopilot mode.
I think that's excellent. I think there's a lot of my listeners. Who could relate to that? Uh, they may have even spilled coffee on themselves and, and just the saboteurs and, uh, and those, uh, I call 'em inner critics. Yes. Uh, so there are a lot of different names, but it's the same thing. And it's those thoughts that tend to take over. And when we allow the thoughts to take over, then it also. Influences our behaviors. And, and so, uh, I think what you're, uh, helping to clients with is right on, I think that's encouraging. And I think anyone here who's listening to this can really take advantage of what you have to offer and your training, your experience, uh, even your law background, uh, I think can help you, uh, as a life coach. And I, I'm a big, I'm a firm believer. And our past influences are present in our future. And, uh, I think that your experience as a lawyer is gonna help other people as well, just what you've learned and your experiences there. So I think what you have to offer is with your life. Coaching is great. I appreciate the fact that you are certified. You're not. Putting your flag out and say, oh, I'm a life coach. Uh, but, but you are certified. You do have the training, you do have the experience. And so I've wanted you to come on and talk about, even though you are you're in Singapore. And if, if anyone's listeners from the us, you might be thinking, well, that's too far, that's too far to get, to get help and mean really it's not, not in today's age. So, uh, there might be a time difference. Uh, and that's something I'm sure you could work out, cuz you've said you've had. Clients in the us. Yes. Yes. Uh, so that's something that can be worked out. So that's a minor thing. I want to encourage my listeners to find out more about you and where can they find information about you?
yes, John that's right. Uh, no one has to buy an airplane to get, to come over to Singapore and then, you know, with travel restrictions nowadays, that's difficult. Um, so usually I hold, uh, my coaching sessions through zoom or Google meet and a lot of people sometimes, uh, they don't want to switch on the video, so that's perfectly fine. So it's just like a phone call. You can just. Audio function so people can visit my website at river life. coaching.com. I'm also on social media, uh, on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, uh, find me under my name, Jenny tot O H or also river life coaching. Uh, either one, you can't go wrong. And John, you put all this in your show notes as well.
Absolutely. I will definitely put that there. Uh, so if you are listening to this and you might be interested in learning more about life coaching with Jenny, uh, go to my show notes, uh, at the mental health today, show.com and you can find all the information there you can look up. And I would imagine people there, you have a, um, a calendar where someone can book a session
with you, or yes, it's it's on my website. Yeah. Okay. So when they go there there'll be an appointments page on my website.
Great. Well, Jenny, thank you so much for taking time to come on. I know it's really early where you're at right now. Yes, , it's fine. And so I appreciate you taking time and to, to let us know a little bit about you and what you, what your service is about and your life coaching. And it's been a joy getting to know you and I'm sure my listeners have gotten a lot. Out of it as well. So thank you so much for coming and being a part of the show.
Thank you, John. Thank you.
Jenny is an International Coaching Federation (ICF), and a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) who runs her own coaching practice, River Life Coaching Pte. Ltd. Jenny is also a qualified lawyer in the U.K., Singapore, and Malaysia. She is passionate about coaching individuals to align their lives with their core values and purpose, enabling them to live fully and joyfully.