Today I’m sitting down with Kim Ades. Kim is been someone I’ve idolized for a long time. She’s been able to do what many coaches have never figured out- she has scaled a strong, sustainable and profitable coaching company.
Kim Ades is the president and founder of Frame of Mind Coaching and JournalEngine Software. Author, speaker, entrepreneur, coach and mum of five, Kim has 15 years of experience coaching many of North America’s most respected leaders. Recognized as an expert in the area of thought mastery, Kim uses her unique philosophy and quirky coaching style to help her clients deal with core issues and shift their thinking in order to yield extraordinary results. I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did.
Kim, thank you so much for taking the time. I know that you are, as all of us are right now, pivoting within your business. I’d love to talk about that towards the end of our interview. But first off, tell us who you are, because you really are someone we should all know.
As you mentioned, I’m Kim Ades and I am the president and founder of a company called Frame of Mind Coaching and JournalEngine Software. What we do is we coach leaders all over the world and we look at how they think and how their thinking impacts their outcomes. Specifically, we do it through not only coaching calls or conversations but through a pretty intense and intimate journaling process, where our clients journal with our coach every single day, including weekends.
Yeah, that’s amazing. I feel like that process of journaling, particularly now, in light of everything that’s going on is so critical to our being.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we have found that people need to express themselves, they have all kinds of thoughts, emotions, beliefs, all kinds of things that are bubbling up to the surface that they don’t know what to do with. So we’ve actually invited anybody and everyone who would like to journal in a community, like specifically now at this time to come and journal for free and just communicate with one another. That is not the same as social media. It’s not reposting old news or memes. You know, it’s just a totally different experience where people are really being open about their true deep feelings.
Amazing. So we’ll put that link down in the show notes so that people can hop in and use that resource. What should we be seeing when we’re journaling?
Well, what we’re trying to do is really understand what is the core belief or the set of beliefs that people have, that they’re leaning on at a time like this, to guide their behaviours, to guide their relationships to guide what they do and what they don’t do. And to guide really how they feel when things are so uncertain. We’re looking at like, what’s going on? What are your deep-seated beliefs, like what’s surfacing as a result of this experience that is brand new for everybody in the world?
So, I feel like a magnifying glass is a sort of being put on those internal beliefs that we all have right now.
100% we’re journaling in one person feels like oh my god, this is a long-awaited vacation and I’m so glad to just have some downtime. Another person feels like oh my god, what if I run out of food? You know, another person feels like okay, well, how do we lead at this time? It’s all unclear. So everybody has a different experience. And everyone has a different way of processing what we’re going through right now.
Yeah. And I love that. And so that’s a free tool that you’re offering to people at this time to help them through these crises.
Yes. And we have our team of coaches who are also participating in the process. So it’s already quite a vibrant community, people are journaling. It’s quite amazing.
Your business is really fascinating to me because you’ve been able to do what most women entrepreneurs who start a service-based business are not able to do. You have scaled your coaching business. Can you talk us through a little bit about what that pivot point was where you went from doing one-on-one? What was that journey like?
When I first started coaching people, I had no coaching experience, so I was absolutely terrified. And one of my greatest fears was what the heck am I going to talk to anybody about for a whole hour? Yeah, that’s just way too long. So I thought, you know what, I’ll work in a group, right? Like, I’ll coach people in a group that way. Everybody will talk for five minutes. And then the hour will pass. And then I don’t have to do all the talking. So at first, I did coach groups of five, and that was fine. And then suddenly, I came across one individual who said, Can you coach me individually? And I thought, sure, right, but I was terrified. I was just scared. But as I started to coach him, at the end of every single call, he would say, I hate you, which really meant that we’re making massive progress, right? That we are hitting some pretty key core beliefs that were really addressing some of the things that he’d been grappling with his whole entire life.
As I was going through that experience, I started to understand that not only was my process very powerful but I intuitively and instinctively, really understood coaching at a much much, much deeper level. So as we work together this one client, my first one-on-one client said, Okay, well, I’m not ready for this to end, how do I continue doing things with you? How do I get involved? And I said, Why don’t you co-coach the next group with me? He is now one of my longest-term coaches who works with The Frame of Mind Coaching. So over time, we built a group, a team of coaches, and we have developed a certification process to teach anybody in the world this method of coaching, which goes deep, quickly, and has an impact in a short period of time.
So he was the first one who came on board, and slowly I started to understand there’s a method to my madness. I’m not just inventing it like there are logic and reasoning, a process and a skill set that’s attached to this. And when people started to ask me to help them coach more effectively, I started literally putting together a coaching manual, a coaching system. A coaching training process. The minute you take your own expertise and hand it over to someone else is the minute that your business can be scalable, as long as you capture that transfer of knowledge.
You know, that’s amazing. So I think the thing that I want to point out here is that you were building the plane as you were flying it
You did not have this beautiful roadmap where you’re like, Okay, check this step. Now I move on to here. There must have been along that journey, a little bit of a roller coaster to go with it, an emotional roller coaster.
To be honest, we’re still building the plane as we’re flying it, especially now. Yeah, like times have all of a sudden dramatically changed. Right? And we have to change with those times and we’ll talk about that in a minute. But the emotional roller coaster that you talked about, was really for me a little bit different probably than most because I thought what is the alternative? If I did not do this for a living, what else would I do? And I always came up empty. I always thought to myself, I’d still do this. If I had nothing else to do, what would I do? I’d still do this. So there’s no other option than to just keep on going. Even when there were months where I was like, Oh, my God, this is not great, right? Like, how do we increase our revenues? How do we increase our sales? How do we get our message out there? You know, I’m spending a whole lot more than I’m bringing in, in those early days that happens when you’re running a business. When it comes down to it, I could never imagine myself working for someone else. I could never imagine myself doing anything else and always come back to this. So why don’t I just do it?
During those months, where you were questioning everything, because I would imagine, as I am even, I think everybody started questioning what they’re doing right now. And sort of asking, you know, am I still relevant? Can I make this work? Is this gonna happen? How did you? I mean, on one level, keep yourself sane. And then on another level, what were those strategic moves you need to keep yourself in action.
You know, how did I keep myself sane? How am I keeping myself sane now? you know, there’s an expression that says if you keep doing what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got, but I’m keeping an action. In other words, I am persisting. So even when things were terrible, I said, Okay, what can we do differently? How can we do this better? You know, what can we draw? But it was always being in a state of action, even if sometimes those actions didn’t lead to the outcomes we were looking for. But it wasn’t stopping movement, if that makes any sense. Sure, you stop temporarily, to kind of assess and decide where you want to go next. But it was always this consistent action.
Even now as the whole world is shutting down and all these people have all this extra time on their hands. I don’t have extra time on my hands. Like I’m on a podcast with you. And then I have three more for the rest of the day. I had a team meeting this morning. I had a coffee meeting with a colleague and on and on and on. I don’t have those extra minutes. And part of it is it’s kind of keeping the engine going. But the other part of it is, were there moments when we made strategic shifts? Yes. What compelled us to make those strategic shifts? I had to lean on outside expertise.
I hired a business coach to help me understand you have a certification process under your belt that you’re not leveraging, you should really do something with that. You know, you have a tribe, what are you doing with your tribe? Why aren’t you building your tribe? Why are you ignoring the people who love you? Why don’t you do something with that? And so on and so forth, because I couldn’t see it. You and I know that when we coach people, sometimes we’re just able to see things because we have that perspective, an external set of eyes to take a look at my business to say, Hey, here’s some hidden opportunities that you’re not seeing. And if I were you, I would lean in this direction.
It’s hard because when you need that guidance it’s often when you’re not flush with cash, right? Like we tend to not hire when everything’s going really well. And we’re making tons of money we hire when our backs up against the wall and we’re in a state of panic. How did you make an investment? Like what did you do?
You know what, honestly, and this is not like a resounding endorsement of myself, but I can’t tell you how many investments I’ve made in the hopes that they would, you know, unfold and amazing results and how many of those investments actually were terrible investments, terrible decisions, right. So the question is, how do you make decisions about which investments to make? Yeah, the truth is, as a business owner, you’re gonna make investments and you’re gonna make some that don’t work out, accept it, right, like be okay with that, right? And then there are some that are going to hit the jackpot. So how do you assess?
Maybe take a little bit more time to buy, maybe do your research, maybe check references and testimonials like really check, maybe date before you get married. So in other words, one of the things that I started to do instead of hiring a coach, for example, for a year, I hire them for a shorter period of time. And so we’re working together, I’m extracting a ton of value. And if I feel good about it, I extend the time period. Could be for a consultant or anybody for that matter, anybody who’s helping, so I’m a big fan of piloting or working in shorter time periods, and really extracting a ton of value. And then moving forward. Even as we coach people we always start with 10 weeks and we want to deliver a ton of value and then invite them to continue. That way they get to know us, they get to know what we expect of them, and they get to know what they can expect of us.
That’s great. I think that’s a great rule for all of us going forward. Just slow down the purchase of it, do your due diligence and even if you are in the coaching industry being open to that process and thinking of a smaller coaching package for people.
I remember years and years ago, I was looking into a consulting firm to help us really expand, grow our business. I asked for some testimonials and I called one of the people on the reference list. And that person said, Oh, I had a terrible experience. And I remember thinking to myself, wow, talk about a disconnect. They’re giving me a testimonial, but they don’t even know, they don’t even realize isn’t gonna reflect them properly. Yeah, that’s a big red flag for me. And if they don’t have their own business in order, how could they possibly provide consulting for me?
That’s awesome. So along the way, I know there’s been a lot of successes, you run a very successful coaching company. But I’m sure there have been some “learnings”meaning I bet you made some mistakes and had to learn from it.
Again, tons of mistakes. A lot of them were really investments we were hoping would pan out and really didn’t. I made one just last year actually, we were invited to attend an HR event where we got to do speed dating with formidable VP’s of HR from these massive, massive companies. We thought, wow, this could be an amazing shortcut to really build relationships with these companies and do amazing things inside companies in terms of building up coaching divisions. Well, we went totally excited. I don’t even want to tell you how much we spent in US dollars. It was insanity. And we came home and a year later, you know, sometimes it takes a while to nurture relationships. We came home completely empty handed. So that was like a massive investment. Literally, just in the garbage. Yeah. Sometimes you take a risk and it doesn’t work out. Honestly you need to do your due diligence, you need to figure out exactly what people are promising and how they plan on executing on their promises.
Yeah, that’s powerful. And so let’s just bring it back to where we are today. We’re dealing with a different world than was even yesterday, you know, every night we go to bed and there’s a new world that’s opening up today. What can we be doing to just stay in action Kim?
I think one of the first things that you need to ask yourself is how can I be of service? Who can I help today? Who needs me even if it’s like a phone call to an aunt, or grandmother or a neighbour? Whatever that is, that’s the first thing you want to do is like, Who can I help today? Who can I reach out to? How can I be of service? That’s the first question because the minute you stop thinking about yourself and you start thinking about other people, you get a little bit lighter for some reason, that’s just the way it works.
The second thing is I really think that this is a massive opportunity for us as individuals and as a world to course correct. And so one of the most important things is I would invite everybody to ask themselves some critical questions. One question is what is actually true, really important to me at a very, very fundamental level? What is important to me? And is my life reflecting that? Even if it’s limited right now, even if there are lots of restrictions, is my life a reflection of my truest, most baseline values?
So for example, if one of your core values is adventure, how are you incorporating adventure into your life right now? And if you say to me that, you know, it’s impossible, there’s no way to have adventure. I would challenge that any minute of the day, right? That’s just not true. If you say to me, one of the most important things is my health. Okay, so are you taking care of yourself physically? If you say to me, the most important thing for me is my relationships. Are you spending time nurturing them? Right? So let’s get back to the basics and say is my life a reflection of my core values? Was my life a reflection of my core values? And now that I have this massive hard stop in my life? What do I want to do moving forward? Whether things correct themselves are not? What do I want to do moving forward? So it’s a massive opportunity to self assess and make decisions about what you want for yourself from here on in. Right?
Then the next thing I would say is, what does the world need right now? Like, what are the actual business opportunities that are in front of us that we just can’t see that aren’t popping up for us? But what are they? They are there, they exist. Now I just spoke with a friend of mine who’s very savvy with the market. And he said I guarantee you that there will be a massive opportunity for people who invest correctly, like right now in the next week or two. So what is the opportunity for you? Are you afraid to take it? Are you kind of sitting shell shocked and your own? Or are you thinking about this question and saying, What’s the opportunity for me? Like yesterday, I have five kids, one of my kids has a friend. And what they do is they bake empanadas. So literally, we had an empanada delivery yesterday at our doorstep, like who would think of that as a business opportunity? What’s the opportunity for you?
It’s all around there. We just have to be open to seeing it.
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