As a service provider and business strategist for female entrepreneurs, I always think it is important to have support and guidance, which is why I am always working with some sort of coach, therapist, and networking group. Insert the container where I can learn, ask questions, and learn some more.
If you have been following my story for a while you know that before I even had a business in January of 2020, I hired a coach. As in I just had an idea. Since then I have been in four masterminds and multiple group coaching programs and hired several 1:1 coaches and service providers.
No matter what area of support I choose to invest in, I always learn something. In some cases, it is exactly what I want to do and in other cases, it is exactly what I never will do. So I thought it would be interesting to share the top things I have learned from coaches that I will always do and then top that I will never do.
Let's start with the experiences that I will choose not to repeat.
- Hard sales. This actually just happened in the last year so it is fresh in my mind, but I was looking for some support with growing and scaling our team and reached out to a couple of people who I knew might be able to help. At the end of the discovery call when I voiced my questions about maybe not being a good fit for a few reasons, I was told that I would fail if I didn't join. That all leaders fail and that I was at the point in my business where I would. Hard sales for me equal a hard pass. But also this rocked me for a few days, to be honest. While I do believe what I have to offer is unique, I refuse to tell someone they are going to fail if they don't hire me. Instead, I like the more, "let me show you how I can help and then you can decide approach."
This is super awkward for me to share but I feel like it is important to know that I think this happens more than we would like to admit. If we all share our stories, maybe those that are teaching these tactics will realize that there is a better way.
The bottom line is if you force someone to purchase something through forceful tactics, you will almost always pay for it on the other side because they will not be ready to commit to getting the results they want.
- Overpromising and underdelivering. This one is hard to define because I truly believe that when you hire someone to help you in any category it is a partnership. As in you play 50% of the role. But there have been instances where I have signed up for coaching experiences that have vastly underdelivered. Most of the time this isn't the actual content that is delivered but the access to the person I am working with you. You are told one thing, but it is something completely different. I think it is important when you hire anyone to understand going in what access you have and what access you don't. Make sure it is spelled out.
One way to ensure you can overdeliver is to ask for feedback. You can do it anonymously or directly. One coach I had sent out a form every week and asked her clients to fill it out. You could do it anonymously if you wished, but it was a great way to reflect on the partnership we have. I took this and incorporated a version of it in all our programs, making sure you have a way to provide feedback both directly and indirectly, anytime.
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- When you leave a program I think it is just as important to celebrate as joining. I have had experiences where I have invested $20K or more (insert the equivalent of a small car) and when I left the program, felt empty. Not because I didn't love the experience or what I learned but because it just abruptly ended. It is probably why I am so passionate about customer experience and making sure that we celebrate the beginning and the end. I never want to feel the way I felt. Like I invested a small car with you and there isn't even a thank you? That is a little extreme but I am curious if you have ever felt this way. Because of that we always have celebration calls in all our programs and celebrate you, taking the step, whatever path you choose to take at the end.
Now for the fun part and things that I love.
- Make it personal. I love it when a coach, service provider, insert whomever I am working with, takes time to get to know me and my family, what the real mission is, and also what my personality is. I don't do well if there isn't a visual piece to the lesson. I like accountability. I will most likely zone out if the call is after 8 pm. Not that I can control all these things of the program, but when the person I am working with understands this, it makes our time together so much more productive. I really love to learn my clients' human design, how they learn, what time you work best in the day, or even down to what times work best to meet. It's the building of the relationship at a personal level that makes a difference. But also the customization. Get to know your clients on a deeper level. It will always pay off.
- Overdeliver. But do it by learning your client's love language. I think this is something you can do with a product or a service. Send a thank you note. Send a client welcome package (that would be clients who love gifts). Give feedback and words of affirmation. Ask how you can help them. If you have read the 5 love languages you should think about how you can serve your clients this way. Words of affirmation, quality time (connection), receiving gifts, acts of service, etc. Incorporate this into your model. Be a human. Not a funnel or a robot because a book tells you to follow a specific step.
- Get Creative. I am still working on the best way to implement this but one of my favorite coaches basically created a program for me when I told her what I was looking for. Another one changed her model while I was in it and offered me a behind-the-scenes backstage pass as I transitioned with her. I am not advocating this would work for everyone and going back to boundaries, you have to create and stick to them. Going back to #2, remember you are human, and so are your clients. Get creative on how you help each other. Communicate what you are going through so that it isn't a one-way street. You never know the partnerships that will come out of it or the conversations and ideas that will come from just talking about it.
My last point and honestly the reason I did this whole blog post is your business is your business. Take what you love and ditch what you don't. Run your business in a way that feels authentic to you and how you would like to feel.
My favorite coaches and service providers are the ones that I still have a deep relationship with. They check in with me even though I am not a paying client, that I check in with because I am cheering them on. Remember the best thing you can do is focus on the story. The relationship. What story do you want to tell in the end?
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- I would love to know, do you have experiences that you have loved? What was your favorite part? What experiences did you learn from? DM me and share. It makes us all better!
- Create your mission statement with these three questions.
- A step-by-step guide to transitioning to full-time entrepreneurship with Amy Porterfield - Listen here.