In this 24 minute podcast, I was interviewed by Joanne Stein of Joanne is a Joyologist, Potentializer and Success Coach with over 20 years’ experience helping others to experience more joy, prosperity and success. Joanne’s questions revolved around the logistics of coaching, the “nuts and bolts,” if you will.

You can listen to The Nuts and Bolts of Coaching podcast here.

{Please note that Karen shares some technological tips and pricing towards the end of the interview. As the podcast was originally recorded in October 2006, any mention of technology/pricing is subject to change. As Karen mentioned, technology choice is a personal decision and should be researched.}

At what point do you know you need (virtual) assistance?

I went for about three years before I hired a virtual assistant in my business. I live and swim and even enjoy a certain amount of overwhelm. It feels good to me when I’m having fun and I’m doing activities. But there’s a certain point where it gets to be too much for me. I once shared with my coach, “I cannot do this anymore, I have too many things to do, I’m getting too many things going, I’m starting to lose it.” My coach naturally explored further and we discussed if I knew of anyone (which I did!). Then my coach requested that I give her a call. I had 33 administrative items on my to do list that day, I was totally overwhelmed and not inspired to do any of them.

I reached out to Kim Stacey who I had worked with previously in another capacity. Kim is a copywriter – and I approached her by saying, “I don’t know if you’d like to do this – I really love the way that we work together and the rapport that we have.” I made her an offer and she said yes. I gave her that whole list of 33 items. In 8 hours, she cleared the list. I was just amazed! I was so happy!

Quite frankly my resistance was that I simply didn’t know how long it would take to handle these administrative tasks, nor if I could even afford to outsource them all. Kim and I worked together really well. I simply set up guidelines, “If you need more than 10 hours a week, please send me an email.” It turned out that she was putting in about 8 hours a week (roughly 32 hours per month). I was almost getting back a whole week of my time! Which in turn allowed me to create revenue opportunities such as developing curriculums and creating information products. Hiring a virtual assistant took away activities I didn’t like. My energy shot up and I was able to do a whole lot more. Having a virtual assistant really helped me increase my income!

How do you find your spiritual clients?

For the most part my spiritual clients find me. I made a conscious decision to speak about spirituality “front and center,” to really talk about it, share it. The more I spoke about it, the more people found me. I will speak about spirituality anywhere! Consider workshops and places where people hang out, like metaphysical bookstores, unity church, Wayne Dyer seminars, Sonia Choquette seminars. Those are places where a lot of spiritual people are congregating.

Mostly what I find is that people loved to be listened to. As coaches, we know how to listen. When I’m at these events, I listen. I might ask a couple questions just because I’m interested. And naturally, the person will respond with, “What do you do?” I share that I specialize in working with new coaches on business development who want to create practices through spiritual principles. Then they might say, “I’m not a coach, but I would love to learn” and we get into a dialogue.

What files might you choose to keep on your clients?

I keep very minimal files because I like to keep everything very simple. I use a two-page Coaching Agreement that spells out: this is how much it costs, this is how many meetings, please call me at this number for our coaching sessions. I also request the client to sign their consent that I may use their contact information for ICF coaching credentialing. This way I don’t have to ask again later; I already have it available.

I also provide a four-page Welcome Packet where I request goals for coaching, how the client would like be acknowledged, what they’re most proud of – all prior to my very first coaching/foundation session. After that I just have a regular notebook with white paper! As clients are speaking I’m writing notes, drawing pictures, creating lines and arrows. Most importantly, I write a list of coaching requests, so when I open the client folder, I can see immediately what the requests were before starting the next session. I also keep a copy of the client’s check or PayPal information in the individual file.

What policy do I have regarding last-minute cancellations?

I really don’t have very many no-shows. I do request 24-hour notice for cancellations/reschedules and state otherwise I will charge for the session. I request it in the coaching agreement to set the stage for coaching commitment. However, if there’s a problem, they’ll almost always let me know in advance. Even if when a client comes to the session I am sometimes inspired to ask, “Are you in the space for coaching right now?” I have a lot “Recovering Type A’s” as clients and if they miss a session or they’re late, they beat up on themselves. I say not to worry, we can always find a way to reschedule. I’ve never not been able to reschedule. I hope this inspires a higher level of acceptance and trust in me as a coach.

Can coaching be considered “preventive maintenance”?

I schedule a coaching session every week so that I have “preventive maintenance.” It’s like taking your car to the mechanic when there’s a flat tire. Without regular car maintenance, the probability is much higher that I’ll experience issues that leave me little choice for solutions other than getting towed. The same is true with coaching – this way I regularly release my gremlins and self-sabotaging behaviors. Otherwise by the time I feel the “need” to schedule a coaching session, I’m probably way far gone and on my way to a meltdown. For one client who showed up for the session but was considering rescheduling, he asked, “Well what can we talk about today?” I reviewed my notes from our prior session and made some suggestions of what we could discuss. I honored where he was coming from, and ultimately let my client decide how he wanted to proceed. He decided to continue. It turned out to be one of our best coaching sessions together.

Again, thank you, Joanne, for your great questions!

What are some tools that have helped propel your business forward? Please share your tips below.