Confessions of a Success Sherpa

Sherpas are the guides who help mountain climbers safely reach the crest of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. I help my clients reach their personal peak—in business and in life. So I guess that makes me kind of a success Sherpa.

Sometimes, it feels as if we’re climbing up hill, carrying heavy baggage, breathing thin air. When that happens, it’s my job to know the safe trails, recognize the skills and limitations of my client, and be a ceaseless source of encouragement. It’s a combination of recognizing real-life pitfalls, knowing the path, and believing that my client can do what he or she has set out to do. It’s challenging, demanding work, but it’s worth it for the view from the peak.

Every good guide has his or her own tools for tackling the trail. Here are my favorites.

A 360 evaluation. Since people are usually blind to their own true strengths and areas for improvement, I take a look at what others have written, such as testimonials or interviews. It’s amazing what will surface when we step back and see what other people value about my client that he or she didn’t think was important.

Competitor research. I look at my clients’ competitors until I clearly see something new and different or better and excellent about my client, something that gives me a clear perspective on my client’s unique approach and services. I want to see the variety of ways the best people in their industry are presenting themselves and their services. Once we have a fresh look at the competition, we can best decide how to differentiate, where we can adapt something they’re doing, or where the market has a gap we can fill.

Respect for the journey. Every client has followed a unique path to get where they now are. To help them, I need to understand and connect with their story, message, interests, passions, goals and dreams. I get them to express, understand and clarify how they believe they add value for their clients and how they want to add more value. I work with them to identify who their ideal clients are so that they can get more of them.

Validation and insight. I jump start, motivate, “inspire, support”, bring positive energy and encourage. This isn’t empty cheerleading. I help my clients gain confidence to say their dreams out loud and begin to live those dreams. I enable them see in themselves the uniqueness I see in them. My job involves highlighting, discovering, pinpointing and uncovering the special talents they overlook or underplay. And I help them get to the heart of their personal story, which is really the wellspring of their passion. It’s part detective and part investigative reporter, to find the strengths they don’t recognize, and a little bit of fairy godmother, to help them recognize the amazing talents that they’ve never seen in themselves.

Courage to live the dream. People come to me because they want to get unstuck, or they feel as if they’re missing out on some part of their creativity or success. Often, they’ve heard a lot of negatives in their lives, and very few positives. They need a caring, unbiased and trusted person who can encourage

them to break out of their rut and strive for their dreams, someone who won’t be threatened as they change, someone who cheers for their success.

What mountains do you need to climb? It can get cold and scary out in the wind, finding your way. Why not invest in a guide who knows the path, who loves the journey, and who will get you safely to the peak. Someone who can’t wait for you to see the view when you get higher than you’ve ever been. That’s what a success coach does, and that’s why I love my job.


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