I attended Southwest Institute of Healing Arts which is an accredited private school in Tempe. There I completed the 100 hour transformational coaching certification which consisted of training and coaching skill-based labs. In addition I completed an additional 20 hours to gain a certification in corporate coaching (also from SWIHA) and an additional 8 hours of training from attending International Coaching Federation workshops and seminars.
Our studies and training focused on learning how to ask coaching questions, be a keen observer, make powerful requests and connect the client with resources that creates the behavior and mindset changes needed to achieve their goals, create change and grow as an individual.
Our labs were like taking oral exams over and over and over. We would coach our peers in front of other peers and our Master Certified Mentor Coaches who would provide us honest and feedback that was sometimes tough to hear. We were expected to master the art of coaching as well as the different coaching activities we were taught.
In addition to my certification from SWIHA, I also have 10 years experience in nonprofit management. I was blessed to work at a local non-profit in Phoenix where I managed over 200 individual volunteers; wrote program policies and procedures; chaired multiple fundraising events; marketed the volunteer program and facilitated the volunteer orientation, interviews and training.
I also have 10 years experience and a degree in early childhood education and family studies. This education and experience has provided me with an understanding of how adults (just like children) think, learn and grow. Because of my work with the parents and children at the non-profit I had the privilege of attending many seminars and workshops on how our brain works and how trauma can affect us. This has proven extremely valuable in my coaching as it gives me a unique perspective into where my clients are and what may or may not be affecting their forward momentum.
As for my business experience, I opened my first business in my senior year of high school at the age of 17. Nails By Erin offered natural nail care, acrylic nails and pedicures. I worked four days a week while attending college three days a week. I was responsible for my own marketing, product management, appointment setting, accounting, budgeting and client relations. It’s here that I learned the lesson that giving away your service at a discounted rate to friends doesn’t make you money and eventually wreaks havoc on your friendships—a lesson that still holds value today.
And since 2006, I have coached with over 250 individual women and businesses, accumulating more than 9,000 hours of coaching. According to ICF, coaches need 125 hours of training, 750 hours of client coaching experience and 10 hours of work with a Mentor Coach to qualify as a professional certified coach. And to become a master certified coach, you must have 200 or more hours in coach specific training, 2,500 or more hours of client coaching experience, 10 hours with a qualified mentor coach and reference letters from three qualified coaches. So as you can see, I fall somewhere in between a professional certified coach and a master certified coach. (I wish reading coaching books and attending personal development courses counted as training—then I’d for sure be a master coach—wink, wink.)
The short answer—no. While asking the right question in the right moment is a key part of great coaching, digging around blindly for answers with no structure or end destination in mind is not nearly as effective as coaching with structure and direction.
So, while I use a traditional coaching approach of knowing you have the answers to your challenges, I also know how important it is to have a structure and process to knowing what answers we’re looking for and in what order it’s important to discover those answers.
After 10 years of coaching, I have discovered that my clients excel when I offer constructive feedback and share tidbits of my own experiences. That’s why my coaching style has evolved to include the power of traditional coaching questions mixed with resources, activities and exercises to move you forward.
Sparks is the online mastermind community where my current clients gather to mastermind, reflect, celebrate and support. The Sparks Community Chat is an extension of that online community, allow us to gather in “real life” virtually. Because there’s so much to be said for personal connection.
During a community chat, members discuss challenges they’re having and ask questions of me and other members. The diversity of the group allows for many different perspectives and personalities to weigh in. And the group is small enough that everyone can have some input throughout the virtual meeting.
I also come to the chats with a “topic in my pocket.” Using my current clients as a guide, I look at some of the challenges I’ve noticed recently in one-to-one coaching and talk about it during the chats. That gives everyone the opportunity to benefit from a piece of feedback, advice or ah-ha moment experienced in coaching calls.
The community chat is completely optional, but members who attend gain great insights and move forward more quickly than other clients.
I’m constantly learning and developing my coaching practice, but in general I’d have to say that it revolves around this: Business growth means personal growth, which means business growth. If you grow yourself, your business will grow too.
I also believe in Steve Covey’s philosophy that you should always begin with the end in mind. Have a clear vision for your business and build a sturdy foundation for that business. From there, develop solid systems that can accommodate change and growth (because your business will change and grow!).
You are your business and your business is you. Co-existing is key, but it’s important to avoid cohabitation because life balance is key. I believe that mindset, emotions and personal awareness are the oil that keeps you and your business lubricated. But you need to make sure yours is the right oil for the job or you’ll end up with a machine that runs slowly, is clunky or, worse, breaks down.
I believe that we can’t do it all alone, and that outside influences can and should have a place in your business. These influences can help create a plan that you integrate into your business so it can grow smoothly and consistently.
Want the truth? (Even if you can’t handle the truth—here it is!)
There are going to be times in our coaching that you’re not going to like me. There might even be times when you’re down right mad (ok, pissed off) at me. It happens. It’s normal. It’s all part of the process.
Sometimes my questions are going to lead us to places you don’t want to see. Things you don’t want to admit. Things that make you squirm. However, it’s times like these when my clients see the most growth. The feelings subside and my clients are left feeling grateful and relieved that they got rid of whatever junk we tapped into. Oh, and trust me—you’re not the only one uncomfortable during coaching moments like this. It’s the toughest part for me and the hardest part of my job as your coach: to be there in those moments, allow you to feel upset with me, to hold the space for you to grow.
I’ve always said (even to my best friend) I’d rather you be mad at me and grow then for us to be the best of friends and you stay stuck where you are.
Not the answer you were looking for? Okay, okay. Here are a few ways clients describe me and my coaching style that might help you out.
“I like that Erin asks Socratic questions. They always seem to help me answer my own questions and further gain my security in how I answer them for myself.” - Erin Smith
“Working with Erin is like having a guide to walk you through the process of envisioning and creating your business. Erin’s coaching style is relaxed and fun, but very competent--a combination that I very much appreciate.” - Jenny Alton
“Erin keeps you on course, not allowing you to get complacent, and does a thorough review of every part of your business that is essential for success. You’re always learning something! Erin is direct, motivating, flexible, and encouraging.” - Sarah Gill
“Erin is an incredibly active listener and watcher - she listens intently to what you are meaning instead of what you are saying, she calls you on your own BS and watches what you do in person and online to better serve you during the coaching. It's amazing the insights she's gotten from seemingly small things I've done or said or posted. She picks up on little cues that most people miss. You feel very paid attention to and important. She holds your hand while kicking you in the pants. She challenges you while supporting you.” - Alicia Fields
“Erin is an approachable and casual no-nonsense coach. Erin uses her incredible type of intuition to force you to explore and make connections you never would have dreamed of making. She has no problem making you dig deep, and is both ready and willing to ask the hard questions (and allow you to answer them) without pressing her own beliefs on you.” - Embrolic Selby
Yep! Everything we discuss is between you and me—only. Whenever we meet it will be just you and me. The only time I share anything about my clients is if they decide to fill out a testimonial release form and give me permission to share that via my marketing.
It depends. I offer packages that start at three months and others that are full-year packages. After our Clarity Creator session, we’ll talk about where you and your business best fit.
All my clients start with a Clarity Creator Session. I think it’s important to get to know one another before we dive into a long coaching package. You want to make sure that I’m a good fit for your business and I want to be sure that I can help you.
Many clients come to me not knowing what coaching looks like. We always start with talking about what it is and how it works. Then I’ll work to help you gain clarity around some of the challenges you’re having in business, based on what I see in your prep form that you fill out prior to our session.
The Clarity Creator isn’t just about getting to know one another; we really dive into coaching so you receive true value as well as action steps you can take to move your business forward. We wrap up with some forward momentum activities and identify next steps you can take to continue to grow. We’ll talk about what coaching might look like for you, moving forward, and we finish up with the ball in your court.
While I see the value in group coaching, I find that my clients make the most forward momentum when we work one-on-one. We can tackle individual challenges and goals and really focus on you, the client.
I do offer a group mastermind model in my Sparks Community. This private Facebook group is a place where my clients gather and communicate. It’s a place to vent, celebrate and collaborate in a completely judgement-free atmosphere.
My two top specialties are:
- Women solopreneurs: women who own their own business where they provide direct services to their clients while also operating their business.
- Women in business partnerships. My focus is on working with two person partnerships where at least one partner is an active co-owner of the business.
My areas of focused expertise include:
- Personal Development for Business Owners
- Life and Business Vision
- Brand Foundation
- Service Structure and Development
- Business Operations and Management
- Client Relations
- Business Partner Relationships
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*both held via private online video conference