Friday, March 09, 2007

Mentor Coach Interview: Barry Zweibel

Thanks to Linda Boos and The New Coach Connection's blog; "Making Coach Connections" for their interview of me in their February 28, 2007 post, titled: Mentor Coach Interview: Barry Zweibel. Here are some excerpts:

Hello all and welcome to the Wednesday Interview! The final coach I have chosen to interview is our own Barry K. Zweibel, MCC, ICF-Certified Master Coach. Barry is newly certified MCC and I gained much from his answers, I hope you will too.

Read on.

How do you define coaching?
Iteratively! Really, it all depends on where people start talking to me about it. “Is it like therapy?” Well, yes, sort of, but it’s more about moving forward from where you’re at than looking backwards … “Is it like consulting?” Why yes, but it’s not about me giving you my answers, it’s about helping you determine your own answers …

When did you decide to become a coach? What was your aha moment? My undergraduate degree is in psychology (MBA in marketing) so the people-side-of-life has always been an interest to me. But I didn’t like how therapy was pathologically-based. Sure everyone can probably benefit from therapy, but not everyone is broken, so what about all the “normal” people who are just feeling stuck or uncomfortable or aren’t sure what to do next, etc.? But coaching wasn’t around back then.

Fast forward, and a guy named Chip Bell (Managers as Mentors) turned me on to a coach-like perspective and Thomas Leonard sealed the deal. They both helped me realize I already was coaching; it was now a matter of doing it full-time rather than just as an adjunct of my other professional responsibilities.

Once you started your business, how long did it take you to go from zero to a sustainable business? What did that involve?
Year One was good enough in that it was only a half-year, really (I started GottaGettaCoach! on July 4, 2000 – Independence Day!) and Year Two was pretty good, too – but I think that was because most of my work came from people I already knew. Year Three was awful – I ran out of contacts ~ and hadn’t yet figured out how to get people I didn’t know to find and hire me. Apparently something clicked, because Years Four, Five, and Six have each been great and progressively better than the one prior. (Year Seven, 2007) is starting off quite nicely, too.

What did that involve? Patience, and persistence, of course. But I think the thing that made the most difference was creating specific business development (biz-d) and client acquisition strategies that were customized enough to me so that I truly enjoyed working them. I learned that there is no one right way to make a small business successful – there are zillions of ways. So I choose a few that worked (and that were within my comfort zone) and worked them as passionately as I could.

Where do you see coaching going in the future and what do you think the next big trends will be?
I’m very optimistic. More and more people are being coached by their friends, relatives, and co-workers and are really liking the ‘it’s-all-about-me’ thing. But they increasingly don’t like how their informal coach’s vested interests keep getting in the way. As such, they’ll increasingly look to professional, objective, coaches (read: you and me) to hire.

Next big trends? Here are three: (1) The increased importance of certification (and ultimately licensure) of coaches will cause scads of casual and part-time coaches to back away from the field creating more opportunity for those remaining; (2) more coaches will opt for group-work creating even more opportunity for those continuing to focus on 1-on-1 work; (3) trends won’t matter because how many clients do you really need to have a successful practice, anyway?!

What do you love about being a coach and coaching?
No need to preach to the choir on this one – I love that I get to be a coach and that I get to coach. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t get that?!

What are the top three pieces of advice you’d leave for new coaches?
(1) focus more on your biz-d than you probably are; (2) do it in ways that truly work for you – regardless of what anyone else has to say about what you should or should not be doing; (3) adopt a puppy!

So okay, I only had two pieces of advice, but there is something to be said for being as good a businessperson/coach as your dog already thinks you are!

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