Be yourself. Let your personality shine in your business. You are a coach for a reason. You want to help people. Let your business reflect who you are without trying to be like every other coach you know. This is what sets you apart in a sea of other coaches. You may think you’re in a saturated market, but that doesn’t matter. You are unique and if you let that shine in your business then it will be unique, too.
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 Michele Lefler.
Michele Lefler is a certified shamanic healing practitioner, Gendai and Karuna Ki Reiki Master, and certified life coach. She is the founder of Living Moon Meditation, a transformational and spiritual wellness company aimed at helping woo-minded folx to alchemize pain into pleasure and self-love by teaching them to put themselves first so they can live their dream lives. Her experience in meditation, spiritual studies, and shamanism anchor her work with clients in healing from past wounds.
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?
Yes, definitely. I’ve had a lot of experiences in my life that caused trauma and anxiety.
I grew up in a single parent household, raised by my father. That was the exception in the 1980s and 1990s- not the norm. I was widowed at 31, and at 37 I experienced a health crisis that resulted in having heart surgery. These and other experiences led me to pursuing mindfulness and spirituality. Ultimately, I furthered that with life coaching and shamanism to heal myself and to help others on their healing journey.
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?
These are some of my favorite types of questions!
I’m tenacious. When I set my mind to something I’ll stick with it to the end. Of course, this can be problematic at times when I stick to something that I should really let go of. But once I start something I will see it through.
I’m empathetic. I listen to others and feel what they have to say. And I have a true conversation with people. I don’t rely solely on social media. That’s just a starting point, but it’s not a truly touchy-feely kind of thing. I want to get in the trenches with people and show them that I truly feel their experience.
I’m passionate. This is what feeds the tenacity. I stick with the things I’m passionate about. When I give my whole heart to something it feeds my soul and becomes a part of who I am.
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 in my life have helped me to stay focused- both in my personal and professional life. Also, the habits I have are the ones that either I do myself, or that I have seen work for others. For instance, I urge my clients to journal if it works for them, but I hate journaling, so I don’t do it. But I know it works for many people so I’m not going to dismiss it out of hand. I have a meditation practice, and that’s my number one habit. If it’s the only thing I can fit into my day, it’s the one that’s going to be there. I’m not going to sacrifice that one. I also pull oracle cards and reflect on the meaning that they have in my life for the day, week, or month depending on what period I’m pulling for. Prayer and dedicated time off from work are also some of my regular habits.
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?
Habits are a form of self-care. They help to keep us grounded and focused on what’s important. Our society is extremely fast-paced and it’s easy to get sucked into the mentality of doing and producing. Habits are there to keep us on target to reach the aligned action steps we have set for ourselves. They keep us from getting burned out.
Once I was trying to do all the things. I was working seven days a week from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. The only time I wasn’t working was when I was driving, at the doctor, or in the shower. I knew I was causing myself harm, but I felt the need to hustle more and more. Finally, I got to the point where I said enough is enough. I reached the point that if I didn’t set some boundaries around personal time, I was going to end up a massive failure. So, I set aside time each day and week that’s just for me. I don’t work during these times. It’s helped tremendously. That’s a habit that I set for myself, and I stick to it.
Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?
It’s the same for developing habits and breaking them. Get an accountability partner. Wanting to do something is one thing. Doing it on a consistent basis can be another. We have good intentions, but life happens and it’s easy to slip up. Having someone to hold us accountable keeps us on the track we want to go in terms of creating or breaking habits.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
There are so many to choose from! If I had to pick one quote as my favorite, I think right now it would be this quote by C.S. Lewis, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” This quote basically sums up what I do with my clients. It doesn’t matter what you start your transformational journey with, or where you are. What you can change is where you end up. If you do the work, you’ll end up in a different place than you would if you don’t do the work.
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 revamping my signature service. I’ve been focused on working with my one-on-one clients in a way that was focused on single sessions here and there. I’m putting together a year of healing that focuses on taking my clients on a journey around the medicine wheel- with each quarter focused on healing around the themes of a specific direction on the wheel. I think this new format will help me better serve my clients by keeping their healing more aligned with a journey and not sporadic individual services.
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.
- Define success your way. Success is subjective. It means different things to different people. To be successful, you must know what that means to you. My definition of success may or may not be the same as yours. That’s ok. You can consider yourself to be the most successful coach on the planet and someone else is going to think you’re a failure. That’s ok. Know what success means for you and go for that.
- Be yourself. Let your personality shine in your business. You are a coach for a reason. You want to help people. Let your business reflect who you are without trying to be like every other coach you know. This is what sets you apart in a sea of other coaches. You may think you’re in a saturated market, but that doesn’t matter. You are unique and if you let that shine in your business then it will be unique, too.
- Practice what you preach. Whatever coaching techniques you use with your clients? Do those yourself. It makes you authentic and relatable. And when you aren’t doing the things you’re teaching your clients, they can totally tell. It makes you look fake, and no one wants a fake coach.
- Be visible. This is one I’ve struggled with forever, so I know what I’m talking about here. You must be visible. People must be able to find you. You can be the best coach out there, but if no one has ever heard of you then you won’t get clients. You don’t have to be super-mega-famous, but you do have to put yourself out there. Find ways that work for you in being seen. Post on social media. Do videos. Network with other coaches and entrepreneurs. Talk about yourself. Let your passion shine through to others. Just be willing to be seen.
- Practice self-care. This one’s crucial. You can do all the things and still not be successful if you’re running yourself into the ground. Take time for you. Do what you need to do to recharge. And practice business self-care, too. Your business needs some down time to recharge just as much as you do. Take care of you (and your business) and your business will take care of you.
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 biggest mistake I made and that I’ve seen with other coaches make is waiting for perfection. We tend to wait to do something, launch a new service, start making videos, etc. until we have everything worked out and it’s going to be perfect. But the thing is, it’s never going to be perfect. Never. Perfection is unattainable. Even if you could be perfect at everything you do it would mean that you wouldn’t be authentic. Your personality would be lost in all the Stepford-ness of perfection. Don’t wait until everything is just right. Just do it. Make that video course. Do weekly lives on social media (I’m talking to myself here). Whatever it is, just do it. It’s likely not going to be as imperfect as you think, and even if it is, it’s a learning experience. I recently redid my first video course because the videos were terrible. But I did it the first time and learned a lot from it. If I had waited for perfection I’d still be waiting.
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.
The first thing here is to remember to be kind. That sounds obvious, but it’s not as much as you would think. I worked with a coach once and cut our relationship off rather quickly because this person just wasn’t kind. There’s a difference between “tough love” and being unkind. Kindness matters and it will take you further than anything else.
The second thing is to overdeliver. People crave value. When you have a service or program and you promise XYZ, give them a little more. Add W into the mix of what you give them. Your clients will be surprised. They will love you for it. And it sets you higher than other coaches they may have worked with in the past.
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?
First and foremost is to define your niche. It seems counterintuitive to limit who you are working with, but really, it’s what working with clients is all about. No one can be everything to everyone. It’s just not possible. You must get really clear on who you want to work with. Niche down. Then niche down some more. Then niche down even more. Here’s an example. Let’s say you work with mom’s who are stressed and tired. That’s all moms. So, you niche down to moms who are stressed and tired who work outside the home. That’s better, but it’s still very broad. You niche down to single mom’s who are stressed and tired, who work outside of the home, and who have no support network. Do you see how that’s clearer than just saying moms who are stressed and tired? It doesn’t mean you can’t work with a married mom or a single mom who has a support network. It means that you’re going to target your messaging to that super specific niche. This means you’ll automatically start weeding out some of the people who aren’t great leads, but it also means that when you do reach your super specific niche they’re going to know you’re the one for them.
The other really good thing I do to generate qualified leads is to pre-qualify people. Be picky about who you let in your online space. When you have a niche you know who you’re targeting. So, target those people. Let your space be exclusive to those people. If you have a Facebook group you can do this by making your group closed and requiring prospects to answer membership questions to get in. They don’t match your niche based on their answers? No problem. You don’t have to let them in. If you get on a discovery call with someone, ask them some pre-qualifying questions. If you don’t think they’re a good match for you after chatting, you don’t have to offer them your service. Instead, you could refer them to someone else or just point them to some free resources.
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?
Again, it’s all about self-care. Make sure to take time off from your business. You can’t work 24/7. I set aside one day each week where I do nothing business related. It’s a built-in day each week for me to tend to myself and my needs. I also highly recommend having one day, or at least half a day, set aside for tasks related to your business and not clients. Having time that you know is there for you to work on the business side of things makes your time with clients even better.
And hire your own coach! You obviously understand the value of coaching. Hire a business coach. You don’t have to do your business journey alone. Ultimately you must do the work, but a coach can and will help you figure things out so you aren’t totally 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 love to start a movement of radical self-love. I think a lot of people don’t know what self-love truly means. We confuse self-love with self-care. Don’t get me wrong, self-care is great, but you can do acts of self-care without truly loving yourself. Self-care feels good. Self-love isn’t about a feeling. It’s about recognizing and honoring the inherent value in who you are. I would love to start a movement around that.
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.
Glennon Doyle. Her book, Untamed, has meant the world to me since I read it earlier this year. She really spoke to my heart and soul with this memoir because the message was just so much how I feel and what I do with myself and others.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
If you’re into all things woo-woo and you’re looking for an infusion of self-love, I recommend you check out my Facebook Group, Love Notes From the Universe. You’ll find magic, spirituality, self-love, and healing from the daily grind.
You can also find me on my website and social media:
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!