In this LMScast Chris Badgett from LifterLMS dives into how to coach with Tammy Gooler Loeb. Tammy is a career and executive coach, a facilitator, a speaker, and a podcast host. Tammy and Chris discuss the fundamentals of learning and coaching and how education and opportunities have transferred online in recent decades.
One very popular book for entrepreneurs is The 4-Hour Workweek. The tagline for that book and the general idea is Escape the 9-5 Job. Chris and Tammy talk about the mindset behind that, and why people are so unhappy at work.
Tammy presents the idea that our parents are often our role models as children, and the case for children is usually that they see their parents happy to come home and be done with work. When children see their parents come home from work and they are glad it is over, it teaches children that work is something you are not supposed to enjoy. Rather it is something you have to do to get by. That is often the root cause for unhappiness in work.
Just because you are good at doing something does not mean that is what you should be doing as a career. Tammy notes this often happens when someone is pressured down a specific career path, and they find themselves feeling miserable about what they do.
One thing many online entrepreneurs and course creators forget when building their business is that nobody does it alone, nobody does it overnight, and nobody reaches success in a straight line.
Chris and Tammy discuss the fundamentals of teaching versus coaching. Teaching often centers around endowing someone with the knowledge or skills they need to do something. Whereas coaching is more of an inquisitive practice that pulls information out of a student and seeks to find solutions in more of an intrinsic way.
In the case of someone learning to fish, a teacher would demonstrate and make sure the student has the ability to perform necessary tasks and procedures. But a coach may ask a student why they want to learn how to fish and dive into more clarity in underlying motivation. Coaching is often pulling something out where teaching is the process of adding new content or skills.
When coaching, it is important to ask questions that do not elicit a yes or no response. Rather a question that would elicit someone’s thinking and reflectiveness. Tammy has assembled a resource she shares in this episode with a list of questions that serve to navigate through a relationship with a client you’re coaching. You can download that list here.
At LifterLMS.com you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us!
Chris: You’ve come to the right place if you’re a course creator looking to build more impact, income, and freedom. LMScast is the number one podcast for course creators just like you. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of the most powerful tool for building, selling, and protecting engaging online courses called LifterLMS. Enjoy the show.
Chris: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. Today we’re joined by a special guest, Tammy Gooler Loeb. You can find her at TammyGoolerLoeb.com. What would you say you do for a living, Tammy?
Tammy: I would say that I help people find their way to greater happiness, satisfaction, and meaning in their work. And I do that by being a career and executive coach, a facilitator, a speaker, and a podcast host.
Chris: That’s awesome. And I want to get into that kind of happier thing. One of the things that motivates course creators, people building training-based membership sites, there’s a seminal book, at least in the, especially in the younger crowd, called The Four-Hour Work Week, written by Timothy Feriss. It came out about a decade ago.
Tammy: Yeah, I have it on my bookshelf.
Chris: Okay. And the tagline is, “Escape the nine to five. Live anywhere. And join the new rich.” And a lot of these kind of digital entrepreneurs, not just in courses but in, you know, eCommerce businesses and all these things, this book kind of, people point to as a pivotal moment or something that helped push them over the edge. And I think, I just want to zero in on … I really think it’s the tagline. Well, it’s the title, but it’s also the tagline, escape. The word escape, the nine to five. Live anywhere, which means not where you are right now. And the new rich, I mean, everybody would like more money or whatever.
Chris: But I really think it’s the escape part, the dissatisfaction with the current job. Can you talk about that? Why are people so unhappy at work? And just know that there’s a lot of course creators out there listening to this that, they have some expertise. Perhaps they’re using it at their job, but they want to go out on their own. And they’re having a trouble making the transition. What’s going on? What’s up with all this unhappiness?
Tammy: Wow. That’s a … How much time do you have?
Chris: You have 49 more minutes.
Tammy: Okay, Chris. Well, I think … where the unhappiness is rooted is, many of us grow up with certain role models for work. Usually our parents. So, if our parents were, let’s say, the kind of people who went to work every day, came home, checked the job at the door, walked in the house and kind of, maybe breathed a deep sigh of relief like, “Ugh, that’s over with.”
Tammy: Yeah. TGIF. But every day.
Tammy: Or Sunday nights were kind of, “Ugh, tomorrow I have to go to work,” right? If that was their role model, or if what they heard their parents talking about, about work, wasn’t pleasant. So that’s one sort of set of circumstances that, their image of work was something that you just had to do.
Tammy: I think another set of circumstances that a lot of people have encountered is growing up. Let’s say, you started to show some kind of strength in an area, like you’re really good at math or something. And, “Oh, you’re so good at math. You should become an accountant, or you should become an engineer, or this.”
Tammy: And so, right. So, you go off to college and you become, you know, an accountant or an engineer.
Chris: There’s money in that.
Tammy: And then, right. There’s good money, and it’s a stable career. And, you know, so there’s the message around, do what you’re good at. Don’t question it. Get stability. You know, and a lot of our parents, and I’m going back maybe a couple of generations here, but we’ve all been influenced by those years of either our grandparents or our parents, who either grew up or were influenced by the Depression. When, yeah, you just get a job, and you bring in cash. Because that’s the [crosstalk 00:04:40]-
Chris: What does that do to our psyche? What did that plant? That desperation and that-
Tammy: It planted a, you know, it doesn’t matter what you do. Just bring in some money and put food on the table. And at that time, that really was how you had to live. The thing is, is we live in a very different time now. And so, while it is important to have resources and to make sure that you take care of the practical matters of life, you know, there’s a lot of different options and choices we have now, than we would have had at that time. And we can think a little more creatively about that.
Tammy: So, so, you know, let’s say, you know, you become that accountant or that engineer. And you wake up one morning. You’re 40 years old, or 35, or whatever. And you’re like, “I’m miserable. I hate what I’m doing. I’m good at it, but I hate it.” It’s like, but this is all I know. What do I do? And you feel stuck, right?
Tammy: So, so these are the kinds of things where people have done … They’ve gone about their lives in a way where they think they’re doing the right things. But the goal has never been to find that, sort of, more meaningful, happy kind of path. It’s been more about just doing what the sort of external environment, in one way or another, has suggested is the right way to go about things.
Tammy: So, a lot of what I do with people is to try to encourage them to take a look, a little bit of a look in the mirror or a look inside and say, “What do I think is going to really float my boat? Or what are all those little whispers? What are the whispers that are telling me, I really want something else?” And sometime, usually it’s something we’re good at, anyway. But I think that’s one of my biggest messages to people is, just because you’re good at it, doesn’t mean it’s what you should be doing.
Tammy: I’m really good at cleaning toilets. It doesn’t mean it’s what I want to do for work.
Chris: So you’re, you have a podcast called Work From The Inside Out. And it’s devoted to this topic, and it talks about people that make transitions. I think a lot of the listeners of this show have kind of looked in the mirror. They’ve heard the whispers, but they’re having a really tough time making the transition, whether that’s a golden handcuff situation.
Chris: Or a risk tolerance, or kind of all or nothing thinking. Like, well, I can’t just switch. How do you … I guess you, since you kind of know this topic plus have talked to a lot of people who have made a lot of transitions, what patterns do you see that work? What tools can people use to make transitions without exploding financially, emotionally, or destroying, leaving a wake of destruction in their paths, which is what they fear is going to happen?
Tammy: Right. And I, I, I can appreciate that fear. I can both appreciate it, and I almost want to throw it out the window at the same time. Because we know that, you know, fear can paralyze you, and it can stop you from making some decisions and taking some steps that can really help you. However, at the same time, it’s really important to make sure that you have the basics taken care of. Nobody’s telling you to, to just throw every caution to the wind and, and just, you know, pull out all the stops and, and just go for it. Yeah, have a plan. Be planful.
Tammy: You know, the thing that I’ve discovered in, in the podcast, and I, I knew this before, but it’s become that much more explicit as I talk to people. Nobody was an overnight sensation. Nobody planned what they did and then did it, and it happened in two weeks.
Chris: There was no switch that just flipped, right?
Tammy: No. It’s a gradual process. When you really start to unpack the stories that, that people are telling me, and how they went about it, it was a step-by-step process. And there were components within those stories that told you how it unfolded. And the only way they figured out that it took time was looking back and seeing how it happened.
Tammy: So, the other part of that is, and I think this is where fear plays a role. You know, we always wish we knew how it was going to turn out before it happens. Right?
Chris: Crystal ball. Yeah.
Tammy: Right. That’s exactly right. I say to people, “Do you have a crystal ball? Because I know I don’t. I’d like one.” I don’t know if I’d like one. I kind of like the excitement of not knowing. Not everybody’s comfortable with the unknown. So, you, it’s important also, I think, to understand that you’re not going to know how everything’s going to turn out.
Tammy: So, there is that element of having to really trust yourself, that if you try something, and it doesn’t work out, just know that you’re going to learn from it. And that’s going to guide you to the next step. So there’s always a, a, a purposefulness in whatever it is that you are going to risk and are going to try.
Tammy: But if you are afraid of everything, you’re never going to get to where you want to go. So, it’s always important to think about what is it that you’re really trying to do? Why are you doing what you’re doing? It’s not even about the what anymore. It’s about, why are you doing this? And if you can hold onto that, then you start to take the small steps. And that’s the thing I’ve noticed more than anything is that, nobody does this alone. Nobody does it overnight. And nobody does it in a straight line. It’s a squiggly line.
Tammy: And it, and it has two steps forward, one step back. But one thing that is true for that entire process is, and this is what’s funny about your audience, right? It’s all about learning.
Tammy: And this is what they’re trying to offer their audience, is learning. Guess what? We’re all learners.
Chris: Well let … I kind of want to put, park it for a second on the squiggly line versus the straight line. And there’s an interesting thing going on in society right now with the whole go to school, pay attention, get good grades, you know, keep going to higher levels of educations. Get higher and higher paying jobs with this degree and everything. That model is, is in transition right now. There’s a lot of talk about education bubble and, you know, student loan debts at all-time high. A lot of degrees aren’t monetizing well. And people, there’s a big underemployment problem.
Chris: But the, that kind of narrative … And I’m not for or against, you know, traditional education or anything like that. But I just wanted to open up the conversation of, that straight line of that kind of story that we, a lot of us have been marching to consciously or subconsciously for a long time, versus the squiggly line. How do we integrate these opposing realities?
Tammy: Well, I don’t know that we do integrate them. I think we have to take a step back and think about, again, why, what are we, what are we trying to accomplish? What’s important to us? And how, you know, what is it that we want to try to accomplish? And, and take a look at what are the different ways to get there. Look at how other people may have gotten to where we want to go. You know, look at, who are our models? Some of our models will be the people who took the, the straight, you know, educational path.
Tammy: We know now, like you just said, that’s not the case these days. Not everybody has to go to college. Not everybody has to get a masters degree to get to where they’re going. So, what I often will tell people is to think about where you want to go, and put on, try to put on a more entrepreneurial hat when you think about where you want to go. And really think about what your options and choices are.
Tammy: Just, it’s almost like, write the menu. What columns? You’ve got column A, column B, column C. Look at what the options are, and think about what kind of learner you are. And how do you think that you’ll learn best? Maybe you don’t want to invest in another degree. It’s expensive. So, is there an online course that you could … Speaking of online courses, right? Maybe there’s an online course that you can take, to at least start to dip a toe in the water. And then see where you want to go from there.
Tammy: Again, it ties back in with the more incremental approach to things. And you know, test the waters and see where you’re going. But there’s so many different ways that people can get to where they’re going now, than, than was the case before. And absolutely, you got to just open up your eyes and look and see what’s out there, and what’s available. And also, look at the people that you look up to and you admire. And look at how they got to where they are. And not just what, what specific places they went and the steps they took. But look at how they think about things. I think it really helps to look, to look at that.
Chris: One of the things, if somebody’s like, you know, they hear you. And they want to take on a more entrepreneurial mindset and deconstruct some of their heroes that they inspire. And then, you know, they, they want to get the, that thing spinning. One of the arguments I see getting in the way a lot is the, no, I have no time. Crazy busy. Like, the cup is full. It’s already overflowing. I, I don’t know what … That’s like, I think, the number one sticking point when people realize that there’s another reality. I just don’t have time to even begin to enter it.
Chris: How do you get past no time and crazy busy?
Tammy: Yeah. Well, I think that’s a story. And I say that being someone who feels busy a lot. And I say that’s a story, because the only one who can rewrite that story is yourself. And so, I actually teach a course called Time Management Is Self Management. So, how do you manage yourself? You know, it’s all about the choices you’re making. You know, we tell ourselves, well, I have to do this. I have to do that. And I have to put it in … You know, it’s like saying, I have to go to college. Then, I have to get a masters degree. Or, I have to follow this straight line. No, you don’t.
Tammy: Same thing with how you use your time. How, how are you using your time? What choices are you making? What boundaries are you setting? You know, just because there’s a blank spot on your calendar doesn’t mean that you’re available. Maybe that time is there for something else.
Tammy: So, it’s, it really is about how you manage yourself and the choices you’re making. I, I don’t know how to put it more simply than that. I know it sounds very simple, and I know that people are busy and they have a lot of demands. Especially, I think of people who are in a role of some kind of caregiver, whether they have children or aging family members that they’re taking care of. And I know that there are things that come up very spontaneously that can be very, very demanding. And I, I, I don’t … Look. Those things are definitely going to take up a lot of your time, and you will definitely feel stretched.
Tammy: But that’s, that’s part of the plan, then. Part of the plan is, when I’m feeling stretched, what are the things that get let go? You know, I think about the Covey Matrix. You know, the important, urgent-
Tammy: -not urgent. I think, you know, if we can … all find a way to live in Quadrant Two, what’s important and not urgent-
Chris: Do more of that.
Tammy: It’s not always easy to do. But you know, the more we think of everything as urgent, the more we, we, we stress ourselves out. The more stressed we are, the less efficient we are. There’s lots of things that we can do to manage ourselves better, so that we’re not feeling this sort of rush of busy-ness. But we do live in this culture where, you know, I hear people say all the time, you know, “I’m just so busy, I’m so busy.”
Tammy: And I have a, I’ll just tell you quickly. I have a funny phone call I do with my dad every once in a while. My dad’s 89. And I’ll get on the phone with him, and I’ll say, “So, how are you doing?” And he’ll say, “I, I’m just so busy. Don’t ask. Don’t ask. I’m just so busy.” You know. And you know, his life has slowed down significantly. But we, we joke about it. You know, he’ll just say, “I’m just busy. I’m very busy.”
Tammy: So, you know, it’s like, listen. We’re all busy. But it’s a choice. There’s choices we make. And then, you know, if we’re responsible for other people, yes, there are some things that you’re also making, you’re making a choice. It’s an important choice, right? But it’s still a choice. I mean, you know, it, it, people say, “Oh, I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t have a choice.” It’s like, yes, you did. You did have a choice. But you made the right choice. You know, especially if you’re a parent or, you [crosstalk] somebody you’re caring for. You made the right choice. Right?
Tammy: But, you know, it’s still a choice. Give yourself the, the power and the control to say what you’re in control of here.
Chris: Yeah. I’m just going to throw a couple things I do out there, related to that, is that urgent but not important. Instead of putting a project on the calendar, I put a recurring meeting on the calendar with myself. Something like, “Call old friend”. That’s a weekly thing that happens on Fridays. Or you know, “Look at the team and try to be …” I forget what I call it. Something about gratitude team members. Stuff that you, you can easily be, oh, I’m too busy. I don’t have time for that.
Chris: But recurring meetings on the calendar. Even if I miss one here or there, I’m, I’m setting that, that in motion.
Tammy: Yeah. Well, it does. It keeps it at a conscious level for you that way. I mean, I, I sometimes just block out time. I just call it Me Time. You know? I, maybe I, I don’t even know what I’m going to do with that time. I have a list a mile long of things I need to do. But I just, just block it out, knowing that I don’t want somebody else scheduling themselves in that time slot. You know.
Tammy: And then if somebody sends me a note and says, “You know, I tried to schedule myself. But it looks like you don’t have any time for three weeks,” then I’ll fit them in somewhere.
Tammy: You know.
Chris: Another, another one besides crazy busy is, there’s a fear of being yourself or authenticity. And let me describe it this way. If somebody has a, let’s say a high-paying corporate consulting job, very much they’re concerned about their perception in their, at their business place and their LinkedIn profile or whatever. And let’s say they, but deep down, they want to, you know, be more at home with the kids and maybe they want to do something like, be a life coach or start a passion course membership thing, like around photography or cooking or something.
Chris: But they’re terrified that, if they get discovered, that it, it’s going to impact their day job, like it’s … Like their boss is going to be like, “Why aren’t you spending all your waking hours on moving this initiative forward?” Or whatever. Or, “I can’t take you seriously now that I know that your ultimate dream is to, you know, be a pastry chef and teach other people how to do it.”
Chris: What is that? What’s going on there, and how do you help those people?
Tammy: Well, I think that’s, that’s a big conversation. You know, it, it, it, really, that needs some unpacking. You know. Because that’s, you know, I think you have to really look at why, why are you in the role that you’re in? Right? What, what is that giving you? What, what are you giving to that? And what is it that you’d rather be doing? Or who do you, who would you rather be? And how, how comfortable are you with being in this place 60 plus hours a week, where you feel like you’re not being yourself? And are you okay with that? Is that, is that a choice you’re willing to make?
Tammy: I know people who do that. And they’re not very present at home, as much as they’d like to be. You can’t get those years back. So, that’s a, that’s a, that’s a big, a big conversation that has to be unpacked to see if they are even … You know, I think you can get into a pattern of thinking about what you’re unhappy about. But then not getting into the pattern of trying to figure out how to move through it.
Tammy: So you get, you almost get comfortable in your discomfort. You get comfortable in being stuck. And that becomes your new comfort zone. And the idea of trying to move away from that is so uncomfortable or brings about so many unknowns, where you, you start to create a story in your head about all the sacrifices that you would have to make, if you moved away from that, that you, you just don’t even want to entertain that. Or you think that you’re going to disappoint people. Or, I mean, again, a whole host of stories that are clearly, that are really all made up.
Tammy: And you haven’t, you haven’t vetted it. You haven’t checked it out with anybody. And so you just live your life based on all these stories you’ve made up in your head. So, what I say to people who are doing that is to stop and really think about, is there another way? Ask yourself, how could this be easier? Just stop with that for a moment. And check in with, if you have a significant other or someone else, and say, “What if we made some changes?”
Tammy: It’s not, “What if I did this differently?” Because I think a lot of people who end up in that kind of a situation are usually the breadwinner. They’re usually the person who feels wholly responsible for supporting some kind of family unit. And you know, I, I think they’d be surprised at how many partners or spouses might say, “Hey, we’ll make it work. You know, let’s, let’s, we’d love to have a happier person who comes home at the end of the day.” Or, or, “We’d love to have you home more than just on, you know, Saturday and Sunday.”
Chris: That’s a, that real, that ties into my next question. And it, I’m trying to think of how to ask it with a specific focus on it. But it’s a big question, which is related to the, let’s say, the entrepreneur whose married to a non-entrepreneur. I don’t know what, like, if everybody’s an entrepreneur in hiding or it’s like this 5% of the population or 50% … I don’t know what it is. But what I notice is, sometimes, let’s say, an entrepreneur with a non-entrepreneur spouse has a hard time navigating that relationship.
Chris: So the big question, which I know is too big to ask probably, is, what advice do you have for that relationship? That’s pretty big. But let’s say that the spouse who’s the non-entrepreneur has a job, makes good money, isn’t really that creative or necessarily feeling drawn to that. Their strengths and their powers and their everything is, it’s not that, “I’m going to pull something down out of the ether and invent this and change the world.” They’re just happy to live life and do what they’re doing.
Chris: And they’re married to a, you know, volatile, creative, can’t sleep, wakes up with ideas, who is stuck in a job. And they’re trying to build this course or this membership site or whatever. You, you’ve already touched on it a little bit, that maybe the spouse might actually be more supportive than you think. But what other advice do you have about that dynamic between the entrepreneur and the non-entrepreneur couple?
Tammy: Wow. I love that picture you just painted. Because it, it almost sounded a little bit like me. Many moons ago. I remember having that conversation with my husband, when I was working. And maybe this is helpful. I’ve always wanted to be self-employed, but I wasn’t.
Tammy: My husband is the kind of person who is very, very content getting up-
Tammy: Going to work every day, has no … is the, exactly the person you described. No, no real interest in being creative or entrepreneurial. He, he’s an accountant. He’s a good man. You know, and I’m very grateful for that. Because, because of that, it’s enabled me to probably even spread my wings more widely, because I don’t have to worry about health insurance and all those things that a lot of entrepreneurs do worry about.
Tammy: So, but, what I would say is that, I think that in worrying about … I, I think it’s about having a series of conversations and planning. Like, having a plan. What is this going to look like in order to transition, let’s say, from if, if, let’s say some of your, your listeners are full-time employed, trying to get this other thing off the ground. What, and this is some advice that I was given many years ago, and it worked beautifully for me.
Tammy: What I started to do, and again, I had to have, you know, my husband’s support on this. I, I felt I did. And I think it made sense. It’s very hard to do any of this if you don’t have your spouse’s support. If, if that’s important in your, you know, if you’re, if you’re … If you are in a committed relationship, I think it’s important if there’s that-
Chris: Support is part of it, right?
Tammy: You need the support, but you also, if you have, you know, a partnership where the, the finances are all part of the partnership, yeah. You’ve got to have those agreements, I think, because this is, that’s the, the first thing that breaks up a relationship are finances, often.
Tammy: So, what was recommended to me and what has worked for me for many, many years is to find some kind of very solid part-time job. Have that steady income coming in on a part-time basis. So, I always held, for many years, I always held a job that was between 20 and 25 hours a week. And then, with the other hours of the week, I started building my consulting practice. And in fact, in the earlier years, I was doing something very different than what I’m doing now. I, I wasn’t a coach yet. This was, so this was more than 20 years ago.
Tammy: But I did manage to find some good part-time roles. And that really provided enough of an anchor and enough of that sort of stable income, and something that you know, something we could say, “Okay, it’s not a ton of money, but it’s, it’s something we can count on.” And then-
Chris: I have a question about that.
Chris: A, a driven entrepreneur person is often always on. They have a hard time with part time. So what if, my question to you is, how did you turn it off at 20, 25 and not … How were you okay with part time? I know that, maybe that sounds like a weird question. But sometimes I see a lot of really driven people that, they, even when they’re not working, they’re still trying to optimize, because that’s what entrepreneurs do, this part-time job? And they’re still not switching over. How did you have a clean cut around that 25 hours? Or was that not a challenge for you?
Tammy: It was a long time ago, Chris.
Tammy: So, I also have a young child. So I was, it wasn’t just that. It was also a very full-time job being a parent. So, you know, my, my priorities were, were definitely divided in several directions. Once I found coaching, so let’s start there, because in the earlier years, I, my … Okay, so, I always wanted to be self-employed. Always. Almost from, not from day one, at, right out of college. But I’d say, out of grad school. I always wanted to be self-employed.
Tammy: Because I don’t like being told what to do.
Chris: I think everybody’s listening ears just perked up. Keep going.
Tammy: Okay. So, over the years of working, when I first got out of college, I had a boss in my first job out of college who I really liked. And I worked very well with.
Tammy: And, and, but it was a burnout job. And I, I worked there for a few years, and then I, I kind of burnt out. And I, I had to stop doing that kind of work. And then I worked in a number of different jobs after that, all that were intriguing and interesting. But I had bosses that I couldn’t stand working for. I didn’t like being told what to do. I didn’t like having … I didn’t like being told I had to be at an office, at a desk, at nine in the morning. I didn’t like, and I couldn’t do it well. I wasn’t good at it. I was the person who walked in consistently at 9:10.
Tammy: And I’d start to be talk, they would talk to me about that. And they, rightfully so. They needed to talk to me about that. But I still did it.
Chris: Yeah. Were you trying to prove something? Or you were just, that was, I mean, why come in at 9:10? Or are you just-
Tammy: I just, it was just the way it worked out. I just-
Chris: Yeah. Yeah.
Tammy: My husband always tells me, I have an interesting relationship with time.
Chris: Half the world does. I mean, that’s not unusual. There’s on-time people, and there’s people that are more European, or have an interesting time relation. It’s just a personality type thing.
Tammy: Yeah. Well, that’s very kind and accepting of you. But in those environments, it was not, it was not acceptable. And I struggled with getting myself out, out in the morning and getting somewhere on time, for some reason. And I was, my work quality was great. I would stay late and get the work done. So it was never about work quality.
Tammy: But anyway, I really hated, I hated being told what to do. And I was, I especially hated being told how to do it. So, you know, it was clear I needed, I needed to run my own show. So, went to grad school around age 28, 29. And from there, took some, I was, it was an MBA program. And I took a couple of courses, one in leadership, one in organizational consulting. Loved that stuff. Sort of spring boarded out of grad school into some work that piggybacked off of some previous work I had done in fundraising. And I thought, “Oh, I’ll start doing fundraising consulting.”
Tammy: It, well, I did that for several years. And what I did was, I got a part-time job in an organization as their fundraising person, while I was building my consulting to nonprofit organizations. So they, so the part-time job was actually quite relative to what I was trying to build as a consultant.
Tammy: So, so, there was a relationship between both, so while it provided the steady income with building the consulting, it just turned out over, doing that over several years while I was working on behalf of some really great organizations and found that element very fulfilling, I really didn’t like fundraising. And I didn’t like, I was working alone a lot. And I’m not that kind of person.
Tammy: So, I knew that I had to do something different. So I started thinking about getting another masters degree, and then I found coaching. And the minute I heard about coaching, it landed like a-
Chris: How many years ago is this? About 10?
Tammy: No. No, this is more like 20.
Chris: Okay. I, because I think, well, that’s before this whole life coaching, business coaching, all these different types of-
Tammy: This is in the early years. This was, life coaching was becoming a thing. It was, it was just bubbling up. There were a handful of programs out there. So this was like, 1998, ’99.
Chris: Awesome. You’re early to the party.
Chris: I, I want to-
Tammy: I was early to the party.
Chris: I want to, I want to-
Tammy: I wasn’t the earliest, but I was, I was in the … I was, my teachers were the original coaches.
Chris: Oh, this is awesome. I, I want to actually spend the rest of the interview on that. But I have to ask you one question before we get into that. I see this a lot in the business world. I, I wanted to ask you, managing a business and an entrepreneur are sometimes different. I, so, in what way did having an MBA prepare you for entrepreneurship? And in what way did you think you were going to be prepared with a MBA that you actually, you had to get all these other skills somewhere else or whatever? Do you understand my question? How did a MBA … What did you still need to learn, beyond what you learned in your MBA as, to become an entrepreneur?
Tammy: Oh, a lot.
Tammy: A lot. And I’m still learning. I’m still learning, and I’m 20 years out of the gate, right? So, even though I had my own business prior to 20 years ago, what I’ve learned over the last 20 years and even in the last two years, what I didn’t learn in my MBA was how to build a business. How to brand. How to engage an audience. How to put myself out there. And how to sort of merge the, what I, my message with engaging people and then turning that into some kind of revenue.
Tammy: You know? I mean, a lot of my earlier work background was in the nonprofit sector, back when everybody was in this very scarcity mentality. And so, I had, I had that. And then as a fundraiser, that’s a scarcity mentality. That’s no longer the case anymore. And certainly not where I sit. So, yeah. Big differences. Let’s, let’s be clear here. 20 years ago, there was no internet.
Tammy: When I, when I did my masters degree, I got my first desktop computer. It was a 286 with an amber screen.
Chris: What [crosstalk 00:36:55]-
Tammy: I’ll bet your listeners won’t even know what I’m talking about.
Chris: What, what [inaudible] did you get out of your MBA? There’s a lot of entrepreneurs out there that didn’t go to business school or take a single business class. What part of it has come in handy?
Tammy: Just some of the basics. So, for example, just some basic, baseline understanding of accounting, finance. Honestly, I, I tanked in finance. I didn’t do very well in it, but I worked really hard at it.
Tammy: But I at least, you know, for example, in accounting and things, not that I, I have a bookkeeper. But when I look at financial statements, I have an idea of what to look for. I know, I understand what, what I’m looking at. I understand enough. I have pretty basic knowledge, but I understand enough to know what I need to be thinking about. I understand enough to ask the right kind of questions. I wasn’t afraid to, my early years in business, to just take care of my own bookkeeping. It doesn’t hurt to have a husband who’s an accountant, although I will tell you that I really keep him away from all that. He has nothing to do with it. He really has nothing to do with it. That helps a lot, to not have him involved.
Tammy: But yeah, I just … You know, and I took a marketing course or two. I think my, the thing that I, has helped me the most was every … Once I got through all the basic … requirements of the MBA, I just, I just lived in the organizational behavior courses. And-
Chris: So, you found your passion there.
Tammy: That’s my passion, so that actually helped me to step into coaching more.
Chris: All right. Now, let’s get into coaching. And before we do, what’s the difference between teaching and coaching, if you had to say it quickly, like, elevator pitch style?
Tammy: Oh. Oh, that’s, that’s pretty easy, actually. So, teaching is, in my mind, is, is … Well, actually, maybe it’s not that easy. Okay. So, I think teaching is imparting knowledge. But, you know, I think about teaching. You can teach someone to fish. Right? And coaching is also teaching someone to fish. The difference is, in coaching, you’re going to ask more questions. You’re not going to necessarily hand someone a fishing rod and then show them how to use it. You’re going to ask them some questions first about, well, why do you want to learn to fish?
Chris: All right.
Tammy: And what’s important about fishing to you?
Chris: So is it-
Tammy: So [crosstalk] find out what their motivations are, and then you’re going to teach them to fish in a way that, that makes it meaningful for them, rather than, oh, we’re here to learn to fish, so that you can then go out and fish.
Chris: It sounds like the metaphor, I’m, I’m just kind of hear, visualizing is, teaching is kind of putting in, and coaching is kind of pulling out. Something like that. I don’t know-
Chris: I wanted to ask you, get into this especially, because one of my big things is, I believe in for course creators is something called course plus. It’s not just about the course. It’s-
Chris: What’s more powerful is the course plus the coaching. Like, if you’re in the business of getting student results, which is where the money actually comes from, course plus coaching, whether that’s private or group format, or you know, it, it can be very helpful. So how do we, if we have a body of knowledge in whatever topic, and we want to add coaching. And we’re not really trained as a coach, how do we do it? Or what, how do we get moving in that direction as a coach? What are the fundamental skill sets of the coach?
Tammy: Well, it helps if you take a course in coaching.
Tammy: Or it could help to work with a coach who is willing to help you develop some of those skills, right? I, I know one who’d be happy to help people. But you know, I think you’re onto something very, very important here. And I, I could, I could underscore that a million times, because when I go into an organization, or I develop a course, because I do, I do my own course development. I often will say, “If you want to invite me into your organization to offer a course and there’s no followup anything, you’re hiring the wrong person.” Because to just drop a course into a place and think that people are just going to assimilate the information and then use it, and then all your problems are going to be solved, you’re kidding yourselves.
Tammy: The real … importance of a course is to get people to a certain place, and then the coaching is how you really reinforce the learning and hope that people will assimilate it and then use it. So, the key to the coaching is really the follow-on conversations that you have with people. And finding out, well, how are you using what you learned? What, how is it go … It’s really, it could be as simple as a check-in. Like, how’s it going? What questions do you have? What more would you like to learn? What, you know, what’s working? What’s not working?
Tammy: And then being able to have a conversation. Or if you’re working with a group of people, which is a great way to do this, is to build on the wisdom in the group. You don’t even … Coaches don’t have to have all the answers. They have to have the questions.
Chris: Now, that’s, I mean, that’s profound right there. What, like, how do you have the right questions? I mean, you just laid out a bunch of really good ones, like, where are you stuck? Or where … I mean, there’s a lot of good ones in what you just said.
Chris: But how do we figure out the right questions?
Tammy: Well, I have a fabulous resource, which I’d be happy to offer to your listeners, if we want to add this into the show notes.
Tammy: Or we can find a way to attach it somehow. It’s a list called Powerful Questions. And it’s a long list, but it’s organized in a categorical way, so that it … They are open-ended questions that specifically don’t elicit a yes-no answer. See, when you ask somebody a question, if you’re going to ask a question that elicits a yes-no answer, you know the conversation’s over.
Tammy: So, it’s very important to ask questions that elicit someone’s thinking, someone’s reflectiveness that they are … You ask a question in a way that gets them to reflect and look inside. And it gets the conversation moving forward, and sometimes it’s as simple as … One of the Power Questions I use all the time is, doesn’t even sound like a question. Tell me more. You know, if someone says something to you like, “Well, I’m struggling with this.” Well, tell me more. Oh? You want me to say more?
Tammy: They think that that’s it. That’s the problem, right there, that they present to you. And when you say, “Tell me more,” and they start to unpack it, and then you ask a few more open-ended questions that don’t elicit a yes or no answer, they’re going to start to see, oh. And they’re going to start to solve their own problems, which is a lot of what coaching is about, is getting people to fully own their own stuff. Getting them to really develop the skills around how they can work with themselves.
Chris: So what mistakes, when you look at it, if you’ve been around coaching for a long time, does a new coach or somebody who’s … What are some common mistakes people make when, that, that you might notice or observe in, when they launch a coaching program on the internet?
Tammy: I think the mistakes that people make are to make any promises that they’re going to solve other people’s problems. You know. Never promise that you’re going to solve anyone else’s problems. That is not what you’re there to do.
Chris: Can you promise that you’re going to give them the tools to solve their problems themselves? Or-
Tammy: Yeah. I think you can promise that you’re going to teach them the tools.
Tammy: That, but, but it’s still incumbent on the person to use the tools appropriately to solve their own problems. And since you don’t know their problems, you don’t know that the tools you’re giving them are going to work for them. You can’t promise anything, other than-
Chris: So, outlandish claims is a big problem.
Tammy: Outlandish claims or … I mean, the other thing is, you know, all you can do is say, you can, you have to speak from a place of authenticity of what you’ve seen that works, from your own experience. But I think that there, I think also, the mistake that I’ve seen some coaches make is that they do put out their content knowledge as advice. And true, pure coaching is not advice. It doesn’t mean that, I mean, look. I’ve been at this 20 years. I give advice sometimes.
Tammy: But I give it in a certain way. So I might say to someone, “I’m taking off my coaching hat now.” Or I frame it in a certain way, so that I’ll say, “Well, do you want to hear a perspective on this?” And then I offer it. So it’s really about, I think, how you, the kind of mindset that you put out there in the framing of how you say things, that can really empower people and get them to start to take more ownership of their own situations.
Tammy: I think the mistake that I see some people make out there, and I think it’s a mistake. They may not. But I see some, some people out there, and some of these are very successful coaches. And they kind of put themselves out there as if they’re kind of gurus, like they’re all-knowing and … Or they’ll put something out there and they’ll say, “Well, I’m now living on my ranch, and I have 20 horses. And I drive a beautiful car. And you too can work, you know, two hours a day and have a team of 20 people working for you, and you can sit in your hot tub while making money.” You know?
Chris: [crosstalk] dream, yeah.
Tammy: Yeah, and it’s like, yeah. That’s great. But you think everyone else is going to be able to do that, too? You know, it’s more … That’s more about them than them really helping other people. That’s their dream. So, I’ve seen some coaches who are very … They’re all about themselves. And they’re saying, “You can have what I have,” as if everyone else wants what they have. Or, “You can be me.” It’s like, I don’t want to be you.
Chris: Yeah, I saw … I have a friend. His name’s Chris [Lemon 00:48:29]. He had a thing on his website that said, “I don’t sell you on me. I sell you on yourself,” or something like that. It’s brilliant.
Tammy: You betcha.
Tammy: I love that. And I say that, people ask me all the time. They say, “How do you sell yourself? How do you sell your, your coaching?” And I say, “I don’t.” I ever have sold myself. I never sell coaching. I engage people. And I want to learn about what value they want and what tools I have or what engagement I can bring them, where they can get full value. I’m all about the value that I can bring them. But it’s not about me. And the minute I realized it wasn’t about me, and really took myself almost out of the equation in a way, my business doubled.
Chris: I have my last question for you. I know we’re coming up on the hour, which is, I just see. I’m asking for the people that listen to the show. I see this question in my community, other communities all the time, about how much they should charge for their coaching package or whatever. And there’s also this head trip around, well, if I’m not the expert, they, they’re, they’re, they start worrying that their thing is not as valuable, because I’m supposed to rush in and they’re paying for a result, or whatever. And I have to give them that result.
Chris: How does … I’m not saying, like, how, like, what dollar value should they charge, but how do people kind of wrap their head around the value of their program and-
Tammy: That’s a great question. And it’s taken me not … Well, it’s taken a lot of coaches a long time to figure out how to do that. I think it’s more about how you have the conversation with people around that and to really clarify with them what they’re paying for. Because they come to you hoping to get results, and they think they’re paying for results. And what I tell them very clearly is, “You’re paying to have me in relationship with you, so that you can get the value you need.”
Tammy: You’re paying to have me in your life, so that we can do this work together. It’s still going to be on you to get the work done. I’m going to work with you, and I’m going to put everything I have into it. And I don’t charge … I also, I’m not one of those coaches who charges by the hour, by the session. Some coaches do. But I don’t charge that way, for that very reason, because I believe that coaching unfolds and happens over time. It’s a process.
Tammy: I also have seen where I’ll have a client who comes back to me, five years after we stopped coaching. And they’ll call me back and they’ll say, “You know, I was in this tough situation the other day. And all of a sudden, your voice popped into my head. And I remembered that conversation we had about this and that and that.” And so, the coaching we did five years prior was still helping them, five years down the road.
Tammy: That’s the value they’re getting. You know, that’s what they paid for. Not whether they got the job in that moment, or whether they got the promotion, or they negotiated the salary, or were able to engage their team in, in a way that they weren’t able to before. It’s, it’s, it’s an accumulative kind of thing. And it’s a way in which they take the time to get to know themselves and strengthen and build themselves, and develop themselves. That’s what it’s about.
Tammy: So it is, it is a little esoteric. You do have to explain it to people in a way to help them understand that. And a lot, and some people will never get that. It’s very difficult. I, I can’t give you a definitive answer, like, this is how you do it. I know it’s taken me quite a while to really get there. And then some people just don’t get it. And they, they can’t get their minds around it. They’re too, they, they think too concretely. And so, they have to make a choice, whether they’re willing to pay for something that they’re not exactly sure what they’re going to get.
Tammy: You know, and I think another way to handle that is to say to somebody who is maybe a more concrete thinker and can’t quite understand this, this sort of esoteric part of it, is to offer, say, you know, if, if it’s not quite jiving for you, I’m happy to give you some references of some other clients I’ve worked with, so you can hear about what they got out of it and where they are now. And, and all that. That might help somebody, you know, kind of come around a little bit.
Tammy: And I will tell you, it’s rare when someone asks me for references. Rare. I’m so surprised by that.
Chris: Tammy Gooler Loeb. You can find her at Tammy Gooler Loeb dot com. And if you want to see those Powerful Questions, those coaching questions, and you’re listening on your podcast or watching this on YouTube, just do a search for LMScast and Tammy Gooler Loeb.
Chris: Tammy, I want to thank you for coming on the show. You packed a lot of value into it, like, 40 minutes. It’s amazing. Thank you so much. Is there any other final words you have for the people or place you want to send them to connect with you?
Tammy: My final word for people is, when you find yourself feeling frozen or stuck, or saying, “I can’t,” stop. Take a deep breath. And say, “How can I find another way?” Or call me. And I’ll talk you out of it.
Chris: Awesome. Well, thank you so much
Tammy: Thank you, Chris.
Chris: We really appreciate it.
Tammy: This has been delightful.
Chris: And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I hope you enjoyed the show. This show was brought to you by LifterLMS, the number one tool for creating, selling, and protecting engaging online courses, to help you get more revenue, freedom, and impact in your life. Head on over to LifterLMS.com and get the best gear for your course creator journey. Let’s build the most engaging, results-getting courses on the internet.