When Jenni Shubring first became a life coach, she imagined she'd be working with people in her local area. Instead, she found — through speaking at a women's business conference — she could impact people from all over the world if she embraced working virtually. Here's her story about the path she took to become a remote worker, and why every business owner would benefit from working with a life coach.
What made you become a life coach?
Becoming a life coach has been a journey. I’ve always been a person that people come to for a listening ear, for empathy, for looking at a situation from a different perspective, and sometimes, advice.
In 2012 our church received a grant to put together a process called Transformational Discipleship. I was one of the 15 people who participated. The process included the services of a life coach. I loved the process. It was challenging, difficult, and full of growth. The whole process changed me and my journey for the good. Life coaching was an imperative piece of that change.
I started working as a receptionist at a small counseling clinic. What the counselors noticed was that their clients were starting to come to their appointments 20-30 minutes early so they could talk with me first. Those counselors then encouraged me to go back to school to become a counselor, but I had no desire to go back to school.
At the same time, the developer of Transformational Discipleship and principal of Nexecute, Mark Freier, had been working with me and saw my potential in life coaching. The combination of knowing my strengths, my values, my purpose, and my story directed me to life coaching. I started my business and became Nexecute licensed. It really is a perfect fit for me and my ability to help people.
As a life coach, have you always worked remotely? And if not, tell me how you transitioned into being a remote worker?
No. My practice clients, if you will, were local, as well as my first client. However, my first business conference, the Women's Business Lakeside Conference, in Lake Geneva, was not local. There I met wonderful people that I wanted to work with. I realized that I can serve people from anywhere quite early in my business. In fact, I meet with most of my clients remotely. I just recently decided to make myself more known in my local community, which has been fun.
Do you work with your clients in person or online or both? What are the pros and cons of each way you can work with clients?
I work with my clients in whichever way works best for them. My local clients typically meet in person, which I love. I meet with my non-local via Zoom.
I love working in person because I get to see the whole person--the nuances of their body language, their energy--and they get to experience mine. Since I don’t have my own space (yet) we often meet at a local coffee shop. I live in an area that has amazing coffee shops. But sometimes life coaching touches open wounds and that can get tricky in a public space.
Virtual sessions allow for privacy. However, we all know how technology can be a blessing and a curse. I also have a family of 7 so when they are home, locking myself in my room only does so much.
I’m not sure if this is a pro or con, but meeting in person is more challenging to keep to a 1 hour session where virtual makes it easier to stay within time.
Why do you think business owners need a life coach?
I’m not going to lie--I think everyone one needs a life coach.
But business owners have a lot to gain through having a life coach for their businesses as well as their personal lives. We all see things through our own lens--whether it is an accurate lens or not. Having a life coach shows us a more accurate picture of our reality. When it comes to business and working with people, this is imperative to having a successful business. A life coach is paid to be honest--to speak truth--even when we don’t want to hear it. A life coach shows the way to personal growth (which is usually uncomfortable) AND walks through it with you. A life coach helps with mindset by uncovering who we are and why we think the way we do. Self-awareness is invaluable in business. Business owners know that when our life is in order, our productivity, creativity, and attitudes all improve. That only means good things for business.
What’s the difference between a business coach and a life coach?
The biggest difference between the two is that a life coach looks at the whole person whereas a business coach focuses heavily on business and performance. When I work with someone, we look at relationships, spiritual matters, home life, family, recreation, and business. Business coaches focus on business. That might mean they look at the other areas but the focus is on business.
The other big difference is how a life coach and a business coach approach things. I use a method called co-active coaching. This approach empowers my clients to find their own answers. I don’t give advice. I ask questions that bring them to their own conclusions. I offer tools that support them in their decisions. A business coach often gives advice.
Both life coaching and business coaching have their place and are valuable.
What would you say to a business owner who was considering working with a life coach? What should they do before hiring someone?
Ask yourself what you want to get out of having a life coach--what are your expectations. Even if you can’t answer that question, it’s ok, get yourself to start thinking that way. Be aware that having a life coach means putting in some hard work. You truly get out of it what you put in. Ask yourself how much are you willing to put in?
Then research. Many life coaches have a free discovery/clarity call. Talk to them. See if you click. There are many certifications/licenses out there. If those are important to you, find out what it took to become certified/licensed.
I do believe that even more important than certifications/licensing is knowing that the life coach has a life coach. They need to walk the talk.
I love to hear how different business owners schedule out their days. What is a typical day in the life look like for you?
5:30: Wake up and lay in bed. I pray and focus my mind on my motivation to do the things I need to do that day. Check my calendar and Facebook.
6:00-7:30: Get up, drink coffee with my husband, and make sure everyone gets out the door on time.
7:30-8:15: Solitude time
8:30-9:30: Work out
10:00-4:00: Coaching sessions, business development, networking, reading, writing, podcasts, etc. I have adaptability in my top 5 strengths, and discipline in my bottom 5 so I give myself the space to do the things I need to do with freedom as to when I do them within this boundary of time.
4:30-5:30: Dinner with family that is home
6:00-8:00: Getting my kids to and from their activities.
8:00-9:00: Down time in the living room where the kids come and go and talk about their day.
I am a mom, foster mom, and wife first. I currently have 5 kids under my roof--4 of which are teenagers. Life gets crazy. I go with the flow.
What do you like most about working remotely?
I love the adaptability that comes with working remotely. I can be almost anywhere and make it work--whether it is a coaching session, social media, or other productivity.
What are the challenges?
I am an extrovert. I get my energy from other people. Being intentional to have human contact during my days is healthy for me. Working remotely can be lonely, especially when I don’t have client calls scheduled. Staying motivated and focused can be a challenge too. I work hard to put external motivation pieces into place so that I can be held accountable.
Okay, let's pull out the crystal ball — Where do you see yourself in five years?
I don’t love this question. Mostly because I’ve never been right. I never thought we would move to Green Bay. I never thought I would homeschool. I never thought I would foster teen boys. I never thought I would be a life coach. I certainly never thought I would have my own business. I stopped guessing a while ago. I really go into life with my palms up in surrender to what God has planned for me because I could have never planned as good of a life that I have now.
If I have to answer, I would love to see myself with a full client load as well as nation-wide speaking engagements. By then I will be down to one child under my roof (which just seems crazy right now). Having my husband travel with me would be a bonus.
One more question for you – What does your workspace look like?.
My husband made a trundle desk in the corner of our bedroom. In theory this is a great idea. The desk, when not in use, can be folded up against the wall. However, the reality is that my desk is never cleared off to do so. So it stays down at all times with all the things sitting on it. I have my motivation board in front of me and my favorite books on a bookshelf next to me. It’s a nice space. When no one is home, I do like to work on my couch or on the kitchen table--depending on how clean those spaces are. I also love getting out of the house and into the local coffee shops. My workspace can vary greatly.
Looking for more advice on working remotely? Check out our newest book, 30 Hacks for Productive Remote Workers, part workbook and part guide that will help you work smarter, not harder. Oh, and did we mention that it was written by remote workers for remote workers? This advice is tried and tested, and we know it will help you maximize your productivity.
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