Experience Date Coaching Through My Eyes: New Date Coaching Series, Part 1!

This is part 5(a) of my review series with Lunch Actually, Asia’s premier lunch dating company, where I undergo sponsored date coaching and blog about the process.

Date Coaching

Hello everyone! :D Those of you who have been reading my Lunch Actually series would know that I’m currently a registered member at Lunch Actually and going on one-to-one dates as arranged by the agency. I just blogged about my first match and first date here: Part 4 of my LA Journey: My First Match and First Date!

My initial membership package with Lunch Actually has been kindly sponsored by them; I personally wanted to blog about the journey (even before the sponsorship was offered) as I figured some of you might be interested to try/use LA’s services and me openly writing about my journey will help you know more about their service. I also feel that there will be things that I’ll learn along this journey which will be worth sharing with all of you.

As part of my Lunch Actually journey, I was offered LA’s suite of value-added services, complimentary of the agency. These include image coaching (which I have since blogged about in Part 3 of my LA Journey: Going Through Image Coaching!) and date coaching.

I’m currently going through date coaching which will be seven sessions long (with one session every fortnight). As such, I’ve decided to start a new date coaching series to openly blog about this date coaching journey, in hopes that you can learn a thing or two from this experience as well. :D

Foreword on This New Series

If you’re currently single and open to being in a relationship, I reckon this series will be highly, highly useful for you, as I’ll be sharing many of my lessons and revelations from undergoing Kydon’s coaching. Take it as you receiving free, top, advice from a dating coach (Kydon) through a life coach (me) that’s presented in a way that’s relevant for you (through my writing). You’ll be experiencing date coaching through my eyes and will probably learn many things that will be relevant to you too. I say you should most definitely follow this new series and keep your eyes peeled for each part!

For those who are not single and/or are not looking to be in a relationship, simply ignore my weekly to fortnightly entries about my date coaching progress, though I think you can learn something from reading them (I’m sure anyone would). My plan is to share some substantial dating thoughts and advice with each entry (so I might break up a session into several entries if there is much to share). I’ll continue to write (free) articles on personal development on my LA and date coaching entries, so don’t worry about PE turning into a relationship/dating blog.

It is important, though, that you recognize that relationship/dating is a part of life and a part of personal growth, which is why I’m even covering these series on PE to begin with.

Personally, I write about LA and date coaching because PE is partly about me sharing my life’s lessons and life’s journey with you. I’ve come to the point where having a relationship has become a priority on my intentions list, and hence these new articles surrounding dating. I also feel that dating and romance is a personal growth topic that is often fuzzed with misguided advice, so I’d like to share firsthand advice with all of you by openly embarking on this journey.

Hopefully you will follow my journey and learn a thing or two from my new date coaching series. :D Thank you and enjoy. :)

Date Coaching: Introduction

What is date coaching? It’s coaching to help someone present his/her best self during dates, get the best out of his/her dates, and maximize his/her chances for relationship success.

Is it necessary to have a date coach? Most people would probably resist to the idea of having a date coach (or even image coach for that matter), as it would suggest that the he/she has issues with his/her dating skills (or image).

I’ve never thought of getting a date coach, to be honest. However, when Violet and Jamie (the co-founders of LA) asked me if I would like to be dated coached, as part of my LA experience, I thought—hey, why not?

As a (life) coach myself, I know that coaching isn’t about “fixing” someone, but about betterment. There is never anything “right” or “wrong” with anyone, only a whole well of potential to be harnessed and released. Throughout my years of running PE, I’ve continuously coached very talented, capable, and intelligent individuals to reach elevated levels of success; in fact, many of my clients are more successful than people I know who shy away or resist from coaching. I’ve come to realize that it is the people who openly seek my coaching who become stronger achievers than those who resist being coached, because the former are open to change, and allow themselves to receive valuable feedback to improve and achieved their personal goals.

Hence, I’m gamely opening myself up to date coaching to improve myself, uncover my blind spots in the area of dating, and (hopefully) become a better date and relationship partner! :D

Date Coaching with Kydon

For the value-added date coaching services (not part of the default LA package, but a value-added service which a member has to sign up for), Lunch Actually has partnered with Kydon Tay from Courage Gym. (And uh, no, it’s not a fitness center but the name of his company which specializes in dating and relationship coaching).

Kydon is a leading date coach in Singapore who coaches and trains people on how to go from “forever single” to happily married. He started his date coaching business two years ago in 2010, which has since grown quickly to become a successful coaching business today. Kydon has acquainted himself with the art of dating and relationship success since over a decade ago, and having achieved success in his personal dating life (Kydon is happily married today!) and helped his friends to achieve relationship success, he decided to start Courage Gym to help other singles out there do the same!

So far, I’ve one pre-coaching session (three weeks ago) and one official date coaching session (this week) with Kydon, and I love, love, love him! :heart: I’ve been unofficially referring to Kydon as my relationship and dating shrink :sweat: , and I’ve no doubt that our upcoming sessions will be phenomenally helpful in my dating journey.

While each session is supposed to be one hour long (there are supposed to be seven sessions as part of the official date coaching journey, not including the pre-coaching session), Kydon has been very gracious in his time with me. Our pre-coaching session lasted almost three hours long, while our first official session yesterday was about two hours long! I appreciate him spending all this extra time with me, as I know that timeliness is quite important in the area of coaching (especially when you bill by the hour).

Key Lessons I’ve Picked Up So Far

For my date coaching series, I’m going to focus on lessons I learn, rather than a step-by-step account of what we cover, as that can be quite rhetorical.

In the two sessions we’ve had so far (the pre-coaching session and the first official session), Kydon and I discussed and shared many things with each other. Below are the top valuable lessons I’ve picked up during our pre-coaching session.

1. Be a more open dater (and how to do so).

I used to be quick (and harsh) at evaluating whether I would want to go out a guy (on a date or subsequent dates). It was part of having a terminal view (as opposed to a nurturing view) in relationships, something which I wrote in Step #10 of Your Guide to Love: 10 Steps to Attract Authentic Love into Your Life. I’ve already changed that manner of thinking even before I embarked on date coaching.

Kydon gave me a framework to use in dating which I found very useful.

  1. When dating, open yourself to a first date if the person gets a score of 4–10/10 on your interest or “like” scale. Meaning, if you utterly detest this person and he/she gets a 0, 1, 2, or 3/10 score from you, then no, don’t go on a first date with him/her; otherwise, open yourself up to a first date.
  2. Use this same approach when it comes to deciding whether to go on a second date.
  3. Only make conclusions about whether you want to continue dating a person when you’ve gone for at least two dates with him/her.

2. Everyone can be the “right” person.

Many of us commonly cite the reason “not meeting the right person” behind our single status. While this reason is perfectly valid, Kydon made a comment which really caught my mind. He said that there are people everywhere and all these people are potential relationship partners.

Yes, yes, I know some of you are probably balking at that statement, thinking, “But those people are not compatible with me,” or “I’m not interested in those people at all,” or “I have certain expectations for who I want as my partner and those people are simply not that.” These were the same viewpoints which I adopted in the past, so I can totally understand where you are coming from.

Sure, it is true that we want to be with someone who shares compatible values. Sure, it is true that the other party should at least share some fundamental commonalities with us so as to build a meaningful bond. These are also what I call the “big rocks” of a relationship, i.e., you need to have some core fundamentals in place for a relationship to work out in the long term.

However, I feel Kydon’s point is that rather than be enclosed about who we can (or want to) be with, we should consider that everyone is actually a potential relationship partner, and that it’s a matter of whether we want to make things work out. Adopting this view has really opened my mind actually; I see this as a huge step up in embracing a nurturing rather than a terminal view in relationships (reference to Tip #8 of 8 Tips on Attracting Authentic Love Into Your Life). This is undoubtedly critical in increasing your odds of being in a healthy, long-term relationship.

3. People are always changing, so never say “never”.

Still in the same line of thought about how we should have a more nurturing rather than terminal view, Kydon said that people are always changing, all the time. We change as we enter different phases of life; we change even on a day to day basis. You change, I change, and so do other people.

Hence, just because someone may not be compatible with you today, doesn’t mean the person wouldn’t be compatible with you tomorrow. So don’t be quick to write off someone when it comes to dating. You never know how things may be in the future. :)

4. Create solutions, not focus on problems.

There’s a tendency for us to obsessed with differences when with someone. Always focus on creating solutions, rather than harp on the differences. There will always be differences and it’s up to you to work through them with the other party.

(These are in line with what Principles #2 and #7 in 10 Timeless Principles for Lasting Happiness.)

5. See the person for his/her potential, not who he/she is today.

What do most of us do when we want to assess if someone has what we are looking for as a relationship partner?

Most of us would probably look at the person’s accomplishments, life history, current career, possibly income, physical appearance, current assets (such as house, car, and wealth), personality, etiquette, behavioral patterns, and so on. These are external aspects of the person that have already been realized and are part of the person’s makeup today.

How about seeing the person for his/her potential instead? How does that sound?

Kydon introduced this idea to me which I found incredibly insightful. I’ve never really thought about assessing potential relationship partners this way; it was an eye opener for me. So rather than consider the person for what he/she has already done or already is today, evaluate the person based on the person he/she can be in the future. See the potential that is in him/her (and everyone has infinite potential, so disputes about that). Then, inspire that potential out of the person.

I suppose this is why people become so much more successful and accomplished when they are in a fulfilling relationship—because their partners are able to inspire the potential out of them. Kydon shared with me the example of Rosa Lee Beeland, Napoleon Hill’s wife. Napoleon Hill was the author of the critically acclaimed Think and Grow Rich! (1937), one of the best-selling books of all time.

When Rosa married Napoleon Hill, he had not reached the peak of his success yet. Rosa married Napoleon because she saw the potential for greatness that was in him; she subsequently inspired this greatness out of him. It was with Rosa that Napoleon wrote Think and Grow Rich!, which was initially balked by Napoleon’s publisher; it was under Rosa’s insistence that Napoleon’s publisher gave his manuscript a more thorough reading. Think and Grow Rich! was subsequently published, became Hill’s greatest work, and is now regarded as one of the greatest self-improvement book of all time, with more than 30 million copies sold worldwide.

So rather than size people up for who they are today or what they have done, now I focus on seeing the potential that lies in people. The funny thing is that I’ve been doing this in the area of coaching and helping others, but never thought to think this way where it comes to dating and relationships. I think this will definitely be essential in helping me to meet and be with the right person.

Next Up…

Kydon and I have touched base on several other topics, which I’ll share in upcoming entries.

I want to make the parts of this dating series digestible rather than stuff everything in one post, especially since the five lessons I’ve shared above are already critical lessons in themselves. I think simply taking those five lessons to heart and applying them religiously will increase your “dateability” (quality of being dateable) by like, two to three times at the very least.

My next entry will be about the Wheel of Dating (like the Life Wheel, but applies to dating), a wheel that Kydon created for his date coaching, and how I fared in it. Stay tuned!

Feel free to share any comments or feedback in the comments section. Do you appreciate this new series? What do you think about the lessons I’ve shared above? I’d love to hear from you.

Till next time, smile more and love openly everyone! :D

This is part 5(a) of my review series with Lunch Actually, Asia’s premier lunch dating company, where I undergo sponsored date coaching and blog about the process.

  • http://avene.org Glenn

    Wow, date coaching? You guys must have a coaching service for almost everything in Singapore!

    I think dating advice can be summed up in just a few lines.

    1. Be yourself and smile.
    2. Be attentive and show interest in the other person.
    3. Don’t hog the conversation, be too opinionated, or talk about yourself too much.
    4. And most importantly, mute your phone and don’t use it during the date. Or better still, turn it off.

    Anything else, refer to 1.

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hey Glenn! I don’t think it’s a Singapore thing. There are coaches everywhere for all sorts of things. Date/relationship coaching is actually somewhat prevalent in US too, I believe (even more so than Singapore). In fact I first knew about date coaching online several years ago, from this American guy who had been doing it for quite a while.

      What Kydon is doing with me is beyond just what is covered during dating. It’s a holistic exploration with regards to dating and creating meaningful, long-term relationships. I wouldn’t have been very interested in the coaching if it was just about behavioral cues and mannerisms during dates.

      • http://avene.org Glenn

        That’s interesting. This is the first I’ve ever heard of such a service.

        Although now I think of it, what you’ve described here sounds like what the Catholic Church have for people getting married. My wife Lydia’s Catholic, and they wanted us to do this course where they teach you how to maintain a long term marriage. But we didn’t think it was a good idea, and for a few different reasons. Most of all having a set of rules to follow that we may not have been comfortable with. Plus the fact that they were using scare tactics to try and get us to do the course.

        That said, I’ll be interested to read what you learn from the coaching Celes!

        • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

          Thanks Glenn! I think it’ll be an interesting experiment. Always something to learn from everything regards of what it is about. Going through these coaching lately made me realize how helpful coaching can be, from the position of the coachee. (I’ve often taken the position of the coach or self-coached myself, but am not always in the position of the client or coachee.) Maybe I might check out some business coaching in the future; I think it’ll be useful to see what I can learn from it.

  • http://www.27andfrugal.com Leslie

    Completely disagree with #5 about looking for potential! This will only cause trouble, disappointment and resentment down the road when your SO doesn’t “become” the person you want them to be. It also gives you justification to stay with someone who is not a good fit for you just because you “see something” in them that will, most likely, never come to fruition.

    I realize that YOU understand the principle behind this but I feel that encouraging it is dangerous to the ladies who like to change or “fix” the men they start dating because of some unseen “potential”.

    • JadePenguin

      I agree this could be dangerous. I think it depends on whether the person is actually taking the steps to become a better person or if you are indeed blindly hoping. As I can tell from experience, if you make things too easy and stay in the relationship no matter what, they might become complacent and stop trying. I’ve spent years waiting for men to change – in vain. And the kind of people they were at the time was unacceptable.

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      I completely agree that going into a relationship with expectations is absolutely dangerous and not healthy. In fact, going into any friendship with expectations that the friends should do X or Y is unhealthy to begin with, much less romantic relationships. I personally do not believe in assigning expectations to relationships (or at least, not bounding a relationship based on fixated expectations).

      Here’s how I perceive this – Person X is earning $0 at the moment. He is jobless. (For ease of discussion, let’s see this in the context of a male.) Someone who judges or evaluates someone based on how the person is doing in life RIGHT NOW might write off this person as an undesirable romantic candidate (by virtue of the fact that he is not raking in any income). Somewhat superficial, but it is quite real in very capitalistic societies like in Singapore and Hong Kong.

      However, if the person is hardworking, driven, smart, has a good head on his shoulders, and has been working on a series of ideas for a new business, then it’s apparent that this person isn’t being “lazy” or a non-contributing member of the society as people might assume, and that it’s a matter of time before his life situation improves. It’s not to say that a lady should be with this guy in anticipation or expectation that this person will become some successful entrepreneur or whatever, but that she sees the greatness and potential that is in that person, understands the person’s vision for himself, and enables him to realize that vision (that the guy personally endorses, and not some vision the woman has set of him and is trying to mold him to become).

      It’s a very simplistic example, but I hope you get my point.

      I think we’re coming from the same place, but perhaps your concern is that some people might jump to certain conclusions when they read the phrase “look for potential”. Perhaps the distinction that needs to be made here is that “seeing someone’s potential” is not the same as “placing expectations on someone” or “expecting someone to become someone else or achieve a certain thing/target/goal”. I can’t change others from jumping to certain conclusions about what they read; what I will strive to do is to deliver the concepts in as clear a manner as possible and hope people can see my intention behind them.

  • Mikey

    This is a really interesting article! I’m glad you’re sharing this experience!

    I especially like “3. People are always changing, so never say “never”.”

    Most people who look for partners see who they are already. It’s like when you buy an necklace you pick out the one you like the most.

    The difference is that human lives are not constant. Circumstances change, and quite often these days. So being in a relationship is more like planting a crop. It may grow or it may not.

    On the other hand I do agree with Leslie that “5. See the person for his/her potential, not who he/she is today” should be considered carefully. It is a nice way to keep an open mind and look further. But at the same time, there are too many stories about spouses with potential who never materialize. Maybe they need the extra jolt from PE? =)

    I do wish I had seen “1. Be a more open dater (and how to do so).” earlier in life. Reading this I suddenly realized that I had always been looking for 7-8′s to begin with!

    Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to the next article!

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Thanks for your positive feedback Mikey! :D I’m really glad that you are finding this useful. I’ll continue to share my insights from the date coaching sessions openly. I see it as some kind of “therapy” or sessions with a shrink, and here I’m just sharing what I’ve learned openly, without restraint or holding back.

      (PS: Responded to Leslie regarding #5, and understand where you are coming from. Hope the response clarifies what I’m trying to say.)

  • JadePenguin

    I don’t really agree about jumping into a relationship with someone you are not attracted to. Being friends with them and open towards something in the future – that’s fine! But I’ve tried dating someone I wasn’t particularly interested in and there really wasn’t enough spark to keep it going.

    I did look at the points with regards to finding friends, however (I’m too picky in this regard!) I was wondering about the “inspiring their potential” – how do you manage to dig far enough to find that and encourage it without seeming patronising or expecting too much? Most people I meet still seem to be searching for their place in life and I usually don’t pester them too much – maybe letting them find their way on their own is a better solution, rather than forcefully staying with someone of a different conciousness level?

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hey Jade! I actually didn’t mention anywhere about jumping into a relationship with someone you are not attracted to. Where did you read that? If you are referring to point #1, it’s nothing to do with getting into a relationship, but about dating (i.e. just going on dates and being in the evaluation stage before deciding if you want to get into a relationship with someone).

      Interesting question you raised in your second paragraph. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough in what I meant about inspiring the potential; let me try to elaborate what I meant. Where I was coming from was that one should recognize the potential in others, without attempting to force-fit or place any expectations. For example, say I’m with someone who isn’t doing well in life (at the moment); however he is driven and smart. As far as I’m concerned, I wouldn’t impose any goals for him or put any expectations on him; his life is his to lead and I have no say over what he should do. What I would do though, is to help him work out what his personal goals are, then support him (emotionally and morally perhaps) in realizing those goals. I would also work on realizing my own goals at the same time, as part of inspiring him to achieving the same thing.

      I think most of us often tie potential with eventual outcomes. Maybe if we just focus on seeing the person’s potential, enable the person to realize his potential, without putting expectations on who the person should become, that would really help. For example, I had a mentor in my previous company when I was 21, who kept telling me that he saw a lot of potential in me. He never told me what I should do or who I should become. It really inspired me to become a larger person than I was at that time; he really brought out some great things that were hidden in me. This was very adequately done without me ever feeling oppressed, unhappy, or bounded to expectations.

      • JadePenguin

        Sorry, yes, you only meant dating not relationships :) Yet, I’d be careful to ask anyone out if I wasn’t already interested in them – I don’t want to give the wrong idea. Insecure guys get too easily attached to you if you’re being nice to them. I’ve had a fair share of people who just cannot understand when they’re being intrusive :|

        But I suppose you can ask someone out as a potential friend and go on from there. In that case it really isn’t a problem if they’re a 4 or 5. If they do expect more than you, they’ll have to accept what you’re offering or move on.

        • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

          Hey Jade! I see where you are coming from with regards to not giving the wrong idea. I can imagine the issue being more severe for guys dealing with girls (i.e. guys possibly giving the wrong idea or raising the girls’ hope too high when they ask them out), vs. girls dealing with guys. Like you mentioned, simply asking the person out as a friend will work great. Going for coffees and teas are very low-involvement, “friend-type” activities (vs. going for dinner, especially Friday dinner). Going out in a group also lessens any significance to the outing as well, I feel.

  • Mag

    Hi Celes,

    I really liked this article. I was reading this article and at first I thought this was all “normal” advice. Things I had always been doing…

    And then midway through I realized that this is NOT what I had been doing with my life career choices…. Then I reread the article from that perspective, and I realized that while I had been doing everything right when it comes to relationships… I had been doing everything wrong when it comes to choosing a career or a particular job… (and that’s the one area that I am very unhappy about in my life)!

    And I definietely agree with #5. I’ve always done that in my relationships, and seeing people grow with just a little bit of emotional support is really satisfying!

    But I never did that career wise….

    You enlightened my day!

    Thank you :dance:

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hey Mag, what a comment from a conscious and self-aware individual! Not many people are able to read something and reflect about it on their lives, much less about a totally separate area of their lives (i.e. how you did for this article with regards to your life/career rather than the article theme, which is relationships), so really, kudos to you! It’s really inspiring to know that I have readers like you taking away such insights from my sharing, even insights which were not part of the original intention of the article. YOU have lightened up my day! :D

  • Darte

    Hey Celes,

    I would like to ask you about something about this article. It seems that from these lessons, the relationship is more based on perspectives and potentials. I was wondering about something, do you think that we can be healers in love relationships or maybe not only that?

    Thank you for your sharing!

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hi Darte! Can you elaborate more about what you mean about your comment on being healers in love relationships or being more than that?

      • Darte

        I apologize for not expressing myself clearer.
        I could notice that some of the lessons you published were based more on perspectives and potentials we could see in the other person.
        I was asking myself if by doing this, is the relationship based on hope for improvement?
        And can we believe that we can cure or heal the other person, make him/her raise up and discover self love? But maybe this is not only in love relationship, isn`t it?
        I would like very much to know your opinion cause your mind is more opened than mine at this moment!
        Thnx :)

        • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

          Hey Darte! I hear you. I definitely don’t think any of us should enter a relationship with the intention to “cure” or “heal” the person, or the belief we “can” “cure” or “heal” the person. That’s the person’s decision to take. In thinking that we can/should “cure” or “heal” the person, we are already entering the relationship with the perspective that there is something wrong with the person and we need to do something about it. I’m not even sure if that’s a healthy perspective to take on to begin with.

          I’d like to draw your attention to my responses to Leslie and Jade above, which clarifies on my point #5 with regards to “seeing the potential in others”:
          http://personalexcellence.co/blog/date-coaching-part-1/#comment-29015 http://personalexcellence.co/blog/date-coaching-part-1/#comment-29017

          The lessons I wrote in the post isn’t really based on “hope for improvement”; rather, it is based on the ability to recognize things that aren’t there, to see someone for more than what is immediate, apparent, already out there in the external reality. I imagine that many of us are already really good at evaluating people for who they are NOW and who they were in the past, so I really just wanted to drive this new perspective home.

          So say I’m dating someone who is smart, positive, and ambitious. (Hypothetical example.) Perhaps he just got laid off from his company. Here I’m not dating him “in hopes that he will change” or “in hopes that he will become successful”. Neither am I dating him “in spite of him being laid off”. I’m simply dating him because I’m impressed by who he is on the inside and his character. The potential for greatness is definitely inside this person, but I’m not dating him in anticipation that he would become a great person or the potential riches that will be coming his way. I’m simply dating him because I love what I see about him, both on the inside (character, personal potential, etc.) and out.

          Whether he becomes a better person in time is a separate thing to consider in the future; if things change then that’s a separate decision to consider next time. But whoever he should become or whatever goals he should achieve definitely shouldn’t be something I impose upon him since it’s his own decision to make and his vision to achieve. What I can do is to support and to help him in the ways I can and know how to.

  • Bob

    Excellent idea to get coaching on this part of life – it seems unusual to most of us, but the more I think about it, the more I think it is a good choice. Learning from someone who has expertise in any subject not only helps to reach your goals quicker but it also helps you see what different routes are available. When we know the choice of what strategies and tactics are available we not only feel reassured but more comfortable as well.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts Celes. I like the point 5 about potential which reminds me of this quote

    “Treat a man as he appears to be, and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be.”
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hi Bob, thanks so much for your comment! :D I always love receiving comments from you as they are always so supportive and positive. I love that quote by Johann too – I’ll be adding that as one of the new quotes on PE Quotes.

  • KAT

    I’ve read a great book that is very relevant to this topic and I highly recommend it. It is called ‘why you are not married yet’ by Tracy McMillan. You can check its reviews on amazon.


    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hey Kat, can you share what you liked about the book and why you recommend it? This way it’ll be more helpful for the readers reading this.

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