Five years ago, when I started my journey as a professional coach, my purpose was clear, to help humans reach their highest potential. As I began to coach more clients and improve upon my skill as a coach, I tried to remain in a state of curiosity, experimentation, and forward action. In doing so, I defined my vision and mission, set priorities and goals for myself, expanded my offerings, and coached many clients. Currently, I am a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and am on the journey to becoming a Master Certified Coach (MCC). My 1,000+ hours of coaching have taught me a lot. Here are some of my key learnings from my ongoing journey as a coach. These insights are broken down into two categories, as an entrepreneur, and as a coach.
As an Entrepreneur
The importance of being strategic cannot be overstated. Being strategic allows you to set your vision and align your efforts and resources. It asks you to create time and space to think about the future, set goals, and develop a plan to achieve your aim. It helps you to build an enduring business.
“Create your goal based on emotion.” I cannot remember where I first heard this simple yet powerful premise, but when I heard it, it sounded like the satisfying click of the correct puzzle piece being laid down. Of my achievements, there are a few that are more meaningful than others, and it was because they make me feel good. The root of this advice points to the underlying motivation for most goals; feeling. Take a moment to explore the meaningful goals you have achieved. What made them meaningful?
This advice has been floating around my subconscious for some time, and during the first year of my practice, it helped me to define some key objectives. I knew immediately that I wanted to work towards being a master coach. I wanted to feel fulfilled, confident and respected in my ability to create a brave, safe space for my clients to explore their inner and outer worlds. I wanted to feel valued in my role as a trusted advisor. I wanted to feel confident in my ability to teach and mentor founders and coaches.
The feeling that I desire(d) led me to focus and concentrate on strengthening my coaching skills primarily through coaching, learning, and incorporating what I learned back into my coaching. It also fueled a deep trust in myself and my abilities.
One important aspect of being goal-oriented is to hold yourself accountable. Do what you set out to do and you will see your business and life transform.
Become Adept at Running a Business
If you are coaching full-time and running your practice, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that you are running a business. Additionally, you may not have the education or experience to know how to run a business. Consider getting a business advisor, coach or mentor to help with overall guidance. Additionally, taking classes can help bridge many knowledge gaps. You can look to traditional universities for certificate courses or MOOCs like Coursera for lower-cost education options.
Curate Your Tribe
Curate your tribe or personal board of advisors. This may include a business advisor or coach or a coach mentor or supervisor. Your tribe may also be a curated group of coaches and entrepreneurs who are your peer. This group can be a safe space to share where you are in your journey as a coach and as a business. You can also bounce ideas off of each other, learn, and support each other in holding yourselves accountable. If you go the group route, start small and be sure to implement structure. This may include the vision and values of the group, working principles, attendance, logistics, group dynamics, and when the group and its structure will be re-evaluated.
Either through 1:1 or group conversations or in community messaging spaces, regularly connect, share what you’re doing and get curious about what your tribe is doing.
One benefit to gain from your tribe is that you may realize that while each of your journeys is unique, you may find solace in knowing that you have others in your sphere going through similar experiences.
As a Coach
The Unwavering Importance of Emotions
I’m on a mission to normalize the feeling and utilization of emotions. A simple way to view emotions is to consider them as a piece of information.
As a coach, it is important and empowering to feel your feelings. Understanding your emotions and what they may suggest allows you to self-regulate and be present for your client.
For your clients, emotions can be a good source of information. From an analytical perspective, they can indicate your client’s state of being at any given moment as it relates to what is happening, what has happened, or what could happen in their life. If chosen, this data can inform how they might adjust, proceed, or stop certain behaviors and actions altogether. Plainly said, getting curious about the specific emotions your clients are feeling, can help them gain insights and take action.
Work on Your Craft
Continually working on your craft enables you to serve and impact your clients and community at a higher level. Working on your craft should push you out of your comfort zone. As best you can sit through the discomfort because on the other side of it is growth.
From a commercial perspective, increasing your craft as a coach can translate to referrals, requests for proposals and discovery sessions, extending client engagement,s and gaining new clients.
Here are 7 ways to work on your craft.
- Run or participate in demos or facilitate workshops. Regardless if you are a novice or master coach, you get to hone your craft when you participate in demos or lead a workshop. You also get the chance to speak to people who need, want, or are engaged in coaching allowing you to learn how you can support them as a coach.
- Sharpen your skills of emotional intelligence, employing silence, active listening, and curiosity. These skills are powerfully beneficial for your client as it provides the space, time, and connection for them to ponder, reflect, and express themselves. Through their expression come insights that will help them design actions and arrive at their aim.
- Maintain your coaching presence. Take time before each session to ground yourself into your coaching mindset. This could be through a breath, meditation, or movement exercise before your client session. During the session, avoid taking copious notes to remain fully connected and present with your client. Take time after each session to capture details about what happened during the session.
- Get trained to coach and lead with a trauma-informed lens. Coaching with a trauma-informed lens allows you to support your client with confidence and identify when and where to refer them to qualified mental health professionals. Trauma-Informed Leadership Fundamentals led by Rev. Heather Lynn-Wagner is a course that I took and highly recommend. You finish the course with an understanding of trauma from a neurological perspective, tactical ways to utilize your learnings in your coaching practice, and resources to deepen your learning during and after the course.
- Develop a reflective practice. It is important for you to dedicate time and space to reflect on your experiences to generate insights and actions to take. During your practice, you may ask yourself questions like, what is working, what is not working, and what do I need to change or learn.
- Create and leverage your coaching tool kit. Your tool kit should have your methodology and your go-to techniques and practices. These are tools that make you unique as a coach. Your kit should also have tools that you typically don’t use, that are tried and tested that you leverage when a new or exceptional scenario arises.
- Embrace the notion of being a lifelong learner and stay in conversation with the people in and around your network.
Be Humble While Singing Your Praise. This means allowing the value you offer to shine.
I hope my insights were helpful to you. Reply or DM me with any comments, questions, or insights of your own.
Peace. Love. & Flow.