We caught up with the thoughtful Simon Alexander Ong, Life Coach of the Year 2019 at the 2019 International Coaching Awards, to get a glimpse into the life of an award-winning coach. We hope you enjoy this insightful interview!
Simon Alexander Ong is a qualified coach and NLP Practitioner, who specialises in business development and working with business owners. He works primarily with leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and high achievers who are wanting to move to the next level of their life. Simon is also an accomplished public speaker, delivering talks in places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Singapore and London and he is now working of his first book.
We talked about the idea of being a person of value as a coach, what that means for Simon and his legacy, as well as the mindset that he had that helped create his greatly successful business. Whether you have been coaching for years, you’re just starting or you are considering coaching as a path for you, this interview is not to be missed!
"I said to myself: I'm committed to becoming a coach."
“Looking back I think there were a lot of different factors that contributed to that success but I think the real catalyst came down to two things if I'm going by my memory.
The first is commitment. I compare these words between interest and commitment a lot and that's because when you look at people who make New Year's resolutions, nearly everyone who does, it’s shown by statistics, it’s shown by studies will break them or fail to follow through. And that is why the majority end up making the same resolution year after year after year.
And the reason for this is because most of the time they’re only interested. I’m interested in being healthier, I'm interested in trying for this new career, I'm interested in changing jobs. But when we are interested, we’re only 50/50, we haven't made a decision. And a path can only emerge when we have made a decision.
So the first thing that happened to me was - I committed.
I said to myself: I'm committed to becoming a coach. And there's a big difference between commitment and interest. When I committed, I made a decision. It was I’m deciding to be a coach, my mind moved to how. And I think that was a beautiful place to be because once you are in the how mentality your mind is focused on action.
How do I do it? How do I go about it? How do I get my first client? And that puts you in action mode. So that was almost the first step I took mentally. And I say mentally because it's important because we have to see it before we can actually take the action. We see it in our mind first before we see it in reality.
"And so working from the identity of 'I am a coach', suddenly the choices I made, the way I behaved, the way I held conversations with people changed drastically during that transition of identity. “
And the second was identity. Identity is very powerful when we think about changing habits and I had to change my habits.
Going from employed to entrepreneur, the habits are very different. You can have an off day, you can relax a little bit when you're on holiday, when working because you're still getting paid, you still have a monthly income coming into your bank account. But once you start running your own coaching practise, or your own business, well if you're not doing the work then where is money going to come from? So it's a very different mentality I had to move from.
So the identity I changed to, it wasn't 'I'm going to be a coach', it wasn't 'I'm working myself to be an entrepreneur', it was 'I am a coach.
And so working from the identity of 'I am a coach', suddenly the choices I made, the way I behaved, the way I held conversations with people changed drastically during that transition of identity. “
In the second part of the interview, we got into a discussion about Simon’s habits that contribute to the growth of his coaching business and his success.
"So I think that’s a habit that has really helped, just constantly connecting with people, giving them a mini experience from the get-go and then from there adding value."
“I would say number one is something we can all do actually. So if you're on social media, on all platforms that I'm aware of – LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, your text messages - you can leave a voice note. So what I do is every time I get a new connection request, every time I'm told by social media it's someone's birthday, what I do - and it's not much effort, it's about 7 or 8 seconds maximum - is I simply drop a voice note, a message simply wishing them a happy birthday or telling them that it is great to connect. And I tell you what, even though it's easy, few people do it. (…)
What that does is, it gets people curious about what I do. You know, the energy they get from hearing your voice is infinitely greater than the energy from sending a text message or just text because you can't really tell how that will set, but when you receive a sound of someone's voice through a voice note, you kind of get a better understanding of what that person is about and you’re more likely to want to look at that person’s profile.
So I think that’s a habit that has really helped, just constantly connecting with people, giving them a mini experience from the get-go and then from there adding value. One of the questions I think as coaches we should all be asking ourselves if we want to grow a great practice is - how can I add value into someone’s life this week? No matter how small.
So it can even be connecting someone to someone else in your network, gifting someone a book or sending them a link to an article that is very specific to a conversation you had with them so it would be helpful, but it also shows you listened, it shows you understand what they’re going through and you recommend a book or link or something to read that can help them. So I’m always thinking how can I add value to someone’s life no matter how small. (…)
And I think that's the beauty of being a person of value. When people look back and think who has helped me, you will be top of their mind because you are living your brand as a coach. So I think that’s the first habit there.
The second is journaling. Journaling is an easy habit, one many of us might start, but few of us will be consistent with. So with lots of things going on in my life, you know, being a father now, doing the speaking, doing the coaching, doing brand development, doing social media content, journaling is really powerful to capture a lot of my thinking but also to get clarity as to what I should focus on each day and each week.
And I find that if we don’t put things down on paper, or at least talk it out to someone if we keep it in here [the mind], we’re never gonna take any action. Because either we forget what we're gonna do, or we haven't really planned the process out of how it's going to be implemented.
There's a great saying by the author Tim Ferris, he noted: “I trust the weakest pen more than the most powerful memory”. And that to me is the power of journaling and note-taking is you're able to literally plan your day the night before, plan your week ahead of time and get clarity so what's most important, so you don't have to waste time during the day deciding to do this activity or that activity. So that’s the second one.
The third and final habit that comes to mind is your environment. For me, your environment is incredibly powerful at changing where you will be, changing your trajectory. I often say the quickest way to succeed in any area of your life and business is to create an environment that makes it impossible not to succeed. (…)“
Simon Alexander Ong is a fantastic role model for any coach who wants to create change. Your mission might be different but the habits and mindset that will get you there might be similar, so take the time to listen to this interview one more and take notes – they might make a big impact on your business.
One key takeaway from this conversation is that you have to commit to what you desire and then make it happen. If you have decided to be a great coach for your clients, enhancing your skills periodically are part of the journey.
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