My Coaching Story – David Olchowski
Brad Sugars: Well hi and welcome to this week’s episode of ‘My Coaching Story’ – David Olchowski joins me from northern Connecticut, he’s just south of Massachusetts, welcome David.
David Olchowski: Thank you, Brad great to be here today.
Brad: Hey great to have you. I drove up that way, a few years back, when we were allowed to travel and all those fun things, beautiful part of the country. Now you get to be there and coach there, but I want to start with one of the more interesting questions about business coaches; why is it coaching? What is it you enjoy about coaching?
David: Well, I really love seeing other people succeed, so what’s been important throughout my career was surrounding myself with good people, turning them into great teams. And then, helping those people grow and develop and advancing their careers. So that’s just kind of what fills me up emotionally, and where I’ve got my greatest memories in my career is just helping other people grow and succeed.
Brad: Yeah! It’s amazing how fulfilling that can be if you’re the right type of person. Other people like ‘I don’t care about others, I just want success’ – so let’s look into that background, and what brought you to coaching? What was your career as private coaching?
David: So I’m an engineer by degree, I started my career in aerospace manufacturing with some of the best names in the in the industry, like Pratt and Whitney jet engines and United Technologies, and I worked my way up through engineering and operations eventually running businesses and executive roles for those companies and some other large tier one companies primarily here in Connecticut. And that was a great career, I had a lot of fun doing it, did a lot of things with what people call lean manufacturing and lean enterprise. And that was great, my career that was kind of my mission at that point in time, was to help Connecticut manufacturing survive and thrive, by making them more profitable, more efficient. Through those lean techniques. And that was a great run, but ultimately I got to the point where the corporate scorecard didn’t seem to mean as much to me anymore. And so, I had the opportunity, in last year, 2020, to explore other opportunities, so there was some restructuring going on the company that I was with. The roles that were there didn’t really interest me and I said, “thanks, but no thanks I’ll take the separation package” and so.. I had thought about business ownership throughout my career, I thought, eventually, that was in the cards somewhere and I got a tickler on my Linkedin from ActionCOACH just about the time I was leaving, and I didn’t delete it this time so… I usually delete those things. (laughs)
David: I didn’t delete it, and so I kept it, although I looked into the traditional job route because I have one kid left to get through college out of three and I thought, maybe, before I start playing with house money, I’ll get that last kid through college. Pandemic hits, Aerospace economy just drops off a cliff, and so the pendulum start to swing. I started to explore business ownership, and I was really looking at a lot of things in franchise space. Everything from construction to entertainment to mobile trash compaction and business coaching was one of those. And Brad it was actually… I had a conversation with you, you and I had a one on one, I was trying to make my decision between ActionCOACH and another franchise. And when I got off the call with you, I went to my wife, I said, “I’m doing business coaching.” And she’s like, “of course you are, because that’s who you are.”
Brad: It’s amazing how they can see that though. And they can see that this is what you’ve trained for your whole life basically, but it’s like.. I don’t know not sure. (Laughing)
David: That’s right, and it was no surprise to my kids because as my kids grew up, I coached their sports teams. And that’s where I love developing kids and seeing them grow and develop and their confidence, and so my kids were like, of course, dad, of course that’s what you’re going to do. So, that’s ultimately how I reached that decision. Probably end of July last year.
Brad: You know it’s amazing when you look at that now seeing the results with clients at the other side of that – how there is this just a natural progression for people that are natural born coaches to lead to that, so that then brings me to the next question then. In coaching the clients you’re working with right now, is it falling back on your lean stuff? Is there a particular area that you’re loving, more than any other area?
David: That is actually a great question, and I thought going in – if you asked me a year ago, like where would I gravitate to? I thought I would gravitate to manufacturing companies and focus more on that kind of lean activity. But as I’ve learned the whole ActionCOACH system and all of the ways that we help businesses grow, I really become attracted to those other pieces around what won’t work typically in my wheelhouse before, kind of the sales and marketing piece, and how to focus on those elements to help a business grow. And so.. I even have a client who needs to do some kind of lean in the office, but like, I don’t want to dive into the details of that. So I’ve connected him with somebody else who I know in a network who’s going to work with him on that little project. Because I really like working on all of those other aspects, the systemization to sales and marketing, a nation and even…, you know a lot of businesses, even that have been around a long time it’s still have things at the mastery level to work on, so I really like working up and down the range of the 6 Steps and not really focusing in just on that kind of lean piece.
Brad: You know it’s really interesting how, when the client show up and it’s like, if you look at the industries your coaching right now it’s like hang on, this is not an industry I’d have anything to do with ever before. But coaching isn’t really about industries, it’s about the methodologies of growing a business owner and of growing a business. In diving in the deep end for you and looking at that, I imagine there’s a lot of your own personal learnings in the last 12 months, as well as obviously a massive career in business that is saying you know, this allows me to be a better coach…
David: Absolutely, so you know the things I took from my corporate career. That team building aspect, that systemization aspect. A lot of those things have become second nature to me, so I recognize those opportunities when working with clients. Where I need to be more conscious is just really on kind of the sales and marketing piece, and I definitely had some head trash around sales coming into this, because you know, an engineer background that’s not what I was doing. (Laughing)
Brad: (Laughing) The old recovering engineer joke is alive and well.
David: It’s absolutely alive and well, and so. I had head trash around sales, because I knew I was going to have to sell. I was going to have to sell my services, but really, what I’ve always been as an engineer, is a problem solver. So, again it’s professionally helping people solve problems, right? And so what I found out is that I’m actually pretty good at it, and I’m getting better. So that’s kind of been one of the big surprises, I think, for me in this past 12 months. Is that how I’ve kind of changed my headset and my mindset around that. And I really had some natural skills and muscle there on rapport building, that have enabled me to really come up the learning curve, perhaps faster than I thought I would a year ago.
Brad: Yeah, well I always look at it, and I think that it’s an interesting challenge for all of us to understand that no one actually ever is sold coaching; you don’t sell coaching, you coach people to a decision. And the decision is yes it’s right for me, or no it’s not right for me or yes it’s right for me, but I need it at a very low level or a high level. And speaking of that, the programs you’re running with your plans right now it’s not just the one to one coaching, you’re looking at a very spectrum, tell me a bit more about that, and why you do that.
David: So, what really attracted me to the firm franchise was the ability to work with all types of businesses and to have some scale. Because as a practice, be able to touch maybe 20-30 businesses – to me I wanted to do more than that in this Connecticut economy, I wanted to work across an economic geography. The firm allows me to have that kind of scale and allows me to also offer fully, really the full product and service ladder that actually a coach offers, and therefore I can help any type of business that wants help. We do have virtually everything running. My first programs out of the gate was ActionCLUB, and then we move into some one to one clients. We’ve now also started ProfitCLUB. And as people graduated from ActionCLUB, they’ve moved into MentorCLUB; so everything from one to one MentorCLUB ActionCLUB GrowthCLUB, of course, was also that what we launched last December. And actually we’re having our fourth GrowthCLUB next Wednesday to plan for the fourth quarter so, we really do have everything up and running right now.
Brad: Yeah, so for the average business owner out there, understanding, you have programs that run from the tiniest of businesses right through the large companies that go into that level of one to one coaching which is a phenomenal way to help. So in thinking about where your business is going and looking all that sort of stuff, one of the things that you’ve done very well your clients have said is you’ve built sort of like a community of business owners. Share with me why that’s important for them, and why it’s important for you.
David: So it is because there’s again, we know the stats so again, forgive me if I misquote but you know 27% of business owners think they need some help with the business, only 7% really think, or are willing to do something about it and learn more about it, and then only 3% are willing to spend money on doing something about it. So there’s a lot of business owners who are out there and need help and they feel like they’re alone, and when they get into a community a lot of them approach it somewhat with intimidation thinking “well I’m the only one that is a mess here.”
David: continued — “I’m the only one that doesn’t have my stuff together.” And it’s really like no, every business owner has stuff to work on. Even the top CEOs of the biggest corporations have coaches, alright? So everybody has stuff to work on, it’s just the ActionCOACH community are the ones that have chosen to do something about it.
David: So we actually heard that from probably our biggest client, in terms of revenue. We’re hosting our GrowthCLUB next week at his restaurant. And, and he said on ProfitCLUB, because I’ve got my one to clients on ProfitCLUB, he’s like, it’s so great to be part of a community with other like-minded people who are looking to grow their businesses. And on that call I’ve got small sole proprietors who are just there for just ProfitCLUB, but they’re talking and getting advice from one on one clients in that ProfitCLUB. And to me, that’s the power of that ActionCOACH community really in full manifestation.
Brad: And I think during COVID a lot of your clients appreciate it even more, because you know they were virtual, To be in connection with other business owners, during that time was massive. just for the psychological aspect because, as you said, it is a lovely job out there when you’re a business owner, especially one who wants to grow and doesn’t want to just putter along type of thing.
David: Exactly, and it is a lonely place and a lot of people did feel alone, especially in the pandemic. And still even though you’re connecting with people virtually, it’s still only through the computer screen and so… as soon as we could, we did get back to doing the hybrid thing. Even our first GrowthCLUB back last December, we did in person and virtually. so we did we did a hybrid. And now we’re, to the point where, in Connecticut we’ve got a good vaccination rate, and so we are going full in-person next week, and we’ve got our biggest GrowthCLUB.
Brad: You know when you look at the results you’re getting with clients.. and the results you’re getting in your business because you’ve got to do everything you’re teaching them as a business owner, it’s like, it’s a mirroring effect I guess. When you sit down and say okay here I am growing my business, building my team, employing people, doing the things that I teach you and I think that’s one of the reasons why you’re getting such great results with clients.
David: Absolutely. I rely on my own examples to illustrate to clients how these things are working. So when I talk about 10 by 10 marketing strategies – yes, you’re a small sole prop, so we’re not going to start with 10 , we’ll start with 3. But like let’s talk about what some of these marketing strategies look like, and I say here’s all of the marketing strategies that we’ve employed with my business development manager Dan Callahan, who I’m very fortunate to brought on with me a year ago. And so we’ve got all these marketing strategies, I’ve talked about how we’ve tested and measured, I offered some funny stories about you know, how he’s been shouted out of businesses, because we used the ad critiques. So he went in with a call, follow up on an ad critique and they didn’t like the letter that he’d sent; he thought it was too nasty. So they shouted him out of the store. I’m sharing the story with my clients, it’s real world example, here’s me testing and measuring some of these same marketing strategies I’m talking to you about. Now, good news with Dan was, you know, he went to a florist that were also grooming flowers and he brought it into those ladies and they loved the flowers and they apologized for being so nasty. (Laughs)
Brad: (Laughing) You know, one of the great things about being a business owner and an entrepreneur is that we do relate to each other, real well so… That being said, community of your clients, but you’re also part of that bigger community of all of the business coaches around the world. How does that help your clients and how does that help you?
David: I’ve got so many examples I bring to bear when talking with clients or prospects about the vast network that we’re part of. That’s one of my opening slides when I’m introducing myself is, this is who is with us. This isn’t just like a “Two-Guys-Coaching-Firm”, we are with ActionCOACH, and this is who’s behind this this vast network that is really supportive. We’re on coaching calls every week, we’re on quarterly comp, you know coaching conferences, annual conferences. We’re always getting some of the best learning, coming from the best coaches in the world. And when I’ve got questions about how to coach a client, maybe it’s a question I may be stumped on I don’t have an answer to, or I just want some other answers. I’ve got coaches, that I can email, and they get back to me right away hey here’s what we’ve tried I’ve got you know similar client similar space, here’s what we’ve tried here’s what’s had success. It’s that type of network that my clients see that I’m tapped into and that they can ultimately tap into, as we have the need, and that’s hugely hugely powerful.
Brad: It’s a great, I do love the fact that every one of our team has the same nature as you and I have, wanting to help, wanting to see success, wanting results. When anyone ever reaches out to us like ‘yeah I can help’ why? Because that’s who you are, and since your nature type thing. Future for you, where do you see the future of your firm and the Connecticut market, what do you see happening for you as you grow the business?
David: There was an idea, I think that we are going to maybe get past this pandemic… and to some of the reading I’ve been doing is, I don’t think we’re ever really going to get past it, we’re just going to find a different way of living with it, you know, for however long, right? It could be just an annual vaccine… so now it’s getting businesses to think about all right we’re not just trying to get over like a short term thing, it’s like the world has changed. Let’s recognize the new normal and let’s start to move forward with however that’s going to be. For a lot of businesses that means it’s a mix of face to face in person, but also some virtual. We’ve got to find a way, don’t just get by with the virtual that you’re doing – make it excellent all right? That’s some of the things that we’re doing, and we’re focused with our clients. I do just see in terms of my market, it has opened up over the last year, you know we’ve gained momentum over the last four months that’s continuing to build. We’re developing deeper relationships, more strategic alliances, we’re going to be able to get access to other people’s clients and we can be referring people back and forth. I see I’m bullish for where my firm is that we’re going to continue to grow and expand, and for me, as of right now there’s no one north of me, so New England is where I’m headed.
Brad: (Laughing) David we love seeing the results you’re getting the clients, we love the way you’re building your firm and we love seeing that. You know, as you keep adding coaches to your team you keep having more and more people being able to be helped, so congrats on all of that, congrats on the growth so far, I look forward to seeing much more growth in the near future.
David: Thank you Brad it’s great to be part of this ActionCOACH community. Absolutely zero regrets on the decision I made a year ago, and it is actually a year ago today, I started my training online, September 9 of 2020. No looking in the rearview mirror, it’s all blue skies ahead.
Brad: Fantastic, thanks buddy. Thank you so much for your time on ‘My Coaching Story.’
Learn more about ActionCOACH at actioncoach.com.