A Cocktail Napkin Success Story
That is the number that brought Kate and I to tears one morning in the summer of 2012 – 8 years after it all began.
That is the number of clients around the world that have been served by all of the coaches using Coaches Console to start their coaching business with confidence, look professional and be organized in their coaching business!! Wow. We are blown away.
The Quest of a New Coach
Back in 2004, I (Melinda) had started my own coaching practice. I had just been fired from my corporate job, was recently divorced, was on my own for the first time and needed to start a business that would make money fast; after all I had a mortgage to pay! AND I had no experience. I had hired Kate as my personal coach and she mentored me on how to get into coaching, select the right coach training school and how to start my business – and make money fast (I had enough money in the bank to cover one months of expenses).
Kate handed me a very large pile of papers, folders and binders and said here is everything my coach gave me to start my business and everything you need is in here. Right. The thought of going through those papers and first figuring out what was in there, only to then create my own pile of papers that represented “my coaching business” seemed absurd to me. So I went through the stacks to understand what was necessary to start and build a coaching business and then began to reinvent my own way of building a coaching business that utilized technology so I could simplify and automate all of the hundreds of tasks necessary to operate a coaching business.
A Full Coaching Practice in Under 6 Months
I piecemealed together Word, Excel, QuickBooks and a custom (expensive) website with private access for my clients (and I have to admit, my client files were in binders on my shelf; each client with it’s own binder). This hodge-podge of systems, called “my coaching business” gave me the confidence to make marketing easy, enrolling clients natural and engaging clients a quick process. As a result I filled my coaching practice to 20 paying clients in 6 months and was still in the beginning stages of my coach training. I quickly began to enjoy the successes (emotional, monetary and spiritual) of a thriving and profitable coaching business.
The Napkin, The Vision, The Beginning
About 6 months after having started and created my own coaching business success, I was riding down the road with a friend when suddenly I heard this voice. I turned to my friend driving and asked him if he said something. He replied no and looked at my funny. Then I heard it again, just as clear as if it were sitting in the car with me. Have you ever had that experience? You don’t know where it is coming from, but you know you had better listen? So I pulled a napkin out of the glove box of the car and began writing what I was hearing:
- enable those who are fulfilling their life’s purpose via coaching to do that the best way possible
- eliminate the burdens and distractions of a coach
- enable new coaches to begin sooner so they don’t have to wait for the money foundation
- creation of processes for follow up, marketing, paperwork, organization, client management
At the time I heard this, this made ZERO sense to me. After all I was a new coach just getting started. Was I supposed to coach coaches? What did I know about that? What did that mean to eliminate the burdens and distractions for coaches? It’s message continued to tug at me although I didn’t know what it meant. So I tucked the napkin away on my desk and let it percolate for a while.
From Struggling & Scattered to Automated & Streamlined
Meanwhile, I’m still working with Kate as she is coaching me in running my coaching business. I thought the organization and success I was experiencing as a new coach was the norm. I thought all coaches first set up the internal and necessary business systems to operate and automate their business so they could be freed to coach more and make money doing what they loved. Silly me. Kate opened my eyes that most coaches (in fact almost 56%) of them struggle are scattered and fail because they do not know how to operate a business. In fact, after I showed her how I had set up and organized my business she was taken aback with what I had done with the pile of papers and binders she originally had given me. She told me “No Melinda, most coaches never experience the success you are experiencing. And I’ve been coaching for three years now and I think it’s time you now coach me to set up this same type of organization in my business so I can experience the same level.” In that moment, I began to realize what the napkin meant.
Fulfillment of The Napkin – Creating Success for Other Coaches
I asked Kate to meet me for coffee and I showed her my napkin and told her the story. And I said to her, “if you need something like what I’ve created for my business, maybe other coaches need it as well. Maybe we could create something together so we can help other coaches be successful.” What I knew for sure is that even though I didn’t fully understand HOW the napkin vision would play out, I know it was bigger than me. This vision was way bigger than one person so I invited Kate to join me in helping create success for other coaches.
Kate’s passion is to get the world coached. What we knew for sure was that as only two coaches with a finite amount of time, we could only coach so many people. But if we helped other coaches eliminate the burdens and distractions of their business so they could coach more clients, we could fulfill the vision of getting the world coached. So we smudged the napkin with Kate’s chocolate latté and started our business partnership.
The Birth of The Coaches Console
Over the next couple of months we continued to ask the Universe HOW (and ourselves too) this napkin vision was going to take shape. One synchronistic event after another began happening. We listened and took action. We knew we wanted to help coaches around the world and not just in our local region. At a networking event one day I was sharing our napkin vision with a software programmer and he made the comment, “you know, if you want to help coaches around the world the easiest way to support them is through the internet.” And his team mapped out on a wall size whiteboard what it would look like to create a web-based application that provided all of the business systems and process that a new coach needed to start and build their coaching business. That was the birth of The Coaches Console (then called Interface Advantage Systems – now our corporate name).
Eight years later we have supported coaches in over 43 countries coaching over forty-four thousand clients!
Making the Business Back End Sexy!
From two coaches wanting to get the world coached and wanting to help coaches create thriving businesses, we want to say a deep THANK YOU for being a part of making this dream a reality. We will continue to make the back end of a coach’s business sexy and fun. And we will continue to help coaches create thriving businesses so together we can get the world coached!
We appreciate each and every one of you in the challenges you face everyday as an entrepreneur. We are here wildly cheering for you and guiding you every step of the way.
Melinda & Kate