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Coaching Relationships: Competence/Personality Match

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Do any coaching? Listen up.

I recently had an issue come up with one of Lunches with Fred. I screwed up on the dates and had to make a change. With my schedule, this sometimes happens. I know that it can be an inconvenience and I always offer the people who signed up some good options.

So I get this email from a guy who had signed up for a recent lunch in NYC. He had been VICTIMIZED by my having changed dates. I felt bad, but had to do it because of an emergency.

He writes me an email telling me that because of my “lack of administrative competence” or some such language that he not only wanted his money back from the lunch, but that he would “not be using me as a coach/mentor.”

He was concerned that this might be a reflection on my coaching ability. Interesting leap on his part, but more importantly, it brings up some interesting points.

1. He was unaware that I don’t run an “OPEN” coaching program. His “considering” using me as a coach was not a one sided process. For me to pursue a coaching relationship, there are some MANDATORY steps that precede that relationship.

First, he would have to pay and attend a Fred Info Bootcamp. Only after attending would we BOTH be in a position to determine if we were a good match.

Second, he would have to pay me money to get started IF we both felt it was a good match.

2. He did not understand how important it is to me that I work with people I LIKE. His lack of understanding as it related to my having to postpone the lunch indicated to me that we were NOT a good match.

Why work with someone who is going to start bitching about an issue as trivial as this? I won’t do it!

So enough about ME and MY issues, how does this relate to YOU?

If YOU do any coaching, YOU need to determine what kind/type of client and the kind/type of relationship you want to have with that particular individual.

If you’re just getting started, there will definitely be a tendency to work with anyone who’s got a pulse. This because you need to make money and are willing to tolerate some things that you might not otherwise put up with.

The elements of the coaching program YOU put in place may look VERY different than MINE. That’s fine. It’s YOUR program and you should run it the way that makes sense for you.

However you choose to run your program there are certain key issues/elements you should consider.

They include but are not limited to:

1. How will you select the people who you work with?
2. How will you get paid for that work? Will it be a flat fee, or a percentage of sales or something else?
3. Will you work with people over the phone? Or will you work with them face to face. Either? Both?
4. How will you measure the results that you claim to be giving them?
5. What will your initial session look like?
6. How will you construct/structure your ongoing sessions?
7. How often will you meet? (by phone or face to face)
8. How much additional access will they have to you? (Can they call you or email you at any time, day or night?)
9. Will you have a minimum length of time that you both commit to?
10. If, like me, you have a small equity component, what “buyout” price have you attached to your contract?

These are just SOME of the things you need to consider.

As I’ve been doing my coaching for many years, I’ve now PRECISELY DEFINED the kind/type of person who I like to work with AND work BEST with.

When I first got started, I had an OPEN coaching program This did NOT work for me. I did NOT have much fun with a large number of the folks I worked with. Since FUN is one of my most important values when working, this did NOT work for me.

I also did not get a percentage from clients I worked with. This made me feel like I was MUCH less a part of the process than I am now. That did NOT work for me.

When I look at some of the people I now coach, they all tend to exhibit some of the same traits. These are very important to me. They include:

1. They are VERY coachable. We’ve agreed to work together and they can take instruction well.

2. I hear from them as often as they need to, but NEVER do I hear from them regarding anything trivial or unnecessary. They are good at separating the important from the trivial.

3. They have a relatively relaxed and easy going nature. (That’s NOT me and that’s WHY it works!)

4. They are usually WELL educated and intelligent.

5. They are emotionally and psychologically stable. Having attempted to works with those who aren’t, there is a HUGE difference.

I recently had a prospective client ask me how many people I could work with at any given time. Good question? Since my work as a coach is mainly as an advisor/director, I feel comfortable that I can work with 8-10 people at any one point in time.

Will all of them become SUPER rich and SUPER successful. I only hope! But, reality dictates that that is probably NOT the case. If one or two of them hit homeruns and three or four more get hits, I’ll feel pretty good about it.

What about those who don’t make it? Have I let them down? I would hate it if that were the case, but, it usually boils down to the fact that some people are just NOT committed to the work. If that’s true, things will not work out for them.

Should I have screened these folks out earlier in the process? I wish I could get it right 100%, but I can’t. Just like I would hope to get it right all of the time with my lunches. Sorry, I can’t. I’m human and things do screw up sometimes.

In order for a coaching relationship to work well for both parties you need two things. A coach who knows his or her stuff AND a person you “click” with.

Over the years, my coaching program has evolved. I suggest you CONSIDER my model. I’m not saying it’s the RIGHT or the ONLY way to do it, but YOU should figure out WHAT it is for YOU.

I hope these ideas are helpful to you.

Upcoming Events:


Publishing Seminar – May 26-27
LOTS of great speakers at a very reasonable price – Manhattan location TBD Just before the Book Expo in NYC; ALL about publishing and SELF PUBLISHING!


Fred Info Bootcamp
Las Vegas, June 4th – June 11th
Spend a week with me to get to REALLY understand HOW to create, market and sell Info Products. Maximum of 6 people. This has become my MOST popular event. Get a product done, get your copy done, get your website done. Get it ALL done in just ONE WEEK!

Lunch with Fred – Venice, Italy – May 12, 2009
Lunch with Fred – Buenos Aires – June 22, 2009

All the Best,


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