In 2015, I launched a career coaching practice. I loved the coaching aspect and my clients had great results; however, I struggled with the business model and found myself hustling beyond my limits to make the financial side work.
I had lunch with a colleague and she told me that I should get a coach – she had experienced great success in the past with a coach with her own coaching business.
I remember thinking, “Why would I get a coach? I have an MBA from Northwestern, I should be able to figure this out. Plus, why would someone hire me as a coach, if I need a coach myself?”
As the months passed by, I heard the same feedback from other folks in similar fields — “get a coach, it’s worth it.” I told myself, “How can I even afford to pay a coach?! They want $250+ per hour…that’s insane! I would have to work so hard to even afford one and what happens if it doesn’t pay off?”
Then a series of fortuitous events happened last summer: a fantastic group hired me to lead their strategic planning retreat, which led to multiple other clients. I worked my butt off, took a beach vacation with my family, and returned back resolved to find work that I love, with a business model that would allow for a sane schedule and appropriate compensation.
I took the first step with some skepticism, but I was determined to make my occupation work with my life. With a friend’s referral, I called a coach and began work with him a week later.
Mike and I had little in common: He’s an older white dude from Boston, working mostly with media and for-profit organizations. But I had seen my friend grow in his confidence and was impressed with his business re-launch, so I bit the bullet and signed on for three months of coaching.
During our first session, I was eager (too eager) to dive in and figure out what I should do and what my business should look like. Mike slowed me down: “Why are you rushing to launch something when you don’t even know what the needs are out there? Who are you targeting? What value do you bring to potential clients?”
For the first two months, Mike coached and pushed me to connect, chat and network with friends, friends of friends, former colleagues, etc. to answer these questions. Week after week, we debriefed my findings and slowly put together my organization’s mission and value proposition. Each week, my confidence grew as he affirmed my value and offerings. Nothing he said was rocket science, but he framed things in a way that I didn’t see before. And I was ready to listen.
Because of this intense coaching process, I was able to create a business that pushed far beyond the limits of my previous career coaching practice. I’m now able to focus on a manageable client load, doing what I love, with a business model that works with my life.
The best part was that my initial investment of $3,000 for three months of coaching paid off over five times within the coaching duration! As I connected with people to learn more about their goal-setting needs, opportunities presented themselves: “Could YOU help me with this? Could I hire you to lead our next team strategy retreat?”
I share this story with you because everyone needs a coach! Someone to be a non-biased sounding board, to give you a new perspective, to push your boundaries and ultimately, to unleash your confidence.
If you’ve had a great coaching experience, I’d love to hear about it!
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