Nichole: Hello and welcome to Biz and Tell. I’m your host, Nichole Santoro, of iMarketingSalon.com. I help business professionals establish themselves online through podcasting so that they become the go-to experts in their industry.

I help my clients launch, market and maintain their podcasts. When potential clients listen to your show, they learn more about you and therefore begin to know, like and trust you. By the time a prospect asks for an initial consultation, they’re practically presold on you and your service. To learn how podcasting can grow your business, please visit iMarketingSalon.com.

Today, my guest is Tami Gilbert. She is a career coach, motivational speaker and author of Career CPR:  Meaningful Strategies to Resuscitate or Nurture Your Career. Tami helps entrepreneur employers to increase their bottom line through employee retention. She holds workshop activities to increase job satisfaction. Tami Gilbert is a RN, MSN and holds an MBA.

One of Tami’s clients has said, “Mrs. Gilbert is sincerely dedicated to your success. Living a life of true joy and happiness, I now have a job that I love, and I am now dating a man who I truly believe is my soul mate. Thank you for your dedication and expression of love.”

I thought that was so sweet, so I definitely wanted to share that today. To learn more about Tami, please visit her website at https: //tamigilbert.com. Hi, Tami. How are you today?

Tami: Hi, Nichole. I am great. Thank you for having me here.

Nichole: It’s such an honor to have you. I really appreciate you being a part of this show.

Tami: Thank you.

Nichole: You’re welcome. I’d love if we could start by you sharing about your path to becoming a career coach.

Tami: To just give you a little background about myself, about 35 years ago I came to America from Nigeria. I was abandoned when I was eight years old by both of my parents. I was left to be raised by my grandmother and an elderly aunt.

When I was 15 years old, my father who had left me when I was eight years old and had come to America, sent for me. I was excited. I thought I was coming finally to live with my father and have a family.

I got here and that dream got crushed. He told me I couldn’t live with him because he had another family already. He had other children. There was no room for me in his house.

I had to learn to be on my own and live on my own. I ended up living in the basement of my cousin’s house, who really didn’t want me there. While I was in that basement, I learned that I needed to get an education so that I could get a job and be able to live comfortably. I didn’t want to live in the dark, cold basement all of my life.

It was hard. I had to work two or three jobs sometimes to make ends meet and pay my tuition through nursing school. Eventually I did. I always believed in working hard.

When I got my nursing job, I would work hard. I would go to work and just hope that someone would notice how hard I was working and appreciate me. I hoped that they would express the appreciation by promoting me or acknowledging me. None of that happened.

Then I got dissatisfied. I was disengaged. One day, I had worked all day and gone home. I was laying there in my bed and thinking, “Oh my God. Something has to give because I can’t keep going in and out.” I spent a lot of time at work. I didn’t want to do that.

The next day I went to work. I started talking to my coworker. I would say, “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” and make small talk on our break. Something just opened up for me.

When you become engaged at work, it’s more pleasant. It’s a more pleasant place to go to work. Then I found out that just going to work and working hard is important, but it’s not enough to maintain our job satisfaction.

We have to invest in ourselves. We have to be engaged. We have to take responsibility for our own career. I hope I answered your question about my past and becoming a career coach.

Nichole: Yes. That’s an incredible background. First, I just want to acknowledge and commend you. I had heard about your story through your website. It’s almost impossible for me to believe looking at the struggle that you encountered as a child. It touches my heart.

Tami: Thank you.

Nichole: I’m so impressed with where you’ve come from and the decisions that you made to take control even at such a young age. Then you experienced what is much more common, which is that whole “put your nose to the grindstone and work hard” thing. You expected the promotion and to get paid. Then you discovered that, by itself, it is not really the only key to satisfaction.

Tami: Exactly. I learned how we have a part in everything. We have to be accountable and responsible.

Nichole: During this journey, what have you learned about coaching that you most enjoy?

Tami: What I most enjoy is helping people to get from point A to point B, C, D and wherever they want to be. I strongly believe that everything is possible. You have to believe. Then you have to work towards it.

There’s just no shortcut. Everything that’s worth having is something that we have to work for. I just believe in helping people.

Where my joy comes is from helping people to see and clarify what it is that they want in their life. What kind of career do they want? What kind of relationship do they want? Once they get clear, I help them to create an action plan that will move them towards what they say they want.

They are going to hit a stumbling block. They are going to run into obstacles. Going with them through that journey and letting them know that everyone runs into obstacles and challenges. That is not what matters. What matters is how we get up, move on and get into action again until we get to that point that we want to get to in our life.

It just warms my heart when I see someone from point A and now they have everything that they said they wanted to get. They achieve all of their goals. They work hard for it. Now they relish the success of achieving that goal. When I see that, it warms my heart.

Nichole: Having been coached over the years as well, I know that process intimately of the vision, excitement, action plan and thinking, “Oh yes, I’m going to do this.” No one ever anticipates those obstacles.

Tami: Yes, exactly. Also, we get discouraged. They think, “It’s not going to happen for me.” Of course, our past always kind of sneaks into our present. Whatever happened, we think, “Oh, I’m a failure.” We just have to be in action.

Nichole: Tami, what is your coaching super power?

Tami: I would say that it is recognizing the power of persistence and the power of never giving up, no matter what. I know that it’s a cliché and easy to say. It really takes courage. I have seen many women and men have the courage to really live that power of persistence. That’s what I would say. It may not necessarily be a super power.

Nichole: It’s absolutely your super power. You’ve lived it. You’ve demonstrated it more than most people that I know have demonstrated it. You embody never giving up when it seems like the cards are stacked against you. I wholeheartedly believe that.

Tami: Thank you. I’d like to say a little bit more about that. Once I got my registered nurse degree, I got a comfortable job. I was making decent money. I had a nice condo. People were impressed by me. They would say, “I can’t believe that you have all this.”

What people couldn’t tell or hear was my private pain or private thoughts. I was thinking, “Okay, I have all of this, but I want a family.” It took me a long time to realize that. It was a family that I didn’t have as a child.

I had to be persistent and put a plan in place to figure out how I was going to meet my soulmate. I want a husband. I want children. I did that. I put plans in place. To make a long story short, I am now happily married with three children. That’s the power of persistence. That’s a demonstration of that.

Nichole: Absolutely. I think that it also shows that our goals shift and evolve as we get older. I could say that the same is true for myself. I was very much about my career and went through that evolution. In my case, I had also wanted a family and went through that path.

Sometimes we have to acknowledge that our desires change. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re no longer ambitious. It’s just that we’re trying to live a full life. I think that’s really insightful.

What’s the best advice that you’ve ever received?

Tami: When I first became a nurse manager, there was a director of nursing that I was working with. She advised me not to wear my feelings on my sleeve.

She told me that, in order to survive in corporate America, whether it’s in healthcare, banking or financing, you have to have a thick skin. You can’t take things personally. We have to take responsibility.

I think that was the best advice that I ever received. For example, you’re working with someone. Maybe they haven’t been nice. I shouldn’t think, “It’s about me. They don’t like me.”

Maybe that person had a bad night. Maybe they’re having a problem at home. Maybe something happened. Everything is not about us all of the time. We just need to be more generous when it comes to the perception of the people.

That advice has helped me. I’m always trying to understand other people’s point of view. I don’t automatically think, “Why is he talking to me this way or reacting to me this way?” I think that affects how we work, friendships, coworkers and on and on. That’s the best advice, I would say. It is serving me well.

Nichole: Whether it’s in your career or if it’s personally, I think I’ve heard a variation of that. It’s not about you. It’s always about the other person. It’s exactly as you’ve stated. What are they going through? It almost never has anything to do with you.

Tami: Exactly.

Nichole: It’s comforting in a way. It almost takes the pressure off of having to be so perfect all of the time, right?

Tami: Exactly.

Nichole: Over the years, what changes have you seen take place in career coaching since you’ve begun coaching?

Tami: What I have seen is there are so many people now that consider themselves a coach. They call themselves a coach. I had a few coaches myself. Something that I learned and try to pass onto other people is, before you choose a coach, you need to check references.

Check references and see what kind of track record they have. Then see if you connect. A lot of people now would say that they are a coach. What kind of experience do they have? What kind of education do they have? What kind of track record do they have? Who have they helped?

The change that I have seen is that so many people call themselves coaches. It was hard to earn the trust of most of my clients because of their experience with other coaches. The only thing that I can say is to do your due diligence. Check before you hire your coach.

Nichole: That’s really great advice. Make sure that you connect. Check their credentials and make sure they have good references. As you say, one of the strongest factors is doing a session with them to see how they do connect.

I also think that it’s key as a client to know that your coach is helping coach on the specific issues that you want to get solved and work on, too. I think that could be helpful.

Tami, how does your coaching process work?

Tami: I usually start with a 30-minute free coaching session. During that coaching session, I try to find out where you are now and where you want to go. What do you think is holding you back now? Where do you want to go? What kind of resources do you need? Do you have the resources that it’s going to take to get you to where you want to go? I try to find out as much as possible during that coaching session.

Once the person signs on, then I help the person with the structure and step by step process towards reaching that goal. I do career coaching. With that, I look to see what is causing you to be unhappy about your job or career. What is it that you’re dissatisfied about?

Most people say, “I just feel depressed when I think about going to work.” I was reading the other day that about 70% of Americans are disengaged in the workplace. That’s a lot of people. Some of that research is also in my book, Career CPR.

Nichole: That’s really high.

Tami: Most of the time, they are disengaged. I ask the client why they are disengaged. They usually say because it’s boring. A lot of them have become complacent. The other word for it is motivational fatigue at work.

I usually ask the client, “Where can you take responsibility with all of this that you are dissatisfied with? What can you do to increase your satisfaction?” Often times, they say, “There’s nothing that I can do.”

Nichole: I was wondering about the response that you get.

Tami: They say, “There’s nothing that I can do. I can’t get another job.” Of course when a person absolutely can’t stand their job, then they can look for another job. A lot of times the grass is not greener on the other side.

Nichole: That’s true.

Tami: Sometimes you go to another job and have the same problem with different people. I just ask them, “Are you investing in yourself professionally? Have you taken some kind of certification in your industry? Are you reading magazines? Are you going to conferences that will keep your knowledge up to date in your industry?”

Once you get all of this knowledge, don’t just keep it to yourself. Share it with your coworkers. When you start sharing your knowledge, all of a sudden you’re known as a resource person to go to. Every time that your coworkers want to know something they will say, “Let’s go talk to Charlene because she will know.”

Not only that, volunteer for projects in the workplace. That’s a win-win situation. When you volunteer for a project that will increase the bottom line in the workplace, then it makes you more visible to decision makers.

That would increase your chance of getting promoted. If there’s a layoff, then you increase you chance of someone saying, “You know what? I have another position for you.” It’s a win-win situation when we invest in ourselves.

Talking about bottom line, I work with some entrepreneurs or business owners, too. The thing is that your employees are better when they are satisfied. When they are not satisfied, they start to give service or create products that are not going to be satisfying to your customers.

They’re not going to be able to represent you or your brand to you customer. Eventually your customers will stop coming. That will affect the profit. It’s to everyone’s interest that the employee is satisfied. The employee has to take responsibility.

The employer has to do everything they can to make sure that the employee is working in an environment where they can thrive. Then the employee will do their best and give their best to the customer.

Nichole: That was great. You had so much value packed in your answer. The question was really about how your coaching process works. I think that gave such a clear picture because you look at so many variables.

What really stood out to me is that you started out with the point that the grass isn’t always greener. You took the approach of what you can accept responsibility for right now. What can you change? What are you in control of?

You weren’t immediately saying, “Hey, let me fix your resume. Let’s see if this is how you need to get out there to get the new job.” You said, “You have your current position. How do we make the most of this?”

I feel like that’s a really unique approach. I’m sure it’s not unheard of. These days, everyone is talking about jumping ship and moving to the next company.

Tami: Right.

Nichole: Here, the employee says, “What can I do to make the situation better to help my employer and be more productive?” That’s fantastic. I was all excited. There was value in that. Thank you.

Tami: You’re welcome.

Nichole: I think I’ll get to our marketing question last. I want to hear about your freebie offer that’s on your website. Can you talk about that for a bit?

Tami: On my website https: //tamigilbert.com , when you go to the website you can download 8 Secrets to Achieve Your Goal for free. They can also sign up for a 30-minute coaching session on my website.

Nichole: Beautiful. Thank you. We still have a couple of minutes left. I’d love to talk about how you’ve been marketing your business. I have a feeling that speaking is a big part of it because you’re a natural at sharing your passion and enthusiasm for coaching. I’m curious, in your mind, what kind of marketing techniques have worked well for you?

Tami: I’m an author of two books. One is a memoir, Courage to Persevere:  Compelling Stories of Vibrant Triumph. The other book is the one that you mentioned earlier, Career CPR.

With my memoir, what I found out is that people just don’t go out and buy a book about you. They have to know you to buy your book. They don’t know who you are.

By having speaking engagements, that’s when people hear about me and know a little bit about me. Then they buy my book. Through buying the book, then some of them request coaching and things like that.

What I’m finding more effective right now is word of mouth. Word of mouth is very effective. Most of my clients come from my previous clients. I believe in doing the best for who I have now.

When I give the best service and best coaching to my current client, then that’s when I get my next client. That’s what I’ve found to be the most effective marketing right now, for me at least.

Nichole: Make sure that we’re making our clients happy because they are the best referral partners for us. I love it.

Tami: Right. Exactly.

Nichole: Tami, thank you so much for being my guest today. You’re such an inspiration. It’s such an honor to have you. I really appreciate it.

Tami: Thank you so much for inviting me. It has been a pleasure. You’re very easy to work with and to speak to. Thank you so much.

Nichole: I hope you enjoyed this episode of Biz and Tell. Thank you so much for joining us. Make it a great day.

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