Pull Out Your Power Tool: EMDR and Coaching

Mar 31, 2023

by Sherri Felton, ACC, LPCC, Performance Coach
Join her free Mindfulness Coaching Call this Monday!
Check out her EMDR class

Why do people seek out the services of a coach?

The main reason is to receive professional support in making a change. Our clients’ lives are BUSY. They require top notch services to make the change(s) happen as efficiently as possible.

This is where EMDR comes in. I call it the “power tool” in my large tool box of coaching skills. 

EMDR was originally developed by Francine Shapiro in the late 80’s. It is an extremely powerful and effective therapy used to help clients recover from trauma at an accelerated rate. EMDR incorporates bilateral stimulation (BLS) into a structured protocol. It has become one of the top trauma therapies, recognized by many national and international organizations.

Yet, how do we use BLS in peak performance coaching? We all have the ability to tap into our natural resources within – often these are hidden and not easily noticeable. In my first meeting with a client we first identify their internal resources. I use BLS, to help them strengthen these innate resources within so they are readily available and can be implemented inside and outside our sessions.

One of my coaching clients had a presentation he had been preparing for at work. He had been under a lot of pressure and had a lot riding on this presentation. His confidence had taken a hit recently. He was nervous and afraid he was going to botch the presentation, resulting in a poor performance review for himself and potentially a large financial loss to the company.

I asked him to tell me the details of his best “stand-out” presentation. He told me what he was seeing, hearing, smelling, sensing which lit up his neural network related to that positive memory. He then identified a positive belief about himself related to the memory while beginning the bilateral tapping. 

As I watched for changes in his body language, I instructed him to pause tapping periodically to check in with his positive belief. The belief he identified was “I know my stuff; I’ve got this.” 

He rated the strength of his positive belief at 5 on a scale of 1-10. By the end of that first session, he moved it up to a solid 10. He had a smile on his face, his head was up and shoulders back. 

By pointing out his new posture he saw where he felt the confidence inside and continued to repeat his positive belief while holding the upcoming presentation in his awareness. Then he tapped. We continued this until he was at a steady 10 feeling fully confident in “I know my stuff; I’ve got this”.

My client was amazed and asked, “How did this happen in just one meeting? I’m not sure how this thing works, but I’m a believer.” 

After he had completed his presentation he called to let me know he truly did “nail it” with a very positive end result for both himself as well as the company.

There are many ways to apply EMDR in the coaching setting. This is just one example of how coaching clients have moved quickly and efficiently into meeting their goals. As a coach, this EMDR Bilateral Stimulation is one “power tool” that I use frequently.

Tonight, April 3, 2023, I’m facilitating the free monthly Mindfulness Coaching Call, where together we will continue to discover how to leverage EMDR and coaching with your clients as tools for success.


If you’re interested in learning more join Sherri’s class: The Dynamic Trio: EMDR, Positive Psychology and Somatic Coaching.




Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Posts


I enrolled in Writing, Creativity and The Mindful Coach in the hopes of reigniting my writing practice. As a student, corporate employee, and average human being in a life that pulls us all in a hundred different directions, I was simply looking for a sacred space for writing. I needed the boundaries, a time and a place, and accountability. I got that in this class…and I got infinitely more. What I did not expect was that I would begin an actual practice, and that infinite possibility could arise from a simple five-minute exercise. I also did not expect to see such a clear connection and application in the coaching world so richly exemplified. Part creative class, part coaching class, part poetry reading session, this class was a truly revelatory experience for me.
Sergia FloresStudent CoachEast Brunswick, NJ
The Art of Engaged Mindfulness has been one of my favorite classes at the Mindfulness Coaching School. I truly appreciate how Ann-Marie has combined the science and spirit of mindfulness. She creates space for students to play and get creative with meditation and find their path to practice. And the resources provided for further learning are priceless!
Brenda FaganStudent CoachNew Orleans, LA
S-T-R-E-T-C-H! pushed me in the coaching practice. I gained confidence and experience in coaching, while building strong connections with my classmates throughout the course.
Anna M. ParrillStudent CoachManchester, New Hampshire
I’ve been a therapist for years now, but still get the jitters every time I begin to work with a new client (probably the “fixer” in me). It was a joy to watch Ann-Marie in action [during Skillful Means: The Coaching Skill Set] and realize that we don’t need to feel like we have all the answers for the client!
Jeanna SmithStudent CoachPhoenix, AZ
[Right Speech] was a transformative class for me and Meg Hess was an inspiring and compassionate teacher. I have had an abiding interest in the notion of Right Speech, so I was looking forward to taking this class and curious about how it would unfold. It was very gratifying to see the teachings and practices we learned making a real impact on my listening skills, as well as on my responses to life circumstances and even world events. I am certainly taking away a wider scope of curiosity and the communication and listening tools to more effectively investigate that curiosity, which, in turn, expands the scope of my compassion.
Ilse ThompsonStudent CoachAuburn, Maine
I was reluctant to take this course [Mindful Eating: Mindful Life] as I have struggled with eating disorders since my teens. I didn’t want yet another “eating plan” that would add more clutter to my already busy thoughts about food. I honestly only took the class because it was required for PCC and I came in thinking that maybe I could learn something to help my clients. But honestly, I learned a ton about myself, my thoughts about food and eating, as well as many tools and ideas to use with my clients.
Chelle JohnsonStudent CoachAlbany, Oregon
This course [Body Electric] really teaches you how to dive deep into somatic awareness. I was looking to get more comfortable with this practice and the class exceeded my expectations from the book to the instructor, Ann-Marie, to the guest lecturers. Many “WOW” moments as I used the techniques for myself and with my clients.
Robin OlsonMCS GraduateBryan, TX
Learning the language of NVC with Srdjan Vukcevic felt like being immersed in a pool of empathy and authenticity. At its heart, NVC allows us to be seen and heard and Srdjan’s mindful, steady, and experiential approach to teaching made certain that everyone of us felt heard and seen during every class. Read more
Rachel Meginnes
Right Speech is a critical prerequisite to helping all conversations in life unfold with clarity and understanding. I wish something like this were taught to all students in our early K-12. Just imagine how the world would improve!
Jim ButcherB.S., M.A.Santa Fe, NM
The body is a tremendous source of wisdom and Body Electric gives you the keys to open the channels of communication with it. You will be surprised what you can get if you just listen. Thank you for the opportunity to come back as one with my body.
Srdjan VukcevicFounder and CEO, Blue Coach Business Training Podgorica, Montenegro