Updated: Apr 17, 2020
I had a chat with Anna Kmetova, I started following her on LinkedIn. I really got a sense of who she was by her profile and the things she shared. That made me want to get to know her and her view on coaching.
And an inspiring energising talk followed! The bottom line of the chat: Find your own way as a coach. This is how Anna did it
How long have you been coaching?
3 years professionally, I started in 2016 doing it on the side while I was still working in Finance at Booking.com. I have been doing it full-time for the last 2 years.
Do you remember the time you first thought or felt 'this coaching thing is something I am good at and want to do?'
Yes, that was a long time before my coaching education. I was feeling stuck, and I was wondering what to do to get unstuck. Asked myself 'what skills do I have?'. A critical moment was when my boyfriend asked me what I would do If I could only do one thing from that moment on. The answer was to listen to other people and help them figure out their way. I always used to do that, but never realised that it was a skill, so I started to take a look into it. What the path could be towards it. First thing I did was to hire a coach to get the experience. And I realised that yes, this is what I want to do.
How did you take it from there? The overwhelm in coach courses is huge.
Yes, there are many courses and the financial site important because you do not know for sure if it is going to be worth the investment. The coach I hired advised me to go for a course accredited by the ICF. I did not realize how important that was. It turns out if you want to continue and take your coach career further, it can open many doors.
Co-Active got my attention. I did not know my niche yet, and this model enables you to work with any topic. From the start fell in love with it. It's a great base.
Is it necessary to do a course if you want to become a coach?
Some people are natural and have been trained in their profession. So no, but in my case, I found it crucial, I did not have the experience and background, never managed a team of people so needed strong knowledge and tools to know what would be doing
It is sensitive, you work with people.
I notice many people do not check credentials or backgrounds, do you recognize that?
I don't know the research people do before reaching out to me, but many people do not realize coaching is unrestricted. They do not realize there can be a coach without qualification. And for some people, the click is more important.
If you, as a coach, want to work with platforms or companies, you need the certifications. So you should ask yourself with what kind of people or companies you want to work.
For many coaches starting to charge is a challenging moment. Do you remember that moment?
Yes! It was very interesting. That first session was at the same place as where I used to meet my own coach. I was freaking out, feeling like I was faking something. But I actually already had a lot of experience because I started coaching at the company I used to work for. I knew what my coaching could do for people. So I knew it was time to start charging.
I hear that many coaches offer discounts or do not charge. But in my experience, people are more committed when I charged because they would pay a lot, so coaching became more powerful. And it gave me more confidence. What I see sometimes is that when coaches do not charge they end up with less committed clients and the coach does not feel well about coaching and starts doubting it. While it might have nothing to do with the quality of the coaching. So I strongly recommended just go for it. Let them see the value
How did you find your niche?
It was a long journey because I wanted to work with everyone. Like many coaches!
I worked with everyone that crossed my path, and that was great: I experienced a wide variety of inner worlds, and that was enriching
But potential clients started to ask: Who do you work with? I could, at that moment, not give a proper answer while it was important for some people. They need to know 'why you?'.
I also realised my caching works best when everything works smoothly, while with some people, I would notice they could still be a little bit stuck. With other people, everything flowed naturally, and they had the most significant benefits of my coaching. So I realized I am here to support a specific type of people.
If someone decided to buy a package, I want to be fully confident I can help them. I started to think about my niche. I sat down and asked myself: 'who are the people I work the best with, who do I love to work with? When I am most excited?' I went I all details: age, vibe, occupation. I made a 'marketing avatar' and kept on working on it until I knew 'this is it'.
And then I realised I can offer a lot of value for these people, so I started to write a blog, started sharing on LinkedIn, all speaking to my ideal client. From my own experience. I am really happy with it because the connection now is just right.
So, What is your niche?
Young professionals (young in spirit more than in age), who are following all that society prescribed: corporate ladder, good career etc. but reach a point where they ask 'is this it?'
Is this working for me? They don't know what they could start doing to feel more fulfilled. Instead of seeking validation outside, I empower them to look inwards. Find out how they want to contribute to the world, finding purpose and redesigning their lives.
Can I say In a way you are your niche, you clients are you a couple of years ago?
In a way, yes. I believe it can help when you went through the experience yourself. Many clients ask 'Do you understand what I am talking about?' it helps to build trust. And it helps in generating the content for social media and blog. I notice it gets many reactions and is inspiring for people.
Using social media in that way can be so powerful because people get a sense of who you are. And you probably did not even start doing it to attract clients?
True! Coaches often ask me how do I attract clients? But you as a coach have to find your way, something you enjoy, it has to be comfortable. Clients would see it. What resonates with you?
Know your niche and know where to find them Ask 'How can I make myself visible for them? My clients are mostly on LinkedIn. Their primary source of frustration is their career, so they are on LinkedIn. For me, LinkedIn works. I also do speed coaching events, public speaking, writing articles. Workshops. I never do sales or chase people. That does not work for me. I am proactive in making myself visible for them, getting to know you and your vibe.
What is your coaching dream?
It used to be my dream to travel while coaching. That did not disappoint me. I really enjoyed it. If I could go bigger, I would say reaching more people with workshops. I am working on that: Facilitating workshops for my ideal clients.
Do you have a ritual before an after your sessions?
Yes, for me coaching about being fully present. I take 10 minutes before each session. Sit down, think back to the previous session: think about a joke we made, something special we talked about. I reconnect with someone over the last session. So they feel: "She is here with me."
After the session, I reflect on my learning. Each session I take as an opportunity to learn and grow.
So most of your sessions are online?
Yes, I used to work a lot in person before travelling. But I enjoyed working online. It is also more convenient for clients: No commute, no waiting etc. After I returned from travelling, I decided to keep it this way. I offer in-person but most people actually now prefer online. They appreciate being coached in their pyjamas It works really well.
I can imagine it is often something people have to get used to and then they prefer it: being in the comfort of your own space.
Yes, and the connection is the same as face to face. People feel freer to go into their own emotions. Much more free to be at home. They like it. I always offer a sample session if people are not sure, but most of the time they find it very comfortable.
Is there one thing you advise aspiring coaches? Something you wish you knew before getting started?
Yes: I am getting many requests of aspiring coaches for advice. It is nice to hear that people want inspiration, but if I can give them only one advice: find your own way and if you get stuck: get some coaching.
I was trying to mimic what other coaches do chase after the "cool" types of clients. That cost me a lot of energy and time since I found my own way, it is freeing, and I feel more comfortable. I can serve better: I am energized, do the way I like it. Make it nice for yourself. It is stressful to start your own business and easy to forget what you want. Spend time with yourself to see what you need.
A lot of coaches say they do not have the money for a good coach. I get it, but how do you want to convince your clients that it is worth if you are not willing to pay for it?
Bottom line: find your own way.
Find Anna on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anna-kmetova-cpcc-acc/
and on www.annakmetova.com