Cat Burnett staring directly into the camera

I am 129 days into my challenge to coach 365 hours in 365 days to raise money for Mind, the mental health charity.

So far, I have coached 100 hours. I’ve raised over £1300 in direct donations to Mind, and have around £800 to donate from block bookings. I’m behind on hours but have completely surpassed the amount in donations I’d expected to raise by this point. Imagine, I aimed to raise £2K throughout the year and I’ve already passed that less than half way through!

This challenge has been both harder and easier than I expected. Finding people to coach has been about as difficult as I expected, but I have more time to do so than I planned to thanks to being let go from my full time role in December. Raising money has been easier than I expected thanks to the generosity of my clients, but showing up online consistently has been particularly difficult so far. My following has increased, whilst my engagement has decreased. It’s a real mixed bag.

All that said, I already have some significant learnings from this challenge that I’d like to share with you here, now. I wonder how these will shift, develop, and change over the rest of the challenge, and if I’ll still hold them to be true in November. I suppose we’ll see! So without further ado, here’s the 5 things I’ve learned so far.

1. People are supportive and kind.

I am blown away by the support and generosity I’ve witnessed in doing this challenge so far. In the donations made, the referrals shared, and the testimonials that keep making their way into my inbox. I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect this. If anything, I thought people would find the constant promotion of my challenge annoying and inconveniencing. Instead, I’ve developed an unofficial team of relentless supporters who’ve shared what I’m doing in all sorts of ways and I am so very grateful. I’d like to send out my particular gratitude to Claire Sanders, Marta Migueis, Emma Burnett, and Clary Montero who have shared my challenge again and again in various places. I’m sure I would be much further behind schedule without their invaluable help!

2. One-off sessions can be powerful af.

I’ll admit, when I included one-off sessions as part of my challenge, I didn’t have high hopes. They were included as a lure; a way for people to try out coaching with me without having to make a lengthy commitment. If they liked the experience, they could book further coaching, and if they didn’t at least Mind would benefit. How much can you achieve in an hour anyway?

It turns out, you can do a lot in an hour. Over the last 3 months I’ve witnessed clients having serious lightbulb moments and coming to realisations that allow them to make meaningful change, in one single, standalone, session. I’ve received loads of testimonials from one-off sessions, when I didn’t think I’d get any. And repeatedly I’m reading how much value these clients found in the sessions. I’m even starting to receive messages from one-off session clients I had in November who want to let me know what changes they’ve seen since as a result of our coaching. I couldn’t be prouder, and I consider myself schooled. I’ll be offering one-off sessions when this challenge ends, that’s for sure.

3. It’s easier to coach in the morning.

Okay, so knowing that our attention spans decrease throughout the day and are replenished when we sleep… this shouldn’t have surprised me. But it did. Until January this year, I have always coached and supervised around a full-time role, meaning I exclusively worked on my business in the evenings and during the weekend. Full-time self-employed life has had one major twist and that’s that almost all of my clients prefer sessions during the day. In fact, I have all of 2 out of  26 clients who still prefer to schedule time in the evenings. Putting the limiting belief that people would only want coaching in the evening aside, it’s easier to coach in the morning! Both me, and my clients are more alert and creative, and the sun shining helps too! Don’t get me wrong, I’m a good coach at any time, but this is good to know.

4. The more you prep, the more you get out of it.

This one is for my clients or soon-to-be clients. After the last 100 hours, and 300+ hours of coaching in my career so far, I can safely say this is the trend. Clients who come to a session knowing what they want to get out of it are much more likely to leave with what they need than those who don’t prep for their session. Of course, what you want to get out of a session might be clarity, or to feel a particular way, it doesn’t have to be a tangible, action-oriented outcome, but knowing what you want to use the session for is important. We can do effective coaching without a clear direction, but the amount of impact is limited due to the time we need to spend on defining success criteria.

5. Coaching with tarot cards works, really well.

A couple of weeks ago I started an experiment. I decided to mix coaching with tarot reading. Not always, and obviously only when contracted to, but as an additional flavour for my one-off sessions it’s really working. I’m not strictly doing tarot readings, but am pulling cards and allowing my clients to draw conclusions from what they’re seeing. It basically works as an intuition aid, and it’s also a lot of fun. Coaching with tarot sessions feel lighter, even when the topics go to deep, intimate, and emotional places. I’m still experimenting with these sessions, but it won’t come as a shock to know that I’m thinking about integrating them into my usual offer, post-challenge. Plus, it means I can expense tarot and oracle cards as business tools… why wouldn’t I?

So there we have it, my initial learnings in this challenge – did anything surprise you?

I’ve still got 236 days left to go, and 265 hours more to coach, so if you interested or you know someone who might be, register your interest here.

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