Coaching powerfully through pain

By: Mark Bowness • 4 years ago •


Here I was, at the age of 26 years old, sitting in front of a computer with empty cans of beer littered around me, having googled “quickest and painless way to die”. Right then, in that moment, it felt as though the floorboards of sanity had crumbled in my mind and there was nothing left to live for. That night I attempted to wipe my existence off of the face of the planet. Little did I know that my breakdown would be the revelation of my purpose. Little did I know that as a result of the most painful experience of my life to date, a movement would be birthed, a movement that was destined to change the world.


oday I find myself at the centre of a “life change” movement consisting of an online following of 100,000 people, spanning across the Globe and as a result have appeared in 500 media outlets including Good Morning America, Today Show and the New York Times and have had my work filmed for 18 months as a 5-part prime time series that has aired in the USA, Australia and the UK. Now, let me show you how your greatest moments of adversity can become the launch-pad to building a significant coaching business.

Let me take you back, for just one moment… I was brought up as one of six children, in a religious household, ensuring that we did not miss a day of Sunday school. Every Sunday I would cause the most utter disruption, hating “religion” because deep down I was wrestling with a crisis. I knew that I was gay. However, my religious upbringing told me that my sexuality was, at best wrong and at worst, demonic. I hid my pain and progressed within the church. My undergraduate degree was Theology and I held fast to the belief that God could heal me of my “illness”. I hid, I ran, I threw myself into building a non-profit organisation and became a church leader who was speaking in churches around the world, in front of 1000’s. I published two monthly magazines and wrote a book– I was fast becoming an emerging church leader. I was fast becoming a fraud.

At the age of 23, I got married and every Sunday morning would preach in the pulpit in front of an adoring congregation who thought that I was the greatest. Every Sunday afternoon I would come home to endless arguments with my wife. As my work grew, my life was falling apart, as the speaking opportunities increased, so did the arguments until one night we had the argument to end all arguments and that was it, the marriage was over. I couldn’t do it and so I opted out of living.

The next day I work up in hospital with a profound revelation of how precious life is. I began to understand that I had been living the life that everybody else had wanted me to live as opposed to taking responsibility for who I was and the life that I had been given. From that moment I dedicated myself to understanding the principles of life change. I read every single Tony Robbins book that I could get my hands on. I devoured the works of Wayne Dyer and I trained as a life coach with the goal of setting up a coaching business that enabled others to experience an incredible breakthrough in life, the same way that I had.

The more we are open and honest with our audience about what we have been through and are currently experiencing, the more we stand out from those coaches who project a “perfect” image.

As I saw coaches building businesses under an old model, creating websites that positioned them as a business owner, trying to sell people the solution to life transformation. It was a crowded marketplace of coaches trying to sell solutions for dollars when I genuinely wanted to make an impact. To do so I realised that a coaching business would never have allowed me to take my transformational message to the world and so, I birthed a movement.

Let me ask you: Do you have a life changing message tool or technique that the world needs to hear? A message that you know could transform lives in the millions? Yes? Is your current business model allowing you to serve an audience at a mass level? No? Then read on.

My breakdown was the beginning of the revelation of my purpose and I became intent on a vision to empower 1 billion people to live the life that they were created to live. Let me share three keys as to why your pain and adversity are the keys to unlocking your business and transforming lives at the level you were created to do.


I share my personal story of transformation in everything that I do – webinars, events and TV, Radio and Newspaper interviews and on average I receive 30 emails per day from people who have connected with my story. I am intentionally creating an open and vulnerable space which gives them the permission to do the same and so they make contact, share their story with me and then ask me for the solution. Did you read that? I don’t have to sell my products, people ask me what my products are and how they can buy them.

As a coach we feel as though life has to be perfect. We are encouraged to place ourselves in a position of authority over our audience, so that they want to come and learn from us. The reality is that your audience do not want to learn from a perfect guru. They want to gain insight from an authentic servant who has waded through their own pain to bring a deeper level of healing. Someone who doesn’t feel as though sharing their pain devalues their product or them as a coach but instead enhances who they are in a powerful way.

The more we are open and honest with our audience about what we have been through and are currently experiencing, the more we stand out from those coaches who project a “perfect” image. The result is that we no longer have to chase “leads”, but simply serve those who come knocking on our doors.



My work is focused on helping coaches to shift to Thought Leader. Tony Robbins, Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, Brendon Burchard – these thought leaders have an incredible following of people who absolutely love them. That is the goal of a Thought Leader.

In order to build such a following, a movement or hungry tribe of people, it’s important to tap into the power of shared pain. We all rally around pain – whether it’s the pain of our football team who aren’t doing so well, the pain of not being in the career that we want to be in, the pain of being single or the pain of no money.

Pain is a powerfully effective motivator and when you tap into the pain of your audience and share your vulnerability based upon your experience, then you are building a movement that has a deeper level of purpose.


Have you ever been in the presence of someone who talks about their pain, all the time? You may initially feel sympathetic, but as the “woe is me” attitude continues, you start to tune out. Whilst pain is a fantastic motivator it does not sustain your movement over time.

The goal of a coach is to take people away from their pain and guide them towards pleasure and purpose. In order to shift from pain to purpose, it is important to give your growing tribe a vision as to who we could be together. A message that brings about personal transformation and cultivates a tribal mentality of impact.

I have a vision to empower 1 Billion people to “live the life that they were created to live”. I do so strategically by helping 100,000 coaches shift to Thought Leaders and build their own movement of 10,000 people each.

It is the purpose that we have as a community that results in book publishers wanting to work with me, in working on a TV show concept for the Australia market and that has even gained interest from the Ellen Show.

So Coach, back to you. You have two options:

#1 Keep your guard up, never be vulnerable or show your pain and as a result never have the depth of impact that you were created to have in the world or

#2 Be honest, be real and be authentic and build a growing audience who love you for who you are and what you do. An audience who receive a deeper level of transformation and as a result become a hungry tribe who share your work, vision and passion around the world.

So what’s it going to be?

Mark Bowness is a Life Change Catalyst who is dedicated to seeing you shift from coach to Thought Leader and utilising the power of the internet, mass media and traditional book publishing to build your own movement that has significant impact. Ready to start? Head to and download Mark’s “Thought Leader Mastery Toolkit”. Through his Facebook “I Work In Personal Development Group” Mark provides free tools and resources to over 14,000+ coaches from around the world.

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