Business Coach Interview

Informational interviews are very important to those who want to dig deeper into their future careers. They offer a chance to learn from someone who has many years of experience and can provide a large amount of input. They give people the opportunity to ask personal questions about their field of study, and get into topics that they really care about. I have interviewed someone who runs their own business and created it themselves. Here is what I learned.

The Contact

Name: Julie Keyes
Title/Position: Owner/Business Coach
Company: KeyeStrategies, LLC.
Industry: Business Advisory

Questions about the Contact

Question 1: Tell me about a typical day?

A typical day is full of meetings. I meet with clients, strategic partners, prospects, and I go to professional events and seminars.

Question 2: What are the duties/functions/responsibilities of your job?

My main duty is to advise clients and help them create and implement growth strategies, and improve business operations. I also help clients create their business session plans, and exit strategies.

Question 3: Why did this type of work interest you, and how did you get started?

I’ve been a business owner my whole life, and when I was ready to get into a new industry, I started working with a life coach who encouraged me to become a coach. I then worked with a business coach who also encouraged me to become a coach. I started to consider it and asked people who knew me really well if they thought it would be a good career for me, and they said “It’s a perfect job for you.”

Question 4: What part of this job do you personally find most satisfying? Most challenging?

The most satisfying is when my clients recognize the value of working with me as their advisor through increased efficiencies, profit, and team cohesion. Also when they are happier because of it. Whatever I can do to help them sleep better at night. What’s challenging is finding new clients. Most business owners need my help, but most don’t recognize that they need it. Also working with people who say that they are coachable but don’t take my advice. Working with family businesses can be very challenging because family dynamics can get in the way.

Question 5: Which past jobs have been most helpful in getting you to this point in your career?

Owning and operating my own companies over a span of 23 years has probably been the most helpful, as well as the sales jobs that I’ve had in the past which taught me how to generate my own work.

Question 6: What are the skills that are most important for this job?

A good understanding of business operations, and a deep understanding of personality styles. Also empathy and courage because many times you have to say things that people don’t want to hear, but you have to tell them.

Question 7: If your job progresses as you like, what would be the next step in your career?

To become acquired by a larger firm where I could offer more services, and have less liability with a higher upside potential.

Questions about Communications Practices and Writing

Question 1: Could you please describe the typical kinds of writing you do and tell me a bit about it?

I write blogs and news letter articles regularly. I also write presentation material and give a lot of presentations, and I have to write the material ahead of time. I also am on a speaking circuit so I have to submit my speaking summary before the engagement. Also a lot of emails to clients, and job descriptions for my clients.

Question 2: What do you find most challenging about your day-to-day writing? What challenges do you think recent graduates face as they move from “academic writing” to “workplace writing”?

I think conveying a message through an email can be really challenging because it’s one dimensional, and you want the message to be understood completely because it’s easy to misconstrued. Most of my emails are very important and I have to read them out loud to make sure it makes sense, and that the tone is right. Recent graduates will deal with the same problems because you have to be aware of the tone of the message and be really clear. Academic writing isn’t really communicating, it’s most getting a message across. In the business world it’s all communication.

Question 3: How would you describe the balance between written and oral communication in your workplace?

I have equal amounts of both. I do a lot of email, but I also do a lot of speaking. By the end of the day I’m kind of done writing and speaking, so I would have to say its a pretty even balance of the two.

Questions seeking Advice for you

Question 1: Can you suggest some ways a student could obtain this necessary experience?

You could get certified as a business coach, you could obtain a certification as an exit planner; both of which I’ve done. A business education or some form of business education like marketing is important. Knowing how to write is important. Understanding and educating yourself on different forms of business development. Understanding financial statements, and studying systems and operations in business along with certain types of business psychology books. Strategic planning, learning how to write business plans. All forms of business communication including social media.

Question 2: How could someone evaluate whether or not they have the necessary skills for a positon such as yours?

I think the best way would be for someone to work with someone in my industry as a mentor. Or just interview someone who does what I do to ask for guidance. It’s very rare that you see a job description for what I do, most people can’t do it. It takes a very delicate balance of logical thinking, forward thinking, and empathetic understanding because there’s a lot of emotion in running a business. Be there for when your client wants to jump off a cliff, and for when they want to celebrate.

Question 3: What other jobs or fields would you suggest someone to research that are similar to yours?

Life coach, career coach, executive coach, investment banker, business consultant.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

I have learned an immense amount of information through this interview. I have gained a new respect for business owners because I have been shown how much work and effort gets put into a days work of owning a business. I was surprised by how much experience and expertise Julie had. She knows so much about owning a business and it really shows in her comments. I will take away from this interview my thoughts on hard work and effort. I will start to have a greater mindset when it comes to my future and knowing what I want to do in my life. I won’t settle for any old job, I will chase my dreams and do what I love to do without being afraid to take a risk.