My No.1 personal value has always been ‘helping others’. For as long as I can remember, it’s always been this way. If I’m not helping others, I don’t feel a complete sense of fulfilment and feel a lack of true purpose.
t’s no wonder that I fell into the personal fitness training industry at a young age and why I was a kids swimming teacher and beach lifeguard before that. The writing was on the wall, I guess!
At the ripe young age of 21, I started this thing called personal training back in 1995. As one of the first personal trainers running around Melbourne, I was heavily booked with hardly any advertising. My record was 63 x 1 hour mobile personal training sessions in a week. I maintained this intensity for a couple of years before I realised that I need to centralise and leverage if I was going to remain sane. So I built one of the first personal training studios in Melbourne, had 13 personal trainers working with me and started to offer all kinds of services to our clients. A year into this start-up, one of my trainers and I co-created the first personal training franchise of what became a 21-strong personal training studio franchise chain.
My passion waned and I had to do something about it.
But like a lot of our coaching clients that we come across, I became someone that I didn’t like. I became too much of a Lawyer and too much of an Accountant. Nothing against either of course. But I lost people contact and found myself stuck in a cubicle dealing with paperwork most of the time. The problem was that I was the one who built the cubicle and I was the one who started the seemingly endless stream of paperwork. Wasn’t it Confucius who coined the phrase “Choose a career that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? I was working and I wasn’t enjoying it. My passion waned and I had to do something about it.
BECOMING THE BUCKET LIST GUY
With more detail to tell, I’ll keep the long story short. Simply put, I fell into depression. I was unhappy and lost. Legal fights, resentful relationships and money strains can take their toll. It was at this time when some events conspired to create the perfect storm for my positive change that led me to become known as The Bucket List Guy.
Armed with an insatiable curiosity for positive psychology, some new NLP skills, no fear of public speaking, and a deep desire to get out of my own way and help others, I put on my first ever seminar. I packed in all the coaching theory I knew and off I went. With about 40 people in the room, someone at the end of my 2 hour talk called me ‘The Bucket List Guy’ due to the ‘Before I die’ To Do List that I’d had since I was 18 years old that I had shared with the group. That was my light-bulb moment. I made a decision to sell-off the PT studios that I owned and have the franchisees change their studios to their own brand. It was a big move, but I had to do what made me happy.
Fast forward 5 years and the non-celebrity, Bucket List Guy brand is in full swing. I’ve monetized the message via four main modalities
- Coaching (life & business)
- Mentoring (for other speakers)
- Speaking (keynotes & events)
- Membership (my online tribe of #BucketListers).
The best bit though is finding flow and complete value congruency, especially when speaking. I love speaking! Speaking for me is simply coaching one-to-many. We can help a lot more people in a shorter amount of time.
COACHING MEN VS WOMEN
As far as coaching is concerned, if we are going to talk about gender, it seems to be no different to the female-to-male ratios I experienced while running the PT business. As an estimate, it’s a 60% female/40% male split. Maybe even 70%/30% respectively. Why? I definitely have my reasons. I think this is due to the male ego. Yep, males seek help less. To steal words from Anthony Robbins, “True or True?”. Quite simply, in my experience, females are more open to ask for help. So, as a male coach who is competitive, a solid D on the DISC scale, who has a track record of being a (somewhat) hard-ass personal trainer of personal trainers, being extremely empathetic was and still is of paramount importance. I’ve found that you can dive deeper quicker with females than males. Less “stuff” in the way, if you know what I mean.
Males on the other hand tend to treat coaching like sport. It’s good to remind a guy that the best of the best in both sport and business all have teams of specialty coaches. Now, the type of coaching I do is typically for non-start up entrepreneurs. As in, they have teams and are looking toward the next phase of growth in their business and are trying to find a degree of life balance in the process. A lot of these conversations are centred around priorities, productivity, performance and self-leadership. After all, a business is a direct reflection of the business owner.
Apart from these types, I tend to attract up-and-coming as well as established speakers too. As a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and past President of the Professional Speakers Association in Victoria, I get a lot of requests for help in this department. These requests gave birth to my Speaker Mentoring Program, and nothing gives me more joy than seeing one of my mentoring clients crush it on stage and help a heap of people in the process while getting paid for the privilege.
COACHING VS CONSULTING
When I broke-up with personal training and leaned towards life and business coaching, I must admit I struggled. Transitioning from telling people what to do with their training programs and later in their personal training businesses, to having no predetermined model of the world in a life coaching setting, took some adjusting. Still to this day, I have to bite my tongue and not just tell people what I think they should do. Instead, we must let the client self-discover via open-ended questioning. I consider coaching to be where you let clients self-discover what to do. Consulting is where you tell clients what to do. These frames of reference help me compartmentalise the help I give.
A real-life example of this is when I worked with a client who wanted to be a speaker. At first, I Coached him by asking him a series of questions about who he was, his values, his purpose, who he wanted to help and what a future day in his life looked like. Once cleared, I put on the Consultant hat and told him exactly what a professional speaking business looks like.
Armed with a brand, domain name ownership, a completed website, we set out into the marketplace to find gigs. A week later we found out that he was scared of picking up the phone and had a scarcity mind-set around money that would surely bottleneck any business progress. Often, when business homework doesn’t get completed, I find myself donning the Coaches hat again. The Coach, not the Consultant in this case, uncovers unsupportive belief systems around money, fear of failure/ success and self-image. It’s an amazing experience for both when these dissipate and the trajectory of business growth keeps moving forward.
From speakers to sales people, teenagers to teachers, egos to egalitarian founders, I really love coaching and I’ll never stop doing it because I firmly believe that we all need a coach if we have plans of going places in our lives and working on our bucket list.
Powerful Stories, Tips and Amazing Insight
Ready, Set, Go! Everything you need to know to start coaching from the legends in the field. As well as the Business and Life coaches, our launch edition features David Parkin (AFL), Lisa Alexander (Netball Australia), Adam Commens (Hockey Australia), Simon Cusack (Swimming Australia), Sean Douglas (FFA) and many more!