Episode 72: A Day in the Life of a Coach

One of the best parts of being a coach and having your own business is the amount of flexibility you have in structuring your day. Today I’m sharing a behind-the-scenes look at what my life looks like as well as the three elements that go into a typical day for a coach.

72: A Day in the Life of a Coach

In the spirit of community, today's topic is inspired by a question shared by a member of the Coach with Clarity community: What does your day look like as a coach? I thought it would be such a fun thing to explore here on the podcast and for me to share what a day in the life of this coach looks like.

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Show Notes

In the spirit of community, today's topic is inspired by a question shared by a member of the Coach with Clarity community: What does your day look like as a coach? I thought it would be such a fun thing to explore here on the podcast and for me to share what a day in the life of this coach looks like.

For me, every day of the week looks different. Creating themed workdays and time-blocking have been such game-changers and I appreciate having the ability to create that structure for myself. At the same time, I love leaving room in my routines for the magic and having the flexibility that comes with being a coach and having my own business.

In this episode, I’m breaking down exactly how I approach my days and week and the three elements that generally show up every day, regardless of how I've structured it.

I’m sharing this behind-the-scenes look to give you a glimpse of one approach to structuring your work with clients and in your business and it’s by no means meant to be prescriptive. I hope it will serve as inspiration for you to put your own spin on, in your coaching practice.

Topics covered

  • The type of activities that I consider client work
  • Where to categorize your free content
  • What I do in my business-building activities
  • Scheduling tasks that overlap multiple business areas
  • How to think about your business infrastructure
  • My approach to personal and professional growth
  • The unique aspects of coaching and professional development
  • Why I like time blocking and themed days
  • When to make exceptions to your schedule
  • How I block my activities for each day of the week
  • Combining structure and flexibility

Resources mentioned

Now it’s time for you to show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity! Screenshot this episode and tag me on Instagram @coachwithclarity and let me know what you’re more excited to explore in future podcast episodes!

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Well, hello, my friend, welcome to another episode of the Coach with Clarity Podcast. My name is Lee Chaix McDonough, I'm your host. And as always, I am just so honored to have you joining me for another edition of the show. So as I record this, today is Sunday, June 27th. And yes, I do often record my episodes on Sundays, because it's quiet in my office, I'm all alone. And I have plenty of time and space, to think, to reflect, and to channel all of that in my way of connecting with you through this podcast. So I am sitting here on a lovely Sunday afternoon, and I'm celebrating. Because yesterday, we crossed the 30,000 download mark for the show. Now I'm not celebrating because we had a particular number, I'm really celebrating because of what that number means. I started this podcast in March of 2020. What a time to start a podcast, right? And it's incredible to me to witness how, not just the podcast has grown over the last year and three months, but how our community has grown, and how we've been able to connect with each other, and learn from each other. I'm just so grateful for all of this. And I'm grateful to this podcast, and to this medium, because it has allowed me to have that sense of connection with you, to show up and serve, and hopefully inspire and educate you. But please know how much you inspire and educate me too, so there is a mutual respect to this relationship that we're forming together. And I take that so seriously. And so the reason that I'm celebrating this 30k mark, is because it just goes to show the power of podcasting. And that over time, we can build something together and we can watch it grow. And that is really the best part, because it is taking less time to hit those 10k marks each and every time. So I'd have to go back and look at the data, but I think I hit 10k at about, I don't know, the nine month mark. 20k, it took less than that. 30k It took less than that. So we are trending in the right direction, my friends. And the reason that matters is because I think it's indicative of how we are growing as a community, and also how the power of coaching is growing. So I wanted to start simply by acknowledging this milestone and sharing why it means so much to me, and really at the heart of that is because of you. So thank you for being a part of this journey, thank you for listening to the show. I am so excited to continue to create it for you and to keep hitting those milestones, and I will share them with you as we achieve them together.

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The other thing too is that in the spirit of community, today's topic is inspired by a member of my free Facebook group, the Coach with Clarity Community. Now, if you are not already a member, I want to invite you to come on over and join in the fun. I've made it really easy. Just go to CoachwithClarity.com/community, and that will redirect you to the Facebook group where you can request to join. There's a couple screening questions we have in place to ensure that the community consists of people who want to support each other in our coaching journeys. So just answer those few questions, and I cannot wait to connect with you inside the Coach with Clarity Community. And so as I mentioned, the reason I am recording today's episode is because one of the members asked, “What does your day look like as a coach?”. And she wasn't just asking me, she was asking the entire community. But I thought to myself, ‘“Oh, what a wonderful question, and this could be such a fun thing to explore on the podcast”. So here we are, let's talk about what a day in the life of a coach looks like. And I really should start off by saying, maybe this episode should be titled, “A Day in the Life of THIS Coach”, because I can share with you what a typical day, or actually what a typical week, looks like for me. And I will cover the three things, the three elements, that generally show up every day, regardless of how I've structured it. But one of the beauties of coaching is that it is such a flexible approach to building a business and to working with clients. And so that flexibility means that my day may look very different than your day. And I think that is terrific. So, I'm giving you a little behind the scenes look at what my life looks like as a coach, and what an average day or week looks like. But please know, I don't do this with the intention of it being prescriptive. I don't want you to think that your day must look like mine in order for it to be a good day as a coach. Nope, that's not how this works. I'm sharing it really just to give you a glimpse of one approach to coaching. And one approach to structuring your work with your clients, your work in your business, and your work with yourself. So please accept this episode in the spirit in which it is meant, which is as an example, and possible inspiration, but certainly not the only way to go about it. And in fact, I would love to hear more about your day as a coach. And the best place to do that is over in the Coach with Clarity Community. So come join us over there, let's continue the conversation. And we can compare notes on what our days look like. So today, I am going to talk about the three elements that a typical coaching day includes for me, and I'll also talk about how I structure my days. So every day of the week looks a little different, that's by design. And it took me a while to land on this process, but I find it works really well for me. So again, if it inspires you, if you find it helpful, please feel free to take what resonates, leave what doesn't. And let's talk more about it over in the Coach with Clarity Community.
As I mentioned, there are three basic elements that, in some form or fashion, show up every day in my work as a coach. And the first, unsurprisingly, is client work. So the work that I am doing with, or for, my clients. Naturally, this includes my private coaching work with my private clients. It also includes my live weekly membership calls and any workshops I'm conducting. It absolutely includes when I am teaching or facilitating the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program, where we have weekly seminars and weekly coaching labs. So anytime that I am having any sort of face-to-face encounters with my clients, that's client work. That kind of makes sense, right? But I also consider the time that I spend on this podcast, for example, or over in the Facebook group, to be client work. Now, admittedly, there is some overlap here between client work and business building work, which we'll talk about in a minute. But again, I view this as client work. Because even though as a podcast listener, you may not yet be one of my students in the certification program, or one of my members in the Coach with Clarity Membership, maybe we're not working together one on one yet. Yet, I still consider every piece of this work as being client work, because again, it connects me with you. Back in Episode 61, I talked all about my approach to this work as a Spectrum of Services. And I encouraged you to think about everything you do for your potential clients, your current clients, your future clients. But to consider that as one of your offers, whether it's free or paid, it still falls on that spectrum. And so that's part of the reason why I consider my podcast and the Facebook group to be client work, because it falls on my Spectrum of Services. This is a service that I offer through this podcast, it's value that I bring to you, and to my other past, present, and hopefully future clients. It's one way that I can provide support and connection to another human being. And so perhaps it's not strictly client work in the sense that I am not seeing someone face to face, or providing dedicated services to one person, or to a group of people. But I still love viewing my work on the podcast and in the Facebook group as being a part of my client work. So when I'm thinking about what I want to accomplish on a given day, I start with client work. And I take a look at my calendar, and I block off time for what might need my attention on that day. So right now, recording this podcast episode for you, I absolutely count that as client work. And as I mentioned before, it also overlaps with the second element that is often, if not always, a part of my work day. And that is business building work. So this includes all of the behind the scenes work that keeps my business moving and growing. This can include meetings with my team. It includes networking with other coaches and colleagues. It includes marketing, bookkeeping, bill paying, maintaining systems and protocols, you name it. All of the things that go into building and maintaining a business would fall under the category of business building. I mentioned marketing as one of the activities that I put under this category. And as I've mentioned in earlier podcast episodes, I view marketing as a way of creating connections with people who may be interested in the work that I do. That's what marketing is. It's merely communicating who I am, what I value, and what I offer to people so that they can then self identify as being interested. And the podcast and the Facebook group are ways that I build those connections. So in that sense, you could also make the argument that this podcast is a marketing tool. And I think that's fair. So this is one of those tasks in my week that has some overlap. I view it as client work, as I mentioned before, but I also recognize that as a marketing activity, it builds my business as well. So it crosses, it covers both of those elements. The business building work I do also includes all of the planning and preparation I do for my programs and for my launches. So as you all know, right now, I am in the middle of launching the next cohort of the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program. We get started with our first coaching seminar on Monday, August 23, I am so excited for it, y'all. It is going to be such an outstanding program. We're already starting to build the cohort. I'm excited by the people who have applied. And if you've not yet applied, but you're considering being a part of the August cohort, definitely get your application in now, you can do that over at CoachwithClarity.com/certification. But all of the preparation that goes into launching this cohort is absolutely a business building activity. So whether it's drafting or editing emails, or webinar content. Whether it's creating an overall strategy for the activities that I want to include in the Coach with Clarity Summer Camp, more on that in a bit. But that Summer Camp that leads into the program, there's a lot that goes into it. It requires some strategic planning, it requires coordination with members of my team who are supporting me on that. And so that's definitely work that falls under that business building element that I also want to find time for in my daily, or weekly, calendar.
I consider business building to be infrastructure work. Now I know infrastructure is a popular word right now, especially in the American political environment. But when I think about infrastructure, I think about all the things that support, in this case, a business. So the scaffolding that is holding it up, so that then we can build from it. So, I would encourage you to think about what your infrastructure work looks like. What are the activities that you are doing in your business to build, grow, and sustain your coaching practice? Alright, so we've talked about client work, we've talked about business building work. And there's a third element that I want to address, and that I try to incorporate on a daily basis if I can. Sometimes I can't, but I do try to make it a priority. And that is my personal and professional growth. So I think we could make the argument that my client work is certainly outward facing because I'm connecting with other people and serving others. To an extent, my business building work is outward facing because it's about marketing and making connections and so forth. The personal and professional growth element, I view as being much more of an inward process. And these are the actions I take in order to continue to build my mastery as a coach, and as a business owner. Part of being a powerful coach is continually building our personal and professional skills. And it's not just me who thinks this, by the way. I mean, this is written into the Code of Ethics for the International Coaching Federation. In fact, I could even quote you chapter and verse: it's Section 2, Part 16. It says, as an ICF professional, I commit to excellence through continued personal, professional, and ethical development. So as far as I'm concerned, this is not optional. Constantly seeking to grow my own personal understanding of who I am, and how I work in the world, as well as my professional and ethical development as a coach, that's a requirement for me. And I do prioritize it. In my life, that looks like participating in continuing coach education. So for example, I'm currently in a nine month continuing education program all about trauma, sensitive grief, and loss coaching. It is a phenomenal program. And spoiler alert, I'm hoping to bring the facilitator of that program onto the podcast for a future interview. So more to come on that. But I have to tell you that in addition to everything I'm learning from a professional perspective in that course, I'm also doing a lot of personal work as well. I'm re-evaluating my own experiences with grief, loss, and trauma. I'm considering how I made my way through that time and what served me, and what didn't. And what continued healing do I still need to do? And how can I use these experiences to support my clients, and the people that I serve, including you? So I take that professional development very seriously. But as is so often the case with coaching, it's not strictly about professional development, there's a personal piece to it as well. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt, that that is also true in my own programs, especially the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program. Yes, you will learn how to be a powerful coach. And we will arm you with some business fundamentals that you need to grow a coaching practice. But if you come into that program thinking it's strictly going to be about your business and about your professional development, well then it might not be the program for you. Because there is an extraordinary amount of personal development that can happen as well. In large part because every week you're participating in a coaching lab, where you will probably be someone's client, and you will be receiving coaching. And certainly for the duration of the program, you will be paired not only with someone that you will coach, but you will also be a client for another student in the cohort. So you will be receiving over, let's see, once we total up the peer coaching and the coaching labs, you will be receiving at minimum 30 hours of coaching to support you in your development as well. And based on the way that I teach how to coach, and the skills that my students are applying, there's no way you can go through this program without experiencing some degree of personal growth and a shift in the way you want to live your life. I know that's a big claim, but I really stand behind it. And I think that is one of the unique pieces about the coaching profession, is that the line between personal and professional development is not necessarily hard and fast. And for some people that can be a little uncomfortable, and I get that. But I think if we kind of go into it knowing that there is going to be overlap, that as coaches we need to do the work to understand where we need to set a boundary, especially when we are coaches working with clients, there's a hard and fast boundary there for sure. But in the learning piece, and the development piece, it doesn't have to be either/or, it can be both/and. And when it is both/and, I think it enriches the experience. So, that's kind of my take on professional coaching development. I think the other piece too, is that I've made it a priority in my life, especially over the last 18 months, to incorporate personal development and personal work on a body, mind, and spirit level. So when I engage in physical exercise, or meditation, or prayer, when I work with spiritual healers, when I meet with my fabulous occupational therapist, or with my massage therapist, or my functional medicine practitioner, when I'm engaging in body work, all of those things contribute to my personal growth. And as a result, it influences who I am as a coach. So I don't necessarily view those things as distinct from my coaching work, or at least I choose not to. Because I have seen how the work I've done with my OT, with my functional medicine specialist, with my massage therapist, it has influenced how I show up as a coach. And so, when I think about my personal and professional growth, I include those activities in the work that I do. So I like having that type of expansive view, to think that no matter what I'm doing it can contribute to my development as a coach. And that's supported by the ICF Code of Ethics. So personal and professional growth is the third of the three elements. So we've talked about client work, we've talked about business building work, and we've talked about personal and professional growth. Those are the three elements that, I would say, make their way into almost every single workday for my coaching practice. But as I mentioned at the top, not every day of the week looks the same for me. And I have chosen to have themed days for every day of the week. It helps me organize my calendar. It helps me stay focused. It helps me prioritize my goals. And for me, it just works really well. Again, as I mentioned at the start of the episode, this is my approach to my business. I don't want you to think that you have to do time blocking or that you have to do themed days. If it does not support your process, then this is something that I want you to feel free to leave behind. I want you to find what works best for you. I will say that for me, I find it incredibly helpful to know that every Monday is a CEO day, that's an admin day for me. That's where I am participating in co-writing or co-working sessions for memberships that I am a part of. It's a day where I am catching up on my business financials or having meetings with my team. It's a day where I can pull in some of those personal and professional growth activities. So I really look forward to Mondays, because it allows me the time and the space to do some of the business building and personal and professional growth activities. And it also gives me flexibility that if I choose to do client work on a Monday, I can. I don't have to, but sometimes I do decide to see a client on a Monday because it works better for their schedule, and maybe for mine. If I do that, though, I'm really intentional about when, how, and with whom I dedicate some of my CEO day to client work. Mondays are CEO days for me, and I really appreciate that. That being said, moving forward, starting at the end of August, I'm going to be making some shifts to my calendar, because I will start teaching the weekly seminars for the Certified Clarity Coach Program on Monday afternoons. We will be meeting from 12pm-2pm EST for the informational part of the program. So, I will be having a CEO morning on Mondays. And then I'm probably going to take another afternoon, probably Friday afternoons, and make that a CEO block as well. So again, when I'm able to kind of block my calendar like this, I get a lot of choice and a lot of freedom as to how I want to structure this. And this is going to be a bit of an experiment, we'll see how this goes from August to March for the Certified Clarity Coach Program. But I'm already feeling really good about it, I'm looking forward to it. So my Mondays will look a little different moving forward, but I'm ready for that new adventure. Tuesdays and Thursdays are fun days, because those are my group-oriented days. So, Tuesdays at 12pm EST are when we conduct all of the weekly live sessions for the Coach with Clarity Membership. So typically the first Tuesday of the month, we have a co-working session. That's a wonderful opportunity to be in community with each other while we get to work on the projects and tasks to help build our businesses. Then the second Tuesday of the month, we have our Q&A session. So members can submit questions about their coaching work, or their coaching practice in advance. And we've got plenty of time to explore them. I also kick off each and every Q&A session with a deep dive into one of the ICF Coaching Core Competencies, so that we are coming together and allowing the competencies to inform our practice and answer some of those questions. The third Tuesday of the month is all about guest expert trainers. And this is one of my favorite parts about the membership, because I get the opportunity to invite people that I've connected with, people with whom I've worked, to show up and serve the members of the Coach with Clarity Community. So we have a new guest expert every month, who provides valuable, actionable training in support of my members' businesses and their coaching practice. In the past, we've had experts come in to talk about social media strategy, the use of stock photography, legal issues that coaches face. We've looked at group programs, and how to structure your offer. We've looked at pricing. It really has run the gamut. And the best part is that members have access to all of the past guest expert trainings, both in video form in the member portal, but also in audio form as a private podcast feed. So even if they just joined today, they can still access all two dozen guest expert trainings that we've had so far in the membership. And we've got some great trainings coming up in the next few months as well. I have someone coming in to look at brand photography, and who's going to help us understand the kinds of shots that we might want to include the next time we book a session with a photographer. I have another expert who will be coming in talking all about branding, and specifically messaging and positioning. So how you can talk about what you do in a way that will really speak to your ideal client. I am having a friend and colleague of mine who is a copywriter come in and do an entire training on email nurture sequences. So, if you are creating or building your email list, and you're welcoming people into your world via email, how can we help them get to know us in our business? The best way to do that is through an initial nurture sequence. And so we'll be spending an entire month looking at that. That's just a sample of what's coming up in the next few months, I'm so excited. So if that sounds interesting to you, you'll definitely want to check out the membership at CoachwithClarity.com/membership. And I haven't even gotten to one of my very, very favorite parts of the membership that happens typically on the fourth Tuesday of the month, and that's our hot seat coaching session. So that's where members can apply to sit on the hot seat and receive targeted coaching personally from me, so 30 minute coaching sessions for a member. But then what we do after each session, is we debrief the coaching session from a coach perspective. It's a time for members to ask questions about the coaching process, to reflect on what they noticed me do as a coach, what worked, what didn't work. And so it's a wonderful time to learn both through observation, but also through critical analysis, because that helps us grow as coaches. So again, we've structured the membership to really support all aspects of your coaching work. And that's why I love Tuesdays so much. So Tuesdays are Members' days. And then Thursdays are the coaching lab days for the Certified Clarity Coach Program. So that's where we take everything that we learned that week, so for the cohort coming up, everything that we talked about in the seminar on Monday, we apply it on Thursday. So that students have a supervised place to explore, and try things out, and ask questions. And it is a wonderful way to implement and integrate everything that we've taught in the program. So Tuesdays and Thursdays are really focused on my group programs, whether it's the membership or the training program, I do have some flex time in there as well. So I'm able to do some one-on-one client work, if it works with our schedules. I'm able to do some additional infrastructure work. So if there's any sort of meetings I need to do, or if I need to check on my finances, I've got space in my day for that. And then of course, I also have time to do some of that personal and professional growth that I mentioned at the top. But that's also what I do on Wednesdays. So Wednesdays are the days where that continuing education program I'm involved in, that's when we meet. So I've really tried to carve Wednesdays out as time for me to work on my own development as a coach. Wednesdays are also typically the days where I am brainstorming and preparing for this podcast. So even though I mentioned I love recording it on Sundays, when I can I try to carve some time out on Wednesdays to create outlines and start thinking about what it is we really want to talk about in that week's episode. So Wednesdays are just really lovely expansive days for that. And then Fridays, Friday mornings are client days. That's where I am able to work with one-on-one clients, either in my office here in downtown New Bern, or online via Zoom. And it's a time where I can really show up and be 100% focused on the client who's in front of me, it's such a lovely way to end the week. And while I currently spend most of Friday doing client work, as I mentioned before, I suspect I'm going to go back to Friday mornings for client work. And then I'm going to reserve Friday afternoons for either SEO work, or let's be honest, maybe sometimes I just want to have an early weekend. That's the beauty of being a coach and having your own coaching practice, is that you can create the schedule that is going to work best for you. So a day in the life of this coach, well depends on which day of the week it is. But it may look like a CEO day on Monday, it may look like group work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it may look like professional development on Wednesdays, and client work on Fridays. It's a little bit of what my life looks like. And I have to tell you, I so appreciate having the ability to create that structure for myself. Because I do need structure, I am a creature of habit and I love having routines. And yet there is a great deal of flexibility within that as well. And to me that is one of the best parts about being a coach and having my own business. We've covered a lot today. We looked at the three elements that go into a typical day of a coach, and I've given you a behind the scenes look at what my life looks like as a coach. I think this is a great time for us to head into this week's Clarity in Action moment.
So this week, for our Clarity in Action moment, I'm going to invite you to take out your calendar, or your planner, or your agenda. And look at the last few weeks, let's say two to four weeks. Take a look at what's on your calendar and what you've got scheduled. And I'm going to invite you to ask yourself, how that corresponds with the three elements I talked about today. So how much of your calendar is devoted to client work? How much of your calendar is devoted to business building work? And how much of your calendar is devoted to personal and professional growth? Just kind of notice if there are any patterns, any trends, and also notice what comes up for you emotionally. How do you feel about the distribution of your time and your energy? Is it working for you? Would you like to be shifting some of your focus from one element to another? Again, there's no right or wrong answer here, I just want you to take stock. This is a wonderful time to review and evaluate how you have been operating. And then you can decide if there's anything that you want to shift about it. And you can notice what's working well that you want to continue doing. And if you're so inclined, I would also invite you to consider whether time blocking, or having themed days, might work for you. These are just some examples of what's worked in my business. And again, I would love to hear what works well for you. So come join me over in the Coach with Clarity Community, or come find me over on Instagram @CoachwithClarity, feel free to slide right into my DM’s and let me know what about today's episode really resonated for you. I would love to connect with you over there. So many thanks to the Coach with Clarity Community for all of your great questions, especially the one that inspired today's episode all about a day in the life of a coach. I hope you will join me back here next week for another episode. I am so excited to bring on a friend, colleague, and graduate of the Certified Clarity Coach Training Program, to talk about her experience as a coach, and what a day in her life looks like. It's going to be a phenomenal episode. I can't wait to share it with you. So if you're not already following the Coach with Clarity Podcast, be sure to do so. You can find us on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Audible. Basically, wherever you listen to your shows, you can go ahead and follow for free. And that way you'll never miss a new episode of the Coach with Clarity Podcast. Until then, my name is Lee Chaix McDonough reminding you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.

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