Monday, April 6, 2020

Should You Become a Certified Coach?

When I decided to add coaching to my business, I wasn’t sure what to do next. I knew I could take a few courses and become certified but I didn’t know where to start. If you’re where I was and you want to start coaching and you’re not sure about certification, here’s what you should know.

Look to Your Local Laws

Before you do anything, do some research on your area. Many cities and towns don’t require that life or business coaches become certified. If yours doesn’t, then you’re in the clear and can proceed to the next step.

If you live in an area where you need to be certified, then you want to gather a list of requirements. Do you have to be certified through a specific institution such as a university or college? Do you have to practice a certain number of hours before you can begin taking on clients?

Keep in mind that even if you aren’t legally required to do anything, certification adds an extra element of authority to your coaching. It can also be useful and lead to amazing networking 
opportunities. For example, John Maxwell offers certification. If you complete his training, you can promote that certification. This can make it easy to develop a steady stream of clients.

Do Some Digging

Before you get certified from by an organization or school, do some digging. Make sure the place is trustworthy. You can start by using a search engine. Just type a search phrase like this: “(School Name)” + complaints or like this: “(Certification Program)” + scam. Remember, some organizations may hire reputation management experts so go past the first page of results in your search.

Talk to Previous Students

If you didn’t find any red flags from your online sleuthing, then it’s time to discuss the course or school with previous students. Most programs will share a list of their successful alumni with you. Keep in mind that a certification program that refuses to let you talk to previous students should be avoided.

When you do reach out to students, let them know that you care about both the bad and the good. Ask what they liked best, what they didn’t enjoy, and what they wish they’d known before they signed up.

Find the Right Instructors

If you don’t like the instructor or teacher, you probably won’t enjoy your lessons. It might be that your personality isn’t a good match for that instructor or you simply don’t enjoy their teaching style. Whatever the reason, don’t force yourself to sign up for classes that you know you’re going to hate.

As you’re considering different programs, remember to pay attention to how the information will be delivered to you. If it’s an audio course and you hate listening to MP3s, it will be difficult to make yourself do the work. Try to find trainings in a format you like and will use.

Becoming certified as a life or business coach can be a good idea. Just make sure to do your research before you register to become a student.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

It's Time to Take Radical Responsibility for Your Communication Style

While you may not realize it, the way you communicate affects every area of your life. From your job and your career to your family relationships and friendships, communication is something you’re constantly doing.

We are seeing some examples of this play out right now. In the midst of a global pandemic, we are being warned to stay home. We are being told it could be bad. Some are communicating this in a way that inspires us to come together for the sake of others. Some are frightening us. And some are being downright divisive. All are saying the same thing. But some inspire confidence and calm while others sow fear and panic.

We are also seeing it in the online marketing world. Most of us are still marketing our businesses. Some are doing it very successfully. They have found a way to make the value they offer pertinent to the current situation. They are making people feel like they have a real solution to whatever problem their prospects are experiencing. Others just appear as if they are trying to capitalize on the fear and panic. And still others appear totally oblivious to the fact that we are in the midst of a worldwide crisis.  

Many people aren’t good at communicating. That’s because they’re using bad communication traits without even realizing it.

There are five basic communication approaches and understanding them can be incredibly helpful when it comes to improving your communication. Here’s what you need to know about these styles…

The Aggressive Communicator

Aggressive communicators often come across as explosive, belligerent, abrasive, and demanding. Sometimes co-workers and families even label this person as a “bully”, “bulldozer” or “tyrant”. These terms can be deeply hurtful and can make it even harder for an aggressive communicator to acknowledge the issue.

Communicators who rely on aggression may invade other people’s space, talk over them, and speak loudly, even shouting or yelling.

While the aggressive communicator is definitely heard, they’re rarely listened to. That’s because family members, friends, and co-workers often lose respect for the aggressor.

The Passive Communicator

Passive communicators (sometimes called submissive communicators) rely on others to guess what they want or need. Then when those around them fail to do this correctly, they become irritated and bitter. Sometimes, co-workers and families label this person as a “martyr” or “victim”.

Communicators who rely on passiveness often defer to others. They won’t state what they want directly. They might even say things like, “Oh, don’t worry about me. I’ll go along with whatever you want to do. You choose—I don’t have a preference.”

While passive communicators might appear to be pleasant and easy-going, they’re usually seething under the surface. Years of unfulfilled needs have left them angry and frustrated.

The Passive Aggressive Communicator

Passive aggressive communicators are two-faced. They will say one thing then do the exact opposite once they’re alone. Often, passive-aggressive communicators feel they have no real power in a situation, so their behavior is an attempt to lash out and “punish” the person they feel is in control. Sometimes, they even do this to the detriment of their own careers and relationships.

Like passive communicators, passive aggressive ones seem good-natured and agreeable on the surface. But they’re usually working behind-the-scenes to unravel the goals and plans of those around them.

The Manipulative Communicator

Manipulative communicators are focused on getting what they want—regardless of the cost to anyone else. They often use sarcasm, fake tears, sulking, guilting others, and the silent treatment when communicating.

They are similar to passive-aggressive communicators. But the biggest difference is that manipulative communicators are less likely to engage in self-destructive actions. Instead, they merely wait for the right opportunity and time to make their move and achieve their end game.

The Assertive Communicator

Assertive communicators confidently own their needs. They lovingly set boundaries and don’t allow others to run over them. At the same time, they respect the boundaries of those around them and actively look for win-win scenarios in their relationships.

They are excellent communicators who focus on the issue at hand, rather than attacking the other person. They state what they want, while staying open to the possibility that their need may not be met.

But I'm Different With My Business Communication

Perhaps you may think you are. And it may not be as obvious to you because it is business and not as personal. But most often, your natural style of communication will show up, even in your business. Are you bullying people into joining your team? When a customer makes unreasonable demands, do you quietly acquiesce? Do you make promises to prospects that you know won't be kept? Do you play on a person's guilt or fear to make a sale?

Your communication style comes through even in the smallest bits of communication. With more focus being placed on building relationships with prospects and clients, it's critical that you determine which style of communication you are using, whether it suits your needs, and how to change if necessary. 

What Style of Communication Do You Use?

Reviewing the five styles of communication can open your eyes to some uncomfortable truths. You may realize you’ve been using a communication style that isn’t creating what you want in your relationships or your business.

But keep in mind that the purpose of learning your communication style isn’t to beat yourself up for your failures or flaws. Rather, the goal here is to learn how to embrace a healthier communication style.

You may find it helpful to reach out to a mentor or supportive friend that can hold you accountable as you learn to embrace assertive communication. They can give you feedback and help you navigate this change.

Above all, it’s important that you’re patient with yourself. If you’re like most people, you’ve used the same communication style for decades and it’s easy to slip back into old habits. If you find that happening, give yourself grace and focus on beginning again.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Finding Your Coaching Specialty

Specializing as a coach helps you stand out. Anyone can become a coach. So why should someone choose you over "Joe LifeCoach" down the virtual street? Is it because you specialize in helping frustrated entrepreneurs lean into their authentic brand? Or is it because you’re the life coach who helps overwhelmed moms figure out how to balance work and play?

Think about what topics you can really dig deep into and help your clients with the most. These are your natural areas of expertise. If nothing is coming to mind, ask these four questions to get focused on what you can offer your clients…

What Do You Find Yourself Teaching?

My friend Susan attends thirty to forty business conferences and seminars a year. She mostly goes as a speaker teaching new service providers how to find high-paying clients. It’s her favorite topic. She never gets tired of meeting freelancers and helping them discover how to raise their rates and charge what they’re worth.

Maybe you don’t attend conferences or seminars as a speaker. But if you did, what would you love to speak about? What would thrill you to talk about for an hour to a roomful of interested attendees?

What Are You Passionate About?

Debra loves using AWeber to create beautiful email newsletters. She’s naturally passionate about blending design with good copywriting to make newsletters that bring in sales for her clients. She’s even had several people ask her to publish a course on the topic so they can learn more from her.

Remember that what comes easily to you may not come easily to others. This means there might be an audience that’s eager for training and advice from you!

What Are Others Interviewing You About?

Kathy didn’t think she had a specialty until she received another invitation to appear on a popular podcast. Then she realized that the common thread between the interviews was her journey as a virtual assistant.

So, she began joining Facebook groups for new and advanced VAs. She jumped in and quickly started answering questions and helping other members. Just a few days later, she had two people ask her to coach them on their new VA businesses. Now she has a book on the subject and runs a very successful VA referral business.

What Are You Naturally Creating?

Sometimes, finding your coaching specialty is as simple as looking at what you naturally create. That’s what happened for Terri—she had an eye for fashion and always made outfits that came together with just a splash of color
When a friend complimented her on her ability to blend patterns, colors, and textures, Terri realized she wanted to help entrepreneurs with their business branding. She was already creating beautiful styles in her personal life. She just transferred that skill into her online business.

Finding your coaching specialty can take some time. Don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t come to you right away. It’s often hard to recognize your talents. Ask a supportive friend or loved one what you do best and listen to their answers.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Are You Ready To Be a Coach?

You all know the story of how I started my online business...or at least you should. I've shared it repeatedly! And while it may have started just as a way to bring in some extra income, once I discovered how to build a network marketing team online, I was hooked.

As time went on, I began mentoring other members of my team. I’d teach them the basics of social media marketing and how to set up their online business. Then I began working with marketers from other companies. I even promoted their products to my mailing list if I thought they were good quality.

But when a friend suggested that I might be a good business coach. frankly...I was shocked. I’d never considered becoming a coach. I’d assumed I wasn’t qualified enough to be one. But my friend shared several important facts with me:

You Don’t Have to Be Spammy to Coach

When it comes to coaching, some people have an idea of a sales page filled with a coach who shows off her mansion, expensive sports car, and exclusive lifestyle. She tosses phrases about like “seven figure” or “eight figure” and promises you the exact same results if you’ll only hire her.

But what you might not know is that there are plenty of business coaches who run modest businesses. They live in suburbs and they make enough to afford the lifestyle they want.
They don’t have fancy sales pages but they do believe in what they’re doing. They don’t guarantee that you’ll achieve the same things if you follow their advice but they do promise to support you on your journey.

You Can Have Fun Coaching

When I imagined coaching, I’d always thought about coaching executives in stuffy suits and having to talk about how to add dollars to the company’s bottom line. This type of situation bored me to tears and I didn’t want to do anything like that.

You can design a coaching program that feels fun to you. Maybe you’ll agree to meet your client on Skype once a week for casual chats. Perhaps you’ll use Facebook Live videos to stay in touch inside a private group while your dogs lay quietly beside you.

You May Already Be Coaching

As my friend continued to talk, I became excited. I realized I was already coaching and had been for years! I just hadn’t put it out there by calling it “coaching”. Now though, I felt more confident about the idea of coaching.

Some people are natural teachers. If you are, you might be like me. You may already be coaching others. Maybe you call it “mentoring” or “teaching” or “consulting”. But many of these activities involve coaching in some capacity. Owning this is the first step toward starting your own coaching business.

Keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong way to coach. It’s just a matter of discovering your coaching style and energy while providing a supportive environment for your clients.

Ready to learn how to build your coaching business?  Take my multiple streams of income challenge!

Monday, February 24, 2020

What If You Were Spontaneous & Willing to Try New Adventures?

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a rut. I have. I was working for a "local" company.  I say "local" because they might have been based a few miles away, the location where I was employed was an hour drive away. While I love my family, I felt like I spent most of my days in my car. I got up early to get my husband off to his job...and then the hour commute into where I worked.

After a 12 - 14 hour day, it was back in the car for the hour drive home. Then it was dinner and dishes. By the time I was finished for the night it was almost time for bed. I was  exhausted and frustrated that there was no time for me.

When the weekend finally arrived, my husband or the grandkids would want to do something fun. But I was so tired or behind on household chores, I frequently said no. And forget about trying to expand my business. I barely had time to keep what I had already built running.

Now, I wanted to be more spontaneous but I was not sure how to make it happen. I just knew something had to change.

Create Margin in Your Life

One day after listening to me complain, my sister suggested I start by cutting back. I couldn't be more spontaneous because I scheduled every minute of the day with tasks from the time I got up until I went to bed. There was always so much to do. Meals to cook. House to clean. Laundry. Yard work. The list was never-ending. But my sister made me realize that trying to be the perfect wife, perfect housekeeper, perfect everything while still working basically 14 - 16 hours a day, including the round-trip commute, was impossible. So what if we ate out more often or all of our meals weren't prepared from scratch. The house didn't have to be company-ready all the time. Laundry could be done one day on the weekend.  

While having plenty on your to-do list may make you feel productive, it can also keep you from creating the life you want. But building margin in your life doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be as simple as blocking off two hours in your day planner each week. Make no plans for those two hours and see what happens.

Embrace a Positive Attitude

If you’re going to add more spontaneity to your life, you need to keep a positive attitude. When you’re upbeat and positive you’re more likely to try (and enjoy) new things. That means you might find new ways to fulfill obligations, spend quality time with family.... (gasp) try something innovative with your business!

When I’m nervous or worried about serving a new meal for dinner (my husband is not adventurous when it comes to his food), trying something new with my business, or doing something new with the family, I often remind myself that all of my "obligations" will still be there tomorrow, or that hubby just might find another favorite food, or that even if my new business tactic doesn't work, I will have at least learned something.  

Do It with a Friend

Sometimes we fill our to-do list deliberately. We may be hesitant to step outside of our comfort zone and embrace new experiences. A full schedule provides the perfect excuse to say no. But you don’t have to tackle something new all by yourself. You can always bring a friend along to enjoy the journey with you. Maybe that means booking an extra plane ticket if you’ll be exploring a new city or meeting up to try a new Pilates class together.

When you and a friend do activities together, it strengthens your bond. It helps you grow closer and gives you fun memories that you can both cherish for years to come.

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

Give yourself permission to laugh! When you approach an adventure with a serious mindset, you drain all the joy from it. So what if your first painting doesn’t look like a masterpiece? Who cares if your body wiggles like gelatin while you try belly-dancing? Does it really matter that your first YouTube video wasn't polished and perfect if it got your message across?

The important thing is that you have fun. You can explore new hobbies, challenge your boundaries, and discover more about what makes you happy and productive.

I listened to my sister and gradually lightened my schedule. I found my family was actually okay with my new choices and happier because I wasn't always exhausted and irritable. And I discovered that being spontaneous is easier when you create space for it.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

It Doesn't Have To Be Fancy, It Just Has To Work

I totally admit that I am computer-stupid.  My 10-year old grandson is more technology adept than I am.  So when it comes to things like funnels and tripwires and chatbots and YouTube channels with amazing videos...well, I'm a little behind the times.

My social media posts don't have cool animated images.  My blog doesn't have tons of plugins.  My emails are usually pretty simple.

I don't worry about algorithms or the number of followers I have.  I don't stress if someone unsubscribes from my list (so no, you won't get anything from me asking why.  I don't care.).  

There is absolutely nothing fancy or complicated about my marketing.

And yet, I make money.  All day.  Every day. 

How is that possible?  Because what I do works!

My Website

I am completely, authentically me...on my website, on social media, in my emails.  My videos are shot in my home office with my phone.  They may not be polished, but they get my message out there.  My website isn't full of flashy banners and shopping carts and 29 ways to purchase.  But you can find the info you want pretty quickly.  And I do share info...lots of it...for free.  My story is there, front and center, for everyone to read.  I want people to know who I am.  I want them to know what I know.  If you do want to purchase one of my products, I use PayPal.  It works for me.

If you want to make an impression with your website, tell your story.  Add some how-to's that address your customer's problems.  Include some short and sweet videos that spotlight your personality and what your company is all about.  That will do more for your business then all the bells-and-whistles.

Social Media

Everything I post on social media has a purpose.  I am either trying to entertain you or inform you.  Sometimes I try to do both at once!  I'm clever like that!  So when I say to post on purpose, that is what I mean.  I don't try to create posts for maximum engagement.  And I certainly don't post inane questions just to get comments.  I'm in marketing and health and wellness.  I don't care what movie you saw last or if you prefer your toast to look like a charcoal briquette.  What I care about is...will it make you laugh?  Will it make you think?  Will it teach you something?  If I can say yes to any of those, that's all that matters.  Because that's what builds an audience.  If 100 people tell me they like chocolate ice cream better than vanilla, how does that help my business?  Ice cream lovers probably aren't interested in weight loss products!  Chances of them actually buying anything from me are slim.  I would rather have 5 comments on a post from people who are genuinely interested in what I am sharing.  Because they are my audience.

The same is true with followers.  I do not have a large Facebook following.  But I'll math my 1300 followers against your 5000 any day.  Because I know and interact with mine.  And if they don't engage with me, I unfriend them.  I'd rather have 1000 loyal, raving fans than 5000 people who don't really know who I am or what I do.  So I don't spend a lot of time looking for people to "friend."  And while my Twitter following is much larger, I don't play the games there either.  You know the one.  I follow you.  You follow back.  I unfollow you so now it looks like I have a lot more followers that followees (is that a word?)!  While that actually is true for me, it's because I also only follow people I am genuinely interested in.  It is a huge disservice to follow someone, or like their page, just because they asked if you are not at all interested.  Algorithms notice these things!

Stop trying all the fancy, complicated tactics to game the algorithm.  Just be yourself and focus on informing and entertaining your audience.  The rest will come!

Keep It Simple

Here's what you need to build a business:

An online presence.  It could be a website or a blog. You might also have a YouTube channel, social media profiles, or a combination of any of those.  Which ones you choose will depend on your business, your skill set, and your experience.

A mailing list.  You can use an autoresponder (which I do recommend) or maintain it yourself., although an autoresponder will definitely make it much easier.

A way to reach your audience.  Social media is by far the easiest and cheapest.  Don't try to build a huge presence on all of them at once.  Pick the one or two that you truly enjoy using and master it.  I like Twitter and Pinterest.  Coincidentally, that is where I also have my largest following.  I am also on Facebook and Instagram, but not to as large a degree.  Twitter is my home!

A way to capture your audience's contact info so you can get them on your mailing list.

Don't worry about bots or apps or automation.  You don't need funnels and tripwires.  Just share your story, your knowledge, your value.  Make your audience laugh,  Make them think.  Make them ask questions.  Teach them something.  Get them to know, like, and trust you.  Be authentically you.  The rest will follow!


Monday, February 10, 2020

What If You Were a Great Friend?

I admit it. There was a time I struggled to build close friendships. As the nerd-girl misfit for most of my life, I practiced being as invisible as possible. I definitely did not reach out to make friends. Sure I longed to embrace close, authentic relationships. But I didn’t know where to start or how to approach others.

Fortunately, everything began to change once I left home for military life. CT's are a relatively small community. And because of the nature of our work, we are perceived as being different from the rest of the Navy. I knew that feeling all too well. (Perhaps that's what drew me to the rate). So whether it was the fact that I was now surrounded by other people much like me, or the fact that it was new environment where no one had any preconceived expectations of me, I suddenly found myself making friends!  It wasn't overnight. And I learned some things along the way.

Building relationships and friendships is a key part of your business growth. In the new digital world of online marketing, being able to get your prospects and customers to know, like, and trust you can be the difference between success and failure. If you struggle to form close relationships, here are some things to try:

Do Activities You Love in Group Settings

Think of activities you love where potential friends might hang out. Think about this way. If you want to make friends with crafters, go to a local knitting circle, take a cake decorating class, or try attending one of those wine and paint clubs.

This also works with your online relationships. Facebook is focusing lots of attention on Groups. It is where the bulk of interaction seems to be happening right now. And there are groups for everything. I belong to marketing and wellness groups of course. But I also belong to a Jewelry group ( weakness), an Octopus Fan Club (yes I find them fascinating), a group for people who RV with their dogs (getting ready to do so. Might need some tips), two that focus on holistic and natural pet health (I have a houseful), one for those who appreciate a fine bourbon (Maker's Mark!), one for those who are trying to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, a cooking group, several inspirational, motivational, and support groups, one for authors, several shopping VIP groups, and one that posts funny cat and dog videos and memes (we all need a laugh now and then). As you can see from this list, there are groups for just about anything!

Building a friendship around a shared passion is an easy place to start. But don’t feel like you have to find your BFF during your first group hike or make everyone like you right away. Lasting friendships do take time to build.

Pay Attention to Details

As you get to know others, learn about their details, the little things that make them unique. I have a friend who always wears a "whatsit", some very noticeable pin or scarf or shoes that are sure to attract attention and start a conversation. It might be a statement necklace, her hedgehog printed scarf, or her favorite bright red heels. Knowing this detail, I try to pay attention and compliment the item of the day.

Again, this also works with your online friends. As you get to know them, you will learn the things that make them unique. Use that knowledge when commenting on their posts, or conversing on messenger.

Whether you’ve known a friend for just a few weeks or four decades, study her and what she likes. What’s her favorite flower? How does she like her coffee? What does she collect?

Set Reminders for Important Dates

Put your friend’s birthday on your calendar. If you’re using a digital calendar, set up notification for 2 weeks in advance. This gives you plenty of time to find a gift or come up with a way to honor your friend.

Fortunately, Facebook and LinkedIn will remind you of the birthdays of your Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections. Take a minute to send them a quick birthday greeting. 

But don’t stop with birthdays. Write down other dates that are important, too. Wedding anniversaries, business anniversaries, "Got" days for animal lovers who adopt rescues...try to learn what dates are important to them and set a reminder to reach out on that special day.

Remember: You Have Something to Offer

It’s natural to want community around you. It’s normal to desire close friendships. Life is more fun when we have people who “get” us. And it definitely helps make your business more fun and profitable.

But keep in mind as you search for friends or strengthen your relationships that you bring something to the table, too. It might be your quirky sense of humor, your ability to see the silver lining in every situation, or your spot-on knowledge of fashion.

Don’t hide your quirks or avoid hanging out with others because you’re worried they won’t like you. Be willing to step outside your shell so you can meet other people who think you’re amazing (because you totally are!)