Everything that we are talking about today aligns perfectly with what I will be teaching in my upcoming free masterclass, The One Tool You Need to Create a Sustainable, Prosperous Coaching Practice (Without The Overwhelm). I have been working on this masterclass for quite a few months now actually, and I am so thrilled to bring it to you. And the best part is, it is absolutely free. So go ahead and mark your calendars now because the masterclass will be held on Thursday, March 17th at 1pm Eastern/10am Pacific and you can register for free by going to coachwithclarity.com/onetool, that's o-n-e-t-o-o-l. So go to coachwithclarity.com/onetool and secure your spot for my free masterclass all about The One Tool You Need to Create a Sustainable, Prosperous Coaching Practice (Without The Overwhelm). During the masterclass, you will discover the exact framework and process I use for my own business. And also when I'm working with my clients and my students and my members. And this is the type of masterclass where you will walk away with an actual tool that you can apply in your business immediately. I promise you, this is not one of those online webinars or masterclasses that is all style and no substance, all fluff, all sales, and no practical information. No, in this masterclass you will really learn something that you can use in your business immediately. And I am so excited to share this tool with you. So head on over to coachwithclarity.com/onetool and register for your spot today. Even if you can't make it live on March 17th at 1pm Eastern, go ahead and register anyway because there will be a replay available but only for people who are pre-registered. And I'm going to encourage you to come live if at all possible, because there are going to be some special treats in store for the people who are attending live. So again had to coachwithclarity.com/onetool, o-n-e-t-o-o-l, and secure your space at my free masterclass all about The One Tool You Need to Create a Sustainable, Prosperous Coaching Practice (Without The Overwhelm).
So now my friend, I am going to invite you to travel back in time with me to 2016. So about six years ago, when I decided I wanted to be a coach. I had done my research. I enrolled in a coach training program. I was starting to work with both paying and pro bono clients. And I was trying to figure out what I wanted my career as a coach to look like. And like many people do when they first start something new. I felt really overwhelmed. I felt lost. I didn't know where to begin. And so I started looking at other people in the coaching profession to see what they were doing, how they were doing it and why it was working.
And for a lot of different reasons, six years ago, I linked all of the dots and thought to myself, you know, the people are I see who are really doing well in coaching are corporate coaches and executive coaches. And here I am leaving behind my career as a therapist, I am moving into this brand new profession, and I really need to make this work. So in order to make it work, I am going to put myself out there as a corporate and executive coach, because I know that's what it takes to be successful as a coach. Now, keep in mind, this was me back in 2016, I was still very new to the field of coaching. I had done a lot of research, but I hadn't had a lot of practical application. And so a lot of what I was coming up with was based strictly on observation, and prioritizing other people's experiences. So that's going to be important, we're going to come back to that in a minute. But meanwhile, I just want you to imagine me in 2016, really excited to be a coach, and terrified that I wouldn't be successful, I wouldn't make it work. And I will have turned my back on everything I had known only for it to fail. I know that might sound a little dramatic. But honestly, that's how I was feeling in 2016 and into the beginning of 2017 as well. I was desperate to make this work. So again, hindsight being what it is, I can look back and see just how much fear was at play here. And how fear was motivating the vast majority of my decisions around my coaching business. But in the moment, I didn't really have that awareness. And in fact, I thought I was being responsible by doing market research and evaluating successful coaches, and making decisions that would align with their way of coaching. Because if it worked for them, maybe it could work for me too. I spent weeks trying to come up with the perfect name for my business. And I talk about that in Episode 17, all about how to name your coaching business. That is an oldie but a goodie. So if you've not checked it out, you may want to pull that one out of the archives. And you can hear more about my process of choosing a name in that episode. But once I landed on a name, and it's still the name of my LLC, which is Caravel Coaching, I decided I needed to have a visual brand that really spoke to the people I would serve as a corporate coach. And I know I said this before, but I paid someone $150 to create a logo for me. And it was one of the most corporate logos you could ever imagine, at least in my opinion. I mean, I really could see it on the side of a stadium. That's how corporate it felt to me. And even at the time, you know, when I think back, I remember that there was this little voice inside that said, “Lee, this doesn't look like you at all.” And yet, I firmly believed that this is what my people would want from me, this is what would make me successful. And so I turned the volume down on that little voice, and I kept going down this path of being a corporate coach. We're gonna come back to that in a minute, too.
So here I am now. It's early 2017, I have finished my coach training program. I've gotten my associate certified coach credential from the International Coaching Federation. My business Caravel Coaching is up and running. I am really doing this. And I was desperately unhappy.
I was so confused because I felt like I had done everything right. I went and got coach specific training, I got my credential, I built a business and a brand to attract a clientele that I knew would bring me success. So why was I not getting clients? Why was I not bringing in revenue? And why was I so terribly unhappy in this business that I had created? Now you and I here in 2022, or whenever you're listening to this episode, we can look back, and we can see exactly why I was unhappy and exactly why it wasn't working. But again, in the moment, I thought I was doing everything right. All of the business leaders and entrepreneurial gurus were saying to really anchor your business in your ideal client. And I had done all of the ideal client worksheets and workbooks, answered all of the questions. I really thought I knew who it was I was serving – professional women working in corporate who were experiencing burnout. Sounds like a pretty good target audience, right? And yet, I was just not creating any sort of traction with this audience. The clients that I had actually didn't represent that at all. And I just felt really confused and disappointed, and quite honestly, I felt like a failure. So in the summer of 2017, I realized that something would need to change, or else this business would not be sustainable. And that's actually when I enrolled in a course all about creating your own visual brand, on your own. So it was led by a talented designer named Cerries Mooney. Cerries is spelled C-E-R-R-I-E-S and Mooney is M-O-O-N-E-Y. She's fantastic and I'll link to her work in the shownotes. But back in 2017, she had both done for you, and some done with you programs, all about visual branding. And I had already gone through a few logo iterations. And while the graphic designers who worked on them are incredibly talented, they just didn't represent my brand. And so I decided to take a stab at doing it myself with the help of this program run by Cerries and her team. And from the very beginning, before we started talking about fonts, and colors, and all of that, Cerries asked us to get really specific about a few core components. She wanted us to get really clear on how we wanted to feel inside our business. As the business owner, “how did we want to feel? How did we want to operate? How could this business support us, and not the other way around?” And then once we were really clear on how we wanted to feel inside the business, then she asked, “How do you want your clients to feel when they are inside your business? When they are working with you? When they're looking at your website or your branding? What emotions and sensations do you want to evoke in them?” And so it was anchoring into how I wanted to feel, then connecting with the feelings I wanted to elicit in my audience that then informed how to represent your brand visually. She asked us to create a Pinterest board and fill it with images and phrases and colors and inspiration that represented those feelings. And then that vision board became the graphic inspiration as we created our own logos, our own palettes, and everything we needed for that visual brand. And so I walked away from that program with a beautiful logo that I created myself. And even though I don't use it anymore, because I don't lead with Caravel Coaching as my brand, my brand is Coach with Clarity, I look back on that logo that I created and I still love it. It still evokes all of those feelings that I want in my business and the feelings that I want my clients to have as well. And so going through that program was a huge shift for me. Because the starting point was not about the client. It was not about making more money or getting more clients or all of the things we're supposed to want in business. No, the starting point was me. It was how I wanted to feel, how I wanted to show up and what mattered most to me in my business. And that has stayed with me. I realized that when it came to starting and building my business, while yes, of course, it's important to factor in your clients desires and needs – it is equally as important, if not more so that we are anchoring your business decisions in your needs, in your priorities and in your values. And looking back, it is a little startling to me that this was such an epiphany. Because this was very much how I approached my work as a therapist when I was working with my clients. I was trained as an ACT therapist, act stands for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. And the heart of ACT is all about taking action that aligns with your values. I talk about this a lot in my book ACT on Your Business and in fact, some of my early experiences are what inspired me to write that book, because I realized that there is a place for values aligned action in business. And actually the most successful businesses are the ones who are clear about what matters most to them, how they want to feel in their business, and then how that can translate into serving their ideal clients or ideal customers. So all of this was very much in sync with how I had always operated in my therapy practice. I just needed a year and a half of figuring it out on my own to see how it could work inside a coaching business as well. So when I had to reflect on all of those factors in this design course, I realized that I was still quite clear about my own personal values. I needed to spend a little time thinking about how those personal values would translate into business values. And I needed to take a hard look at how my decisions inside my business were not really aligned with my values and my purpose at all. That was hard, my friends, I'm not gonna lie. It was pretty painful to look and see that I had spent almost a year and a half, wearing a mask in my own business and trying to be the coach that I thought I should be in order to be successful instead of really having the courage to be myself. I spent those first 18 months of my business trying to conform into the model of what I thought a successful coach “should do” and what I thought a successful coach “should look like”. That word “should” man, it will get you every time, because I allowed most of my decisions to be anchored in those “shoulds”. In those things that were external to me, other people's opinions, other people's expectations, and I got lost inside my own business.
And so here was my dilemma, I know so many business strategist and coaches, who are working with people who want to start their own businesses. And they say, start with your ideal client, figure out who they are, what they want, what motivates them, all of that, and the starting point is on that client. And I understand that and I think there is extraordinary value in being really clear on who it is you're serving, what they want, and how you are the best solution for them. That is valuable work. And I do not believe it should be the starting point for anyone beginning of business. I believe that comes a little later in the process. Instead, I believe when you are starting a business, or if you are creating a new program inside an existing business, if you are about to embark on a new project, before we start worrying about everyone else, we need to ground down into our own identity. We need to ensure that what we're creating and who we're serving fully aligns with our strengths, our talents, and our values. For me, this is all about getting clear on your True North. And this is something I am going to talk more about in that masterclass on March 17th. So you're getting a little sneak peek into one part of the masterclass and we're going to go even deeper. And we're going to expand past the starting point and what to do next and then after that, and then after that. So we're going to be covering a lot in this masterclass. And it starts with you, it starts with clarifying your True North. That's why I titled today's episode “Starting a Coaching Business? Do This First”. And that's the answer my friend, the first thing to do is to get clear on what you are bringing into this business, and how this business can reflect who you are, and what makes you special. And to that end, I have five questions I would ask you to consider. And again, this is a wonderful activity to do when you are first starting out and it is a fantastic activity to do at any point in your business, no matter how much experience you have. This can be part of an annual review or as you are developing a new concept or program or idea for your business. These are great questions to ask yourself as well.
So the first question is to ask yourself, “Why do you want to coach? Why coaching?” And let me say from the start, it is okay, if some of your reasons are external. If one of your reasons that you want to coach is “I want to make more money.” That is a legitimate reason. And yet it doesn't quite answer the question of why you want to coach, because there are a million different ways that you could make more money. Why is coaching your path to do so? And I'm using making more money as an example but you get the idea. I want to know specifically what it is about coaching that is attracting you to the profession. Why is coaching the vehicle to achieving whatever it is you want to create in your life? So that is question number one, “Why do you want to coach?”
Then I want you to ask yourself, “What makes you a strong coach?” Now again, if you are just starting out, perhaps you are still figuring this part out, maybe you don't have a lot of clients, maybe you haven't done a lot of coaching. And so part of you may be saying, “Well, I'm not really sure yet.” So if that's what you're thinking, rest assured, I'm not asking you to make a list of all of the tools and techniques and things that you use with your clients. Those things can be taught. Now, what I'm looking for here are your gifts, your strengths, your talents, what qualities do you value in yourself? And how can those inform how you show up as a coach? And if it's helpful, you can also view yourself through the eyes of others. What would other people say makes you special? Sets you apart? What is it about you that other people love? Now, I don't necessarily want to start there. Because again, I want to make sure that we're really grounding down into you. And we can pair that with feedback from other people about what they love about you and what they value. So that's the second piece, we want to know “What makes you a particularly strong coach?” If you're still not sure how to answer this question, you may want to take a listen to episode 101 where I talk about some of my very favorite coaching assessments. And one of the reason I like these assessments is because it does help us see what our strengths are, what our tendencies are, and then we can better understand how to use them in our coaching work. And one of the assessment tools I talked about in that episode is the Clifton StrengthsFinder. And so if you are not exactly sure what it is about you, that makes you really special as a coach, that might be an assessment tool worth exploring.
The third step I would ask you to take is to spend some time reflecting on what matters most to you. This is an opportunity for you to get really clear on your values. Now, some of you may already know that you may have them written down. And if that's the case, great. Go ahead and review them, make sure they still resonate with you. But otherwise, you're good to go. However, for others of us, it may take a little while for us to really get clear on what our values are. And so I do have a few resources that could be helpful. First, I mentioned my book earlier ACT on Your Business, there are a couple chapters in there all about identifying and clarifying your values, and on taking action that is in alignment with those values. So certainly ACT on Your Business is a fantastic resource in this area and if you don't already have a copy, you can go to coachwithclarity.com/getthebook and that'll take you to the Amazon page where you can get your copy in either paperback or Kindle.
In addition, you can also go back into the podcast archives, and look for episode 78 where we dive deep into meaning, and how it connects with our values and how we go even deeper than that. That's a terrific episode to review, if you'd like a little support around clarifying what gives your life meaning and how we can connect that with your purpose and your business. So definitely check out the book and check out episode 78 for some support around clarifying what matters most to you.
Question number four is one that I alluded to a little bit ago. “How do you want to feel in your business?” If you were to just take a moment to ground yourself to take a deep breath? And to connect with the soul of your business? How do you want to feel? What emotions do you want your business to co-create with you? And then you can ask yourself, how you want others to feel about and within your business? What emotions do you want your clients to experience? Or your referral sources or your colleagues or partners? Let's get really clear on the feeling piece. Because when we blend our strengths and our values and our purpose with the way we want to feel, then we start getting really clear on what our business wants to be. And there's one more piece, one more factor to consider when it comes to discovering what our business wants to be. And that's the fifth question, “What lights you up? What do you enjoy doing? What gives you that sense of fulfillment and contentment?” I have seen so many occasions where people have done what they thought they were supposed to do and it's felt forced. It's felt difficult. It's felt hard. It felt like I did for the first 18 months of my business. But as soon as we tune in to what brings them joy, what feels light and filled with ease, then we discover a new path we can take in our business. And I fully and firmly believe that when we follow what lights us up, and we connect that with our own innate values and strengths and gifts, and we connect that with the people we want to serve, that is the path forward to a sustainable, prosperous coaching practice.
So that my friends is a brief walkthrough of what I invite you to do as you are starting your coaching business or if you're a little further along, we can refine or even reward some of these questions to help you as you are creating a new program or project or endeavor within your existing coaching business. And with that, let's head into this week's Clarity in Action moment.
This week's Clarity in Action moment is brought to you by my free masterclass The One Tool You Need to Create a Sustainable, Prosperous Coaching Practice (Without The Overwhelm). As I mentioned at the top of the show, it all goes down on March 17th, at 1pm Eastern, and you can register to attend for free at coachwithclarity.com/onetool. During this free masterclass, I will be sharing the exact tool I use to bring greater clarity and focus to my business. And I will show you how you can use it to build, grow and even scale your coaching practice. This is a concept I have been working on for months. And it's in response to a common request I get from listeners and members and students and clients who want nothing more than a roadmap for their coaching business. And I wanted nothing more than to provide you with that roadmap. And interestingly, when I sat down and got to work on it, what I discovered is that there's something better out there than a roadmap. And for most of us a roadmap isn't necessarily the best resource for our coaching practices, there is something out there that works better. And that is what I am going to share with you during this free masterclass on March 17th. It really can be the one tool you need to work with more clients, to make more money, and to enjoy more freedom no matter where you are in your coaching journey. And so I'll help you get crystal clear on your direction and how to determine exactly what steps to take in your business. Regardless of where you are at in your journey. I have to be honest with you, I am so proud of this tool. I think it's one of the most useful and intuitive tools I've ever created. And I know it will transform your coaching practice too. So head on over to coachwithclarity.com/onetool and register for the free masterclass on March 17th at 1pm. And trust me even if you can't attend live, go ahead and register because that way you will get access to the replay which will be available for a limited time afterwards. But you have to pre-register in order to get that replay link. And trust me when I say if you can attend live, I strongly encourage you to do so because there will definitely be some special additional resources just for you. Alright, my friends had to coachwithclarity.com/onetool, o-n-e-t-o-o-l and I will see you at the masterclass on March 17th.
Okay, my friend for this week's Clarity in Action moment, I want you to grab your calendar. And I want you to block off at least 30 minutes to sit down and reflect on these five questions that I walked you through in today's episode. And as a reminder, question number one, “Why do you want to coach? Why is coaching the vehicle for you to live out your purpose?” That's question number one. Question number two, “What makes you a strong coach?” Number three, “What matters most to you?” Number four, “How do you want to feel in your business? And how do you want others to feel in your business?” And finally, number five, “What lights you up? What brings you joy?” Once you've had an opportunity to reflect on those five questions, whether through journaling or meditating or talking it through with a coach or friend, you will have the foundations of a strong business that fully aligns with who you are and how you want to embody your purpose in the world. And my friend, I cannot wait to see what that looks like, I hope you will share your reflections with me. You can come find me over on Instagram @CoachWithClarity and send me a DM or if you prefer, you can send me an email – my address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And I would love to know your takeaways from walking through this process and how it will inform your business and your practice moving forward. These are questions I asked myself at minimum, once a year when I'm doing my annual review. But I will also return to them especially when I'm creating something new, or considering making a change in my business. So I hope you find this helpful. And again, this is just a teeny sliver of what I will be sharing with you during the masterclass. So I cannot wait to see you there on March 17th at 1pm. We are going to have such a good time.
That's it for me this week, my friends. But don't worry, I will be right back in your podcast feed next week with a brand new episode. So go ahead and follow or subscribe to the Coach with Clarity Podcast right now wherever you listen to your shows. That way next week's episode will show up automatically in your feed and we can continue our conversation then. And honestly, I really do view this as a conversation. I realized right now I'm doing most of the talking. But I absolutely love hearing from you. Whenever I receive an email or a DM or a podcast review talking about how the show has helped you in your coaching practice. I just get so excited by what you're creating. So let's continue this conversation certainly through the podcast, but do reach out and let me know what your biggest takeaways are from the show, and also what you'd like to see on future episodes. I have some ideas and I've got some new episodes in the works, but of course I want to make sure that this is helpful and relevant for you. So if you've got a burning question or if there's a topic you'd like to see covered on the Coach with Clarity Podcast, do me a favor and let me know. Again you can email me at email@example.com or send me a DM over on Instagram @CoachWithClarity. Alright my friend, I will be back next week. So 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.