Structured/Stability.Things are constantly changing in both business and every day life. Often times, you will find in either profession that your client doesn’t have great structure. They are looking to you to help them create that! I had a client in the past who really had no structure to her day, and that resulted in a lot of tasks not getting done on a regular basis. They were struggling with increasing revenue, and didn’t realize the correlation between a lack of stability, and their lack of financial growth. After I taught them how to structure their days, they were getting things done way faster, and had more time to focus on growing their actual business!
The coaching industry is now tremendous. It is a 15 billion dollar industry. Many professionals have left their office jobs to become highly successful coaches. At the same time, not everyone who starts a coaching business sees success. What does someone starting a career as a life coach, wellness coach, or business coach need to know to turn it into a very successful and rewarding career?
In this interview series, called “Five Things You Need To Create a Highly Successful Career As a Life or Business Coach” we are interviewing experienced and successful life coaches, wellness coaches, fitness coaches, business and executive coaches and other forms of coaches who share the strategies you need to create a successful career as a life or business coach.
In this particular interview, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Kendra Y. Hill.
Kendra Y. Hill is an Atlanta-based, and globally engaged people-centric business consultant.
An entrepreneur for over a decade, Kendra has a unique approach that can help any business large or small. Her specialties include organizational leadership, digital media, brand development, HR and talent acquisition, system automations, team-building, strategic management diversity, equity and inclusion and faith-based entrepreneurship.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and what brought you to this particular career path?
I actually started my first business, IASA Consulting, out of boredom. I had worked for the U.S. House of Representatives, the UNCF, Google, and the San Antonio Spurs — all places that are some people’s dream jobs, but I was bored at work and tired of the routine. I’m a person who needs to mix it up or I’m over it. I knew that it was time for me to leave the Spurs when I literally couldn’t focus anymore. I would come to work and either stare at the screen or set up a ton of outside meetings so I could leave the arena. There was really no point in staying, but I needed some stability. One Monday, I walked in and knew it was over. I went to a meeting, left the meeting, packed up my desk, wrote my letter of resignation, and dipped. By Wednesday I had my first client to the tune of $10K. It was time and ten years later, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Though there are a bunch of character traits that made me successful, I would say my top three are transparency, compassion and humility.
Transparency is actually one of my company’s core values. I learned early on that being transparent is a step above being honest. Honesty is just telling the truth while transparency is telling YOUR truth. It’s so important to me that one of the first team members I hired actually got the job because she was transparent in her interview. I asked her about the most difficult thing she ever had to overcome and she shared that she had a miscarriage years before. That single moment told me that she could be trusted with my truths over time. Using reality to develop healthy relationships has been vital in my career.
That same transparency has helped me to be more compassionate as well. This same employee went through a number of trials while at my company from her grandmother falling and breaking her hip to her boyfriend breaking up with her. I’ve been there. When I worked for other companies, I had many personal things that unfortunately impacted my work — also unfortunately, I had some employers who didn’t empathize with me. I know the difference compassion makes for my clients and team members; at the end of the day, we’re all human.
While it may sound weird to call yourself humble, my own humility is something I’ve just recently become aware of. I spend a lot of time in-person and virtually with a number of my mentees and the one thing they also comment on is that I’m such a cool person. Apparently, a lot of successful business owners are rude and isolating. I believe firmly in community and servant leadership first and it shows up in everything I do.
How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?
Forming good habits is the best way to achieve your goals. I worked at forming good habits early on so that I was able to handle the demand of running multiple businesses. One of the best habits that helped me in my journey was prioritizing. It sounds pretty simple, but it is something a lot of business owners struggle with. Every time I get new tasks, I am able to take a second to stop and prioritize all of the things I have going on. I then go into my calendar and schedule a block of time for each task that I need to take care of. This helps me keep myself accountable and on track to accomplish everything I need to get done. Putting a date to things is a great way to get all of your tasks done.
This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?
There are plenty of reasons why it’s important to create good habits, but mainly it’s all about building a good foundation. Your habits are like the foundation to your goals. If you can create good systems and structure for yourself every day, you not only build trust with yourself, but you set yourself up to handle more in life and business. For example, if you get into the habit of writing yourself a TO DO list every day, you’re able to operate in an organized and efficient manner. You become confident in getting things done, and no task gets left behind. If you don’t, you might find that you start forgetting certain tasks, which could lead to potentially losing a client. So it’s important to get yourself into small habits now before you get a larger work load.
Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?
The best way to develop good habits starts with wanting to change, and shifting your mindset to do so. It takes some work to commit to your new habits! Put whatever it is in your calendar, reminders, agenda, or however you find it easiest to remember. Then everyday, at the same time, do that thing! For example, if you are trying to get in the habit of practicing an instrument. Decide that every day at 10am, you are going to practice that instrument. Commit a short amount of time to it so that you don’t feel too overwhelmed, and then move from there! Stick to this for 21 days and you’ll find yourself sticking to it! The harder part is stopping bad habits. We get so used to our bad habits, but again it’s about that mindset shift. Every time you are about to start a bad habit you’ve got to remind yourself of your goal. Something that might help is writing out WHY each goal is important to you. That way, every time you start a bad habit you’re reminded why you can’t be that way, or do that thing anymore.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
My favorite life lesson quote is “Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become” — Jim Rohn. It’s my favorite because we think that we have to chase being successful, but the fact of the matter is you have to work on your character, your spirit, and yourself internally. Success will just show up!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
One of the most exciting projects I am working on right now is The Millionaire Project. It’s essentially a program I’m running where I help faith-based business owners become millionaires. During the first year after opening Kendra, Scale My Business, we were able to make 7 figures in our first seven months. This inspired me to teach other female entrepreneurs how to grow their businesses in the most efficient way possible. I think it helps not only in their business lives, but their home and spiritual lives too. Through habit building, strategizing, and implementation, I really take them on the same journey I took to my first one million.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Many coaches are successful, but some are not very successful. From your experience or perspective, what are the main factors that distinguish successful coaches from unsuccessful ones? What are your “Five Things You Need To Create a Highly Successful Career As a Life or Business Coach”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.
In my experience, the main factor that distinguishes successful coaches from unsuccessful ones comes down to work ethic. Before you even start your business as a coach, you really need to have good habits in place, and be comfortable committing a lot of time and energy. Every single business you work with needs to be handled as if they are your very own. Over all, the five things you need to create a highly successful career as a life or business coach are:
- Authenticity. First things first, if a person does not feel like you are authentically connecting to them or their businesses, they will IMMEDIATELY run in the other direction, regardless of your credentials or past clients. ALL of my clients would tell you they feel like they know me because I am real with each and every one!
- Structured/Stability.Things are constantly changing in both business and every day life. Often times, you will find in either profession that your client doesn’t have great structure. They are looking to you to help them create that! I had a client in the past who really had no structure to her day, and that resulted in a lot of tasks not getting done on a regular basis. They were struggling with increasing revenue, and didn’t realize the correlation between a lack of stability, and their lack of financial growth. After I taught them how to structure their days, they were getting things done way faster, and had more time to focus on growing their actual business!
- Flexibility. If you are looking for a 9–5, don’t be a coach! You have to be flexible enough to work outside of common work hours. You also have to be flexible enough to try new things! I have had clients in totally different time zones. It might be 9pm for me, but only 3pm for them! So I work in a way where I am flexible with my time to accommodate for that. I’ve also had clients in my time zone have a total melt down at 11pm. And what did they do? Called me! Being flexible helps build a strong relationship with your clients because they know they can rely on you at any hour of the day (or night.)
- Communication skills.This sounds obvious, but I promise you good communication skills will go a LONG WAY! It is not only about being able to articulate what you want to say, but about understanding and adapting to your clients communication style. When I was first working on communicating with new clients, I had to ask myself things like: How does something need to be said to be understood? What makes them feel good? What works for them?
- Down For Anything Attitude.This is probably the most important one, but having a down for anything attitude will take you SO far. Learn as much as you can about your clients industry or current circumstance and be ready to try new things! For example, I am a business consultant, but aside from just scaling I’ve also worked on things like HR, DEI, Project management, Talent management, recruitment, and more! It’s all about moving with your client, and matching their needs.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen coaches make when they start their business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
A common mistake I’ve seen coaches make when first starting their business is spending way more money than they have made. Sometimes people get super excited (as they should be!) to start a new business, and spend lots of money on all the bells and whistles, but all of the important things get left behind. Start out focusing on things like creating good habits, and setting up automations in your business so that you can focus your energy on new clients!
Based on your experience and success, what are a few of the most important things a coach should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience? Please share a story or an example for each.
A good coach shouldn’t limit themselves by time/boundaries. A good business coach pushes themselves into the life of the person they are working with. They need to be able to heal and help their clients overcome their trauma in order to be successful in business. An example of that is a client I currently work with. He is confident in a way he wasn’t before. I have been able to help him find confidence, assurance, a back bone, and become more vocal in his real desires. It’s all about getting to know them as a whole person, not just their business. That’s what creates a wow experience. Getting to know your customer on a deep level. I am involved in my clients REAL lives. Birthdays, deaths, anniversaries. Being a part of their lives for REAL is a real WOW experience. I don’t just talk to them when they need to pay an invoice.
Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business, and particularly in coaching. What are the best ways for a coach to find customers? Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?
To generate quality leads, a coach needs to start off by understanding their ideal client. That means do the research, and figure out who it is that you are trying to reach. Next, look at your current audience. Who have you already built a relationship with? Who has a problem that your business is a solution to? Lastly, don’t be afraid of NO. So many coaches are afraid of not getting a client, they won’t even pitch. What’s the worst that could happen? Create a strong, solid pitch, and get it out there! For me, a strategy I use is discovery calls. I might not know someone, but if I can get them to talk to me for 20 or 30 minutes I end up learning so much about them. I find out their pain points, and then walk them through possible solutions that I can create for them. I also bring up future pain points they could come across, and mention how I can rectify those. Even if I don’t get that client right then, they often call me again sometime down the line because the problems I mentioned early on have come to life and they need help. It’s honestly a cyclical process!
Coaches are similar to startup founders who often work extremely long hours and it’s easy to end up burning the candle at both ends. What would you recommend to your fellow coaches about how to best take care of their physical and mental wellness when starting their business?
For my fellow coaches, I’d recommend they really build themselves a schedule and stick to it. Build in not just time to work, but time for stillness, time to exercise and get fresh air, and time to sleep! The only way a lot of us remember to rest is when the people around us remind us to do so. Learn to prioritize self care! The only way to be the best coach to your clients, is by being the best coach to yourself!
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Universal basic income! I feel like this would change the lives of ANYBODY! Having your basic needs met gives people the freedom to live their lives how they actually want to. Imagine how much MORE people could get done if they had their basic needs covered! It would also help stimulate the economy. If everyone had more to spend, they would spend it. Think of all the businesses that would thrive.
We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I’d have to say Kim Kardashian. She has had SO many experiences in life, from an assistant, to styling, to doing movies, to the shortest marriage in history, to a long one, to being on television for so many years. She has lived such a full life, and I want to know what that’s like for her. I see myself as someone who has had a myriad of experiences, and I don’t always know how to synthesize them. Then I’d want to know what’s next! She has so much going on, what does she want to do next?
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Readers can follow my work by checking out my website kendrascalemybusiness.com, or follow me on Instagram @iamkendrayhill! I post pretty much daily there, and I always share with my followers new things we’ve got going on over at KSMB.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!