Brad Sugars: Hi and welcome to My Coaching Story, I’m Brad sugars, the Chairman and Founder of ActionCOACH, and every week we get to the interview another coach and find out what got them into coaching and what they love about it, and why coaching works. Today we’re joined by Kevin Weir, howdy Kevin!
Kevin Weir: Hey Brad how you doing?
Brad: Very well, thank you my friend. Now, before we get into the doing of the coaching; what got you into coaching and what is it about coaching that keeps you there. What do you love about it?
Kevin: Well that’s an interesting story Brad , so… I went through a lot of career changes in my life. In 1997 I actually got coached by a company called Bernard Haldane & Associates for a career change. And my advisor basically said, you could do this job! Well surprise, one day, he left and I interviewed for the job and I got it so..
Kevin: And so my first five years, we’re doing this career coaching gig. But here is the interesting thing Brad… Is that over time some of my clients in the middle of the coaching engagement, say you know Kevin I don’t think I want to change careers, I want to buy a business or start a business. And that was very intriguing and I had so much more success with those clients. Several of them said, you know you really should do this whole business coaching thing full time. And after five years, I was like you know what, maybe they’re right. I went out and had thinking, well, I can either do it on my own, or to buy a franchise. So I found ActionCOACH and as Victor Kiam once said – “I was so impressed I bought the company”
Kevin: …and that was in 2002 and I have not looked. back.
Brad: You know when you look at career coaching and moving into business coaching, it’s funny that so many people told you, you should be helping in business, you should be doing this. What keeps you coaching? What is it you love about doing it every day, because you know it’s a lot of years now.
Kevin: 19 years in the career coaching, 24 overall. What keeps me doing this is the impact that I have on people’s lives. It’s one of the most… it’s amazing what you can do for a person to change not only their business, but change their life. I have actually had clients in tears with me either in my office or on the phone, saying “I could never have done this without you, Kevin.” I had one client, we help them sell their business, it was their entire retirement. The wife was sobbing on the phone saying “you have changed our lives in ways, you could never have imagined.” It still gives me goosebumps thinking about those things on a daily basis.
Brad: You know it’s hard for some people to really fathom, Kevin, just how much.. it’s not just the business that we coach. That human side is massive.
Kevin: Yeah and that’s the whole thing is that coaching is about the success in the business, but it’s also about the success of the person. Because when the person becomes better, they can apply it to the business and they can get massive results in so many areas. Coaching is not only about implementing strategies and putting techniques into place but it’s about that personal development, that changing the person to become the person they need to become, in order to achieve the dreams they always have had.
Brad: Yeah! You know with that much time under your belt buddy, there must be one or two favorite stories of clients and that change.
Kevin: Yeah! One of my favorite ones is, I worked with a roofer and he was a referral for my CPA alliance. At the time when he started with me he’s doing 300,000 in revenue, no profits and 50,000 in debt to the IRS.
Kevin: 2 ½ years later, he is doing 3.5 million revenue, 700,000 net profit on an annual basis, and no debt. And he got the business to run without him. He said “Kevin this is my last coaching session, business runs by itself, I am moving to Arizona to take care of my mom and dad.” One of the proudest moments of my life.
Brad: You know, those sorts of stories and I don’t know how to say this other than, we see that on a fairly regular basis that level of success. How do you talk to someone that, I don’t know, that maybe they don’t believe that can happen for them? Or they don’t think it can happen for them?
Kevin: Well, in the beginning, when I talked with people like that, and they hear stories like that, or… My current client, he virtually doubled the business in the past 10 months. Now, he’s went from zero profits to 10,000 a month. And people go there and say, “well that’s too much work Kevin!” One of the things I said is that you have to change the way you’re thinking. It’s about leveraging so that you are doing less of the work, and systems and peoples and processes do more of the work. So many times we think of, well gee Kevin you must have had them working 16 hour days, weeks and months on end. No it’s actually just the polar opposite! I’d gotten them to work less hours, and putting more systems and employees, so that they CAN live the life they’ve always wanted to live.
Brad: It’s amazing how business owners do struggle with the fact; that they can work less and make more. But let’s flip that over a second and talk about some of the programs that you run to get people to do that. Now you have obviously one to one coaching, where you work with the mid to large sized companies and some small businesses. But you also have group programs Why do you do the group programs and how do they work?
Kevin: Well the group programs are really, in essence, an entry portal. One of my new clients is in the MentorCLUB, and she couldn’t afford one to one, but she really wants to do some level of coaching and this is a perfect entry point. I’ve had some people go straight into GrowthCLUB. Which is obviously our 90 day planning sessions. I also have a concept called a StarterCLUB, which is, if you are a small business and you haven’t even started the business yet, for 200 bucks a month you get, it’s not fancy coaching but it’s enough to get you started. Rather than just flailing around and filling out forms and they will go, what do I do now once I open the business?
Brad: That’s interesting though, some of your clients who started out in the very small businesses, they are now big businesses and are new one to one coaching. That must be pretty cool to see them progress and grow to become a big business.
Kevin: It really is! I’ve had clients that start off, literally start off and hit million dollars in revenue, hundred thousand net profits… and yeah it takes some time. But here’s the whole thing is that, when you have a great start in business, the acceleration factor is just multiplied by going up the ladder from say StarterCLUB or MentorCLUB, along with GrowthCLUB and into some of the other one on one coaching. So many clients that I have helped over the years get that kind of acceleration because they had a great start.
Brad: So think about the community aspect, then, because a lot of your clients say they get a lot of value out of meeting other business owners. Why do you do that and what’s the stories behind that, or the benefits of that?
Kevin: Here’s the thing, business owners struggle with developing trust with other business owners, because they’re feeling it’s a competitiveness. Or, gee you know you don’t have my back, I have yours. When you get clients into say, a GrowthCLUB, where they know each other, they consistently come, they have the same value systems that they’re working with me; there’s a deep level of trust that happens. I have my web development company helping some of my clients. There’s other trade offs that go on; that got my bakery who helps my owner of multiple coffee shops. It’s amazing how when people develop a level of trust in a common environment where they all want to excel, they all want to change, they all want to grow, that level of community seals the deal with so many of these clients who work together. I always have a phrase, I told my clients, I said “clients do business with other clients because there is that trust relationship there, through coaching.”
Brad: Yeah! I think, also some of them make the real comment about how they feel less lonely because of working with you, and I guess that community. What happens there, how does that work?
Kevin: Well, I think it’s the whole idea is that they realize that they’re not alone. I’ve had so many clients over the years, when I actually start coaching them and they start meeting other clients, they realize most people have the same challenges. And so they feel that hey I can open myself up to my coach because my coach isn’t in a judgmental position, he truly wants to help and then that seals the deal with the other clients when they talk about each other’s like oh yeah you’re dealing with that person, this issue, etc. There’s such a commonality because everybody thinks that they’re the only ones who are dealing with issue X, Y and Z. When in reality, they almost always are dealing with the same issues.
Brad: Yeah, so let’s look at that then from the other side. Because you’re also building a business, the same as them. You’re going through the same things they do, you have to follow the same systems obviously, the ActionCOACH… With that in mind, you use the community here to learn from as well. How does that benefit you, and how does it then benefit your clients?
Kevin: Well, I think that the community, you have with ActionCOACH is so powerful. I’ve been doing this Brad, for 19 years. Why? Because the power of the community is there. It helps me develop me. If I was all by myself Brad, do you think I could have gotten or been successful for this long and doing what I love doing by myself? No! I would have burned out many years ago. So the power of the community is not only about mutual knowledge, mutual ideas but there’s a camaraderie that we all have together, that we are in the same boat. We are going forward and what I love Brad is a lot of people recognize me as a long term person in this company. It’s amazing how many of them ask me for advice, just like when I started way back in 2002, where I was picking the brain of the senior coaches. now giving back to me, it feels really great about being a part of the community and therefore I’m not just the lonely coach on an island, I think so many coaches are out there, like that.
Brad: I love the fact that we’re a community of thousands of coaches, and every one of us in our heart said to loves to help other people, and so, when you reach out or when someone reaches out to you, because in the beginning, that’s where you were. But now you’re one of those senior coaches that people reach out to for help and for all of those things. That must feel pretty good to be in that position.
Kevin: Oh, it feels great! Here’s the thing Brad, that we are all coaches. Our desire is to give of ourselves to others. When I can accomplish that both professionally with my client and with other coaches, it’s like a double bonus. To me, I roll out of bed every single morning loving what I do and can’t wait to get here to see clients and to help other coaches.
Brad: So take me through then, because your coaching story started with what got you into coaching. Where is the future for you? What’s the future for your firm look like?
Kevin: I’ve actually got a huge future. I’ve actually created the 2032 vision for my business. I’ve got multiple locations, I’ve got multiple business development managers in local areas here within eastern Washington. That vision excites me, and when I show that vision to others, it gets them excited. They say “wow you’re looking to go that big?!” It’s like yeah! This is something I love doing and I got that big vision of exactly how I’ve laid it out and it inspires my clients to go, well gee if Kevin’s vision is that big, maybe I should look at my vision too.
Brad: It’s such a fun thing to be an example to our clients as well, I think that’s a big part of it. They see you growing the same way that they have to grow, they see you learning and building your business in the same way. I think that’s a really unique thing of our industry. We get to participate on both sides of that. Kevin on behalf of your clients I want to say thank you for everything you’re doing. So many of them that are raving fans and love what you do. We here at ActionCOACH really appreciate the work you’re doing to help the business owners in your marketplace, so thanks for your time and thanks for sharing here on ‘My Coaching Story.’
Kevin: Well thank you so much Brad for your time, and this is a great experience.
To learn more about ActionCOACH visit actioncoach.com.