I had the opportunity to speak with Curtis G. Schmitt, a self described Health Nut and Weight-Loss specialist who has been working in the coaching industry for approximately ten years. Over the course of the past decade, Curtis has evolved in his practice and approach to working with clients and was kind enough to give me a glimpse at the trajectory of his career.
Before Curtis was a weight loss specialist, and before he was a coach at all, he worked in the information technology field. After working in IT for a while, he became depressed because he didn’t like what he was doing and who he had become – so he decided to change.
At first he turned to film making, a long time interest he had always wanted to pursue. Curtis wanted to contribute to the world, and thought that film might offer a venue to make that happen. After a while he realized that the film making process was too long; he had a desire to make change happen in less time.
So he asked himself: “How can I make a more immediate impact on the world?”
Having been a fan of Tony Robbins for a while, the idea of coaching resonated with Curtis. People have been coming to him for advice throughout his life, and he realized he could turn his natural empathy into a career.
Not being a huge fan of conventional training and curriculums, Curtis created his own educational program to prepare himself for his new career. This involved watching Anthony Robbins training videos, studying books on coaching, and working with a coach who taught him a body centered approach to helping clients have breakthroughs.
If you aren’t familiar with Anthony Robbins, here’s a short video you can watch:
Here are some books Curtis recommends:
One of the ways Curtis connected with potential clients was through offering teleclasses. When he started out, coaching was really new and exciting. His areas of focus were on time management, health, and wellness. One of his natural gifts is to listen to the innate wisdom someone possesses that they may not be hearing, and to help them connect with that.
Naturally, trial and error is part any new endeavor. Curtis told me about a home study course he offered when he first started out. It was 10 parts, which was really complicated and elaborate. He realized he was trying to coach everyone on everything, and ultimately, it wasn’t effective. Unfortunately, many coaches get caught in the trap of having a vague mission and unspecific audience.
What His Coaching Looks Like Now
Now Curtis has a more developed skill set that allows him to offer webinars/teleclasses that are valuable in and of themselves, while still letting potential clients know what he has to offer and if his services are right for them. He recommends http://instantteleseminar.com for creating your own webinars/teleclasses.
Curtis also shared one of the keys to success for anyone interested in working as a coach. The way you present your services is extremely important. He found that once he identified his specialization in weight loss, he was able to attract more people. Weight loss was an attractive specialization for Curtis because he empathizes with the acute pain that people often experience in relationship to their weight. He has found weight-loss to be the nexus between health and self-esteem, which are in his opinion the two most important areas of a person’s life.
By helping people alter their habits and lifestyle, he is able to impact their life across many dimensions. Not only do they experience better health, but they experience better relationships, self esteem, and the effects span from a client’s personal to professional life.
Curtis also emphasizes the importance of offering a concrete objective for potential clients. For example, by participating in his 100-Day Smarter Weight-Loss Bootcamp, his “big promise” is that you will lose 20 to 40 lbs. in 100 days. The way you present your services is pivotal to the receptiveness of your audience. You have to meet clients where they are at.
Understand how people are defining their own problem, and then create a door for them to walk through. Once someone walks through that door (what they want), you can coach them on what they really need. Curtis also expressed the necessity of speaking a client’s language, because too often a disconnect is created when a coach doesn’t make an effort (and maybe doesn’t realize they should be making an effort) to use the terminology that resonates with the person they are working with.
Curtis works with people all over the world not just in the United States; he has had one client who lives in Paris for about eight years. He also has had clients in Canada, Australia, and Singapore. He is able to cover this distance by coaching over the phone, through webinars, and creating online communities for clients to interact (specifically clients who are members of his group coaching program).
When creating a program that will engage many participants, allowing for group interaction (for example, creating a Facebook community) enhances the client’s experience. Curtis sometimes offers two for one deals to people who want to get involved in challenges with friends, because he sees a higher success rate when that dynamic is introduced.
There’s always a context for wellness, and that’s what Curtis wants for his weight loss clients to understand. Many people come to the idea of being healthy because they feel like it’s the right thing to do, but they don’t take the time to understand why they feel that way. Curtis recognizes that for wellness to work for someone, they have to identify a more meaningful why, and it needs to be a reason other than “I’m this way and I shouldn’t be.” Health is person specific.
Advice From Curtis For People Interested in Coaching
*Pick a specific problem, don’t be too general.
*Present a very clear “door” for people to walk through.
*A group dynamic can be a powerful tool.
*It’s okay to keep your pricing in the background until people truly understand the value of what you are offering; if you give them the price too soon you can scare them away.
*Price your services in a way that will make your client feel invested. He’s found that when people pay too little, they don’t see the same follow through or results as someone who paid more.
*Trust is a huge part of coaching, which is why many successful coaches are letting their personalities be part of their brand.
*The coaching market is over-saturated with people who market themselves as a coach. Most people out there aren’t thinking, “You know what I need, I need a coach.” They’re thinking, “I have this problem and I need a solution.” There’s a real opportunity for coaches who position themselves as specific solution providers, instead of general coaches.