What does a pair of shoes have to do with life coaching? And what does life coaching have to do with survival shows like Naked and Afraid? Read on to discover how that connection - combined with a spontaneous outdoor adventure trip - led Eliot Andre to a career as a life coach.
Eliot and Lauren Andre run a life coaching and counseling practice called Connected Roots, offering one-on-one coaching, individual and group therapy. Recently, Eliot sat down with Brandon Baker at Life Coach Path for a Coach's Circle interview. This interview was notable because not only was it the first episode of the Coach's Circle podcast, but it yielded many important insights for current and future life coaches.
From Shoe Sales To Hiking Shoes… And What It All Means For Transformation
Eliot works primarily with men in outdoor recreational settings, consisting of hikes, outdoor group activities, and weekend nature retreats. However, his career actually started with an Environmental Science degree, a minor in Human Geography… and a penchant for selling shoes.
Curious about how these things sparked a life coaching career? So was Brandon Baker.
Eliot’s unique combination of academic subjects, and his real-world experience interacting with people as a shoe salesman, led him to what he calls "the practice of people."
"Really, it was figuring out how to interact with people in their environments, and that really sparked my interest in working with people and learning from them," Eliot explained.
The next catalyst in Eliot’s journey was his wife Lauren pointing him toward a three-day wilderness retreat. As a fan of shows like Survivor and Naked and Afraid, Eliot already felt drawn to the outdoors, so he figured, “Why not?”
Taking time away from his regular life, and in a unique setting, he realized he could embrace uncomfortable situations and overcome massive challenges. He then became inspired to help others do the same.
Find Your Life Coach Niche
Brandon and Eliot then discussed some keys to success as a life coach, including the importance of finding a niche. Eliot stressed the importance of defining your audience and focusing on your area of expertise. "One thing I struggled with [was thinking] 'Oh, I can do anything, I can help anybody,'" Eliot admitted. But now that Eliot has established his life coaching career, he has total clarity that working primarily with men is where he can deliver the most transformational results.
Echoing on Eliot’s comments, Brandon pointed out that life coaches should embrace their own uniqueness, much like how Eliot discovered his combination of life coaching and outdoor recreational therapy as his approach.
Brandon and Eliot didn't just discuss the "big picture" themes of life coaching. They also delved into the biggest rewards and challenges he faces on the job. One of the biggest rewards, Eliot said, is seeing his clients make progress, and the pride they experience from their accomplishments. And while Eliot provides a framework to help them achieve that progress, ultimately they must do the work themselves. Eliot loves seeing his clients take ownership of their own accomplishments and realizing how their lives have been improved.
As far as challenges, Eliot said, the biggest one is marketing, because it doesn’t necessarily come naturally for life coaches to market themselves in a way that attracts attention. While Eliot was fortunate to have had prior sales experience, it still wasn't easy, and Brandon also agreed it's not easy for life coaches to put themselves out there to sell their services.
Brandon pointed out that marketing can be "counterintuitive for natural-born life coaches," because it may go against their most valuable skills and assets. For example, because life coaches tend to have excellent soft skills and natural empathy, they may not want to “bother” people with advertising. Plus, life coaches are generally listeners rather than talkers, which may not serve them from a sales and marketing perspective. And finally, life coach certification courses may not cover the marketing side of the business.
Nonetheless, sales and marketing are critical skills life coaches must learn, because they can’t help people if they aren’t meeting potential prospects.
The Importance Of A Support Network
How did Eliot succeed in spite of the marketing challenges he faced? He did so by leveraging support from a colleague and fellow therapist who had faced the same rough patches as Eliot. "Give yourself time," he advised. He encouraged Eliot to keep working, keep marketing, and keep connecting to other life coaches - powerful advice that kept him motivated when times were difficult.
It took Eliot two years and a lot of work to establish his practice. "It didn't happen overnight," Eliot said, and he advises other life coaches to expect the same. Getting off the ground isn't easy, but having a support network can help new coaches persist through the startup phase.
Life Coach Eliot Andre At Connected Roots
Want to learn more about Eliot Andre's life coaching practice? You can find him at Connected Roots, which offers life coaching, therapy, and business development services for mental health professionals. Take a look at the Connected Roots website, and check out the full podcast interview at Life Coach Path. Life Coach Path is an educational resource for students and aspiring coaches to learn more about what it takes to become a coach, information on coaching methods and techniques, and how to get certified. Click here to learn more.