Dr. Yvette Ankrah of Wonder Source: “Knowing your audience”

Having a growth mindset is about being open to learning, not being afraid to fail yourself and being open to feedback. This helps you to develop your own practice and helps you to help your clients. The coaching industry is now tremendous. It is a 15 billion dollar industry. Many professionals have left their office jobs […]

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Having a growth mindset is about being open to learning, not being afraid to fail yourself and being open to feedback. This helps you to develop your own practice and helps you to help your clients.

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 Dr Yvette Ankrah

Dr Yvette Ankrah MBE is an award-winning transformational business coach, consultant and recovering overachiever! She has over 20 years of business experience and is an accredited NLP and performance coach and Coach of Excellence. She has a PhD in Sociology

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 have always supported others along my career journey and initially began coaching and mentoring whilst working in a University. They had an in-house training scheme which I loved, I went on to expand my knowledge and become a Neuro Linguistic Programming practitioner and Performance coach. I’m currently studying for my NLP Master’s and embarking ona positive intelligence program for coaches. I’ve always loved learning and helping others thrive and grow. My first degree was in journalism and psychology and I’ve always been fascinated by behavior. I started my business focusing on business coaching and consulting and have evolved into working more on mindset and behavior work.

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 traits which have supported me most in my career are determination, curiosity, and self-awareness. I’ve also been very careful about my own definition of success — it is about my why and what moves me and the purpose that I have. Success is not just about the bottom line, it is about fulfilment and living a purpose-filled life.

The story that most encapsulates my determination has been completing my PhD. Not long after I relaunched my business after having my son I had also embarked on a PhD. I had not anticipated it would take 10 years to complete due to developing a long-term condition — fibromyalgia. I was building a business, juggling a toddler and taking on this huge academic task. There were many times I wanted to quit but I did not, and it was a very poignant moment crossing the stage to receive my doctorate.

It would be hard to do my job if I was not curious! Getting to know people and finding out how they do things is important to my way of working. NLP is a methodology that is interested in the how not the why. How people create shortcuts to behavior, how they create strategies that lead to habits that do not always serve them. I ask a lot of questions that help people to explore who they are and enable them to change if they wish to.

There is nothing that the client through that I haven’t already done myself! Knowing myself is important and doing the work and being open to growth and development is a key part of my practice. I took time to understand my own habits and behaviors and use those same tools to shift and change my illness. I’m constantly updating my training and I have a supervisor in place for my own reflection and growth.

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

Creating positive habits have been instrumental in shaping the success that I’ve had. Being able to understand my strengths, ask for help and create resilience are great things any business leader should know. Knowing that there are other people who are much better at doing certain tasks than you enables you to delegate and have more time for things that you are passionate about. Finding silence is incredibly important to do so I make time to meditate daily — it is often in that silence a lot of questions are answered and you get to focus on what’s important to you. The other thing I do as a daily practice is my gratitude habit — being grateful helps you see what you have and create a positive way of looking at situations even in the most difficult times.

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?

Creating positive habits enables you to develop resilience, to be able to bounce back from adversity and to avoid burnout and overwhelm. Resilience is incredibly important — being able to continue when things are not always going well, being able to be resourceful and find solutions rather than seeing problems will help you create and sustain your business. An example of this would be I decided to be highly visible throughout the pandemic and seek new audiences. I spoke on so many different platforms nationally and internationally. I gave a lot of information out to help others in that time with their well-being and mental health and to help transform their businesses. That decision was based on the need to ensure my own business remained viable and reach new audiences. It has also been instrumental in growing my business.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

The best way to create a habit is through consistency — habits take a little while to create, by being consistent in your practice you can make long-term changes. For example, by doing something for 21 days you start to embed new behavior, if you continue for 90 days you have created a habit.

Habits are shortcuts to behavior. If a bad habit has been created you need to understand what purpose that behavior serves. By taking time to examine how you get to that behavior and what it’s doing for you, you can find a different way forward.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” ~ Audre Lorde

Looking after yourself is something that is non-negotiable and I teach my clients a lot about self-care. Self-care is about creating habits and behaviors that enable you to rest, restore, build resilience and fill your cup.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

At the moment I’m involved in working with a range of organizations one of them I am a partner in is called the Conscious Business Community (UK) which is a platform that helps coaches, healers, therapists at the start of their business journey and those that want to take those steps, to do so in a way that supports them holistically. We are about supporting people and planet looking after the whole person and not just the bottom line.

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.

Knowing your audience

There are 7 billion people on this planet and you will not serve all of them, so who is it that you wish to reach and engage with? What problems do they have and what do you help them to solve? Knowing and clearly articulating your message to your audience and how you can help them is a great start.

Know what results you give people

What will people walk away with after they have spent time and money with you? You are helping others to move from place A to B so let them know what B looks like.

Growth mindset

Having a growth mindset is about being open to learning, not being afraid to fail yourself and being open to feedback. This helps you to develop your own practice and helps you to help your clients.

Have coaching yourself!

You should be willing to invest in coaching and personal development particularly in the areas of your business where you need support. Marketing and operations are often areas where support is needed and can make a huge difference to your business.

Delegate and diversify

Find others that can support you — doing everything yourself leads to overwhelm, burnout and you not giving your clients your best if you are not taking care of yourself. Looking at ways you can also maximize your knowledge and your time by doing things alongside coaching is also important e.g. training or selling products.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen coaches make when they start their business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

Trying to do absolutely everything themselves and not finding support — if marketing is not your strong point, get somebody that can help you with marketing and sales. Whether they are teaching you how to do it or you get someone that does it for you.

Taking negative habits from your life as an employee and bringing that into your world as a business owner is another practice I’ve seen. Making decisions as a business owner is different to making decisions as an employee. You need to show up differently.

Especially when you’re starting out there is a temptation to just keep working longer and longer hours and feel as if you cannot take a break or get off the hamster wheel. Time off and working on your business is just as critical as working in the business.

Be clear on why you are starting this business and what you want to get from it, understand what constitutes success and what the milestones are along the way.

Have people that support you whether this is practically, emotionally or if needed financially.

Overnight successes rarely happened overnight there is usually a lot of work that goes on before people become well-known. Things may take a while and be prepared for that to happen.

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.

Everything you do is part of your customer experience from how they connect with you to how you answer the phone. Be mindful that these elements are part of the journey. I have called coaches and had them answer in a way that meant I was not sure if I called the right number! That did not signal a great start to the journey.

Create an onboarding procedure and document the process which enables you to either outsource it or automate it at a later stage.

Consider how you would like your customers to feel — I believe in creating a safe space where people can speak freely and set ground rules early on to enable this to happen and contract with every single client. It is an important part of my practice as an NLP coach.

Over deliver — I get to know my clients and provide added extras that they appreciate and are often not expecting — I believe in over delivering to my clients. They are given the option to connect with me in between sessions so that they know that there is support there.

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?

Word-of-mouth is still one the best ways to get new clients — having people that advocate for you and sell you in that way is brilliant.

Speaking — speaking at events or on podcasts enables people to have a flavor of who you are and connect with you which is important in this line of work

Directories for coaching hubs — these are great because people that are going there are actively looking for support, they are seeking people who can fulfil their needs.

Advertising — whether in magazines, online or on social media, advertising is still a great way to reach your target audience.

PR — public relations getting yourself in publications such as this one is brilliant in raising your profile and enabling you to be searchable online

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?

As I said earlier self-care is non-negotiable, your business will not thrive if you are not physically and mentally well. Decide how you want to work and create your business according to your needs and your values. If you are doing a lot of one-to-one work at a low price point you will run out of time and energy quickly.

Consider what you can do to start shaping and changing your week — block out time to rest and to plan.

Review your business regularly and check what is working and if after 90 days of doing a particular activity in your marketing, for example, if you’re not seeing any results stop and change direction.

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. 🙂

To completely change the world of work — to stop with the hustle culture and the relationship of constant burnout. To make well-being — mental and physical — a priority for all businesses from start-ups to multi-million-pound corporations.

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.

Right now, it would be Oprah Winfrey, as a former journalist myself and a Black woman it is interesting to see her rise and growth. However, she is currently looking at mental health and well-being which is one of my passions and it would be lovely to share a cup of tea and discuss these interesting issues.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I can be found on LinkedIn on Instagram mostly or head over to my website

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!

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