The beginning …
It starts with putting an intention out there - for me I know my purpose is to squeeze as much juice and joy from life, to inspire myself and others to awesomeness, and to live true to my values. How I do that is to challenge the “deferred life” myth we’ve been sold; to “unplug from the matrix”; as Sharon would say “never be beige”; be passionate, playful and courageous. I love seeing people be the best version of them – too busy doing and having, many people have forgotten who they want to be.
So I set out to discover how I could live my purpose. As it does in those situations, the Universe puts a door where only walls existed before. Things fall into place to deliver on that intention - I was made redundant and transitioned out of a big job in corporate land and had a few other adventures along the way, each reinforcing my commitment to find a way to do what I truly loved, on my terms.
I left formal education at 16, so was considering whether to finally do a degree. Then the penny drops! One of the ways I can not only live my purpose, satisfy my top two needs (love/connection and contribution) and drive an income is through coaching. And then it hit me ... holy crap, I finally know what I want to do when I grow up!
Decision made …
I started researching and considered the Robbins Madanes Training, but as much as I love Tony Robbins, there is still some negativity around being directly associated with the huge American with massive teeth. I decided an accredited course would fit the bill, so I could go anywhere in the world and be recognised. I wasn’t going to do this by halves, so I researched until I found the best course with the best school; TCI was it.
The next day I signed up for the Credentialed Master Practitioner of Coaching (mid-May) and dived that very evening onto my first webinar. In fact, from that moment I didn’t have much of a social life, every night immersed in webinars, reading, watching TCI videos and soaking up every snippet of information I could. Considering I had about 20 self-development books on the go on my Kindle anyway, it wasn’t too much of a shock to the system … I was doing what I loved anyway, but this time with a distinct purpose in mind.
The next step for me was talking the language of certainty - as if it's already happened. I don’t apologise for what I don’t have (such as a paper qualification), I’m proud of what I do have – over 25 years in business, whist never the primary aim, involved coaching my teams; being the one all my friends turned to for advice and solutions; and I also had over 10 years of focused personal development including through Tony Robbins’ live events, audio programs and having my own awesome life coach. My mindset was:
I'm a coach formalising my coaching experience with TCI/ gaining international accreditation – I’m not ‘merely’ a student
I have a coaching business - it really doesn't matter if you have only two pro bonos, it's a business
I say "I'm doing", not "I'm trying" - for me, it’s about diving in with both feet
My philosophy …
Leading with my “what’s the worst that can happen” attitude and egged on by Matt Lavars (WOW!), I decided to get a pro bono client pretty much straight away. You can't learn to drive without getting in the car and you can’t play like Tiger Woods by reading a golfing magazine, so I reckoned the only way to learn, get a feel for the coaching language and really experience what it would be like to coach, was to go for it. I asked a lady that I had talked to at Tony Robbins’ Date with Destiny if she would be prepared to spare some time “so I can get comfortable using the language” and she graciously agreed. Well, we got a breakthrough in our first session and I was well and truly hooked. I think she liked it too, because she became my first six-session pro bono.
One pro bono quickly turned into two, then three, then four, then seven and every day I ticked off my chart to show how far I’d progressed towards 100 coaching hours (unconscious competence here I come!). To get my pro bonos I asked my friends and got an overwhelming response – some volunteering themselves and I also got recommended to friends of friends. Those I was too close to coach were put in the TCI coaching pool and I ended up with so many I’ve been able to “gift” some of my pool pro bonos to fellow coaches who didn’t have any.
My car analogy is in regular use:
You have to get in the car to learn to drive
If you don’t step hard on the gas or you leave your car in neutral, you’ll go nowhere fast – take massive action and use all the tools at your disposal
You need to keep topping up your tank of gas – regular immersion in webinars, live coaching demos, anything you can lay your hands on and then immediately implement it otherwise your ‘fuel’ will evaporate
And the most important thing – you’ll get nowhere if you leave the handbrake on - that's not resolving your limiting beliefs if I've stretched the car analogy too far!
Next steps …
I saw a world of possibilities around me and said yes to every opportunity - including social ones. Yes there were BNIs and other networking nights, all of which are invaluable, but you never know who you'll meet or what you might learn elsewhere too. Talk to that cab driver, the person on the flight, the guy you’re left with in the bar when your friend goes off to flirt, the friend of a friend who vaguely thinks they recognise you ...
I’m passionate about what coaching can do but I communicate my WHY first. Coaching is just one way of delivering my why. It makes for more interesting conversations, that’s for sure! When you talk passionately about your “why”, it’s guaranteed to light you up and that sets you apart from the crowd who talk about what they “do” - and that's when the magic happens.
I’ll give you an example. One Sunday evening I decided last minute to go for a drink with a friend – she invited a friend who invited a friend. The girls were all talking about this “brand new” thing they’d heard about … NLP! Giggling to myself, I bit my tongue and didn’t reveal I was a coach, but did offer a few insights when they queried some elements of human behaviour – they all thought it was fascinating. One of the girls, Sally, thought she had met me before, so we agreed to catch up the next week for a coffee to work out how we knew each other. Over coffee Sally told me about her new business. I shared my why. And as a passing comment at the end I said “I could coach all your staff”.
My FOCS intake was the very next day (last weekend of June in Sydney). So I walked in to meet my fellow coaches and Mr Joe Pane for the first time and in the break received the phone call to confirm that Sally had spoken to her business partner and they wanted me to run a series of 4 paid-for mindset webinars for their staff, one each week. On day 3 of FOCS, Sally called back to say she wanted me to speak at their 5,000 person conference in a few months’ time.
Since then, the series of 4 webinars for 10 turned into 5 for 25, some one-to-one coaching and now into a second wave for new starters and one-to-one coaching for their “elite” tier. One of my pro bonos had a casual conversation with a contact of hers who has now asked me to do the same for his business and another pro bono client wants me to run the same sessions for her staff. There are more on the way.
I have been to three separate BNI chapters, as a guest each time, and walked away with a paying one-to-one client (a package of 12 full priced sessions, well above the recommended minimum of $125/150 a session). Maths isn’t my strongest suit, but I think that’s a 2,800% return on investment as I only had to shell out for breakfast.
At one of the BNI chapters I made a connection who has since asked me to do a regular slot on her local radio show.
I also recently crewed at the Tony Robbins Date With Destiny and walked away with a couple of clients, just by sharing my why.
The lessons …
I’ve realised that you can make a difference, even on Day 1. People don't know what you know and even if they do they will benefit from hearing it again. Spaced repetition is key ... or as Tony Robbins says "Repetition is the mother of all skill".
It’s also easy to think that everyone knows what you know and use it as an excuse not to take action. It’s easy to say I can’t do A, B, C because I don’t have X or Y or Z, but they are just excuses. We have all the tools we need – what’s missing isn’t competence, it’s courage.
I’m still waiting for my brand identity and to work out my niche (although I do think it might have found me!); I have my name on a business card and a few business documents set up, but no website, no logo … I’ve only just started my triads and I’m going to HTRSW in October and NLP in December.
However, I am immersing myself daily; I am implementing everything I read and hear; I am accepting every opportunity. Every day I walk my talk, contribute, grow, ask myself quality questions ... and make sure that everything is aligned with my values.
And I know my why. As a result, I have people asking me to coach them rather than me selling coaching to them. And I have clients paying me and more lining up.
It’s been a hell of a first three months!
The Private Coach