One of the biggest, and ideally, best investments you may make in your career is to work with a coach. The right person can assist you in evaluating where you are professionally. She can help you focus; identify your strengths, areas you may want or need to grow, offer guidance in developing a game plan that challenges you to broaden your scope of possibilities, and which steps to take to make it happen. Coaching also offers accountability, one of the most helpful “take aways” for me, personally.
Recently, I completed a year of coaching with ArtBiz Coach Alyson Stanfield in her Inner Circle.
What this looked like*:
1. 6 – 30 minutes private calls with Alyson. For each session, I was expected to fill out a Strategy Planning form and submit it to her ahead of our talk. This helped us to stay focused and on task. These were always helpful. I came away encouraged, inspired and ready to tackle new tasks.
2. Monthly group coaching calls.This also included hour long Q &A calls with Alyson and other Inner Circle members, additional monthly calls with her Entrepreneur Club members and monthly Special Topics calls. These calls were interviews with professionals about Marketing, Social Media, and other business practices that were informative and very helpful. Alls calls are recorded which brings me to another perk of working with Alyson:
3. Access to ArtBiz Coach Library. Alyson has created a substantial Library of articles, blog posts, transcripts from calls, and worksheets that are divided into 6 areas of focus for your career. At any time you have access to these items to listen to or download whether you need Inspiration, Marketing or Improving Your Systems.
4. Free ticket to ArtBiz Makeover in Golden, CO. This annual event is a 2.5 day conference with artists from near and far. Imagine a room full of highly creative, inspiring, like minded professionals sharing their work, their insights and ideas in the midst of Alyson’s action packed content. The focus this year was on Clarity- getting clear on your Why, and what this looks like when it is at the center of your art making and sharing your work with the world. There were some guest speakers and a panel discussion with curators and gallery owners followed by a Q & A period.
5. Mastermind Day with other Inner circle participants. This intimate group met the day after ArtBiz Makeover and was the highlight of the 3.5 days for me. Working as a group we shared what is working in our studio practices as well as in business and marketing. We talked about time management, systems, networking and social media. Then working in groups of 3 we brain stormed, helping each other tackle our top priorities giving us a game plan to move forward. This collective intelligence and peer to peer mentoring was powerful and beneficial; offering ideas and insights that singularly we may not have seen.
6. Another personal favorite, an Accountability Partner. Inner Circle Members are paired up to offer ongoing support and accountability. No longer in Alyson’s Inner, my buddy Liza Myers and I continue to work together. We share our good news, bounce ideas off of each other and create specific goals for the coming week. Knowing that I told Liza that I would reach out to 3 galleries, write a press release, or what ever – made me do so. Procrastination was not an option.
*Please note that current Inner Circle participants have slightly different parameters. Alyson “walks the walk” as she too, works with a coach. I have witnessed her focus and growth since the first online class I took with her in 2010, so her Inner Circle has evolved as she too, has gotten clearer.
So, is working with a coach for you?
If you think you would benefit from a group, want access to monthly groups calls and Alyson’s library but not sure you need the one on one sessions with Alyson or not able to commit financially then I recommend joining Alyson’s Entrepreneur’s club. For a monthly fee you have many of the benefits of the Inner Circle and can certainly buy a ticket to next year’s Makeover (a worthwhile event) and find your own Accountability Partner. In addition to Liza I check in weekly with painter Nicole Royer. Both Liza and Nicole are an invaluable part of my practice as an artist. And, while no longer in the Inner Circle, I decided to join the Entrepreneur’s club to stay informed, in touch, and inspired.
If you are not ready for such a commitment, time wise or financially, then I suggest taking some online classes such as Alyson’s No-Excuse Art Biz Bootcamp or Organize Your Art Biz. There are a plethora of other artists, consultants and entrepreneurs offering courses online as well. I encourage you to do your research- read blogs, comments and find out if their content, format, personality, or style, fit your needs.
As for my experience with an ArtBiz Coach you wonder if I thought the investment was worth it?
Yes, working with Alyson is wonderful. She is extremely knowledgeable, organized, professional, warm and generous.
Yes, I am much more organized, have gained the tools and support system to grow my business. The past year has brought forth wonderful opportunities, connections and growth to my business and marketing.
and we’ll see… I did not see the increase in income that I would have liked. Somewhat disappointed, I shared this with Alyson. Her response was that she understood, but felt that I worked hard this past year to lay the groundwork for future success. And truly, as I wrap up my review for 2014 I have much to celebrate and be proud of.
Above all, I feel confident in my Why, my work and my passion for sharing this with the world.
and that is priceless.