In this week’s Mompreneur, we explore the life and goals of one mompreneur who started her own business as a life coach.
As the life and business coaching industry explodes, more people are turning to these paid professionals for a little extra help meeting all types of goals. This week, Alyce Blum, a mompreneur and founder of Alyce Blum Coaching and Consulting, shares why she left behind the security of her nine-to-five job to start her own business and how a professional coach can help a busy working mother. (Psst– this is the second of a two-part series. Check out the first part of Alyce Blum’s interview on networking here).
Ever since she was a young girl, Alyce Blum has been fascinated by figuring out what makes people tick. After earning her degree in International Relations from the University of Colorado Boulder, she set out to put her interest in people and their motivations to work, first as a legal recruiter for a prestigious Washington, DC law firm and then as a facilitator for international trade at the Canadian Consulate in Denver.
She quit her well-respected job and got a part-time gig for a yoga company, allowing her the time and mental space to refocus her attention and set new goals for her life.
“After years of working at these jobs that paid well and looked great on my resume, I realized that I was still unfulfilled and not tapping into my own innate strengths,” says Blum. So, she decided to make a radical change and “embrace the unknown.” She quit her well-respected job and got a part-time gig for a yoga company, allowing her the time and mental space to “refocus her attention and set new goals for her life.”
Blum signed up for an intensive twelve-month professional coaching training through International Professionals Excellence in Coaching, a program accredited by the International Coaching Federation, and spent a year learning the tools and skills she’d need to help her future clients determine, articulate and meet their goals. At the end of the program, she took a leap of faith and launched her own business.
Today, over four years later, Blum merges her professional and life experiences with her training to help people from a wide array of backgrounds and disciplines learn to strategically network. She believes that “we’re all craving deeper and more meaningful relationships, both personally and professionally” and she’s made it her life’s work to teach people how to achieve “qualitative and quantitative returns on the time and energy they spend connecting with others.”
Blum helps her clients determine action items through a curriculum that starts with a behavior assessment called The Energy Leadership Index Assessment, which provides clients with insight about what they think, feel and do in times of both low and high stress. From these results, Blum and her clients work together to develop clear, action-oriented steps to alleviate stress, tap into their strengths and achieve their ideal outcomes.
By helping her clients focus on where they’ve already been successful in their career, Blum can then guide them toward “figuring out ways to repeat successful actions, learning how to become even more visible in markets where they already have clients and, of course, helping them learn how to become visible in markets, organizations, and on boards where they are not currently accessible, memorable or visible. “
Blum believes that coaching offers endless benefits for women who are balancing career and family, starting or expanding a business, or contemplating a major life shift. As the mother of a young daughter, she knows firsthand that many women struggle to find time for themselves or feel guilty when they do, so “committing to a coach, a coaching group or some type of mastermind group is truly essential for moms who want to continue thriving professionally.”
The right coach can “feel like a combination of a best friend, inspiring boss and role model all in one,” says Blum. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that a coaching session is like happy hour with your best gal pal. Not only does a great coaching relationship offer support, guidance, and reassurance, it also offers another key ingredient to success: accountability.
Blum notes that a coach is much different than a professional friend or mentor because it’s the coach’s job to “challenge, push and hold clients accountable to the actionable steps they say they are going to take between sessions.” And since clients have a financial investment in the coaching relationship, they’re much more likely to follow through. Blum likens hiring a coach to hiring a personal trainer. “We all know that if we pay trainer we’re much likelier to show up and do the workout.”
“I hold my clients accountable to their goals, whether big or small, by checking in with them frequently and consistently so that nothing falls through the cracks,” says Blum. Since different people respond to different tactics, she tailors her check-ins to meet her client’s needs. Email works for some people, text reminders or quick phone calls for others. A face-to-face “booster” session can be useful before big events like conferences, negotiation conversations or pitches.
Ultimately, Blum brings everything back to knowing and understanding her clients—and the relationships she cultivates form the foundation of her coaching practice and help account for her success.
“I support my clients by creating safe and productive spaces for them to open up about what’s truly holding them back from finding more success and feeling confident in the work needed for them to thrive professionally,” she explains.
By truly getting to the heart of how her clients think about, process and experience their life and work, Blum champions their growth and development and finds great personal fulfillment. A win-win in any coach’s playbook.