#PERSPECTIVES | The Mess & Magic Behind My Multi-Million Dollar Mission
Discover all magic behind The Coaching Institutes success and the mess that comes with running a 8-figure business. Sharon is joined by the amazing Matt Lavars, the head trainer, who is literally the embodiment of everything that The Coaching Institute stands for. He is living his dream today as a successful coach, and a successful trainer, rocking out with our students. This episode goes into the raw truth and commercial reality behind the ups and downs of running a successful business. If you're up for a frank and open conversation about business success, this is the episode for you. So grab a cup of tea and join us as we dive into this conversation together.
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Elysium “Glam” Nguyen: Welcome to the perspectives podcast with Sharon Pearson. I’m standing here in an amazing room at The Coaching Institute head campus here in Melbourne with an incredible room of advanced coaches. And I have an amazing person joining us today. She is. She is the most successful coach in business in Australia today. She founded The Coaching Institute 15 years ago and since then we've gone on to impact millions of lives around the world in over 81 countries. She's here today sharing what it takes to create business success what it takes to run a successful coaching business. One is way beyond your wildest dream when she first started and we're not going to talk about how it started or how she did it how, how she does it today what it takes to run the coaching is to today and create the success that it is today would that b e awesome? Yes. So she founded The Coaching Institute, she wrote the first Diploma of life coaching. She went on to create the world's first and only research based coaching methodology, Meta Dynamics™ which you guys are rocking out with. And she's also she brought together over I think over 100 coaches professional coach in Australia . And together they founded the International Coach Guild on a mission to raise standards of coaching. She's an incredible woman who's done incredible things. And joining her on stage is the amazing trainer who is literally the embodiment of everything that The Coaching Institute stands for. He is living his dream today as a successful coach a successful trainer several speaker he's rocking out with you guys. So will you please join me in welcoming the amazing Sharon Pearson and Matt Lavars,
Sharon Pearson: Thank you for that great welcome. I just said to Matt that happens everywhere I go. Newsagents. Bakers, coffee shops, cinemas… The important thing is is having Glam in my handbag everywhere I go so she can do that incredible welcome.
Matt Lavars: She does such a good job doesn't she
S: She does so thank you for joining me on stage today.
M: Oh you're so welcome. Thank you so much for having me.
S: And thank you all, trust it’s okay I’m doing an encore with you all.
M: Because we thought it would be something that you guys would want to be part of.
M: You obviously get to listen to the podcast but you. You're in it. Yes. Which is really wonderful.
S: Yeah. So we thought what we would do is as Glam said rather than do how I began which I am interviewed endlessly. What were your first steps. What was your first million. I have recorded everything about how I began.
M: You've done it so many times
S: So many times. And this isn't for my entertainment. This is OK. What does it take to run a 8 figure. This is this is very rarely do we talk about well what is it to run an 8 figure and to run multiple and have new businesses. We don't tend to talk about where it's at now. So I'd like to say that because I think the coaching community gets a lot of examples of how to start and always show lots of examples, I wanted to show well if you start like that where do you get.
M: I think there's a lot of people in the industry that are newly successful so they go from I don't know how to do it too. You know I've done my first 10000 20000 a month.
S: I think most new coaches quit. Yeah I mean it's a reality. Why am I successful after this long. I lasted
S: A lot of it's lasting. I'm playing smart stuff my first year I would network and I kept meeting first year coaches. I met one five year Coach.
S: My first year.
S: Is it your experience you meet a lot of new coaches.
M: Yeah. And I see a new business start then dissolve.
S: I outlasted, I was never going to quit. So I built the bridges on doing anything else.
S: Because I tried the I'll put one time the water and see if it works out for me like it's going to do anything if I'm just got one toe in the water.
S: So it just became all in very early on. So things took off. My God I did that.
M: I think it's also your values; they’re very different to most business owners. I think most business owners have values of quick now and it doesn't matter how I treat other people. I see that a lot vs. the very long term thinking. Do the right thing and take care of people and how do you see because you've been in the industry for years.
S: Since before it was a thing in Australia.
M: Yeah that's a really long time, before Facebook.
S: It got personal fast
M: so people will be listening to this on Spotify YouTube and none of them existed.
S: Yeah I wasn't there when I was in coaching before those internet, email was just yea. So there was no Internet. So to get leads back in the day was a newspaper or magazine or speaking. Yeah there was spreading words. There was. It was very very expensive because I had been pretty well they had the whole market sign up. So today it's so easy for the mainstream businesses. So yeah. So as free internet. Yeah. Within the first year the Internet came into being. I was there for its public inception
M: And so because you've been there for a long time you must have seen so many people come and go. Like you were saying before. What's the difference. What why. Why have you stayed. And why have they not stayed.
S: Well I'm going to make myself look good with this answer so you get that because we can only see ourselves through the best frames possible. There may be aspects of why TCI is still going so strong and doing so well after all these years that are bad reasons. And I don't know that yet. You can only know what you know about yourself and your thinking. So maybe this is not true. But the best of my ability. The differences are longevity and attitude. I’m in this for life. Yes completely. I mean even longer. My God why would you why would you bother. That's why I think well why would you waste your time. I'm here to discover. How much I really mean what my values. Yeah. Like really running backs to the wall. And it's really tough. And it's not convenient.
S: Do I live my values because that's a measure of me inspiring myself.
M: Yeah. And you've had many opportunities for that to be.
S: Yeah I could've gone the other way I'd gone to the dark side. Yeah I am doing these because it meets my need for significance to be known. I mean we were laughing at the back of the room when Glam was so beautifully saying I was the most successful coach in Australasia, I went, ‘weird if I wasn't’ awkward.
S: I get significance from it
M: would be a shit introduction if it was like the second best coach in Melbourne. Doing well about to branch into Geelong.
S: So I get significance from I draw huge power like an Energizer. Yeah from being great at what I do.
M: Yeah it's super resourceful as well. This is great.
S: Yeah it fires me up to know I’m great at something that I'm unapologetically and unself consciously or my passion energy into rocking and doing it and demonstrating it as we did. Well you saw me last week it lit me up like a Christmas tree all the time I get to demonstrate so I'm fired up yeah. And it fuels my fire. Yeah to be great at it. Which means I try harder to learn more to be great at it just keeps self perpetual energy its free energy.
Yes free energy. Yeah.
M: Which is wonderful. I think most people come from the model we're talking about this. I think this morning or yesterday most people have the model of my life needs to balance.
S: That's the thing people are searching for.
M: What are you balancing out? You're balancing out the holidays with not wanting to be around work and it's such a broken model
S: the whole thing was introduced for the industrial age. Yeah so it was eight hours factory. The poem would go everyone had to go to work and do something you can plug in in school. The same number of hours so that I could all learn how to turn up the factory floor because most were worker bees.
S: There is nothing wrong with that but that's literally what society was when all the people flooded off the farms into the cities. The sound of the horn signified 6 days but then what. Take care of the kids. It became a production line.
S: And that's where balance came from. Eight hours of work eight hours of rest eight hours of sleep. So to me it's a construct. It's a cultural construct. I don't believe in I have a different construct. Yeah I have passion fuels me. It's free fuel.
S: So what we do is passionate. I do what's hard until it's passionate.
M: Yeah. That's really important. I don't think many people can get through that is can we push through the hard because the passion the passion is there.
S: My lack of it my liking it. Yeah. Not the point. Yeah it is about is that is me not mastering this getting in the way of me living all the things I've just mentioned. So. I love making a difference. I love the significance I have from being the best at something I love Oh my God I love hearing from people who are rocking and I can. I just that fires me up. I love having a place so this whole again this whole thing began with ‘Shazzaland’. I've told you that yes
S: So I was working out in the world in the real world. I didn’t like it. I didn't like the harshness in life the lack of people being to be transparent. I didn’t dig that people had to put on a front. And had to act a certain way.
M: Just so exhausting. the social norms and the bullshit.
S: Yeah you know if you want to brag because you proud of yourself so brag if you're feeling good about something you should. I mean it filters always through to how we answer the phone here as humans like a human being
S: I wasn't experiencing humanity I was experiencing this puffed up version of niceness of politeness and with a veneer of niceness underneath people undercutting each other. All right I get it. Yeah. So I just thought I want to create my own bubble.
S: I'm going to create ‘shazzaland’ and to join ‘shazzaland’ you gotta bring your inner freak. You're going to be yourself and you'll be comfortable with the fact you’re not perfect. And you're going to get some help if you want to. And if you don't you don't have to. But if you’re gonna do that you gotta do it for others as well. So the cycle can just self perpetuate so its just free fuel free fuel.
S: and so that became ‘shazzaland’ at the very beginning. Now I'm really bad attracting people who had my vision for ‘shazzaland’ at the beginning so it was the school of hard knocks.
M: Inside the business?
S: Yeah I just I attracted all the wrong people because I didn't know what it took in terms of me being congruent with my values and having a team around us both the same and just being singing the same song was. Same song was unavailable to us. Yeah. Then when we all start singing the same song we somehow just that code cracked. That was years ago now though we've been doing 8 figures now. I've lost count how many years over 10 years.
M: Which is just phenomenal it’s consistent.
S: Yeah the consistency is there we are on song most of the time. Because we train people who have the same kind of ethos
M: They love Shazzland
S: and they want to be part of their own version. You want to be part of your own ecosystem where all that applies all the time. Yeah and the shot is done every negative game to come down and I can't believe you said that. It's just us. We're okay together. Shazzaland has become TCI. Except it’s called The Coaching Institute but it's built on the same frame.
S: Don't come if we don't if you don't. Hey if you want to be a reverend. If you don't want some humor. If you're really going to get stuck up about my language and shit that doesn't matter because you've got an idea of how society needs me to behave as a woman you're not in the right place. Yeah. I want to be an example for women who did that but I'm not defined by the fact that I got lumps here and not down here on the. Yeah he's got lumps here. Not down they can have opinions and be bold and be resilient and be assertive and be opinionated and not always get her right. And that's always okay. And so I just want to be an example and encourage everyone else to be an example of that and to encourage that as well.
M: I love it and I love how you created this world because I think so many people putting a lot of effort to try to change everyone out there which is a complete waste of time.
M: Instead of just creating this phenomenal world I must invite people in that are match for it. And we talk about it all the time. It's like we just a lot of people love this community more than the real world's. I talk about it all the time and like sometimes I go out there and I'm like oh f*ck. It's a horrible place.
S: I go into company sometimes, as you know they are looking to hire me. I think I understand the problems you have there. It's nothing to do with revenues. Yeah it's how you thought about your business going.
S: You thought that it was about making money you didn't think it was about adding value and being generous and zigging when others zag yeah providing a place for people to express themselves in a way that has meaning to them. So our success is all of this there is obviously commercial reality and marketing reality. Yeah but a lot of it comes from that kind of ethos. So man are we able to views you during the value of your reverence. You know you can be with someone you trust so much when you don't have to be self-conscious conscious with them. That's your reverence. That's all I can say. And you're not going to judge me. You didn't get what I mean. There's a lot of permissiveness in that conversation is that and if he's not there for you yet. Wait can you tap into these so it's there because I know it is this right now it's happening right now. If you're experiencing it that where can we help you so you can experience of that. Yeah it's making sense. Yeah. Sorry. The idea is to get the gear into top gear which is freedom to make mistakes. Freedom to be flawed. Yeah freedom to hit a brick wall and not know what to do but be one to dig in to figure out how whilst you make mistakes
S: It's all of that and it's already a success. I'll just say in another interview the friends you want in life. Can handle when you f*ck up and handle it when you're rock. Yeah real friends can handle both.
S: Now I've had friends I'm sure you have to clear you when you down to this love the rescuing and now just they want to be in the pity party.
M: Hate the success
S: But then you rock. You've changed, damn right and loving it but they're not loving it. Always the other way around. You're always going to be up. You've always got to have it together. You can't fall too far. You can't look too vulnerable. Yeah how am I doing. Yeah. And then you feel really down. You need a hug.
S: I’m surprised
M: I had a coach say the other day she one of her friends message and said I saw a video you did the other day. That was really vulnerable and it made me feel really uncomfortable about the type of person that you are. I really want you to go back to being more positive and I was just like wow let that one go
S: Yep yep yep. And I wondered why that she's blocking that from people in her life. Yeah because that's that's her telling you when she's feeling really jammed up. You don't even know it yet. She thinks it will be fixed it'll all be fixed if you you you.
M: It's amazing. I love these had a reverence because I think this is this is the part of the secret sauce of TCI. Yeah is to hire people that want that. Yeah. The contrast I think is a HR apartment.
S: Yeah. Are you telling me with the business this size I need one.
M: Yeah. No.
M: So to me a HR department is children police right because people can't be mature and can't say
S: because you cant handle a problem.
M: Yeah many times have you and I handle the problem. That's all we do. I've had I've had it doesn't happen. Maybe once a year someone in my team will come up to me and say This person said this and I'll say How can I help. Well I. What do you want me to do. Have you spoken to them yet. Go speak to them. Instead of this weird can you speak to this person. Can we have a meeting without you here. It's just it's presupposing no one can handle anything slows everything down and it's just crazy.
S: I think it's an important part of our success so can we use it. So we have no maybe it's conversations like what is still not behind closed doors. I'm not so good at that. Neither do you, you wouldn't really mind I was there. It's not just it's happening so let's deal. And our conversations will be fierce. Like really fierce and for so long Yeah. It's been a cakewalk.
M: I'm sorry
S: it's been easy. But this is what I know. The grades they've been like. Yeah. Comes ready made. You know what. Yeah. Anything come from regular corporate. Well then not looking to unleash greatness. They're looking to unleash conformity compliance. Fitting in staying in your lane. Yeah. All the stuff that is just poison to me. Yeah. So I kind of got to decode people when they turn off. Yeah.
M: It took me many years. I mean many many. Yeah. I heard, What the fuck a lot.
S: But here's what I know. If Matt it's the same for everyone in TCI. If Matt can handle direct accurate message he can handle living it if he can hear it. He cant live it.
S: So all I was doing all those years working with Matt and other people that I helped develop. I'm not here anymore but when I was part of this was I am just testing like literally.
M: Yeah. Can I take it.
S: Can you take it. Yeah. Because if you can't take the conversation you can't take the reality of the business. Does that make sense if you can't handle being pushed in a conversation you are not going to like how much you pushed in business because business is going to shove you around a lot more than conversation. So anybody I can turn off. I wasn't trying to turn them off but if made delivering accurate truth turns someone off. They are not trustworthy when the truth happens and I'm not there. I happened to be on guard. I caught a moment where someone could be Matt or anyone who didn't fully embrace our values or didn't fully live the truth of who they can be. Made a poor judgement because that whatever they wouldn't bring in criteria that we've discussed. If I don't call it they're going to do the same thing next time and not even know if I call it and they still see it. They're never going to see and they're always gonna be a business liability. So I think TCI is trial by fire in the most wonderful way. What do you think.
M: Yeah completely and I think that it invites people to stop living more successful values and more successful attitudes. I don't think we've ever really come across someone who just has these values and has these ideas. They come in a hiring process with very very direct about Are you sure you're gonna want this show. You sure we give people a lot of feedback. I'm not saying you leave. I'm noticing you're not really and because we want to just checking can they actually. Because it's very easy in an interview to say. Yes. Yes. Oh I love that. Everyone says that we love you values. They they're amazing and I tell you my values. But then it's an opportunity for someone to step up into their best version of themselves to be able to actually start living the values someone and you discover within a week whether it's true completely. As I said to someone the other day I was hiring for sales role here and they asked about turnover and I said we have a much higher turnover many companies
S: we do
M: because I think she was looking for me to give her a certainty around us. Yeah because some people say that they want it and then they change their mind when they realize what it takes to be this successful
S: Our probation period for a 90 day period. Trainwreck
M: Yeah Yeah.
S: True story, not said with any self-consciousness whatsoever. Yeah because what people say in the interview they want I really want to challenge. Yeah. I don't know that means I really want to work hard. I really want to believe in something I don't want to be part of a culture where it matters that I show up. This is what we hear. I don't know but you hear it every day.
S: Are you sure that's what you want. OK. Trial they blow up. If it's not authentically true because all those things are actually the truth here. It is incredibly challenging it is incredibly hard work. You are gonna get feedback in real time.
M: we had a guy leaves after a half a day.
S: Yeah. Yeah well my record is trying to hire a CEO a few years ago. Yeah. This is the best story ever for how it is around here.
M: I know this story. Yeah.
S: So this is before we had a stable leadership.
S: I was trying to hire CEOs because again my goal since I began the business we step out of the business and have the business thrive without me. That was always the vision for TCI. So I think it's great that you guys you were seeing an action one of the only coaches in the world who has managed to achieve that. Does that make sense. I think it's some of the big names you know this still onstage. It's them every month.
S: Here with me.
S: I am not. I'm here as a volunteer because I’m annoying. and I always thought I'd be the model for my students. All this is possible where was I going with that?
M: Yeah you're about to tell the story about CEO story.
S: Oh yes the story So I thought I’d hire a CEO as a part of my next step. Yes I tried to hire two, they cost me a fortune goes bad not good times good times so I'd keep coming back into the business background so I'm going to get it. So this is the guy who came in for a day’s trial. Were you there when he said it?
M: Yep oh I don't know if I was there when he said it but I was part of it.
S: So at lunchtime before lunch on Wednesdays Wednesday Wow. Yeah. And our entire team gets together. Yeah wows each other based on the values and we rock out.
M: and we mean it and it’s passionate
S: so he saw that meeting?
M: Yeah. Yeah.
S: So he lasted until that WoW meeting on Wednesday. Then he said I don’t think I'm going to stay. I think you're all just too passionate.
M: That’s the first time someone said that and we thought to ourselves f*cking go us that’s good benchmark.
S: Yeah we out passioned the future CEO. Yeah I didn’t try convincing him to stay. Isn’t that a great story.
M: Yeah. Yeah.
S: My next great failure hiring CEO is all about oh wow youre getting this skim top of the depth of the mistakes. Yeah I'm just hitting the high spots so the next attempt do you remember?
M: I was there.
S: So this was really bad. I hired them. I hired them.
M: They were with us for quite some time.
S: Yeah 90 days. So I hired someone that's how bad my decision making was around this and how I wasn't thinking critically about it. And they were buttoned down. They had operations manager go around telling people to go have their afternoon break.
M: I got a message so I got a PM from this person saying just want to check in if you're working too much. And like I didn't even reach out to her it was I to check in. I think maybe you're working too much just here if you want a voice. It was weird it was like a coup. Yeah. Yeah.
S: So she went looking for where people could be working to have she hired an additional 10 people. Six of them went into the WOW team our support team and productivity efficiency and results plummeted to 20 percent of what they'd been before these extra people came in
M: It was horrible.
S: I was going to run the business at a loss for the first time at that point in 12 years so I think yeah eleven years I've had it for eleven years. Yeah and this was the meeting I had with her. The business isn't making money. Everybody needs a hundred percent pay rise and if you can't. If a company can't afford it and you can't come out of your personal money. You're allowed to mock me. I do really really badly with this hire.
M: It's horrible.
S: It's just how disrespectful is this. Yeah. Yeah. Are you appalled by this?
M: It's like it's unbelievable it's so bad it's nearly unbelievable
S: like I said I couldn’t possibly give everybody a 50 percent or 100% pay rise and she just went that’s okay just give it to me then. This is like I remember this conversation. I remember this sinking feeling you've done it again. I misjudged. Yeah. Good intentions and good words have added up to just shear shit. Yeah. They left and the business was a million dollars in debt. Oh and the general manager when I pointed out you've run up a million dollars in debt. That's not me. Who would you have me speak with your the CEO. I just don't like the level responsibility. Your quarter million plus plus CEO. Yeah you know what it's like getting feedback. I think I've got it wrong. Yeah what do you reckon?
S: So he left that afternoon.
S: And who noticed. Yeah. None of you. Yeah.
M: I remember you come up to me and you said this person's leaving this persons leaving. Does this affect you. And I'm anything. No. I don't think so. No.
S: I called the meetings said Why didn't you slap me over the head three months ago. Yeah. Remember that slip over the head being like why didn't you slap me before that.
M: And then it gave me
S: This is the reality
M: One of the one of things that because I was in the WOW team cause I was helping out support team and we had 10 people or something like that and was sucking and we took that down so I think at the time three people and nailed it.
S: Every benchmark was hit like this.
S: Nailed it
M: which took 3 versus 10 because every now and then if we're in the team and effort on then almost out they'll be like we need another person not like we did not we do. Another person is not the solution to this but they do know it is.
S: When we say it's how you think they don't get how much we know it's how we think it's how thinking is that the same number of students same demands say how we're doing and so I'm sure it's the same resources. So it's not a resourceful it's a resourcefulness problem. Yeah. And here's the key. When you get a decent sized business you people can handle that message. They're not like based on the bus. So if you're having to reassure them they can handle it and they believe they can handle it. You spend your whole time trying to convince them that they can handle it. You're not doing the thing. They are not finding a way. What are things might there's a third example of trying to hire a CEO.
M: You’ll get there. Yeah. Well instead of having a CEO we have a really functional leadership team.
S: Yeah. Yeah yeah. Yeah. The first time. Yeah. Carry on. It wasn't like that back then didn't so back even further. Another one that I tried to hire, I’m nothing if not tenacious which
M: She's allowed 3 mistakes and she used them all up.
S: There’s 4 CEO’s all up haha. This one didn't believe that they could help the sales team. And they said you need to convince me. So if I have to convince you to believe something. Doesn't that mean it's my belief and not yours. And they're in tears because I wouldn't convince them to change their belief so there's no accountability no self regulation no self anything it's just all me.
M: Was this the most recent one?
S: no no. This goes way back. You were a here for part of that one as well.
M: The commo