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10 Questions with Coaching Expert Christie Mims
At a time when everyone is shouting about authenticity, few have the courage to pull it off. Our guest today has courage to spare.
A mentor to coaches, Christie Mims is open, honest, sincere, and 100% authentic. She lets her personality and passion shine through in everything she does, not only educating coaches but inspiring them to be who they truly are.
We were fortunate enough to tap into her vast knowledge of the coaching business below. If you’re a coach looking to grow your practice, you’re in for a treat.
SH: What is your background?
I was born in Switzerland (parents in the Foreign Service!) but grew up in Northern Virginia, and I now live in California.
SH: How and why did you get involved with coaching?
I was a standard-issue DC consultant, and I knew it wasn’t for me. I spent years searching for “my thing” while climbing up the corporate ladder, and coaching kept coming up again and again as a career path. Finally, after a moment where I decided I was determined not to die on the DC metro and wake up 20 years later still on the same commute (people look pretty resigned on the metro!), I signed up for a coaching program… and it felt like getting a cold drink of water after being in the desert. It was phenomenal and I have never once looked back.
SH: What did you do early on in your coaching career to set yourself apart?
A couple of things: I started out as a Career Coach for Smart People looking to find their passion. I still have that side of my business (it’s here: www.therevolutionaryclub.com), and I decided early on NOT to look like any other corporate or career coach. My website is full of bright colors and movement (some might say obnoxiously bright:)) to stand out, and bring the people who want that closer to me, and discourage people who won’t like my style. Second, I started talking like a real human. In careers, we are always pretty buttoned up. I “unbuttoned” a little bit in my communications and style, because I feel like people want to be able to be a bit more honest and relaxed when thinking about their job. I have that same style over at Coach Pony for the same reasons. Building a coaching business is scary, but it should also be both fun and real.
Building a coaching business is scary, but it should also be both fun and real.
SH: If you could suggest only one method to get in front of potential clients, which would you choose?
Ooooh! This is an interesting question and I want to answer it in two ways:
1) The first most important thing to getting in front of clients and doing consistent marketing is answering this question: What is YOUR most preferred form of communication (Formal speaking? Writing? Social media? Chatting with people?), and based on that, how can you marry your skills with where are your clients already hanging out? So for instance: If you love social media and you are a career coach, it makes sense for you to spend most of your time on LinkedIn. It’s a fit for you *and* a fit for your clients. I say this because if you don’t enjoy how you market, you’ll put it off and you won’t get in front of any clients.
But 2) The bottom line is that personal always sells faster. If you want to get paying clients now, then get out and either do speeches live or on webinars that are aimed at your preferred audiences, or just get to events and network your socks off.
SH: If you could only suggest one method to enroll those potential clients, which would you choose?
If networking: Listen to them, deeply and with your whole being. Educate them on the benefits of coaching IF they are open to it AND seem like a potential fit for you, and then link up how what you do will help them achieve their specific goal. Invite them to have a formal conversation with you about how you can help and immediately schedule it :).
If speaking: Use the speech to educate the room on coaching and give them some valuable insights, then make an offer to the room that’s only good in that moment: Either a free session or low priced introductory session. Just make sure you aren’t offering *just* a “free session” – offer something that feels actionable and concrete like “a free session on why you are stuck on the weight” if you are a health coach. Or a “free session to figure out the #1 reason you aren’t saving for retirement” if you are a finance coach. Make it something they really want!
SH: Which business decision allowed you to grow your practice more than any other?
Focusing only on things that are fully leveraged and scaleable. So, for instance: Not doing private coaching and only offering group or DIY programs and services.
If you can’t support yourself, you can’t support your clients.
SH: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
Stay focused! Don’t try to do too much at once as a new coach (write a book, run a retreat, launch a program etc). Do one thing and do it better than everyone else, and only then add on.
SH: What mistake do you see most new coaches make? How can they avoid it?
New coaches forget to focus on the business side of coaching – they just want to coach. But here’s the truth: If you can’t support yourself, you can’t support your clients. “Telling your story” “hoping it’ll work out” and posting on Facebook will NOT get you clients.
So make sure you invest time (and money) into your business learning! Shameless plug; If you need help with getting started, here’s a free guide to jumpstart your business learning: CoachPony.com.
SH: Imagine waking up tomorrow and it’s all gone. What are the first three things you’d do to rebuild your coaching practice?
1) Get a simple opt-in page up using a free resource like Ontrapages
2) Get an email auto-responder set up to offer people coaching as soon as they join my list
3) Spend all day, every day, pitching places to speak to get the word out!
SH: What is your best advice for a coach just starting out?
1) Get business training! (I seriously cannot emphasize this enough – not to be a downer, but if you don’t spend time learning the business, you won’t have one.)
2) Get a community of new coaches around you who are serious about building their business so you have support from people who get it. It’s lonely being an entrepreneur, and you need to have mental support from people in the same trenches. You can find folks like these in your coaching certification programs, in local meet ups, or online in FB groups.
SH: What are you working on right now?
The big thing I’m working on right now is literally what I’m always working on! My Build a REAL Business program for new life coaches. We are constantly upgrading it and adding to it to make it the gold standard of business training for coaches. We do this because I firmly believe, with every fiber of my being, that the world will be a better place with more successful coaches out in the world.
…if you don’t spend time learning the business, you won’t have one.
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