Rephoel Wolf is a life and business coach who is passionate about coaching people through all areas of their lives to bring them to living to their fullest potential and achieving their dreams.
“It’s really hard to grow your business and your life if you’re not constantly working on yourself.”
“There’s no such thing as not being in action and something working.”
“When I’m slow and clear, everything makes more sense.”
The Prosperous Coach by Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/rephoelwcoaching/
Chris Ippolito 01:09
Rephoel Wolf 01:11
Hey. How’s it going, Chris?
Chris Ippolito 01:12
I’m doing great. Thanks for being a guest and welcome to the “Get Coached Podcast.” When we did our initial call, and it’s been a little while, but you had mentioned that in one of your books you share a story of some lessons learned when you first sought out coaching. And I think those lessons learned could be of huge value to an audience that I know is interested in finding a coach. I was wondering if you could share that story, and then we’ll dig into that a little bit.
Rephoel Wolf 01:48
Sure, sure. Now that you mention it, it could be there’s two smaller stories in one here.
Chris Ippolito 01:55
Rephoel Wolf 01:57
I’m going to have to say it started when I decided to make coaching my full-time thing, when I wanted to get into the world of coaching, what’s the first thing I needed to do. Already we’re up to the first lesson, which might not necessarily be true, is I went and I decided I needed to be certified to be a coach and I took a really expensive coaching course. Now for the course itself, I think it was well done. As courses go, they taught a lot about coaching, a lot about the business side of coaching, they had a really good formula and method. And it was a nice, long, expensive course, I thought I was set. But at the end of that there was no place to start as far as doing coaching.
I learned from there, ready, our first lesson? That’s not so easy. They made it sound like, “Yeah, here’s your formula, this is exactly what you tell people, this is how you have your coaching sessions.” I have scripted coaching sessions that I learned and that they swore by, that you’ll get a full practice as long as you keep this up. And I learned that it doesn’t work like that.
And that was really, really useful to learn because it’s very comforting as any business owner when you start going into something if you have a script to follow and somebody telling you, “This is what you have to do.” You don’t actually have to apply yourself personally or worry about how this works, you just do exactly what it says here and everything falls into place. And that’s something that today I am so passionate about breaking people away from, all of the “what you‘re supposed to dos” and the way that everyone else does it. Everybody knows individually, their intuition, the best way that they want to reach people, the best way that they envision growing their business. And that is always going to be the best way, you’re never going to find a better way to do that. If you try doing someone else’s curriculum or path or scripting, if it works a little bit, it will definitely not work long term.
What I learned there was that it’s not so easy, and scripting and following someone else’s schedule, if it doesn’t resonate with you, it’s not useful.
Chris Ippolito 04:27
Yeah, I agree, I agree. Scripting, even when I was in my financial career, I used to use a lot of scripting when I first started out as a financial planner. But I realized it was more like this is the starting point, right? And then it’s got to evolve to become your own thing. And it sounds like you learned that, as well, right? Like it’s great, but it needs to become your own thing eventually.
Rephoel Wolf 04:55
Yeah. Well, and they did say that, they did say you could tweak it. But I learned, and this is my coaching experience, the way I coach, going in with less of an idea of what has to happen or what I want to make happen, actually the best conversations happen that way, when I tune into the person in front of me without any agenda and just showing up. When I have a preconceived notion of what has to happen or what I want to have happen, it becomes all about me and not about the person I’m talking to. And in business and sales, I have some clients who are in sales, and they have the same experience. If the idea in this conversation is for me to get you to buy from me, the focus is all on me and not to you and what your needs are. And it always flops that way.
After this coaching course I read this phenomenal book, it was called The Prosperous Coach, by Rich Litvin and Steve Chandler. And it talked a lot about this more authentic way of connecting with people and forgetting about the script and really combining the coaching part of the business, which we love, with the business side of the business, which a lot of people separate, and really making those one. And that’s by just bringing the coaching into everything. What that means is, like we talked about a little bit beforehand, I never try to convince someone or explain to them what coaching is or what they can get, I start by showing them.
Chris Ippolito 06:40
What do you mean? How do you do that?
Rephoel Wolf 06:42
That means, like you said, if you have people who are coming to you and they’re looking for coaching and they’re like, “Well, how do I get a coach?,” right? You find the right coach, and I learned this also the wrong way, by having a coaching conversation with that coach, them giving you the opportunity. And not so many coaches will do this, but I won’t take on any clients who I haven’t had two coaching conversations with already. And I get these e-mails, someone says, “I want you to coach me,” like I was telling you, that’s too fast already. I don’t know if I can coach you, you don’t know if I can coach you. Let’s get on the phone, let’s have a conversation. Tell me what’s going on. Where did you get this idea that you need a coach? Where did you come to me from? What are you hoping to get? And that becomes a coaching conversation. And we see where it goes from there.
A lot of times, after just one conversation with someone, it might seem like a good fit, but I don’t know if they’re a good client. Are you going to take any action based on what we’ve talked about? I’d hate for this to turn into something where you say coaching doesn’t work or I’m not a good coach because you failed to take action. A lot of times I’ll have someone that I’m speaking to, if I’ve spoken to them once, I’ll say, “Here’s what you should do in the next week or two, and then let’s talk again. And if that makes sense, we can talk about continuing possibly.”
But what I did originally looking for a coach, and The Prosperous Coach book does talk about it, that it’s really, really hard to grow your business and your life if you’re not constantly working on yourself. And especially with coaching, coaching helps people reach their goals, get out of their own way, and do what they need to do. Well, when I’m building my business, I’m the same person, right? I have goals I want to reach, I have things I want to do. I need help with that, as well. Not because I don’t know how, but because I can’t possibly see where I’m getting in my own way and my own stumbling blocks.
And when I was looking for a coach, I had gone to a networking event and I had met the coach. And she seemed to have pretty much the same ideologies as I did. The red flags I didn’t follow, because I did see some red flags. Those were that she was using the same scripting that I was trained in, I knew the wording she was going to say, I knew how she was forming her questions. And at that point I just thought that’s how all coaches were. And I was like, “Oh, I know what happens now.”
And the reddest flag of all, which really changed my life, looking back, is that she made a promise to me that if we work together, I will guaranteed make back my investment before we even finish halfway through our program. She had a yearlong program. I can say how much it was. She said the yearlong program was $15,000. But if I sign up right now on the phone, also a red flag, I’ll tell you why afterward, if I sign up right now, then it will only be like $12,000 or $10,000, I don’t remember which one.
Chris Ippolito 10:14
She created some urgency.
Rephoel Wolf 10:17
Yeah. And I said, “But I don’t even own that much money.” At that point I was like, “I don’t have it, it’s not in the bank, it’s not even in savings.” And she said, “Well, you don’t have to worry about it,” or something to that effect. She said, “If we work together, within six months you will have made back all your money already, if you do the work and you do everything.” And I was like, “Well, if you’re guaranteeing me, why would I say ‘no’? That doesn’t make sense.” We worked out a payment plan that I could start affording and we started working together.
And the coaching that she did with me was purely niche-focused. Some people say “nēSH,” I say “niCH.” The chapter of my book on this is called Fit Your Niche for this reason. Because we worked together for about five months and I didn’t make any money. And I wasn’t sure what was happening. I would show up to the calls, I was like, “Okay, what am I supposed to be doing?” And we refined my niche and refined my niche, and then she’s like, “Start,” I think she said, “making videos,” in regards to my niche and reaching out to the right people. And still nothing was happening. And when I confronted her about this, I said, “Listen, I’m not making the money, I can’t afford the rest of this program. What’s going on here?” And she said, “Well, it must be a bad niche, let’s pick something else.”
And at that point I said, “No, no, that’s not going to work, that’s not okay. We’re going to have to stop this work together.” And I didn’t ask for a refund on the coaching we had, but I did say, “I can’t continue to pay.” And then she said, “You have to because you signed a contract.” She continued charging my credit card for coaching that I was not receiving. And I sent denials to the bank to deny the charges, and then she sent the contract to the bank so the bank would not deny the charges. But luckily, thank God, I don’t know how, she stopped after a month taking more money.
That taught me a whole, whole lot, and it was a fascinating experience that I could never undo. And I only am where I am now because of that story, because that’s where I met my current coach when I posted this problem on Facebook to a group of coaches and I got a lot of really good help. But I learned from there a coach cannot promise anything. Not for liability reasons, just because that’s just not how it works. The coaches never guarantee anything, it’s the client who’s doing the work and there’s a coach co-creating something that will work.
The biggest problem was that I was not in action in my work together with her, she didn’t give me any actions to do. There’s no such thing as not being in action and something working. Any business you’re creating, you have to find what can you do right now, what can you commit to, how are you going to be connected to people, how many hours are you going to be putting into your business. Really working on your business, not just playing around with your website. And there was nothing that she was creating with me that I knew that I was supposed to be doing. I was still under the impression that you tell people you’re a coach when your phones starts ringing. And on the side I was making these videos that she was telling me to make that weren’t really doing anything.
That’s the lesson of a coach never promises anything and that you should not be hiring a coach until you have an experience of the coach that you’re confident that this coach can help you. I mean I understand the sales technique of creating that urgency, but that is a form of manipulation, which should not be happening with a coach that you’re going to be building something with. I mean when somebody tells me they need to think about it, now I know right then I’ve not created enough of an experience for them to be sure. That only could be my fault.
I’ve coached a lot of coaches, as well, from different programs. I’m not going to say by name, but there’s a lot of different coaching programs out there and I recognize them already and they all have this. If you say, “I need to think about it,” they say, “Well, then you’re not for us, I want someone who’s 100% clear right now.” And no, I don’t work that way. If someone tells me, “I’ll think about it,” they’re probably going to be a “no,” and I’ll help them get clear that it’s a “no” right now. But I never say, “Well, then you’re not ready.” No, I want you to think about this, I want you to be clear in a week. And I’m telling you, anybody out there who’s thinking of becoming a coach for anything, the best feeling in the world is when you get a text or an e-mail like I got last week that says, “I am ready to work with you.” That’s when this person had the clarity and the space to make this decision on your own, not because they were pressured into it. There’s nothing to pressure here. If there’s pressuring, that means it’s about the salesperson or the coach more than the client. And that’s a big problem.
I would never hire a coach that I didn’t have firsthand experience of. And I don’t know how many coaches offer those initial sessions for free, I mean I know a lot of coaches who do. But I would say even if a coach doesn’t, never commit to a long-term program based on promises or their fee. It was a good thing, I thought that because she was charging so much, it must have meant that she was really good. Which was a mistake on my part.
Those are some lessons that I learned there.
Chris Ippolito 16:25
Yeah. Valuable lessons, obviously. I think to extrapolate, maybe some questions I would pose is when somebody is looking to hire a coach or start working with a coach, it sounds like what you’re suggesting is to just go in there with a bit of a different mindset. Because I think a lot of people are looking at it as a service and they’re going like, “Oh, I’m shopping for a service,” right? Versus it sounds like what you’re suggesting, and correct me if I’m wrong, or we’ll just build upon this, but it’s more about building a relationship and going through almost a vetting process. Similar to if you were wanting to date somebody, you go on a couple dates first, and then you decide, “Yeah, okay, I think I like this person to want to go on more dates.” You know what I mean? It sounds a little bit different, the approach and the mindset that you’re suggesting.
Rephoel Wolf 17:34
Yeah. I would say that’s pretty accurate. I wouldn’t say to date multiple coaches at once. But you’re not buying a product. And especially if you’re getting a quality coaching program that’s not cheap, I mean you can’t look at it that way. You can’t just buy based on testimonials or referrals. You’re not going to get the results you want if that’s how you’re looking at it.
Chris Ippolito 18:06
Right. Before we started recording we were talking a little bit about the idea of sometimes taking it slow, right? Like being calm and slowing down a little bit to make sure that you’re properly thinking through whatever it is, maybe you ran into a problem and you take a step back. But in this case it’s a significant commitment of time and money, you’ve got to go a little bit slower when you’re making that kind of decision.
Rephoel Wolf 18:43
Yeah. And really everything in life you should be going slower. One of the things that I learned through my coaching and what I help my clients with is, like we also mentioned, the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. Life should be done slowly, and slowly means clearly, one thing at a time. And when you do do that, you get much more done. And you never have to worry about if you made the wrong decision, or even if you did, because it’s right now, “What am I faced with? What am I going to do? How am I going to respond?” When everything is just very rushed and frantic and unclear, “slow” is another word for “clear.” When I’m slow and clear, everything makes much more sense.
If somebody is shopping around for a coach, like you said, I want to slow that down. “What are you shopping for? What are you looking for?” You’re looking for a quick fix. When I go shopping, I go run to grab a bottle of milk. Coaching is not about grabbing bottles of milk. Coaching is a serious looking inside, getting real about what you want and what you don’t want. If you want a quick fix, I can’t help you. And I have somebody who reached out to me twice over a year and he only contacts me when he’s in a crisis. And I said, “I can’t help you when you’re in a crisis, but I can stop this from happening again.” And it’s very easy to not go for that, like, “No, no, no. I just need your help right now,” right? And I was speaking to another potential client the other week who said, “Right now I’m good, but next time I have a problem I’ll reach out to you.” But next time he does that, I’m going to say, “I can’t help you, that’s not how this works.”
And when I slow down, am I looking for someone to help me put out fires whenever I’m in a dilemma or am I looking for someone to help me be the person that doesn’t have that come up anymore?
Chris Ippolito 21:00
Yeah. There’s a story that I heard John Maxwell, a pretty famous leadership author, share where he was interacting with some audience members. And though the person was at one of his events, obviously there was some interest in developing their leadership skills, he had asked them about, “What’s been some of your favorite books of mine?,” and they said, “I haven’t bought any books yet because I’m not in a leadership role. When I get into a leadership role, I’ll start reading the books.” And he was like, “No, that’s too late.” And it’s the same idea you’re sharing, right? Whether it’s coaching or personal development and reading books or whatever it is that you’re doing, usually by the time you need it most it’s far too late. And hence why it’s usually a life’s journey to do this kind of stuff, is grow, yeah.
I want to maybe go back to the process of what should somebody be thinking about when they start that process of searching for a coach that they want to consider working with long term? First off, maybe let’s almost go step by step. If they’re going to engage a coach, what would you say would be the minimum amount of time they should mentally be prepared to commit? 3 months, 6 months, 12 months?
Rephoel Wolf 22:36
That’s a good point. And I don’t think people know or should be required to know before going in, it’s more important to know what do you want, or what do you need. Because it’s not so much about the time commitment as what are you committing to. Because the time could be up to each individual. When I’m talking with someone and we discuss what they really want, one of the questions I ask them usually, I don’t have a process that I’m following, if I remember and it seems right I would ask them, “How soon are you looking to achieve this?”
Someone messaged me also the other week that he wanted to have more confidence, and his lack of confidence has really been inhibiting his ability to get a job and to make more money and all that stuff. And I said, “Well, how important is this? Because everyone would love more confidence, that’s a nice thing to have, but why is it so important right now?” And he didn’t have a timeline. It was over a year, right? If it’s not urgent for you, then, unless the coach is offering you some really cheap deal where you feel no commitment to, part of paying for coaching is it ups your own commitment. When I hire a coach, it’s upping my individual commitment. If I can get a coach for $10 an hour, I’d hire 20 of those because it doesn’t cost much for me, right?
I would say, “What do you need and how soon do you need it?” Someone might say, “Well, I really, really need to get this promotion and I need it in the next three months.” And that might not be realistic, but we can start with that for three months and see how it’s affecting you. I don’t require people to sign up for a year right away unless it makes sense for that client. That’s why I take each person on an individual basis. And that’s why, to answer your question, it’s not that they have to be ready to work for 3, 6, 12 months. You have to be ready to be real about this, however long that takes. You have to commit to this. I’ve had clients who committed to a six-month program and they still didn’t do the work and they backed out halfway in between, even though they fully paid, because they weren’t putting themselves into it.
It’s really about what do you want and how urgent is it for you to get it. If it’s a nice thing, you’re probably not looking for coaching.
Chris Ippolito 25:25
Okay. Yeah, I appreciate the answer because that got me thinking a little bit more around the idea that really it’s more of having the mindset or thinking about the end goal, right? Like what’s the end goal that I have in mind. Because if it’s, I don’t know, I want to have a million dollars in the bank account, though that’s a terrible goal in my opinion.
Rephoel Wolf 25:51
If someone wants that.
Chris Ippolito 25:52
Yeah. And I want that, but I want that in 10 years’ time. It really doesn’t make sense to perhaps work with a coach because you’re like, “Well, that’s in 10 years. What do you want in the next three months?”
Rephoel Wolf 26:07
Yeah, life can happen in 10 years. And I would really dig into that. I mean what will that million dollars give you? Can we get that now? Why do we have to wait? They might give you they’re waiting for happiness or they’re waiting for their wife to be happy with them and only when they have the million dollars. Let’s have that now and make the million dollars also a thing, but that won’t be our focus. And that itself, like I’m telling you, if that person were to slow down, they would realize that it’s not about the million dollars. Because why would you be going to a coach to help you get a million dollars in 10 years? Something is missing there, right? That’s mysterious, let’s look at that.
That’s bringing the coaching into every interaction. If someone calls me up and says, “I need help making a million dollars in 10 years,” I can’t coach them. I can coach them right now and say, “What are you talking about? Where does this 10 come from?”
Chris Ippolito 27:11
I’m trying to think from the perspective of perhaps the audience here. They’re taking value out of the episodes that we do, and this one in particular, because now they’re like, “I think coaching could be a good idea for me.” But with what we’re talking about now, before they even start searching for a coach, are you suggesting that they have a better idea of what it is that they would want support with and to be as specific as possible, or is that maybe putting too much emphasis on that before finding the coach?
Rephoel Wolf 27:52
It depends on how they want to do it, honestly. Having a very clear idea is super helpful, but I personally am okay if someone says, “I think I need this and I want to know more about it.” Okay? Then they should reach out to someone, look around. If they hear this episode, they could reach out to you, they could reach out to me, anyone that they feel that they’re getting that pull, right? Like you said, they feel like it might be right for them. Then they can reach out to someone and say, “I’m thinking about coaching, can we talk?” Now if someone says, “Sure, we can talk, it’s $180 an hour,” or whatever it is, then they’re going to get turned off right away. They’re like, “No, I’m just exploring this.”
You want to find someone who’s open to exploring that with you because a lot of times people do need that guidance to figure out what they want. But I believe if the desire is there, they know, they’re just not conscious of it. Having a coach ready at that point, help you bring this out, “Where is this coming from? Why does this resonate with you?” And opening that up so that helps them get a clearer idea. They might also get a clearer idea that this coach is not for them, but they know for the next person that they’re going to reach out to what it is they want.
I wouldn’t say that they have to know beforehand, because a lot of people don’t know. But a lot of people, they feel something resonated with them, something that they read. That feeling is enough, in my opinion, and be open to exploring that. And if you can figure it out on your own, it is really good. And if not, either you find someone who will help you with that or be willing to pay for that initial conversation, which itself can be a very valuable investment.
Chris Ippolito 29:51
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. What I’m trying to find out, because this is the kind of person I am, I like steps. I’m that guy that actually likes the checklists and the scripts because I feel like that’s a good place for me to start, and then I can learn as I go a little bit. What I’m trying to find is what’s an actionable step that the audience could take to help them on that journey of potentially working with a coach? And maybe it’s not even working with a coach where there’s financial transaction. I think I talked about this in a different episode, as well. But what would be your advice anyways as far as what’s the next logical step to take when you’re deciding to find a relationship with either a coach or a mentor, just somebody who’s going to be able to guide you a little bit and help you reach those goals that you’re looking for? From your perspective anyways, what would be that next step?
Rephoel Wolf 30:56
What I did personally was I just had conversations with a few coaches, some who were willing to make time for me. If that wasn’t an option, then I would say follow people on Facebook and see what they’re putting out. Even though I don’t believe they necessarily have to be active on social media, and I know a lot of coaches who are not, but there are a lot of coaches who are. And even me as a coach, and I have a lot of friends who are coaches from Facebook, I follow a lot of their stuff because a lot of their stuff is really good. And it could be most of the stuff that I know already, but just hearing that over from someone else’s perspective. A lot of people share videos. That itself can build your connection with someone and help you along that path. It could be tricky because a lot of those people make the videos to lead you into one of their programs or something like that. And that’s why speaking with someone one on one is always more beneficial, but that’s what I would say first.
There’s a lot of coaches out there. There’s a lot more people than there are coaches, you don’t have to worry about that. And it’s not trying to get yourself to feel anything. There’s enough coaches out there that one of them is going to resonate with you right away. And then reach out to them. If they put you through their secretary filter and their program enrollment thing, then you might want to back down. But if you can get a conversation with someone and just open that up, yeah, that’s what I would say to do. Because suggesting any books to read I don’t think would be helpful if you’re not clear what you want. There’s a million books out there about every topic. Starting that relationship starts with connecting with people.
Chris Ippolito 32:59
Yeah, I think that’s good advice. Because it’s like, “Hey, subscribe to the podcast,” because that’s basically what this is, it’s a platform that’s going to feature a whole bunch of different coaches that hopefully the audience eventually resonates with one, and then they find you on Facebook, and then follow you there, and then they can almost build a bit of a relationship at a distance, right?
Rephoel Wolf 33:25
That’s what it is.
Chris Ippolito 33:27
And then when they feel ready or comfortable, then they can reach out and try and have more of a one-on-one conversation. Yeah, I think that’s great advice. It goes to the idea of being selective with your input, right? Because like you said, even as a coach, you yourself follow other coaches. And it’s mainly because you know the quality of input that you’re going to receive when you’re on there reading their stuff is good. And the nice thing is, like you said, different perspectives, sometimes all of a sudden it clicks and you’re like, “Oh yeah.” I know I’ve heard this before, but this person just said it slightly different or has just a very different view on it and that just all of a sudden resonates with me. I think that’s really good advice.
Yeah, go and start following people, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos, whatever it is. Consume some content of the people that you’re interested in learning more about, and then take that next step and reach out to them.
Rephoel Wolf 34:32
Yeah. And on that point that you mention, it’s just important also for people to remember to do that slowing down thing, taking all the pressure off themselves. There’s no pressure to make this happen right now and “I have to start following 1,000 people and watching 1,000 videos a day.” It’s really not productive that way. If there’s a pressure to make something happen, reach out to someone right away. What blew my mind in my coaching process is how many people I messaged who were willing to make time for me to get on the phone.
There’s at least four people who I talked with right away who helped me out and changed my life. And now I can’t get into them because I didn’t even realize how valuable their time was that they were giving me, like money that I can’t afford. And they made time for me to help me out where I needed it and when I needed it. And I was like, “Could we do that again? I’ll pay you this time.” They’re like, “No. I mean I know you’re good. If you want to work together, we could talk about this.” Not in a mean way, but now it’s a nice thing for me and they don’t have time for nice. But then it was crucial, I needed direction, and they were happy to do that because that’s what they do.
You’d be surprised how many people will be willing to give you their time. And anything that doesn’t feel right you don’t have to go for. But there’s no pressure to start following people in a lot of stuff, you could take it slow. If you wanted to ruminate an idea, then yeah, watch these videos, take it a little bit at a time, that’s what I would say.
Chris Ippolito 36:08
Yeah, I think, again, solid advice. And that comment about coaches sometimes just being willing to give time to help somebody who’s in need and is struggling. That’s a big part of the reason why I like working with coaches, the majority of them anyways, that’s just in their nature.
Well, that was a great conversation, Rephoel. I really appreciate that. If anybody wanted to find you online and reach out, where would be some of the best places? Do you have a website?
Rephoel Wolf 36:43
I don’t have a website. I’m on Facebook, I’m on LinkedIn. People reach out to me there, that’s the best place to reach out to me. And yeah, thank you for having me.
Chris Ippolito 36:57
Yeah, you’re welcome. Facebook and LinkedIn, I’ll put your profile stuff in the show notes so people can reach you.
Rephoel Wolf 37:03
Sure. If you could put my e-mail down there, as well, people can e-mail me directly.
Chris Ippolito 37:07
Rephoel Wolf 37:09
That will be perfect.
Chris Ippolito 37:10
Cool. Well, I really appreciate it and thanks for joining.
Rephoel Wolf 37:14
My pleasure. Thanks so much, Chris, and good luck with the rest of the podcast.
Chris Ippolito 37:17
Thanks a lot. Take care.
Rephoel Wolf 37:19
Take care, bye-bye.
Chris Ippolito 37:20