Thomas Freitag, founder of MindMove, a leadership coaching firm, helps executives and teams on their journeys to personal and organizational growth. Thomas has been in the coaching business for over 12 years. He first started consulting and coaching experts and team leaders, and now focusses on executive coaching. Thomas is a devoted Mac lover and has been using a Mac for over 26 years so when he needed a solution for his business 7 years ago he started using Daylite. We interviewed Thomas to learn more about his successes, challenges, and how Daylite helps his business.
I see the most success with clients that are managers on their journey to become leaders. It is very common that these managers have high energy and low focus. This is where coaching is most helpful. As managers they deal with a lot of details driven by tasks, and I help them move into a more strategic role. This involves consciously letting go of employees tasks and trusting them more. It is part of their personal development and it's important that they are in the right mind set and do this voluntarily. The clients that I see the most success with are good managers already and want to move on to the next career step. They are asking for change so they are open to feedback. When they are open to trying to new things, I see miracles happen with these clients.
The passion for development is not something that can be planned. There are clients that move really fast and others that take more time. Sometimes the ones you think will adopt very quickly take more time and vice versa. Every client is different and everyday is different. There is always something new, nothing is repetitive. I was not preconditioned to be a coach. I had to learn to not consult my clients, but rather to guide them. That's what makes coaching very effective and interesting for me. I've had many leadership roles in my career, but I feel I can make more of an impact by coaching other leaders. I leverage my wisdom that I've obtained over the years of being a manager, and use that to help others. It's very satisfying. For example, I used to coach students in university over 10 years ago. Now as some of these people are moving into management positions, some of them will send me emails telling me how much of an impact I have made on their life.
The challenge is finding a balance of taking on new clients while still being free for your own personal development. For example, I offer different levels of leadership programs. Some are a few days in a series, while others are a few days spread over the course of a year. With the leadership program I'm more exposed to the market, but it makes me less flexible for other clients. With leadership development it's with a big group and it's the same process with different people, whereas coaching is different every time. You have to find a balance of clients, room for your personal development, and security of revenue coming in. It's a delicate balance to find. Even after 10 years I still struggle with that. The first year you take on anything that comes in. After you are established you can be more selective with your clients. Sometimes it's hard to say no to a client, but you need to focus on being free for what you want to do.
I would definitely make sure that you have a solid business plan with a clear exit strategy. You need to know how long your family and your support system can go through a difficult period. You need your support system as well as proper IT support and if something is not your specialty, get help from someone. Until two years ago I was maintaining my mac myself and now I have an IT person to help. It's important to get help earlier and also make sure you spend time networking, not only networking with peers and colleagues, but also finding networks where you have more impact with clients. For me, networking in the International Coach Federation (ICF) helped. The ICF has 25000 worldwide members now, with 1400+ credentialed coaches. At the time I started we were 3 or 4 credentialed coaches in Switzerland and now 10 years later there are over 100. In the ICF I've moved up from attending chapters and workshops to being in the role of a chapter leader and national president for Switzerland. Another piece of advice I would suggest is to avoid coaching within the system (i.e. coaching a client if you are also coaching their boss). It becomes a conflict of interest.
I have been using a Mac for a long time. My first Mac was an SE 40. That's when I started using File Maker to store my own music because I was a DJ. I also used it for my own business and I had a newsletter that I would send out with tips for my clients. As more people asked to be added to this list, I had to manually add them. I wanted this process to be automated and needed a tool to do this, so I started researching CRMs and started using Daylite. From the very beginning I liked that it worked seamlessly with the Mac. I was an early adopter of smart phones and used a Palm Pilot for emails on the road in the early 90s but the synchronization was a struggle. When the sync failed it took hours or days to repair. It was too time consuming so my hope was that Daylite would make my life easier. With Daylite there is less time for operation stuff and more time for my clients. I can focus my time on my clients and not my database. I also don't waste time switching between programs. If I'm looking for the latest interaction with my client, no matter if it is a phone call, a note, or an email it's all attached to the client so I can see all the details in one place. It's easy and time saving to have a single point of contact.
I've been using Daylite for 7 years and I was really glad to have finally found a tool that allows me to take all my important steps of my projects even when I'm travelling. My calendar, my emails, and all my touch points with my clients, I manage in Daylite. My process starts when a request comes in. I first create an opportunity and from there I use the calendar to connect all my appointments and notes back to the client. I can even access it on my iPhone and iPad. During sessions with my clients I can take notes on my iPad and record the highlights of the conversation in Daylite. That way I can briefly check the key points from the last session or their homework before my next appointment with the client. I also customized Daylite so that I can include the MBTI type for each client. Personally I am a clear judger so Daylite fits my personality type. I've always been very organized and enjoyed planning. Daylite allows me to organize everything I need to do without over organizing myself.**