“Is this a thing?” with Coach and Author, Rob Hatch
Brian Casel: Hi there. Brian here. I'm the founder of Clarityflow. And today I'm talking to coach and writer Rob Hatch. We had a great conversation. Um, I had to kind of hold myself back from turning it into a coaching session for myself. That's, uh, that's just how easy Rob is to talk to, uh, about all things, uh, business, strategy, focus, decision making. Uh, we covered it all.
And, uh, and Rob has covered quite a bit of ground in his, Um, you know, career span of being a coaching, uh, coach, uh, for entrepreneurs as well as large organizations also, uh, you know, in, in teaching courses and running communities. Um, so, yeah, we really covered a lot of ground with Rob.
We, we covered, uh, that, um, uh, separation and the differences between, you know, 1 to 1, small entrepreneur business owner, small business coaching. And what he also spends a lot of time now doing, uh, in working with larger organizations, executives within organizations and the different dynamics at play there.
We had an interesting chat about, um, some, uh, more recent trends with larger organizations investing in growth and coaching for their uh, for their employees, um, and then we got into really, uh, the craft of, of coaching and this is where I like to learn a lot about what it's like to be a coach, right? Um, so how Rob asks the right questions.
One of them that really stuck out to me. He likes to ask, you know, is this a thing? And how he talked about, um, the, the client knows their business best and it's, and it's his Uh, work as a coach to kind of pull out, like, what are the most important parts to focus on?
Um, uh, and we talked about how Rob writes a weekly newsletter, uh, to thousands of folks. He's been doing it for many years now. And that's a primary, um, tool and craft that he focuses on to, to let new people, uh, build trust with him over time. And then we got a little bit into the process and structure of, of Rob's coaching business and how he has restructured it over the years with the goal of adding some consistency, uh, for his business for his personal workflow and and all of that.
Lots of good stuff here. A lot of interesting nuggets. I hope you enjoy it. Here is my chat with Rob Hatch.
Rob Hatch, great to connect with you again. How are you
Rob Hatch: I'm doing great, Brian. How are you?
Brian Casel: Doing great. Yeah. So we connected, uh, several months back I learned, learned all about your work as a coach and the different programs and practice that you've been running for, for years. And I think it'd be really great to get into it today.
Rob Hatch: Sounds good.
Brian Casel: So, you know, for those who don't know the way that I've been trying to introduce new people on this podcast, of course, I could do the typical like, well, just tell me what you're, what you and your business do. But I'd like to hear it a little bit more from the perspective of maybe a recent client or, you know, one or two clients, you know, who, who are they?
Not literally their name, but like, you know, what, what do they do? Um, and how do they engage with, with you? What's, what's like a typical example of that?
Rob Hatch: Uh, that is always an interesting question, but I appreciate, uh, being asked, um, because recently I sat down and kind of listed out all the different industries that I've worked in. Uh, and it's, it's at 75 and I know that there's more, uh, in terms of the, uh, the clients that I've served. But there's, the common theme is that they are primarily, uh, small business owners, and by small I mean they might have a team of, you know, 10 to 50, or they could just be solopreneurs, uh, running their own shop and outsourcing everything, so, uh, so that varies, but really the owners and, and then the other side, or another aspect of it, is just leaders and executives within a, within an organization who are, uh, Looking to kind of get a handle on all the things that come at them in a, in a, in a given day and all the decisions that they have to make.
Uh, I had a recent client come to me with the goal of, of career advancement. So we mapped out, um, really, I, it wasn't a, you know, clear map, but we, we talked about what that would look like. Um, and just gathered all the information that we would need in terms of the elements and who they're working with and for and... Uh, and then started a path to, to achieve that. Um, and we were fortunate enough that it did. It worked, you know, uh, which doesn't always happen, but, uh, you know, it's one of those things where you're like, ah, that, you know, that was great. That was a good, that was a good win.
Track 1: So
Brian Casel: Are you primarily working with business owners or, uh, or like executives at companies or, or a mix of both? It sounds
Rob Hatch: It's a mix of both. So the people who have traditionally come to me have been the business owners themselves coming to me, uh, directly and looking for help. Because a lot of times, even though they might have a team, a small team, they're doing most of it, as you know. It's so many hats, so many demands on your time, uh, it becomes overwhelming in the sense of how do I make a decision? Uh, what thing I should focus on? Because a lot of, a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners are sort of, they're clever and they've got tons of ideas and there's lots of ways to make money. The question is, how do we... Focus on the ones that, you know, that our clients need that are meaningful to us.
Uh, but you know, I've worked with folks who, you know, they can make money 10 different ways, but we have to, we have to kind of pick a few and narrow it down. So I work
Track 1: you are speaking
Brian Casel: to my core. Uh, ongoing pain as a, as a
business owner, for
Rob Hatch: it's, so hard. And, and I think oftentimes, I don't care if you're in a large organization or a business owner, being at the top, being an executive, even If you're an executive over a division, it's, it's lonely work. Um, even if you have a supporting cast.
But when it comes to thinking through, taking the time to stop and think through the decisions that you're making on a weekly basis or monthly basis, whatever that might be. is really hard but useful to do and, and to have a partner to kind of vet those decisions through or think through those decisions. And that's how I see my role is, is as a supporting cast to kind of listen and I, I actually do a lot of my coaching not on video but just audio. My brain is, I'm an audio, uh, auditory processor.
Brian Casel: Yeah.
hear that a lot from, from many coaches kind of those audio only. Yep.
Rob Hatch: and I I just, for whatever reason, I feel like I can tap into the nuances of what's being said, the sounds, the, um, you know, the inflections and changes in tone. And I also will like grab onto something that they said, you know, five minutes in and I'll just hold it there somewhere. And, and then a few minutes later, they're going to say something else that makes me think, oh, that could, that could be a thing. And they say a third thing and I might string them together. And present it to them and say, hey, you know, this seems like a thing. Is this a thing? And a lot of times, the answer is yes, it's a thing. Uh, but the other part of it is, you know, I also say to them, sometimes I'm going to show you that, and you're going to say, no, that's not a thing. And we'll move on, and that's fine too.
But, but to be able to take all of the mess that's in our brains, talk it out, sometimes we even catch ourselves, but to have someone who can kind of hold those pieces and tie them together and say, does this make sense? Because it seems like you're saying this, uh, is just super helpful. And then we, we can start to plan once we, we have an agreement. So.
Brian Casel: Totally. Um, just to kind of touch on the audio only thing again, it's that you brought that up. I mean, it is a pattern that I see with a lot of coaches and their clients, you know, really using just the audio only options on, on tools and things like that.
Um, I have definitely noticed it myself, like in recording podcasts, this one, we happen to be recording on both video and, and audio, but I've, I've done other podcasts where it's just purely audio. And we like intentionally. Turn off the video sometimes just to save bandwidth and all that. But, um, it does, there is like a, uh, another level of clarity when you just don't even need to worry about the video side of And it's, and it's like, I don't care about how I look or how my facial expressions, but, and it, it sort of opens up a new level of clarity to, to just say, and listen to what's being said. Right.
Rob Hatch: Well, for me, it's also, I know that for years we've been told that so much of communication is nonverbal, right? And that has just, it's this, it's almost a heavy weight for me to, to bear because then I'm kind of splitting my attention between what's being said. And, and, and the body language a little bit, so it, it forces my brain to focus on two separate things almost, um, and, and so to be able to just listen, uh, and I'm also someone who, less so now, but often I will be pacing, like walking around listening
Track 1: hmm.
Rob Hatch: that movement, like, frees my mind, I'm not, you know, I'm not paying attention to a screen, I'm just, I'm, I'm up and I'm free of any distraction, just. Just walking and and allows me to kind of really focus on the person.
Brian Casel: Great. Um, all right. So before we really dive back into the journey, just as in terms of like introduction here, um, how do you, uh, sort of like in terms of like branding, uh, your, yourself and your services, of course you have your website, robhatch.com then there's owner, owner Media, Owner.Media.
Um, how do, what's like the interplay between those two and what's like the landscape of your business today?
Rob Hatch: So Owner.Media or Owner Media Group started as a collaboration with a business partner and friend named Chris Brogan about well, almost 12 years now. And we we used to sell webinars and courses back in you know, 2011 and 12, we were selling, you know, and creating courses for sale. We actually got flack for it. It was, we're so early on the idea of selling knowledge for money online. We got, we actually got people complaining. So that's how far back
Brian Casel: of remember the. do remember those days where it was, it was starting to become really popular to have like online courses. I guess you're, you're 2011, a little bit before the big of,
Rob Hatch: Yeah.
Brian Casel: of courses. And yeah, early on there, there's a lot more skepticism
Rob Hatch: There really was. Um, and now of course, you know, everyone's doing it, but we, we, we, we sold webinars and courses for years and years. And, uh, Chris did a lot of speaking. He's an author, New York Times best selling author.
So we had a newsletter together, um, which was the, for that business, gave us probably 80 plus percent of our revenue, uh, was from this newsletter. And he wrote, uh, every week on Sunday, and I write still to this day, 12 years later, every week on Thursday. So I've put out a newsletter every week. And that has been... Up until quite recently, the primary source of all my, uh, inquiries and referrals and things like that.
So, that, uh, Chris and I recently have, have wound down Owner Media to essentially a mastermind group now. All the courses and webinars are still available. And so we have a really great and strong mastermind, uh, group called Insiders. And... I, I still run that, um, but I've shifted most of my focus over to coaching, which is why RobHatch.Com exists and, um, so there's an interplay there, but I still write the newsletter every week, um, goes out to roughly 10, 000 people or so and, uh, and, you know, I still kind of can't believe I've been doing it every single week for 12 years. It's kind of insane.
Brian Casel: That's great. Actually, that was one of my next questions is how do like today, how do new clients initially find you? And of course, when you're talking about a client coach relationship, there has to be a probably a period of time and a lot of, um, trust built up over that time. It sounds like your newsletter and your writings is, is the first exposure that, that like a new client would get to meeting you.
Track 1: Right.
Rob Hatch: Uh, absolutely, but, uh, most recently I've been getting a lot of referrals, uh, from prior, you know, prior clients, so there's a trust factor there, which is wonderful. When I pick up the phone and, and they'll tell me, you know, oh, I'm calling you because of so and so, uh, that you coached, or even if I haven't coached them, they just happen to know me through the newsletter, which is, that's even more fun, like if it's just someone who's been reading my, my writing for years and, and refers a friend to, uh, who's looking for a coach.
And, and the other is, uh, I'm taking on some bigger clients, I'm, uh, working with companies right now that are a little, a lot larger than just the small businesses, and coaching executives inside those organizations. Particularly new executives as they ascend and take on new, new leadership roles within an organization. Uh, and I'm doing that kind of in partnership with, um, with a friend who's, um, who runs an agency and does a lot of training, so I take on, I'm a referral, he refers them to me, basically.
Brian Casel: Got it. Got it. And in those situations, so, and like the larger organization side-
Track 1: of. -
Brian Casel: of your work, is it the, or is your engagement with the organization they, and then they assign you to their
Rob Hatch: Yeah,
Brian Casel: or, or is it like individual people who want to kind of work privately to ascend up the ladder if
Rob Hatch: done both. So the one client I was referring to earlier was an individual coming to me, they had read my newsletter for years, and they operate inside a very large organization, and they were, you know, an oversee a department, and they were looking to, um, kind of, you know, ascend through, uh, through their organization.
So that was an individual paid, you know, by them directly. And, but the newer clients, the, you know, I'm actually coaching, you know, seven, uh, individuals inside this organization who've all been recently promoted to new roles. And so there's, um, some change going on in this organization.
And, and that's been really, really fun as well, because it gets into... You, you start to understand the culture of this organization, uh, a lot more just through the lens of, of, of those people. My, I'm hired by the organization, but obviously all of those conversations are, you know, private, and I don't share any individual information. But what I do, uh, share with the owners is kind of themes that I see coming up that are common across the board to say this is something that I think you should pay attention to. And so, uh, that can turn into additional, you know, coaching, actually with the owners to think about what, you know, how do, how do we address those things?
Brian Casel: Super interesting. It must be a. It almost feels like a completely different. Practice and approach to coaching than on like individual small business situations, but, but then at the same time, there must be human elements that are just true across the
Rob Hatch: It is always that. And I was talking to another friend who, uh, recently who has worked with, you know, hundreds of organizations worldwide. Uh, she specializes in, uh, remote work and distributed workforces and has for 20 plus years wrote a book on it. And. Um, you know, we were talking about the fact that a lot of these organizations feel like they're very special because, you know, the industry is so unique or the, the culture is so unique, but really, you know, yeah, there's some, there's a language to learn the shorthand that you have to, you know, get on board with, there's certain operational procedures that you have to understand, but that's, you know, that's easy to get up to speed on.
And then it's the human stuff that is all, you That's the messy stuff. And, and you know, it's
Track 1: Is
Brian Casel: this like a, is this sort of a new trend in, in like larger companies, larger organizations, investing in coaching for their, for their employees?
Rob Hatch: I hope so. I hope so. Uh, I, I do think coaching is seeing a bit of a, um, uh, an uptick. Uh, I don't want to say renaissance really. I mean, that feels like an overstatement, but but there's an uptick in understanding its value.
Uh, I've actually been working with another organization that's, that's very carefully building an executive coaching, um, you know, and training um, component to all of their new hires. They're, they're in heavy acquisition mode, so there's, there has to be this, how do we, how do we get people on board with the, the new culture, and how do we train people and support people, and so they're taking their time with this, and executive coaching will be a big part of it.
Brian Casel: Interesting. Yeah. And I, I guess also, as you said, you sort of touched on it. It's also a way for the organization and the, and the leaders to a way for them to listen to their, to their people, especially as the, as their teams are growing exponentially without having like the, maybe direct, uh, boss employee relationship and having a more of a, like, like there's like a level of privacy between the coach executives, but, but you're still sharing themes and some. And, and what's happening in, in the organization.
Rob Hatch: Absolutely, and I, you know, that becomes harder if you're just hired to work with one person, because then you know, you know, one, you can't verify that it's a common theme. Uh, as a coach and also the sharing, it's kind of obvious who it's coming from. So, uh, so that becomes a little trickier.
But I, I also think that there is, again, too, too early to say it's a trend, but there's the beginnings of acknowledgement that the type of leadership that's required has to include a coaching mindset to some degree, to a strong degree, I believe. Uh, and, and to think about how do you even create the space for that kind of meeting with the people that you're supervising. Where they can come in and reflect on what they did that week, what's going on for them, and help them make choices, um, you know, anchored in what they do well, anchored in their strengths, um, you know, helping them make better decisions and growing. The challenge is the time. It's always the time. Everyone, you know, you really have to commit to If someone's supervising 10 people, that's a lot of hours of support that.. But I think in the context of the regular meetings that people have, they can find the time to, to shift it from just report outs to, you know, how can I coach this person?
Brian Casel: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And, and, you know, it does, I was listening to a different podcast the other day about what's, what's sort of changed in, in, in our industry, but probably all industries in the last 10 years or so, and, and one of the things that they were bringing up and I'm, I'm so disconnected from the large organization thing I've got a small, you know, a handful of people that I work with on Clarityflow, but, um, and I've been working on, on this super small, small team level for my whole career, really. Um, so I'm, I'm always sort of like fascinated with like how these like large organizations work. Um, but it seems to me like I, I, at least I've heard these rumblings of like, it's different. Like it hiring is, is more challenging today and retaining talent. And it's not just about the competition of like, especially for like engineering talent or, or marketing talent, but also like, you know, people are, they, they value different things their careers. They, you know, it's not just salary now it's remote work. Now it's, um, growth opportunity and also like what the company stands for and doesn't stand for and things like that. So it seems like, like a company investing in coaching, it's, it's, it's almost adding another, uh, layer of, of, of benefits and like an attractive, like growth mindset on a human level that, uh, that a company can offer to, to attract talent.
Rob Hatch: Absolutely. Uh, you know, the, although I will say. So the organization that I said I was working with that's building this whole training platform and executive coaching will be a big part of that. They are taking a lot of time to do it, which is something that as a, as a small business owner and entrepreneur, like, I could launch something tomorrow. And we can test it out and, you know, uh, you know, with courses, like, I, you know, we've, I've sold courses, um, you know within a week of deciding that, you know, I think this is what the market needs and we, Chris and I would put, put the course together, at least the framework and the first couple of episodes of it, um, and launch it. And, and you can just do stuff like that really fast. If it doesn't work, you move on.
Uh, but within an organization, it's harder to make these changes and that, that's kind of frustrating. At the same time, I'm starting to respect the thoughtfulness. I do respect the thoughtfulness that they're employing here in, in, in making sure that it's all tied together because to your point, there's a reactionary element to this staffing and attracting people like, Oh, we have this, we have this, we can do remote work. But what a lot of organizations sometimes don't do is think about the cultural implications of remote work. What do people need to be successful in this environment?
Brian Casel: Mm hmm.
Rob Hatch: one of my favorite questions is, I think, honestly, every person that's hired in any organization should be asked that question. You know, what do you, what tools do you need? What environment do you need? What support do you need to be successful? Um, and, and, then work to, to, to shape that.
But I was on a webinar recently with another, another organization and there were about 90 folks on there and they have remote workers, but the, the challenges of, that some of the employees were experiencing, some people were worried that if they didn't respond to communication instantly, that they would, that people would think that they weren't working.
Brian Casel: Right.
Rob Hatch: they had to demonstrate that they're always working. So all day long, instead of being able to focus on a project to completion, or even a big chunk of time. Any ding or buzz or anything that's coming in, they're stopping what they're doing and responding to that need. So they're constantly, like, churning through and their attention is all over the place because they just feel this compulsion to demonstrate, I'm working, I'm working, I'm working.
On the other hand, there was another person on the call who was saying, I am constantly reaching out to people, and I get that I'm kind of interrupting them, but it's because I feel lonely. And I don't have any support, so I want these little check ins and, you know, little validations, and I need the check ins.
So, that's two very different aspects of remote work, and thinking about how do we communicate within an organization. So, for me, I can coach the individual there, but there also has to be some work at the, at the level of the culture to understand. So, how do, how are we going to communicate here.. Are we going to, uh, you know, emails? Is it reasonable to respond to an email within 24 hours? Uh, we all have, you know, teams or Slack channels or whatever. Slacks, do they need to be instantaneous? Or can we, you know, have a block of time where someone just goes in and checks their Slack and
Brian Casel: Yeah. I mean, obviously you're, you're touching on asynchronous, which is a huge focus for, for me and, and what, what we do with Clarityflow. One, one of the early realizations that I had with it, even, even before I even knew what the product was going to be, but, um, and I see this still every day is that like, it's with async, whether it's within an organization, a small team, large team, or coaches and clients, it's like, Yeah, it's a little bit more convenient. You can reduce like calendar events and meetings and, and, you know, especially with large orgs, you know, just like over just way too many meetings, meetings about meetings and nobody wants that.
But what I did find was there, what, what everyone actually really wants is to communicate more. They, they want to use it as a tool to be able to ask questions, send responses and still have a face to face or audio connection with their coworkers or their colleagues, um, without all the scheduling and, you know. But it's not a way to eliminate communication. It's actually in many ways, a way for people to connect more, um, without the trade offs of, of scheduling and focus and all
Rob Hatch: Yeah, at the same time. What it also allows, and, and the conversation I think in a larger organization that they'd have to have is what's the expectation for a response, you know, and, and so when someone sends me something, it's easier for me, right, I can, I tell my clients, if you need communication in between, here are the channels, you know, you can use Clarityflow, you can use, you know, um, email, whatever you want, but so, don't expect me to respond. I need a 24 hour kind of window to work it into my workflow because, uh, you know, one of the things that I do and the way that I set up my day is, I have a two hour block of time where I lock down and there's nothing else that I'm doing other than the three things that I've determined are the most important for my business. And there's no communication that's going to get through during those times, even if my wife calls me. We have a family rule that is, you need to, she's going to have to call me twice to tell me, that's the bat signal basically. So, to interrupt whatever focus, uh, is going on, um, you know, I, I'm not going to let anything through.
So I control my communication very tightly, but then I move and go intentionally into those channels to say, Okay, now is my time to look, to respond. And it's filtered by, you know, my clients, or my wife, or a business partner. So, and I'll go through those, each of those channels, the way that they're filtered, and, and devote time to responding then. But, I can't...
Brian Casel: My, my family, uh, gets on me because I don't even look at my texts during, well, during workday, you know, it's like, I'll go hours without even seeing
Rob Hatch: Yeah. And,
Brian Casel: and it ends up being like the door knock is, is the bat
Rob Hatch: There you go. You know? Whatever works. Um, but but I think it's hard to tune that out, and to give permission, like in a larger organization to say, what if you just turned all those notifications off for an hour, two hours, and then you went in after you were done, uh, And still trying to get it all done in between?
Brian Casel: Totally, and I think that, um, there's also an expectation, at least for me, but I, I, I found that like, especially with my teammates. And we've all become, we're almost entirely asynchronous. Um, part of the value of it is like, I, like, when I send a message, I don't want a response right
Rob Hatch: Right.
Brian Casel: You know, um, the whole point is like, I want to make sure that I send this question across to my teammate so that they can start thinking about it over the next 24 hours. Like, that to me is productive, you know, um. I'm not going to send a message and say, Hey, can we have a meeting about this thing tomorrow? And then we're not even going to think about it until then. Like, no, I just want to make sure I asked the question. Now it's now it's on their to do list for the next business
Rob Hatch: Uh huh.
Brian Casel: And, and I know that like, I'm going to get a response and then I'll, I'll think about the response tomorrow or the next day, whenever it comes in. But we, we can both still, uh, manage our priorities day to day, you know?
Hey, just a quick break to tell you about Clarityflow. It's the software tool loved by coaches and their clients for communicating asynchronously in threaded conversations using video, audio, or text. My team and I designed Clarityflow for the modern day coach. It lets you give clients a single place to engage with you and all that you offer through your coaching business.
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Rob Hatch: Do you, when you send those, um, I'm just curious if you send them kind of like, Ooh, I gotta, I just got this idea, let me turn on the video, shoot it, and send it out. Or is it more... Do you let it sit for a while? Is it more thoughtful, like, because, because I could see someone just sending, you know, 10 of those over the wall, um, just to get it off their head. And that puts a lot of burden on the receiver. And so I'm just
Brian Casel: It, it very much depends on, on the thing, whatever it is. Right. Um, I have gotten better about preparing more, uh, before I send something. Um, so, okay. So like in most cases, especially if it's a marketing project, um, and I'm talking to my marketing team member, it's, it's probably something that I've thought a lot about and what I also do a lot is I prepare notes. Um, usually like a quick bullet list and in Notion or something. And I use that as my guy, I'll share my screen and my camera and record my message and I'm talking through the bullet points and the notes I've taken maybe a week or more to prepare and re research.
So, um, and that's, and that's actually how I even go back and forth in an, in an ongoing meeting, if you will. And, and a meeting could last a week or it could last four months with a, with a single person because we're. It's a slow asynchronous meeting for example, right now, I'm working with a pay per click consultant, And, and he's running it and I have questions and we have like 10 or 15 minute videos back and forth to each other over the course of a month. And I'll watch back his response. And while I'm doing that, I'm just jotting down some notes. And then when I respond, I'm actually showing my notes and I talk through them so that I stay focused on. On the thing, um, but yeah, if it's, if it's like a new project, a new task or something that I'm giving someone, um, I spent a lot of time worrying about and thinking about like, what are the priorities and everybody's cue that I'm assigning.
So for, for it to raise to the level of like, okay, I'm going to put this into your queue. I've, I've probably decided it's important, you
Track 1: know?
Rob Hatch: that's good. And the other side that you're just sort of, um, piqued my interest on was, the way in which you approach receiving that and devoting the time to say, okay, this is a 15 minute video. I'm going to take notes because this is an ongoing meeting.
So viewing it as a meeting, viewing it, um, as I'm not just going to play it and just watch it without having a way to capture that or, or just play it in the background as I'm writing other emails. Like it's a devoted. It's time for me to watch this video and give it all of my attention.
Brian Casel: Yeah, absolutely. Um, it, you know, just. You can do this with like really any tool, but in terms of our tool and Clarityflow like, if we tell the person when, when the person is watching it, turn that off if you want. But 1 of the things that I really like about asynchronous in general is that it is all locked.
Right? So I can go back to the technical discussion that we had last week and it's all in the thread. It's not it's not like lost within a 60 minute zoom call. How are we going to find was said, you know? Um, so that's, that's, I think really important. And that's also where the having notes actually really helps. Um, uh, because I'll also post the notes along with my video where, where I talked through it. Um, and, uh, yeah, I, I, and, and, you know, again, that also speaks to a thing that I keep trying to communicate about asynchronous in general is that when you're in a live meeting, I have to have an answer to your question on the spot, right? Like you asked me something I have to respond. Otherwise, it's just awkward or it's weird. Like with,
Rob Hatch: How does he not know the answer to that? Yeah,
Brian Casel: Yeah. So, and what that means is I'm just going to blurt out the first thing that comes to my mind, right? Which more times than not is not going to be the best idea or the best well formed thought, but when it's async, I can take time to jot down some notes. I can do some research. I can take a walk and mull it over before I get back to them. And now it's a, now it's a much more productive response I'm
Rob Hatch: yeah.
Brian Casel: coming back to, you know, I mean, I, I just, I could talk all day about that stuff.
Rob Hatch: No, it's, uh, it's really fascinating. So the part of where, you know, why it's got me thinking this way and why I, I get fascinated by just communication is because it centers around time and where we choose to focus our attention, uh, during the day. And as an entrepreneur or solo business owner, even in a larger organization, there's just so many demands. But one of the things that I like to do with folks is just start to say like communication is just one example, but how do you want this to work? Like, how do you want information to flow? What works for you? Because I don't know many people who can deal with with the onslaught all day long.
So helping them think about what works or what's worked in the past. It works really well when I have you know the notes along with the video so I can see what Brian's talking about, you know, that's super helpful for me. So, you know, you might change the way that you interact with someone you're working with to make sure that you're always providing you provide them anyway.
But thinking about asking for those things or setting up our basically the world, you know through our screens that we operate in based on what works for us what's what's worked for us in the past in the way that whether that's supervision whether that's um, how we accomplish a task or accomplish a, you know, completing a project, uh, I like to go to people's prior success or the things that they, their strengths and what works for them. And then we take that and we can extrapolate and say, okay, so based on that, there's a framework that we can use to say, can we apply it over here?
You're trying to accomplish this goal. Is there a similar goal that you've accomplished in the past? What did you do? How did you gather information? How do you like to research? Who do you talk to? What steps do you usually go through in your planning process? How do you structure your time? And when people start taking control of that, especially if it's anchored in something they've succeeded at in the past, I, you know, I think the possibilities are endless. And so to me, I'm always looking for, What did you do well? What do you like it? What do you want it to look like? Forget, you know, what, what's coming at you for a second. Let's just, can we structure it in a way that works for you?
Brian Casel: I mean, I'm trying to like. Uh, hold off on like talking about my own situation because I can go down so many rabbit holes there in terms of how we help myself and my team, we stay productive with tasks and communication stuff.
But what I'm kind of curious to know is, is in your work with your clients, is that, like, this discussion that we're having now, is this sort of like the, like, what the content of your coaching looks like? Or is it very different from each individual client? And I'm sure it is, but like, um, are you going so, like. What kind of subject matter are you, are you covering? Is it like really wide across the board? Is it like productivity, workflow, focus? Is it like interpersonal stuff? Is it psychology? Like what, what are
Rob Hatch: All of the above. Um, and, and, but I, you know, it's a, it's a convenient sort of, um, sort of tag we can put on it, I think, is around decision making.
And, and because there are so many decisions and that's, that's, sort of at the, the crux of, of, you know, are we making a good decision or a bad decision or, um, uh, you know, where, and, and from how, how you focus your time to what you choose to say to people, to how you respond to a situation, uh, the decisions you make as you grow your business, who you hire. All of that is around just taking the time and the space to think through, you know, What, what is it that I'm trying to accomplish? What information do I need to gather to make a decision confidently? Where does that information live? Um, you know, that's sort of one framework.
I, I worked with a client who, uh, wanted to, to, to purchase a franchise. I had never done that, ever uh, coached anyone in that. I hadn't been through that process. And I was very candid that this is not an experience I have. Um, But what I can do is help you think through what you need to know, where you need to get it, so that when you get that information, you are really clear that the next decision you're going to make is confident. Whether or not you rule them out or rule them in and take the next step forward.
And that's, that's for me, everything. But it does get into, I just had a call with one of those executives where it really was about productivity and how they structure their time. Because they, they were completely and utterly overwhelmed and could not see their way clear to having any time to work on the stuff that they, that was important to them. They, they were just constantly responding to the needs of others. And one example I gave them was, Look, we are, you just found an hour of time to talk to me. We can find an hour of time in a week. Maybe we can even find two of those.
And often times clients will, you know, shoot really high. Like, what if I just for two days a week or every day, I'm like, I always slow people down. I'm not an everyday kind of person. I'm a more often than not.
Brian Casel: All of my here Like what am I just lock myself in a room and build that
Rob Hatch: Right. And I just do it every day for three hours or, and I'm like, every day is not going to work. Stuff happens. Um, more often than not, you know, maybe a couple times a week so that if you miss a day, you can get back on, you know, get back to it. Um, but just being able to step back and say, I can control some of my time. I, obviously I have obligations to other people. I have to attend meetings. But where can I find the time and control it?
And, you know, that comes honestly from personal experience of having put everyone else's needs first. You know, when I was, I used to run a non profit for like eight years and before that, um, you know, managed like 32 different locations for an organization. And I would put everyone else's needs first. And then at the end of the day, try to cram in the work that I needed to get done for myself. So I left myself open to, to those whims. And when I started flipping that, putting my work first, then I could get to it. But once I started to flip it and saw that how that worked, then I wanted to build on it. Then I wanted to share it. Um, you know, but I'm looking for people to tell me what works for them.
Brian Casel: You know, you know, I mean, just getting into like your personal day to day and workflow, this is something that I'm, I'm pretty fascinated with, with, with coaches, right. Because I, I, I'm not a coach. I don't, I don't do coaching day to day. Um, I'm a software guy. And so I, I really value my deep work time. even like this call today, this is, I have this and one other sales call today and like, that's too, I really don't want more than one call. Occasionally I'll allow a second call my day.
You know, because there's just so much like personal energy that I'm expending just being on a call. Right. And I really value just the quiet focused music on working on the product. Um, and I need hours of that.
So I'm, I'm kind of curious, like with coaches, obviously it's a very different thing. It's, it's like, how do you, how does it logistically actually work for you in terms of like calls, like one to ones group calls in a day or in a week and kind of managing your own energy and focus and all that.
Rob Hatch: Uh, So I, I try to limit the number of calls I'll have in the day. Three is about as much as I want to do. Uh, and, and part of that is because I, I like to spend, you know, where you're building the features. I'm, I tend, I tend to spend time writing.
So, I'm, I'm also an author and I'm writing that newsletter every week. And, that is, it's been the source of most of my, you know, revenue for years and years, uh, and referrals. So, I, I like to continue, and it's something I just love to do. Uh, so that's, I, and I have to spend time marketing and just the administrative side of the business. There's lots of little projects to do, outreach.
But, the day to day calls, I really like to keep them limited. And, I generally leave at least 15 minutes on either side of my call um, As a, I need to let go. You mentioned deep work. Like there is residual attention that I'm going to carry into the next call if I jump from one client to the next. I'm not going to have time to let it go and prepare. So I like to leave at least 15 minutes. Ideally, you know, even more if I can, but it doesn't always work that way. But I put these buffers in. Honestly, for the client, because I won't be effective for them and listen to them if I can't let go of the prior call, write off some notes, you know, get that out of my head, get up, stretch, take a break, get water, something. And then I can come back and review their notes for where we left off last time and then, and then get back on and, and give them my full attention.
But that is something that's very important to me is not Um, splitting my attention, something I've also learned about myself and part of that leaving yourself open, you know, in the past when I was managing, I wanted to be the open door manager, you know, always available, someone would come in and if I'm working on something and I, you know, I feel compelled to say, sure, have a seat. But I'm never giving either of those things my full attention. So I started to say no to them, wrap what up, whatever's going, wrap up that. And then switch to them so that I can give them my full attention. And that's what it's always about.
Even as a parent, I do that with my kids sometimes. You know, if they're coming at me, uh, with a need, I would very clearly say, you know, I love you, I love, I want to hear everything that you have to say. Let me finish this, and then I can switch and give you my full attention. Because it's, it's, clearly what you're saying is really important. And I want to hear it.
Brian Casel: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, right now with summer and the kids are sort of like home and that's like, it's nice to have that structure where it's like, okay, I know this is my work time, better make, better make the focus count.
Rob Hatch: Yeah.
Brian Casel: Um, I, you know, I don't want to go too long here. I did want to just sort of touch on, um. Um, you know, we talked about how you, how you work, uh, going back, like we don't need the whole career story here, but are, were there any like intentional changes or improvements that you've made in your approach to coaching or structuring the way that you offer your coaching? Um, whether it's improvements, uh, for, for you professionally or personally, or for results for your clients, um, Anything like come to mind over the last few years that like, you know, before you were doing it this way and now, now you've made these changes and, and it's been really a lot better.
Rob Hatch: Uh, a couple things. I used to do, um, uh, three month engagements, and I would do three weeks on, one week off, and the way that I always said was, we need a week off so that we can get work done. Um, we need to take a break because every week it's a little, you know, almost incessant, you know, it's just, uh. But I, I made this, and so I would do three month engagements.
And at the time I would also offer the opportunity for them to pay everything up front for a little bit of a discount. Like, that was, I felt like that was, would entice them. Uh, and I switched to a six month engagement, um, every other week and only month to month. And I, and there, the reason why on the coaching side is that I started to find that people were not, didn't have enough time to put in the work. between calls on a week to week engagement. I just don't think. Just so much happens. Uh, so many things come up. So many demands on our time. And you need at least two weeks between calls. That's
Brian Casel: Yeah. And I also find that like, even though so much happens, also, like not enough happens in one
Rob Hatch: Yeah. Oh, exactly. Yeah,
Brian Casel: Like I do a, a podcast with my friend Jordan, where we're just talking about our, our progress and if we, if we record two weeks straight, it's like we don't have a lot of new content to talk about.
Rob Hatch: Yeah. Yep. And you're absolutely right. So yes, too much, uh, too much and not enough all at the same time. So there's, they come into the call with not enough having happened on what we were talking about. and, Uh, so that was part, that's the coaching side and I feel like the rhythm is so much better. I also leave it a little open if, you know, if something comes up, I let people reschedule. I'm not a hard, you know, must be every Tuesday at 10 kind of person. Like I, I like to leave, you know, we'll find a time, we'll make it work.
Um, and then on the no more upfront payment, just having the recurring revenue. Coaching is a weird thing and getting referrals, getting clients and having to go find ways to get new clients. I mean, it's, it's, it's a little easier for me now that I've been doing it so long and for a number of reasons, getting referrals and having the newsletter, but man, the ups and downs of, of that income as a solo business owner, it's hard to manage sometimes, you know, um, and you have to be really disciplined in the, the the boom times and, Uh, so that the, you know, when things are down, it's, you have something to coast on. So that spread it out a little bit to say, okay, I've got six months to make this work.
Brian Casel: And I can see that that's also like a predictable expense for, for the client to have like a monthly, it's just part of the budget, you
Rob Hatch: Yep, it's predictable. Um, and I'm, you know, we're very, I'm very clear about how it works and I don't limit it to six. I just say that that's the minimum and then it's an auto pay. So they would say at the end, like, okay, we're done.
Or, I've had clients that have continued on and I've been working with some similar, some of the same clients for years, um, just throughout lots of career changes and, um, you know, just helping them think through whatever next step is, is facing them.
Brian Casel: Yeah. And then how, like, how is it actually structured? You, you mentioned calls. Did you say like once every two
Rob Hatch: Yeah, every two weeks it's an hour, hour long session. I say, I mean, it's another very clear change. I say up to 60 minutes is one session. Because it used to be that I would feel bad, like if, you know, we'd get a lot done, maybe 30, 35 minutes, and I would say, you know, gosh, it feels like this is a good place to start.
What do you think? Stop. Um, you know, we can do another half hour later. I felt obligated to give them that.
But they're not paying for the time, they're paying for the result of the session. And so that clarified that for me, and, and just, so one session. They could walk away with everything that they needed in 40 minutes. And I leave it up to them, of course, to make the decision. Do you have anything else? This seems like a good place to stop. Um, you've got a lot that we've just decided. Is there anything else that you want to talk about? Or do you want to, is this good? We're, you know, it's all up to them though. Um,
Brian Casel: and...
Rob Hatch: And
Brian Casel: is there any like group interaction with other clients or that's all one to
Rob Hatch: It's all one to one. The group that I run is a mastermind group, and there usually isn't a whole lot of crossover in terms of clients. Um, but that's,
Brian Casel: Got Like two very separate
Rob Hatch: Exactly. It's, and it's, um, it's also, you know, small business owners, mostly solopreneurs, quite frankly. Um, and, and just, you know, generally being supportive. We, you came in and spoke at one point, you know, because there were a bunch of coaches in there. And also, I think, you know, people who could benefit from async communication and the way that Clarityflow does it, so.
Brian Casel: That's great. Well, Rob, I mean, we, we could talk all day, uh, again, like you, you, you unpacked like so many little, uh, nuances as a, as a, as a business owner and a team communicator. Uh, there, there's just so much here. so great to, you know, talk to you again at some point, maybe have you back and unpack something else in more detail,
Track 1: you
Rob Hatch: I would love to come back, uh, you know, I appreciate the opportunity to chat and, you know, maybe, uh, in, uh, September I've got a new book coming out called Success Frames in, uh, not September, in December of this year. And, uh,
Brian Casel: I mean, we, we should have talked more
Rob Hatch: No, it's, well, I,
Brian Casel: will definitely get it all linked up. So actually, can you tell us, like, give us a quick, uh, you know, title, what it was
Rob Hatch: It's really anchored in what we, um, were discussing before about find, you know, anchoring people in their success and building the framework that they can use, um, you know, for, in lots of different scenarios.
So really looking at, you know, not just your strengths in the way that, you know, an assessment might find your strengths, but looking at what you've actually accomplished, what works for you, how do you structure your time, how do you make decisions. And creating a framework that you can use over and over again.
I honestly believe we learn more from our success than we do our failure. It gives us something to build on. Failures kind of tell us what not to do, which is great. But success gives us, um, you know, a model that works directly for us. Um, so, that's, that's the premise.
Track 1: of
Brian Casel: Doubled down on what works. What, the title?
Rob Hatch: Success Frames.
Brian Casel: Success Frames. Awesome. Yeah, we'll, we'll get it all linked up. And are you like, is that, are you publishing it, self publishing it?
Rob Hatch: Oh, I'm working with a publisher. I published a previous book called Attention, The Power of Simple Decisions in a Distracted World a couple years ago with Practical Inspirations Publishing and, uh, they're, um, you know, that was successful and they invited me back and publishing this one as well, so.
Brian Casel: Um, well, Rob, this, this has been great. Thanks so much for taking the time.
Rob Hatch: Thanks for inviting me, Brian. Good to talk to you.