Seeking Balance, with Ease and Joy

June 30, 2012

In this podcast I was interviewed by Susan Merz-Anderson at Inspiring-Self-Improvement.com  who inspires and empowers her clients to create more love, joy, fun and freedom in their lives.

Life Coach Susan asked me questions revolving around relationships, which are a very key part of life for each of us. Listen to the Ease and Joy podcast here. Enjoy!

Can you tell me how you take care of yourself before you take care of others?

The self-care piece of my life is very, very big. I learned a while ago my ability to be generous and to support others is contingent on my own self-care. Sleep is a big thing for me – I get my proper rest. For me, lack of sleep is like kryptonite to Superman. And doing whatever is healthy for me, such as proper eating. I’m not as consistent with exercise but I acknowledge that’s a way I could take even better care of myself. Honestly, my dishes are done before I go into coaching. There’s nothing in the back of my mind since I’ve de-cluttered my environment. From a spiritual and emotional perspective, I make sure I’m doing my own self development. I’ll spend 30 minutes to an hour a day, such as listening to brain wave in training CDs, listening to Abraham-Hicks CDs, doing a visualization with myself, or having a coaching session. Whatever it is on that particular day that appeals to me and feels like an inspired action. Once I do that, then I can be more available for others.

How do you ensure or keep the balance between family, work and social parts of your life?

I really look at how I can keep from getting into that overwhelm. I do everything I can to keep myself really healthy and happy and in a position to honor my commitments. Then as things do happen, I do readjust as needed. I’ll make changes, back out of things, or just stop what I’m doing. By the way, I’m a recovering “Type A.” When I was in business years ago and when I made a commitment, there was no way I wasn’t going to make it happen. I would just push through whatever it took. And now I don’t do that anymore. From my heart and soul I make a phone call and say, “Listen, I’m just not aligned with this right now. I’ve had a very tough week. Is there any way we can reschedule?” Renegotiating those commitments every once in a while. There are some times when my business is really busy, when I don’t see people for weeks at a time. And then sometimes things open up a little bit and I’ll start reaching out. I’m very lucky my friends will say, “Come on down!” I get a lot of invitations when people say, “If you’re up for it we’d love to have you. If not, that’s fine.” They keep sending me invitations, so that’s a good thing, too. 😉

I’m really honest about what’s going on with me (usually in the most gracious manner possible, but I do tear my hair out on the rare occasion, LOL), which helps to let people know how they can support me. Before I came into coaching, my friends and I would talk about problems and how we can solve them. Since I’ve come into coaching, now we talk about what’s working in our lives. We talk about our appreciation. We find a lot of joy. These friendships just fill me up. We’re not always talking about how we can improve ourselves. We do improve a lot, but it’s from a positive focus viewpoint.

What do you do when you experience parts of running your business that you find you don’t really want to do?

My mantra is, “Success with Ease and Joy.” When I first started coaching, I didn’t want to get spend money right away in my fledgling business. I wanted to do a lot of it by myself. So if there was a task I didn’t like to do, I’d ask myself, “Is there any way I could make this more fun? Is there any way I could align with wanting to do it, can I tweak this somehow?” For example I had been a financial planner and I was tired of numbers. So when it came time to do my taxes, I found myself experiencing this dread energy. But as I began to go through my files, I was delighted to recall everybody I took to lunch, all the trips I made, and all the training I got, and thought this is kind of fun looking over the year of what I’ve done. I was starting to get excited about it and connect with it in a different way.

What tools do you use when you start feeling overwhelm or over busy in your coaching business?

I say a prayer, “I don’t really want to do this. Please show me a way I can align with this, or bring me somebody, or have me read a paragraph in a book that gives me the information I need, so that I can find a way that this can be done easily.” I like to use the Abraham-Hicks Placemat Process. I write the things I like to do on my to-do list. And on the other side of my paper, I write the things I would like to delegate to the Universe. I have a To-DO list and a Ta-DA list! I’ll say here are the things I’m really, really excited about doing and so I’m going to do these today. Here are the things I’m not as excited about doing and so I’ll just leave those to synchronicity to see if something happens that can help me. Of course if it has to be done and I’m not aligned with it, I’ll go the old fashioned route and just do it. 🙂  But there are very few of those left.

Can you share with us your tips for living in extreme joy and ease?

Know my values, my purpose and what I’m really about in this world. Know what brings me extreme joy and what’s really easy for me. Get a coach for support!

People may not even know what brings them joy. When I first came into coaching, it was a process for me to find out what brought me joy and what was easy. I was smart, so I could figure out how to do a lot of stuff. So I wasn’t really sure if it was going to be easy or not; it almost didn’t matter! My question before was could I do it or not? Well, I could do a lot of stuff! So now I know myself, what really brings me joy, what makes things easy for me.

I could not do what I do if I didn’t have coaching to help me out. Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “I can’t afford a coach.” If you’re a student, exchange with someone in your class. Beg, borrow, whatever has to happen to make sure you receive coaching. Join a group coaching program. Coaching is so helpful to me. Coaching is where I clear out my gremlins. Coaching is where hesitations and doubts first appear, and I can release them before they become big. If I don’t have coaching, it is so hard for me to go into ease and joy because then I’m on the fly, I’m in my own little world, and I’m not really allowing all the gremlins and all of that stuff to be cleared. I can’t afford not to have a coach.

How do you tend to self-care, relationship-tending, and balance? We would love to share your stories below!


Learn “Marketing Funnel 101” for Coaches

June 15, 2012

In this podcast I am interviewed by Ann Kelly at A New Leaf Coaching who supports educators, trainers and coaches to create a safe and celebratory Inspired Learning environment for all learners. A New Leaf Coaching caters to progressive organizations that demand improved performance on the job in exchange for employee education. New Leaf Coaching ensures that participants will maintain the skills, enthusiasm and personal motivation to transfer what they have learned back on the job.

Ann interviewed me about increasing the number of takers of her service offerings, which led to an unexpected and engaging dialogue about marketing and sales! Ann’s website is http://www.anewleafcoaching.com/.

Listen to the Marketing Funnel 101 podcast here. Enjoy!

What are your ideas on a response which would bring reluctant individuals to a complimentary conversation, while honoring their perception of how their time is best spent?

I look at things in terms of inner and outer games. If you are encountering these types of situations, check your inner game first, clear your own energy and get confident in your coaching. Boost that up a bit as much as you can. There are things you can do with the outer game, too. Understand that these types of clients are really going to need to see the coaching benefit. A good analogy is, “When I’m up to my neck in alligators, it’s hard for me to remember to drain the swamp.” They need to hear a message a few times before they’re going to really be able to get it, and maybe receive the message in some different ways. One thing that’s important is to be consistent and persistent.

As you send potential clients different communications – emails, ebooks, 1-sheet tips  – you could have a little endorsement at the bottom from one of your clients that was very overwhelmed and didn’t create space for coaching. They might say, “Hi, Ann, I never thought I would even have time for a coaching session but when I made that time, I found I was able to have an extra hour every day to get even more work done. Thank you very much! ~ Suzie Coach from Pennsylvania” Put an endorsement on there that’s going to speak to those people. And know that it’s going to even more contacts with them, otherwise known as, “Drip Marketing,” which means that little by little by little, they’ll start to really hear your message. Ann was reminded of a quote she kept by her desk, “Don’t sell coaching. Instead sell the problems you will solve and the results you will deliver.” Perfectly stated!

What is the “just right” number of times to follow-up with a prospect?

Many of us as coaches and fellow entrepreneurs haven’t been trained in the marketing aspect. 80% of the sales are made on the 5th contact. Only 10% of sales people go past the 4th contact. People tend to stop at 3 or 4 contacts. We get exhausted and we start questioning ourselves. We say, “Well I’ve made 3 or 4 contacts with 50 people but where are my sales?” So instead of making 3 or 4 contacts with 50 people, make 5 contacts with 30 people. Go deep! 5 is the minimum number of contacts – 7 is ideal!

The 5 contacts can be over a period of 10 weeks. Just get people into your marketing funnel. At a certain point the momentum will start to gather. Don’t make all 5 contacts in one week, of course. 😉 But maybe 5 contacts over a 10 or 12 week cycle is completely acceptable. Plot it out a little bit.

What should I emphasize when offering a complimentary conversation to someone?

They might not realize the value of your time. Send them a certificate that says, “You are entitled to a Free Coaching Session (1 Hour Value = $200). They might not understand the benefit they’re going to receive from coaching, otherwise they’d be running to it. Ask your current clients what tangible benefits they receive from your coaching so that you may speak to people about it. Which is going to be a more compelling tangible benefit, “Oh, I lost some weight” versus “I lost 20 pounds in 4 months effortlessly!” Another little trick from the financial industry is to say, “Give me an hour of your time and if you don’t feel you received at least 1 idea that will help you with {problem your target audience is experiencing}, you get a cup of Starbucks coffee, on me!” This shows they’re not taking all the risk – you’re also giving something back. And that makes you appear very confident when you can make an offer like that.

How long do you recommend offering a service or product, which does not immediately catch on? Is there an easy way to know when to move on to something new, as opposed to giving a new service or product additional germination time?

Recognize that more than likely you have a marketing problem, not a service/product problem. Here’s what I suggest:

1. Add More Steps in Your Marketing Funnel

It could be that there were people that would go on your retreat, but perhaps they didn’t yet have enough “experiences of you.” So you might have offered a complimentary conversation, a free ebook, some other things. Make sure you have enough other steps (again, 5-7 contacts) before presenting your product or service offer. Consider other marketing steps that need to be done first.

2. Keep Building Your List – Typical GOOD Redemption Rate is only 1-5%

Also look at the number of people you sent the offer out to. For instance if I have a list of 100 people, I know I can count on 10% opening an email or responding in some way. And really people buying anywhere from 1%-5% is very good. Many times as coaches we’re so close to our lists and so close to our people that we imagine we should be experiencing these really high response rates with our offers. If I want to get 10 people to that retreat, I might even try to get that offer in front of 1,000 people.

3. Develop Strategic Alliances and Joint Ventures

The other thing I would do if my product or service wasn’t immediately catching on is I’d go back and build my list up. I’d get more people into the funnel. Get the offer in front of more people. One really great way to do that is to reach out to strategic alliance partners or joint ventures with big lists who happen to share your target audience. Say, “I’ll give you 50% of registration revenues for anybody you send me.” If you could get a bunch of people into that retreat you give an experience of you – then sell them coaching, you sell them another retreat. Offer to your partners, “I’ll give you 75%, even 100%” to get those people on your list and in the door and have an experience with you. Look at getting this out in front of a larger number of people. Give people the experience of you, even smaller bites of you, in advance of the retreat offering, which might be your “5th” contact.

What golden opportunity are most coaches missing in their practices? For instance, do you recommend all coaches have an ezine, information product, or in-person seminars? Do one or two stand out as essential, in your experience?

Understand this magic essence of offering something for free…people will start to get an experience of coaching (which they’re not sure about to begin with), and then start to get comfortable with the idea of coaching with us. Most coaches really don’t even like the word, “selling.” We need to get comfortable with the process of how this works. Have some free things to offer people, even before the complimentary coaching sessions such as an ecourse or ezine. Know the free stuff is a marketing tool. Even the incentive of revenue to strategic partners is worth the value of getting all these people in front of me. Start thinking about marketing and selling. An ICA coach once asked me what % did you spend marketing versus coaching, as a new coach? In the first year it’s 50/50 if not 70/30! My first year coaching I spent up to 70% of my time networking and writing/promoting my ezine, and only 30% delivering coaching. Once we have that understanding, “Oh! That’s the starting out ratio and I’m going to do that,” then it becomes easier and we don’t resist marketing and coaching.

Do not resist the marketing and sales process. It is a process and it does work. Allow and embrace these processes and use them to your advantage!

What % of time do you currently spend marketing your business versus delivering coaching? What marketing processes do you have in place to grow your list? We would love to share your stories below!


When Is It Time to Re-Focus or Renew Client Objectives?

June 10, 2012

In this podcast I am interviewed by Jamee Tenzer who is a professional certified life and career coach for working mothers and women in the entertainment industry. She is a published writer and a Facilitator and Trainer for the International Coach Academy. Jamee interviewed me about integrity in the coaching process as we discussed some case scenarios of everyday coaching interactions. Jamee’s website is http://jameetenzer.com.

During the podcast I shared that I really loved Jamee’s questions. And with her usual quick wit Jamee replied, “I figure I have 20-25 minutes with a master coach here, I’d better come up with some good questions.” Indeed she did. You can listen to the Re-Focus or Renew Client Objectives podcast here. Enjoy!

In terms of having a potential client really get the potential value of coaching for them, what is the most important aspect of that initial complimentary conversation?

It’s all about my own level of personal presence. To me that is the most important thing I can bring to the complimentary conversation. I have certain states of being. My coaching state of being is different than my regular state of being. I drop into a universal energy and I get into a state where I’m really clear and almost empty of myself, just really allowing myself to receive whatever it is that my client wants to give, and to be able to give back from that inspired state – from the emptiness and the void and the spiritual state. I can tell when I’m in that state and also when I’m not in that state. It’s not an either/or thing; it’s kind of a continuum.

The deeper I can connect with my truest, deepest self and tap into that universal consciousness and be present for my client in that state of being is what I believe to be the value of coaching. It doesn’t matter what I do. I could follow an outline or not, I could say all the right things or not, I can enroll the client or not. The most important aspect is that I get into that state of being and stay there for my client. That’s when the miracles happen. That’s when the magic of coaching happens.

I was really privileged to meet former International Coach Academy CEO, Bronwyn Bowery-Ireland, and I asked her this one question about when I was interviewed for the Foundation Coach Coordinator and Trainer position at International Coach Academy. I had not gone to ICA, Bron hadn’t previously known me, yet she still offered me the position. I asked what it was that caused her to move forward with me. Bron replied, “When I had a conversation with you it was very smooth. Everything lined up, everything was really smooth in the energy.” I thought that was such a fascinating statement. When I get into a complimentary conversation with somebody I’m meant to coach, it’s very smooth, it just flows and it moves and the energy moves and my prospective client knows it, too.

What do you do if a client comes to a session with no issues and “nothing” to talk about?

Since our clients are so used to coming with an agenda, acknowledge they may be feeling like something’s wrong with them if they don’t have a topic prepared. So the very first thing I say to my client is, “This could be one of the best sessions we’ve ever had. That’s when we really can allow a deep conversation. Maybe your conscious doesn’t really know what it is and maybe this is a chance to look to the unconscious for something that wants to be talked about.” Most of my clients think that’s extremely exciting.

I might say, “Just say give me a minute and let me look over my notes from the last couple sessions and see if I notice anything.” – What I’m doing is looking intuitively to see if something jumps out at me, to look at those words and I’ll offer that. Or I could say, “Let us close our eyes for a moment and let’s just connect with our own inner wisdom. We’ll take a minute of silence and see if anything is coming through for us to talk about. We’ll think about what might be valuable to do at this time.” – When I do that, 99% of the time, the client comes up with something because I’ve just taken away the pressure.

What do you do when you feel that a client is ready to complete coaching, but they don’t seem to be talking about it…how do you start that conversation?

If you’re feeling called to say something to the client, then that’s listening to your intuition and it sounds as though you’re wondering how to honor them as you share your feedback. I might lead with, “Can we take just a few minutes today and revisit the goals we started with?” (I use a welcome package that includes a question, “Why are you hiring me as your coach?” to use as my guide.) I would then ask whether this goal was still current. The client will come to conclusion that they have completed it, or not, and here’s why. This helps refocus the conversation to affirm whether coaching is valuable still at this time.

One client I had did so much work in 4 months that I really felt he was complete. I shared, “I’m getting a sense here that you’re really complete with this goal. You’ve got some requests that are going to be long-term. Do you want to meet again in a month or two?” My client appreciated my directness and expressed relief, as he had wanted to honor our coaching commitment. Then I left it open, “Would you like to make an appointment, or contact me when you’re ready?” Depending on the client, that kind of directness can be really helpful. Using your intuition, decide how direct or subtle your client likes to receive messages.

Is it ethical to charge a corporation more than you charge an individual for coaching? If so, how is that justified?

With corporate clients, I think about what the market will bear and perception – for example, they may perceive that I’m not as good if I’m not charging a high enough rate. I notice this myself that when I see something that’s too in-expensive I will hesitate to purchase, but if it has a regular price simply marked down, then I’m all for it. When I’m working with an individual I’m going to offer a savings. There’s an established model out there – take dentistry. There’s a certain fee for those who have insurance, yet members without insurance would receive a private pay rate. I recognize that an individual does not have the same resources as a corporation and the percentage of their investment is going to be higher than the percentage of corporate investment to return.

How can you tell the difference between clients who are not interested in coaching now and potential clients that will never be interested…in other words, who to keep in touch with?

These are the people in your “marketing funnel.” They haven’t said yes and they haven’t said no, exactly. I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule. The master sales coach would probably say until you hear a no, keep going. It takes 5-7 contacts before people move forward. If I make 7 contacts and I haven’t heard one thing back, I might stop. I would check in with my intuition. I would be inclined to keep those people on my mailing list until they unsubscribe. I do have examples of people who have called me a couple years later and said, “Our session really made an impression on me. I’d like to start coaching with you now.” So you never know. If it was an individual person I wanted to really follow up with and I’ve made my 7 contacts, yet I wasn’t hearing back from them, I might send a card. “I contacted you and I understand we’re both living these really busy lives. The next step is yours. If you’d like to take me up on my offer you can let me know any time and I’ll be here for you.” If I needed the closure, that’s what I’d do.

What are coaching encounters you’ve had that inspired you to approach a scenario differently, or that pleasantly surprised you and you’ve included in your process ever since? We would love to share your stories below!


Client Attraction through Inspired Actions

June 3, 2012

In this podcast, Jeneth Blackert of http://www.jeneth.com interviewed me about client attraction through inspired actions. Jeneth, LLC is a change agent for the new wealth experience.

You can listen to the Client Attraction through Inspired Actions podcast here.

Jeneth and Karen spent an insightful 30 minutes discussing Karen’s spiritual steps – and her inspired actions – for booking public speaking engagements, and attracting new clients. Jeneth posed questions about marketing through spiritual intelligence and the Law of Attraction.

Learn Karen’s secrets about what she calls her “inner game” – as well as the “outer game” of creation – whether it’s getting new clients or developing your public speaking engagement list.

Your Inner Game determines 80% of your success at booking speaking engagements.

The inner game includes your personal presence as a coach, receiving your speaking topic, and engaging in “Astral Advertising.”

Your Personal Presence as a Coach

One of the first things I do every day is get my personal presence really strong. I could use any kind of technique for clearing myself, letting go of limiting beliefs, NLP and EFT – so many of these coaching tools are available. I clear myself and maximize my personal presence before I do anything. As Jeneth shared, “Create space in your body so your Fairy Godmother can get in and give you your wishes.”  🙂

Receiving Your Topic

The second part of this is to prepare myself so that I’ve created the space to RECEIVE my topic, instead of getting into my head about what to do. For instance, if I look on my bookshelf and notice how many books I’ve collected about a particular topic, that is a good indication of my heightened interest. I’ll also ask myself before I go to bed what would be a really good topic for me to speak about, and it’ll be foremost in my mind when I wake up. The speech will be about something that I find myself so compelled, so excited, so passionate to talk about. The foundation is receiving a topic that you are completely excited about, and this really helps you to book your speaking engagement.  Within a minute or two of sharing your topic with people, you’re going to bring people in.

The deeper that my topic comes from inside me, the more energy, excitement, enthusiasm, and passion I will have when I’m speaking about it. The law of attraction works with my energy. The more excited I am with my topic, the easier it is to attract people to that topic.

Astral Advertising

There’s more to this personal presence that I stumbled upon accidentally when I first started coaching. I love to speak so I booked speaking engagements in Tucson with some Rotary luncheons and even a few breakfasts (not too many, I’m not great in the morning, LOL). The week before I’d have a speaking engagement, in the time before I’d go to sleep, I did what I call, “Astral Advertising.” I would visualize the people that needed to have this information. I’d energetically connect from person to person for the entire week before. Then I would go to sleep. My intention was that during my sleep time (because I like to leverage my time!) I would be connecting spirit to spirit. When I woke up, in the morning or sometime during the next day, I would be filled with ideas of what to put into my speech or receive some questions to include, and take inspired actions based on that “spirit to spirit” info I was receiving.

I did get a lot of intuitive hits about what to include or tweak in my speech. What fascinated me is that when I arrived at the speaking engagement and while I was welcoming everyone, I really felt a sense of familiarity with the people in the room, as if I had known them already. I had no hesitation speaking, even though I had never met the listeners face to face before.

Incidentally, Jeneth and I used this intuitive method to connect with each other. 😉

Your Outer Game comprises 20% of the success you’ll experience, though many of us have grown up thinking actions were far more important.

The outer game works when we’re taking inspired actions as a result of the inner game.

What is the #1 way to get new speaking engagements?

The #1, easiest, most natural way I have found to book speaking engagements, is by referral through other people. Often I’ll say, “I’d like to have some speaking engagements, what groups do you belong to?” And often the response is, “Oh Karen, we’d love to have you speak at our group!”

One great example is that a friend of mine said, “You know, Karen, you remind me of this woman who spoke to our group and she was fantastic. You two should really meet for coffee.” So we did and as I was telling this woman about my signature speech she said to me, “I did this speaking circuit of 10 events. Here are the names of the program chairs.” She gave me the names and numbers of all 10 program chairs, right then and there. And I was able to use her name when I reached out to the program chairs. They’d say to me, “Oh, she was such a good speaker, and we’d love to have you, Karen.” Talk about synchronicity and being in my own energy – I was filling in for several cancellations and it really just worked out incredibly well.

Can “cold calls” work for you? (And how can you make it “less cold”?!)

As with any inspired action, I would recommend cold calling only in the case of first getting into your personal presence, clearing, preparing your signature speech. But yes, it works! I had the best speaking engagement of my life for two years at Catalyst Ranch in Arizona, the #3 spa in the world. I had been there a couple of times and it had been my dream to speak at Catalyst Ranch. My coach partner and I had cold called them because we were excited about it. The night before our meeting I did Astral Advertising and connected with the woman we’d been meeting. The next day my partner and I discussed our pitch and prepared ourselves for how we’d sell it. Then when we arrived, the woman in charge of speaking engagements handed us this calendar and said, “Here, book yourself for two speeches a month.” We asked, “Don’t you want to ask us any questions?” She replied, “Right now we need speakers.” Wouldn’t you know, a month later they were all booked up again. I’m sure they audition everyone nowadays!

Do keep in mind when booking, some people will simply say no. Just stay with the process. Go back to the personal presence. Go back to the clearing. Go back to the Astral Advertising. Until you feel strong and confident and clear and then take your inspired actions.

I want to thank Jeneth for sparking this uplifting conversation!

What are some inspired actions that delighted you with amazing results? We would love to share your stories below!


Boundaries in Spiritual Coaching

May 26, 2012

In this 25 minute podcast, I was interviewed by Joanne Stein of www.bestcoach4u.com. Joanne is a Joyologist, Potentializer and Success Coach with over 20 years’ experience helping others to experience more joy, prosperity and success. The subject is, “Boundaries in Spiritual Coaching,” and I know you’ll find it fascinating to listen to the repartee around these questions.

You can listen to the Boundaries in Spiritual Coaching here.

What is your experience of bringing spirituality into your practice? In other words, do you let your clients know that you are a spiritual coach, or do you simply utilize your spiritual practices “under the radar”?

That’s something that’s really tailored to the individual client. I’ve really evolved into this. When I first started coaching, I was coaching a lot of entrepreneurs who were very spiritual people and some of them knew it and some of them didn’t. So initially I did not include mentions of spirituality on my website or business cards or in my speaking. I never called what I was doing as “spiritual” – I called it business coaching or life coaching – yet I would talk about spiritual principles. Now I wouldn’t use terminology such as “the law of attraction,” but I would say “based on attraction principles.” The reason I didn’t come right out and say it was because business people were resistant to it. There were still lots of folks hungry for that knowledge and wanting to create that way, but not quite willing to state that. And frankly, I wasn’t willing to state it. And the people I was attracting didn’t necessarily want to talk about spiritual principles “over the radar.”

Once I got involved with coaching and as I’ve evolved, I’ve been attracting more and more spiritual people and coaches to my practice, and I started to put it out there on my website. Five years ago I said that’s it. It’s been an evolution for me; it was all about me and my readiness. It would have thrown my energy off if I had talked overtly about spirituality, before I was ready. When I WAS ready, then people came.

How do you stay positive when your coaching schedule isn’t as full as you want it to be? How do you get the support you need?

If I were to say to myself I want to stay positive, that would put a bit of pressure on me. If I say that I always focus in a positive direction, that eases it up for me a bit. It releases resistance and possibility of self-criticism. One way that I stay focused on a positive direction is that I have regular coaching. 😉

Coaching is the answer for everything for me. At any given time in my practice I’ve had between 1 and 3 coaches. And I’d say for about 80% of the time I’ve been coaching, I’ve had 2 or more coaches.

Currently I have 3 coaches. One coach focuses on marketing my business because that’s her specialty. Another coach is a personal coach who’s been my coach for many years. So I bring my history and she’s seen my evolution. More recently I’ve been working with a coach on physical fitness and health. Because of our schedules, I’m usually able to get 1 or 2 coaching sessions a week with any of the three of them, so whatever’s on my mind, whatever’s just happened, I bring to my coach – no matter which coach I happen to be meeting with. They help me to focus on the positive for example, when I have gaps in my schedule. Always bring it to coaching. If my energy is off, a coaching session will really help me align it. It doesn’t matter which coach and which subject. Any coach I have, I can bring my whole self.

What do you do when a friend calls and wants advice? How do you set boundaries if you decide to coach friends? (And, should you charge for your time?)

This idea of coaching friends. Is it right to coach our friends because those are the people that know us? I did. If you feel you can coach your friends and maintain boundaries then great, but otherwise I wouldn’t go down this path. I explained this is what the coaching relationship is like, if we ever find it’s getting in way of our friendship, (you or me) we’re going to bring it to the table.

I was also charging my friends for my coaching services. I gave them a discount in the beginning because most of them had known me before, they were my first level of clientele and I had wanted to get my coaching practice rolling. I would tell them my regular fees are X and I really want to give you a little bit of a discount because we’re friends. My friends are like me, and I always like a bit of a sale (I love shopping at Loehmann’s!). I felt when I coached my friends, I didn’t have to establish as much of a coaching relationship. It worked out really well for me. I still do to this day. My sister asked me to coach her assistant (who was thrilled). When I offered a discount to my sister, she said she wanted to pay full price.

The other part of this is that I’m a big proponent of competency-based training which is a fancy phrase for saying, “acknowledging what I want to see in the behavior of others.” So when my friends did listen to me with full acceptance without giving me advice I would say to them, “I really appreciate how you’re listening to me. I’m listening to others all day. It makes me so happy that I have someplace that somebody can listen to me.” I would reinforce that with them.

How do you determine if therapy or coaching is the right modality for a given client?

The biggest reason I want to find the best and right modality for the client is that I want them to be well! I can tell as a coach if things aren’t working and I’ll say something. One is if I get a feeling – every spiritual coach has a high intuition and feelings and a sense of what’s going on. For example, if I’m in an initial complimentary session and I have a feeling of a victim mentality – whether I hear “I statements” or “you statements,” that gives me a hint of what the client needs. I may also ask, “On a scale from 1-10, how responsible are you for what happens in your life?” I can also simply listen to the way they’re speaking.

Early in my coaching career, a woman had called me in tears, “I need an emergency coaching session!” I said, ok come by to the office. She’s sobbing in my arms. She was really upset about the state of her marriage. I said I think you need marriage counseling with your husband. She said she had already done that and it didn’t work. “I want coaching and I want you.” So I responded, “Listen we’ll coach for a month (foundation + 3 weekly) and at the end we will check in with each other. If you are making some progress, then we’ll know. If you’re not, would you be willing at that time to go to a therapist?” She agreed. But you know what, she made so much progress and coaching turned out to be exactly the right step for her. We coached together for a couple of years, and within a few months she even took a big driving trip with her husband. So determine what’s right for a client by using all your best skills, refer them if you get a feeling, and make a deal with them if you have any hesitation as a coach. Say, “OK we’ll start coaching and check in after a month.” And then you’ll know.

Again, thank you, Joanne, for your great questions!

What are some boundaries you’ve established or that your coach uses, that you find to be really effective? Please share your tips below.


The Nuts and Bolts of Coaching

May 19, 2012

In this 24 minute podcast, I was interviewed by Joanne Stein of www.bestcoach4u.com. Joanne is a Joyologist, Potentializer and Success Coach with over 20 years’ experience helping others to experience more joy, prosperity and success. Joanne’s questions revolved around the logistics of coaching, the “nuts and bolts,” if you will.

You can listen to The Nuts and Bolts of Coaching podcast here.

{Please note that Karen shares some technological tips and pricing towards the end of the interview. As the podcast was originally recorded in October 2006, any mention of technology/pricing is subject to change. As Karen mentioned, technology choice is a personal decision and should be researched.}

At what point do you know you need (virtual) assistance?

I went for about three years before I hired a virtual assistant in my business. I live and swim and even enjoy a certain amount of overwhelm. It feels good to me when I’m having fun and I’m doing activities. But there’s a certain point where it gets to be too much for me. I once shared with my coach, “I cannot do this anymore, I have too many things to do, I’m getting too many things going, I’m starting to lose it.” My coach naturally explored further and we discussed if I knew of anyone (which I did!). Then my coach requested that I give her a call. I had 33 administrative items on my to do list that day, I was totally overwhelmed and not inspired to do any of them.

I reached out to Kim Stacey who I had worked with previously in another capacity. Kim is a copywriter – and I approached her by saying, “I don’t know if you’d like to do this – I really love the way that we work together and the rapport that we have.” I made her an offer and she said yes. I gave her that whole list of 33 items. In 8 hours, she cleared the list. I was just amazed! I was so happy!

Quite frankly my resistance was that I simply didn’t know how long it would take to handle these administrative tasks, nor if I could even afford to outsource them all. Kim and I worked together really well. I simply set up guidelines, “If you need more than 10 hours a week, please send me an email.” It turned out that she was putting in about 8 hours a week (roughly 32 hours per month). I was almost getting back a whole week of my time! Which in turn allowed me to create revenue opportunities such as developing curriculums and creating information products. Hiring a virtual assistant took away activities I didn’t like. My energy shot up and I was able to do a whole lot more. Having a virtual assistant really helped me increase my income!

How do you find your spiritual clients?

For the most part my spiritual clients find me. I made a conscious decision to speak about spirituality “front and center,” to really talk about it, share it. The more I spoke about it, the more people found me. I will speak about spirituality anywhere! Consider workshops and places where people hang out, like metaphysical bookstores, unity church, Wayne Dyer seminars, Sonia Choquette seminars. Those are places where a lot of spiritual people are congregating.

Mostly what I find is that people loved to be listened to. As coaches, we know how to listen. When I’m at these events, I listen. I might ask a couple questions just because I’m interested. And naturally, the person will respond with, “What do you do?” I share that I specialize in working with new coaches on business development who want to create practices through spiritual principles. Then they might say, “I’m not a coach, but I would love to learn” and we get into a dialogue.

What files might you choose to keep on your clients?

I keep very minimal files because I like to keep everything very simple. I use a two-page Coaching Agreement that spells out: this is how much it costs, this is how many meetings, please call me at this number for our coaching sessions. I also request the client to sign their consent that I may use their contact information for ICF coaching credentialing. This way I don’t have to ask again later; I already have it available.

I also provide a four-page Welcome Packet where I request goals for coaching, how the client would like be acknowledged, what they’re most proud of – all prior to my very first coaching/foundation session. After that I just have a regular notebook with white paper! As clients are speaking I’m writing notes, drawing pictures, creating lines and arrows. Most importantly, I write a list of coaching requests, so when I open the client folder, I can see immediately what the requests were before starting the next session. I also keep a copy of the client’s check or PayPal information in the individual file.

What policy do I have regarding last-minute cancellations?

I really don’t have very many no-shows. I do request 24-hour notice for cancellations/reschedules and state otherwise I will charge for the session. I request it in the coaching agreement to set the stage for coaching commitment. However, if there’s a problem, they’ll almost always let me know in advance. Even if when a client comes to the session I am sometimes inspired to ask, “Are you in the space for coaching right now?” I have a lot “Recovering Type A’s” as clients and if they miss a session or they’re late, they beat up on themselves. I say not to worry, we can always find a way to reschedule. I’ve never not been able to reschedule. I hope this inspires a higher level of acceptance and trust in me as a coach.

Can coaching be considered “preventive maintenance”?

I schedule a coaching session every week so that I have “preventive maintenance.” It’s like taking your car to the mechanic when there’s a flat tire. Without regular car maintenance, the probability is much higher that I’ll experience issues that leave me little choice for solutions other than getting towed. The same is true with coaching – this way I regularly release my gremlins and self-sabotaging behaviors. Otherwise by the time I feel the “need” to schedule a coaching session, I’m probably way far gone and on my way to a meltdown. For one client who showed up for the session but was considering rescheduling, he asked, “Well what can we talk about today?” I reviewed my notes from our prior session and made some suggestions of what we could discuss. I honored where he was coming from, and ultimately let my client decide how he wanted to proceed. He decided to continue. It turned out to be one of our best coaching sessions together.

Again, thank you, Joanne, for your great questions!

What are some tools that have helped propel your business forward? Please share your tips below.


Two questions that make an enrollment conversation pop!

July 18, 2011

Last week, I promised to share with you the other tweak that I made to my enrollment conversations that really helped my clients get the support they needed.  And it actually boiled down to two extra questions.  That’s all.

Before I reveal those questions, let me share with you the foundation of those questions.  See, I had known about the first of the questions for many years.  In fact, it is so interesting to me that I had this question all along.  I really understand that universal principle that says that everything we are seeking is right in front of us.

As coaches in training, we worked in triads for observer coaching.  We had an outline to follow, and it was very simple and helpful.  We first asked our client what their current reality was.  Then we asked what they wanted.  And then we asked what a first step would be that they could take in order to move to their desired reality.   A very simple and powerful outline.

The first question that made a difference in enrollment was one we learned back then.  “What have you already tried?”  This question really helps the potential client understand that they have invested time and money in things that have not worked.  It sets a foundation for the value of what they are looking for.

And the second question that made a huge difference is “What is it worth to you to get this challenge solved?”  Since you are asking your client to make an investment in coaching, it is good to establish the value that they will get from their results.

For a business client, one or two new clients would be enough to pay for the cost of coaching.  For a life coaching client, there is a cost associated with the challenge.  Determining this really helps the client understand how they could concretely benefit from coaching.

Next time you are in an enrollment conversation, try these two questions out.  Let me know if you find that they make a difference in the process.  I’d love to hear about your experiences.

And if you would like to work with me to make your enrollment conversations even more effective, send an email to info@karencappello.com and let’s set up a time to chat to see if we are a match.

Here’s wishing you smooth and effective enrollment conversations!

Love and Great Joy,

Karen

P.S.  I am very excited to share a new format for my weekly connections with you.  I will be rolling out my inaugural e-zine on August 1st, along with a new free report that I know you will love.  Stay tuned.  🙂