Knowing the Work Goes Both Ways

siawash zahmat Feb 09, 2023


Siawash: You're not just doing the external work, you're not just doing the work with your clients. You have to do the work with yourself. Right. And, the more we do that, I think that the better we become as coaches, you know?

 And here's the interesting thing there are two truths to that. And I think it's good for people to, I mean this is, this is my view of it, right? Sometimes there are two things that can be true at the same time.

Because, you know, once you become really great at coaching,  you build your skills, I believe you can coach anyone in any area of life and can help them transform if there's a connection and the client is willing to do the work, right?

Right. And you know, so while I think that's really important what you just shared. Hey, we have to do the work. And you know, interestingly enough,  most of the stuff that we do with clients it's a reflection. You know, I think, I don't know who it was, but someone said this, right?

That the things that your clients struggle the most with, those are the things that you struggle with, right? 

Faisal: Those are clients you attract as well. Interestingly, those are the kind of clients I attract all the time. 

Siawash: Yeah, exactly. And you know, and I think, at the same time, the beautiful thing is just coming back to that skill parts, right? Develop those skills because once you have those skills, you know, you can just, your finances can be maybe, you know, maybe you have 50,000 and in your bank account you can coach multimillionaires and billionaires, right? Because they will have problems that you can help them with.

Sometimes you could be going through a divorce and you could transform someone's relationship. And the reason I think we pointed this out is that what you were saying doesn't negate that, but I think sometimes it's also good to slow down to that. It doesn't mean that you always have to have your stuff together.

Yeah. Right. But it just means that you're taking ownership of it, right? Yeah. Because you know, if you're not, sooner or later,  it just comes to above the water. 

Faisal: Yeah, and that's why I meant with that is that you need to be battling it, doesn't mean you need to be perfect in that area.

We're, as human beings, we're all gonna struggle in all of these areas that we're taking people through. And that's just understanding how humans are in general.  one of the areas I realized that because for the longest time,  looking at our parents, for example, It's very interesting for me,  the whole journey.

 I looked at my parents, they were my heroes.  they did everything. They did incredible things. They got us out of life-threatening situations from poverty and everything, all the way to the western world. And I had an amazing view, and I still remember we were sitting around, it was a barbecue day we were having, and my older brother was, I could, we were all talking about what we appreciate about each other.

we're all saying that and I think it was my younger brother who said, oh, I appreciate this, but I don't this about my parents. And then, He tried to override that. He's like, no, our parents are perfect. I thought that was very inauthentic of him to say that, and they're not perfect.

They're human beings. And then I didn't say anything, but I thought about this after a while and well, they were exactly us, the way I'm struggling. They've struggled in all parts of their life. And when I started looking at them from that lens, I just looked at 'em like human beings. That improved my relationship so much more with them than trying to put them in this model that doesn't exist for us,  on this pedestal.

And so it goes for everybody. When we look at milling errors or successful people, we kind of put 'em on a pedestal. And I think that's what prevents us from supporting and serving them. It's bringing them to the human. Because we all have the same challenges, but I think these points are really important because before you even talk about business and marketing, if we're not on that journey of mastery, and this is kind of a self-reflection moment, if you're a coach listening to this, really ask yourself, what are you in this for?

Because I've been in business for a little bit now, I've learned that there are easier ways to make money. Coaching is not the easiest way to make money. These people are making money much easier than with what we are doing.

Siawash: Maybe we should talk about that.

Faisal: if you really, after money, there are better ways you can actually go and buy and some of my relatives are doing, I'm actually helping them think through some of this stuff.

Cuz they're just interested in business. They're not really interested in the service the way we think about it. You can buy a laundromat. You can get, for example, an older laundromat and it doesn't have any technology. Some old person is running it, their kids are not interested in it, and you can go drive around, find those people and get a loan from the government for the most of it, and, and just improve the process, improve their systems, get technology, and get better marketing and all that stuff.

It will take you a little bit of time, but it's actually a much easier process than building yourself up to that point. These businesses have credibility, they've run for 2, 10, 20, or 30 years before you even showed up. That might be a much easier way to build a business if you're building a business, but really doing a self-reflection.

What are you in this for? Is it just business? Because if that's the only motivation you have, especially for coaches, I would, I don't think it's the kind of profession for you, it's a lot doctors,  doctors going into a healing path just for the sake of money, but they don't care to heal people.

That to me is a huge what do we call it? It's an ethical dilemma. So there's an ethical challenge here, is that, what are you going into this for? Is it really to serve people, support people? Yeah. In the process, you're gonna build a business, everything, but that needs to be the primary motivation and then the mastery and the skill sets that everything is around it.

And that requires a lot of honesty. 

Siawash: I agree. And I think the truth is, I think the process will filter you out if you are about the money. , because I think even with doctors, right?  if you are just about money, you're not gonna survive the six years for the medical degree.

Right. And I think with coaching that's happened to me, I'll be honest by the way, here's the thing, sometimes it's okay. I think to start with that. For me it's about, you know, making enough money that would support the family. And my wife lost her job at the beginning of my coaching career cause she was pregnant.

So we knew, I knew okay, now I need to replace two jobs and there's a baby coming. Right? So it's just, a lot of pressure to make money. But here's the thing, right? When I shifted focus, and I think for me, this happened probably at the end of the second year or halfway through the second year, I shifted my focus from money to mastery.

And I thought you know what, even if it takes me 10 years, If I just focus on becoming really good, I'll become successful in this. And here's a beautiful thing, right? When I took my focus off money and just focus on the process, I start making a lot more money. and it is because the money is a byproduct, right?

It's a byproduct of how well you're doing, and how many people you're helping, right? How impactful your work is, that professional service when that professional service becomes better, and you're doing it more often, right? you start seeing that more people start saying, yes. 

Faisal: Yeah. I love that. And I think it comes down to, and I struggled through this very similar press.

Funny how our realizations are similar. So I struggled initially when I jumped into the thing. I was driving Uber at the time, and, I had to battle between running the business and driving Uber and providing for my family constantly. And I didn't know how the business part would run.

And one of my biggest realizations came in when I got criticism from one of my family members. You've been in this for a while. You were not making any money. You left your engineering career. This is that and the other. It was very hurtful, but when I sat and reflected on that, I'm, you know what?

This matters to me. I will never, not provide for my family, but, this is connected to my soul. This is connected to who I am deep down. I don't care if it takes me three years, five years, 10 years, or 15 years, I'm doing this. That's exactly how I responded to the family members. This is who I am, and that truly matters to me. 

I wanna kind of take a step back and talk a little bit about the industry. Because a few of my clients over the past few years have come from coaching experiences that were not very good. And when I say not very good, they were scared to go into a coaching relationship.

They were open to it. They knew that because they had read so many books, they knew that coaching is very powerful, and can be a very powerful path. For example, one of my clients, while I was in Europe at the time, He reached out to me because he heard me on a podcast. He booked a call with me. We started out and I could tell he was really anxious. I asked him to tell me a little bit about, why do you want to do this.

And he was very upfront. He said, you know, I'll be honest with you, I work with a coach and he worked with me for a little bit. He promised that he would do this, that, and the other, but nothing happened. And we asked for our money back. He never did that in the process.

And I don't know what happened on the coach's side, but at least from his perspective, he was very disappointed with the process. Now obviously there will be people that will not feel like they're getting the results. That's fine. But I could tell that there was a lack of integrity there on the other side and to the point where when we did the session, He got a lot out of it. He's like holy shoot, this is coaching! This is possible. This is coaching. He said I did not go through coaching. He had to invite his wife to the call cuz she went through this process with him. And she interviewed me too. And then when I talked to her they did the go-ahead.

 And to this day, I think it's been two and a half years, and I'm still coaching both of them, the wife and the husband. I'm actually meeting them in person soon too. And also recently,  I just had a client who finished after a year, and one of the things that I heard that was really heartwarming for me was that she said, “you changed my perception of coaching. The last time I went through coaching, it was horrible and I didn't want to tell anybody about this shit. But now, I'm really gonna recommend it!” 

Ultimately, we need to think about the industry as well. Cuz it is a very new industry. People don't realize this is that this has not been standardized.

It's a lot like Uber when nobody knew about Uber and they were just making money before the government stepped into it. It was a lot like psychology before psychology became known, but it's very new, everybody's calling themselves a coach, but they don't actually know. And even some of the coaches who are making money, sometimes I hear about it and I'm like, how are you working with these clients? 

And I don't know how they've gone about it, but understand that this impacts us all.  It impacts our clients. It spreads the message of coaching. And part of what I wanna do with the podcast is really get people to understand that this is not just about me, you, it's about the whole industry, about serving and the ripple effect of that in the world.

Because I truly believe that coaches have a very important part to play in this whole scheme of things around leadership, around self-awareness, around spirituality, around getting people to become aware and it, it could be a really big thing if you really think about it. At least I have. So think of it from that perspective, because you are giving the industry a name every time you're in a session as well. I don't know what your thoughts are about that, but I feel deeply about this part. 

Siawash: Yeah. I have a lot of thoughts about that. I think, you know and by the way,  I think, I haven't tried it, but  Uber could be also another great way to pick up clients. 

Faisal: It was funny. So, you know what, what made me realize? I used to do coaching sessions during my Uber rides. But they didn't know. So the two things that helped me were again, Rich Litvan, and Steve Showerer. I never asked permission to coach somebody. That was one problem. Second, I never offered, I never gave a proposal. I just hope that they would kinda reach out to me. I would give them my contact information, but I would never really tell them that I was a coach.

Siawash: Look there, there are few things, right? And I think even though some coaches have good intentions, they had the wrong idea. I'm not gonna mention names because some of them are well-known.

Basically, when I was starting out the coaching journey, one of the things I did early on, and this was kind of selfish but at the same time you know, I knew it would help people, but at the start of my coaching journey, I started interviewing coaches, I thought were doing well.

Sometimes people would say no to me because they didn't know me. But other people were just saying yes. So I start interviewing different people, some of them were not coaches or entrepreneurs, but a lot of them were coaches. And here's the thing,  the funny thing is I remember a lot of them saying, oh no, you don't need a certification.

And I think it's not just about certification, I think it's more about training, right? unfortunately, I see a lot of people say that even coaches that are doing really well and I think, you know, it creates misunderstanding to new coaches.

Right. That, oh, I don't need certification. So I think yes, hell yes you need a certification. In fact, you know, most certifications take six months. There are some that are one year, there are some that you can go for 18 months, right? Where you can have multiple layers.

 If you think about it,  we talked about doctors and dentists, right? , dentists study for four years, doctors for six years, and that's just their foundation. You know, as a coach, certification is just the basic foundation. If you go to a good certification program, cause I've helped a lot of coaches that, for example, don't have a certification and they would struggle in their business,  building their business.

And I've coached coaches and mentored them. They have done certain certification programs and their business grows a lot faster because they have that. Because a lot of the things we talked about, right, in a good coaching school, you know, you're not just learning the theory, you're putting it into practice, you're getting feedback, you're getting feedback from the facilitator, you're getting feedback from other coaches.

So a lot of that is set up at the beginning,  you're doing those 40 hours. And so that's really crucial. In fact,  I would go a step further and say, if someone is really serious about building a profession,  becoming a professional coach with a good practice earning good money, they should probably go, for a I C F, I CF has three levels right?

I think it's acc, pcc, mcc. The thing is if you go for pcc, you know, and you don't just get that qualification, you have to prove to them that you're good at coaching. You have to send them at least two recordings. Right? So at a very  basic level certification and there are lots of good ones out there.

And then the second level I would say if you're really serious, you probably should do ICF. And I don't have any affiliations with them, but I think that's really important. And then the other thing is, is expectations. I learned this also the hard way. Look, you can be a great coach and the client can have completely different expectations. 

One of my mentors told me this, he said, E equals E, and expectations equal experience. So get clear about what the expectations are of the client. And that's why I think, personally, making it really simple, asking the client, what do you want, what would make our work really successful at the end of these three months, at the end of this six months coaching agreement?

What do you wanna achieve? Just slowing down, right?  how does that look? and you know, it's not in our control, but it's just getting really clear. And then also setting up some clear agreements, which is often uncomfortable for new coaches, but setting them really clear agreements.

I have an audio I can share with your community. You can share it in your Facebook group and if people want it from the podcast, they just need to join your Facebook group. You can put it there, but it's great audio. You know that Steve recorded, it's called Expectations versus Agreements.

In fact, I learned this from a lot of experienced coaches  Rich and Steve. What they do is they spend often two hours with people just discussing agreements at the beginning of a coaching agreement. You know, so when someone has paid to you for the first session, you wanna slow down and talk about agreements.

Yeah. Right. Because when you don't do that,  you might give the client, for example, some homework or you might ask them to do some things and they don't do it. So you can set up very clear agreements, and again, agreements are co-created. Right. Agreements are not just rules, you need to have an on-time cancellation policy.

There's a lot more around how we get the most out of this experience. 


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