Gretchen Hydo of Gretchen Hydo International: “Deep listening is critical as a business leader”

Deep listening is critical as a business leader. Listening not just for what the person is saying but the nuances of what they aren’t saying are equally valuable. 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 […]

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Deep listening is critical as a business leader. Listening not just for what the person is saying but the nuances of what they aren’t saying are equally valuable.

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 Gretchen Hydo.

Known as the Coaches Coach, Master Coach Gretchen Hydo, specializes in helping coaches learn how to take their coaching skills and create a profitable business. As one of only 1100 Master Coaches throughout the world, she specializes in executive business and life coaching and helps her clients get more of everything they want. With her background in PR, marketing, and business development, Gretchen gives her clients powerful tools to achieve their goals, break through obstacles, and become laser focused. Some of the benefits of working with Gretchen include enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness, increased confidence, higher productivity, satisfaction with both life and work, and movement in creating and attaining relevant goals. For more information, please visit, or reach out by email.

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?

Thanks for asking. I’ve been a natural coach my entire life and have always been drawn to helping people in all aspects of their life. From an early age, people would come to me for advice and I always thought I would love to make a career out of it. I was a publicist for many years with my own business and one day I woke up and realized that while what I was doing was important, it wasn’t creating the impact I had hoped for. That same week a woman I mentored told me that I should have been a therapist. I didn’t want to go back to school for it and I wanted to help people move forward faster and focus on the solution rather than the problem, that’s when she told me that I should be a coach. I went and got formally trained and never looked back.

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?

Intuition, follow-through and deep listening.

Every morning I tune in to who I can serve and I often have someone drop into my mind that I should reach out to. I have followed that intuition time and time again and many of those intuitive hits have led to a paid client relationship.

As a business leader, you must be able to follow through not only on your tasks but on your word. You have to be a person of integrity or. You will lose market-share, reputation and self-esteem if you do not keep your commitments.

Deep listening is critical as a business leader. Listening not just for what the person is saying but the nuances of what they aren’t saying are equally valuable.

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

Making sure that I have time to rejuvenate is a key to my success. I wake up and have time to pray, meditate and exercise each day. I leave my phone in the other room at night. I don’t work on weekends. Having clear boundaries so that I can reboot is a habit that has paid off in my success.

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?

Good habits, help to foster a good mindset and a good mindset fosters our thoughts and ultimately the reality we live in. I like to watch when my mind is working against me. We all have a judger that is constantly sabotaging us and telling us that we are bad, not good enough, should have done more OR who is judging others. That voice isn’t who we are, it is just there to protect us. When I can notice that voice and just let it be there without having to get caught up in the feeling that it can cause or take action on it, I am creating a good mindset habit and staying out of a potential negative consequence that can happen from believing the voice of my lower self.

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

Good habits are something that you can decide to do at any time. Remembering that we are not our habits is important. You can practice trying a good habit and collect evidence on how it helped. Most people avoid change because they think it will be too hard or require too much. Starting small and seeing how doing something once, then twice then again and again creates a habit success plan.

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

“Don’t get too comfortable with who you are at any given time — you may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be.”

Comfort can create avoidance and keep us living in the status quo. It’s important to be willing to grow out of your comfort zone.

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

Right now I’m working on a great program for coaches to help them get to their next level of success. It’s a program called The Round Table that is a curated group of coaches who are willing to talk about the real topics when it comes to client creation, the obstacles they create to being successful, and ways to create new habits and learn differently. It will help coaches tremendously because it is one part coaching and one part think-tank where the group will get to develop with one on one coaching and from a group of high-level peers who drive the group agenda. It is going to require participants to be more. I also have a program starting called, Stairway to Six, that is for less established coaches who are looking to learn the basics on client creation — how to find them, what to say, what to charge, and how to make it easy and fun. The coaches I’ve had in this group have all had great success overcoming their inner critic and being able to build a prosperous coaching practice.

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.

  1. When coaches come out of coaching school, they know the basics on how to coach. What many are missing are the basics of client creation. You have to love the sales process as much as you love coaching if you want to earn a livable living (and beyond). It’s important to get trained in the art of client cultivation.
  2. Have your own coach. I have seen it time and time again coaches who come into the industry but have never been coached themselves. Coaches should have coaches to help them see around blind spots, grow their business, to ask their questions to, and to work on their personal lives with. You can only take your client as deep as you have gone. Make sure you are doing your own work. As coaches, we are asking others to pay us for our service, if we are not willing to pay for coaching ourselves, what we are really saying is that we don’t find it valuable. You will probably only be able to charge what you are willing to pay for your own coach because you have a barrier that says it is all that coaching is worth with the dollar amount you pay.
  3. Coaching businesses are created one client at a time. I’ve trained hundreds of coaches and they get so nervous and overwhelmed when they think about getting clients. If you think of one person you can serve, one person you can reach out to, and you truly listen to what it is that they are experiencing and you take the coaching conversation from being a concept (here’s what coaching is and does) to an experience (of being coached) you will often find that you have a client.
  4. Know your value. Many coaches feel nervous about charging or like they shouldn’t because somehow they view it as “bad” because they are helping others. Charging people is necessary in coaching because people pay attention to what they pay for.
  5. Coaching isn’t an hourly commodity, it is a personal and professional development engagement that can be viewed as a program with a fee or investment for tuition.

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

Having a coaching niche rather than target market. Coaches help humans with problems and dreams who are in transition and want more. This can run the gamut. When coaches get tunnel vision and buy into the marketing that’s out there that says you will be broke if you don’t have a niche, they are making a mistake. Instead of focusing on one on group of people, think of character traits of the kind of people you like to work with. For example I work with driven people who have already accomplished hard things who want more and who are dedicated to growth. This opens it up to CEOs, entrepreneurs, coaches, and anyone who fits into these categories rather than just saying my niche is coaches. I could lose half my business if I focus on a niche.

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.

Be of service. If you contact someone hoping that you can “get them” to be a client rather than thinking about how you can serve them, they will feel it and the boomerang effect will come back negatively towards you. If you show up curious on how you can help and serve, with no attachment to the outcome, you will create clients.

Coaches also need to slow down in the sales process. The enrollment process is not a race to finish line to get the cash. It sometimes takes time to plant seeds. You want to slow down and sometimes have a few sessions with someone before deciding if you want to take them on as a client and to help them relax into the relationship.

Have parameters for who you work with. I let clients know that they need to be ready. Coaching is going to change their life, are they ready for those kind of changes? Is this a good time? Coaching is a commitment, not just of finances, but of time and of an openness to change who they are. Ask these questions before you decide if you want to work with someone.

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?

One client at a time. Think of who you can serve and contact them, Think of the next person and the next and serve them well. If they have an unforgettable session with you, you have a client either now or later. They will refer you. You can also think of groups that you would like to serve and get involved.

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 am writing a book called, Dirty Little Secrets of Women, a 12-step secret breaking system to help women let go of their shame and the ideas of who they are because of their secrets so that they can step out of their shadow self and create their ripple in the world. The thing about secrets is that they are a one-two punch, there’s the thing that we did or that was done to us and that’s the first part of the secret, and the second part is the way we view ourselves because of that action, that becomes the motivation for keeping the secret. A person with an anger problem might be trying to keep her anger in check but most people in her sphere know about it because of the way she shows up, the secret becomes who she thinks she is and how she holds herself back because of who she has told herself she is (violent, mean, short tempered) and because of that she won’t volunteer for the PTA or become a volunteer for a pet organization or make close friendships because she believes she can’t trust herself. In this system, I teach women how to expose these ideas about their secrets that have taken on as identities to help them step in to a bigger way of living.

I love this project! It’s my mission to help as many women see themselves for who they really are, not the story the judger tell her about who she is. I am going to speak on this, create workshops, trainings and a year-long coaching program for 12 women a year to take them through a personal experience with 2 in person retreats, one on one coaching, and a group format to help support them as they move in to a new way of living.

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 love this question and the generosity in asking. I would love to be connected to an agent who can help me sell my book. Wendy Sherman of Wendy Sherman Associates or Jane Graham Maw of Graham Maw Christie and Linda Konner of Linda Konner Literary Agency.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

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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