I believe that at the cornerstone of a successful coaching business is one where establishing trust with your clients is a priority. While rapport building can help establish a good coaching relationship, I have witnessed the trust factor play an exceptionally large role in highly successful coaches and their ability to support clients who need a higher level of impact and business success.
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 interview, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dr. Shané P. Teran.
As seen in LA Times, TNC Radio, and featured in VoyageLA and ShoutOut LA magazines, Dr. Shané is an Organizational Development Psychologist, Therapist, Podcaster and Author who enjoys mining for peace amid work-life turmoil. With over 15 years of experience, she is the Founder and President of the LA-based consulting firm SP Consulting Group, where she serves as the Senior Executive Coach and Organizational Development (OD) Consultant for healthcare and business leaders seeking to attain work-life balance. From small to large fortune 500 companies, e.g., Amazon, Inc., Facebook, and Netflix, Dr. Shané specializes in Business and Executive Wellness Coaching, Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Burnout Mitigation and Work-Life Integration.
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?
My backstory is like others who triumphed over adversity and rose beyond their wildest dreams. I am considered by many to be a pretty “strong” person and have helped others heal from their challenges for years. However, there were very few who knew that I was also going through my own, very life-threatening battles amid it all. So, as I climbed the proverbial ladder within the healthcare industry, I found that there were so many leaders who were passionate for their team’s success, all while struggling in silence with their own personal and professional issues.
After realizing there was a need for executive coaches who would integrate their practice with the Whole Health model of health and wellbeing, I decided to pivot; which began opening the doors to supporting people more like myself who sought after support and guidance and navigate life stressors beyond closed doors. The leaders I work with have become burnout with being spoon fed cookie-cutter guidance that does not speak to their individual needs. Instead of turning to an ineffective guide, I made it a mission to provide industry bests when it comes to business success, personal wellbeing, and organizational health.
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?
The three-character traits that were most instrumental to my success are as follows:
- Trusted Visionary
As I was thinking about the answer to this question, I had to consider what has truly kept me going at times I would have rather crawl into bed, binge watch Netflix, eat a never-ending bowl of gelato or even get in a good cry. What came to mind are the times I would have dreams and envision the needs of those that I have yet to serve, knowing that they have been waiting for my approach, my view of their world and/or my interpretation of the vision they had yet to express aloud. Being empathetic to prospective client needs and being trusted with and able to facilitate a client’s vision has truly helped me establish the initial connections with my existing clients while also retaining them for ongoing support and guidance on their life-long journey.
With an aim to always help leaders sustain transformation and growth in their personal and professional lives, it takes tenacity. Reader’s may want to know that true entrepreneurial success is possible even when you have challenges along the way that seem to pop up at just the “right” time. I was born with an autoimmune condition that has set my life up with an endless supply of tenacity! So instead of seeing limitations and challenges as a reason to play it safe or place limitations on my purpose, I push to raise my threshold of impact while modeling such for my clients.
How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?
The habits I have formed include checking in with myself as it pertains to my physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. I also ensure that I spend time nurturing the emotional and developmental needs of my son and checking in with my family and friends to stay connected as much as possible.
Through the years I have spent a lot of time in hospitals and at home alone recovering from treatment provided for my medical conditions. I was also in school for a long time (pre-school to doctoral), which meant spending additional time alone to focus on my studies, research, rest, and recharge. But it was during this time alone that I learned the importance of taking care of myself, remaining spiritually anchored, and staying connected with those you love. As a mother, I also quickly learned the responsibility of raising the kind of human we would expect to make a positive and transformative contribution to our future. I do not take this role or my habits lightly because not only is life extremely short, as many grieving hearts can understand, but this perspective has kept me true to my integrity as a coach and as professional entrusted with people’s dreams and purpose.
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?
It is important to create good habits because it is often within the discipline of building habits that we create a new standard and muscle memory to fall back on whenever we fall off track. I often share with my clients that one of the first things we need to do is take the time to engage all our natural born senses to truly “marinate” in each learning experience they have along the way. For example, after a client who is struggling with time management learns to structure their day to include time for self-care, productivity planning, and eating healthy meals/snacks, they must process what it was like for them to do those things intentionally. What were the challenges, what did they notice about the experience of setting boundaries with typical distractions, or what did you feel when you skipped the task of structuring your time? By engaging in a self-assessment or reality check, we come to find the additional incentives for establishing and maintaining good habits that may typically slip under the radar and ultimately lead to overwork and preventable stress — none of which my clients prefer to maintain or gain.
Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?
I believe that the best way to develop good habits is to recognize what it would be like to retain the bad habits! If the bad habits are disruptive to your growth, one must (1) identify their BIG WHY for transitioning to the more favorable habit and (2) why making the switch now is more important than any other time in the past. When it comes to stopping bad habits, it typically comes right back to the why of stopping or continuing said habit. If it does not make a difference in your desired outcomes, personally and/or professionally, nothing will stop the bad habit from continuing. Habits are learned behaviors that are typically set within your subconscious, or muscle memory — your default action or inaction. So, even if you see a habit as “bad” you will not change until you have a significant reason or challenge that warrants the change a necessity.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
“Meet at the intersection of faith and wisdom and purpose will show up.”
This “life lesson quote” is one that I created for myself. Out of all that I have been through in life, I had enumerable moments where I could have succumbed to fear, but I always took a wobbly step or two forward. With time, I learned to walk on faith and know that my realistic mind-set would get in the way of greater if I allowed it. To have less troubling results, I found myself increasing my intentional time to pray and ask God for direction and clarity regarding my purpose. Now… I must clarify that I did not always listen — things became really sketchy in those moments! Yet every single time that I allowed wisdom to clear some of my own wisdom, while allowing my faith to prevail…I always found the right road to take on purpose.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I am currently beta testing my coaching and consulting apprentice program, which will be the core offering within my newly formed SP Consulting Institute (SPCI). I believe that there are so many creative and simply extraordinary people out there that have spent so many years in school, certification programs and otherwise school of life, who would make huge waves in the coaching and consulting industries. However, they may be like me — not fitting in a box and wanting to find creative freedom to see greater results. Knowing that so many other industries have found ways to embrace professionals that are more creative and holistic in their approach. I would love to build SPCI to be a leader in merging wellness and business to ensure that our leaders are tapping into their superpowers and remaining passionate about the imprint they make on others and the world.
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.
- Out-of-the-box thinking/Ingenuity.
- Anyone can take coaching templates from the internet, engage in certification programs or even be a natural in the coaching business. But a successful coach not only has the tools to illicit transformation but can take the same or similar issues found amongst their client-base and find several different ways in which each client may successfully reach their goals. It is not the coaching process alone that allows for sustainable success in this industry. Ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking can lead to established practices that support a wide myriad of challenges from clients of varied diverse backgrounds, knowledge, skills, ability, and needs.
- I believe that at the cornerstone of a successful coaching business is one where establishing trust with your clients is a priority. While rapport building can help establish a good coaching relationship, I have witnessed the trust factor play an exceptionally large role in highly successful coaches and their ability to support clients who need a higher level of impact and business success. Even if it starts off with great credentials that lead to an initial discovery call or transaction via led magnet, people need to trust that what you have to offer is a match for their needs now and as they grow.
Clients must be able to trust that the guidance provided is always in their best interest and has the able to push them further than if they were engaging in self-guided journey. If they believe they have reached the top of the coach’s ability to facilitate change, clients are likely to find one way or another to get what the needs. Especially when it means hiring a coach that can go the long-haul.
3. Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
- Coaching requires a lot of people interaction, especially people who do not already have all the answers to questions they may not know need answered. If a coach expects to be extraordinarily successful, they must learn the nuances as well as the dynamics of people from all walks of life, backgrounds and experiences. If a coach is harboring any unconscious bias, prejudice or are generally challenged with regular social interaction, they must ensure that they do the necessary work to increase their interpersonal skills and use EQ to successfully navigate the dynamics of self-awareness, self-management, social skills, and relationship management. We as humans are an ever evolving and dynamic species, so without the ongoing ability to assess where you and your clients are emotionally, you run the risk of missing a lot of valuable information.
4. Tenacity of Purpose
- Tenacity means to be able to take a firm grip or hold of something — to be intensely determined. As it pertains to making the top five of this list, I have personally and professionally witnessed what great things come from being centered on your purpose and to stand firmly in place. There are so many types of coaches out there, but if one is focused on a quick means to an end because it sounds nice to be a Coach, I do not see career longevity in the future. It takes a true connection to one’s purpose in coaching others to tap into an authentic and trustworthy outcome for the pre-established niche identified. Otherwise, a lot of time, effort and hope may become wasted for both the coach and the client.
5. Life-Long Learning
- In an effort to ensure quality services, it’s best that they invest in every means relevant to growing their practice, skill set, world-view and impact. While many people see this as always reading books, going to seminars, and adding on to the list of certificates that run longer than a CVS receipt, learning in this context includes more. Other forms of learning that may effectively impact a coaching practice may be traveling the world, meeting new people, learning a new language, taking on a new hobby, challenging oneself, etc. These all tend to support the expansion of neuroplasticity, giving place to less black and white thinking and more enlightened perspectives.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen coaches make when they start their business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
The most common mistake I have seen is coaches self-labeling themselves as experts without doing the work to obtain the skills or jumping too quickly at the first person who mentions they could use a coach, without advance skill attainment or preparedness. There are plenty of people in the world who can benefit and/or desire coaching services. However, there is a need and great responsibility that require both the coach and client to know their role, needs and plan of execution. So, to avoid a premature start, I would suggest having a seasoned coach and/or mentor from within the field to help lay the blueprint for launching a coaching practice and facilitate regular supervisory review of coaching session for a pre-determined amount of time and/or attainment of skill competency.
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.
To create a WoW! Customer experience, a coach should first take time out to get to know their client, their needs, and their goals, know their learning style and speed, and know when it is time to let them boldly move into the unknown. In an actual testimony from one of my clients who was struggling with imposter syndrome, had test anxiety, and feared failing a professional licensing exam, she wrote:
Dr. Shané is a Godsend! I had been putting off my exam because of test anxiety when a friend of mind invited me to Dr. Shané’s Facebook group. When I had registered (finally) for my exam, Dr. Shané offered several coaching session to help me manage my anxiety. I was able to Zoom with Dr. Shané while she walked me through relationship exercise and helped me identify some positive affirmations specific to my needs. Not only did I feel better after our sessions. I was pumped! Dr. Shané helped remind me of the boss lady I am and I walked into my exam with confidence. So of course, I PASSED!!! Now I’m in the process of starting the next chapter in my career! I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to work with her!! If you have any doubts, trust her process! It works!! Besides, YOUR GOT THIS!!
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?
In addition to word-of-mouth and client referring other clients to me, I also host and produce a podcast, The POP Podcast by Dr. Shané, have a blog that reflects the podcast, titled, The Pursuit of Peace, and self-published two Mindfulness journal, Self-Care is Self-Love and Envisioned Service: A Leadership Journal. I have continued to respond to request for guest speakers, trainers, and podcast guests and have maintained a business website and profiles on professional directories that are rather good about routing qualified leads my way. My strategy is to find as many ways as I can to let people know that I exist and am ready to serve.
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?
I would most definitely recommend investing in a business coach and a therapist. And I am not just saying this because I am both, but I spend a lot of time cutting the “fat” from a lot of programs and evidenced-based practices that come in one-size fits all models or that were created with truly little influence from people belonging to those in the BIPOC community. Regardless of what industry you decide to land your coaching practice, we are still human. It is quite easy to either get burned out or cut corners and neither of them benefit your prospective clients. With the help of a licensed therapist, you can have a skilled clinician support your journey to higher quality of life and a business coach who can be skilled to help you meet your business goals that can reflect beyond professional growth and strategic planning alone.
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. 🙂
I would start a movement of investing in women of color from an early age to help them learn about their heritage, add to programming that builds self-efficacy and empowerment, while also investing in their purpose-driven presence in the spaces of multi-million/billion-dollar businesses and/or non-profit organizations. This venture feels so necessary to me. While many may ask, well what about the men from the BIPOC community? Well, as a mother of an African American and Mexican son, I know that I physically delivered him into this world. And it is my personal belief that I now have the responsibility of supporting his envisioned impact on the world, as much as intentional efforts may yield.
I would love to see more women of color to know and share their history, know their worth that was established in their ancestry, and rebuild the narrative of who we are. Taping into what I like to call our superpowers, we can do so much good to the world if we could move together, build together, and influence the world in ways we may have never imagined.
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 would love to have a private breakfast with Oprah. As an African American woman in business who has also overcome major adversity, being able to build and create “the” table that was and at times still being refused to us would be phenomenal! I believe that we are so much more powerful than we allow ourselves to be, and I want to one day rise to a global platform that will be specific to other African American women who are trying to blaze a trail in their perspective industry as well. Of all people to look up to, Ms. Oprah would be such an amazing person with whom I would love to share inspirational stories and visionary plans.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Readers can find me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram @thespcgroup on Twitter @thespcgroup_ and/or check out my website: https://www.officialspcg.com
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!