Forrest Tuff’s Atlanta-based coaching practice is the culmination of a decades-long journey through various industries and transforming failures into successes. As an entrepreneur turned educator turned coach, Forrest’s story is an encouraging one for anyone who’s questioning what direction life is taking them in. We hope you enjoy this interview!
Coaching Focus: Forrest Tuff Results Coaching focuses on mindset management, personal branding, and effective communication. Forrest specializes in helping entrepreneurs, leaders, professionals, subject-matter experts, and speakers prepare for public presentations, business growth, and high-potential opportunities.
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Tell us about your journey as a coach.
In 2004, I founded One Vision Productions, a multimedia company. After 11 years of producing films and television shows and working with wedding planners, corporations, and government agencies, I decided to help others.
In 2015, I joined SCORE, the nation’s largest network of expert business mentors, providing pro bono mentoring and low-cost workshops to aspiring entrepreneurs, professionals, and business owners.
In 2018, SCORE awarded me $10,000 to keynote and create a series of film industry workshops targeting business owners looking for job opportunities in Georgia’s multi-billion-dollar film industry. It was the most successful series in SCORE history, and I received a Commendation Letter from former Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. It was then that I realized my niche market.
The same year, I began training to become a certified coach. I chose Transformation Academy due to its online, self-paced training platform. After a year of education and field experience, I became a Master Life Coach in January 2020. Although the COVID-19 pandemic was on the horizon, I booked clients virtually for coaching sessions.
Currently, I coach 5-7 clients yearly and have retired from SCORE. Coaching is a process, and I find fulfillment when my clients achieve results and see the value in my services.
What courses, programs, or certifications have you done? Would you recommend them, and for whom?
When I began my journey to become a coach, I received training through Transformation Academy to learn what tools, resources, and systems are needed to run a profitable coaching business. I highly recommend their training to anyone that is self-motivated with a desire to coach. Within a year, I received my Master Life Coach Certification.
I also received training from Holistic Coach Academy as a certified Personal Finance Life Coach for Women’s Empowerment. As a male coach, I strive to understand the varying motivations and spending habits between men and women. It enables me to assess my coaching approach.
What advice or perspective might you give to a new coach trying to get their first clients? Any advice they should ignore?
I would advise a new coach to learn as much as you can, seek a mentor, create a few packages, and get started! Start with friends or colleagues to test your delivery and material. Ask for video and written testimonials and place an ad on social media with a limited discounted special.
While preparation is necessary, the action of doing is as well. Be proactive. You will make mistakes, things will not go as planned, and you will overthink some things. The good news is that time, experience, and self-evaluation will help polish your craft.
You will learn to appreciate progress and relationships. Your dedication to your business and patience with the process will help you become a better coach. Ignore “the voice” of procrastination in your head.
What are your thoughts on “choosing a niche” as a coach?
In my opinion, it is a good idea to understand your niche. Start by understanding what you are good at or passionate about, then get training.
I chose to focus on entrepreneurs and business professionals because my work experience, training, and expertise are better suited for that industry. Although I hold various life coaching certifications, their content has applications for my core clients.
For example, sometimes conversations with clients deviate from the business and goal-setting parameters and we discuss happiness and life purpose. Understanding techniques that may be useful to help them achieve results in those areas contribute to them finding fulfillment in their professional or entrepreneurial journey.
So, whatever niche you focus on, try to envision how it enables you to communicate with your ideal clients.
What books have significantly influenced your life? What are your key takeaways from these books?
One of my favorite books is Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim. My most important takeaway from their book was evaluating your perspective on how you view opportunities to create innovation and demand in your market. In the Blue Ocean Strategy, market boundaries and industry structure are not a given and can be reconstructed by the actions and beliefs of others within the industry.
What are some of your favorite affirmations, mantras, thoughts, and/or journal prompts currently? Why?
- Faith without works is dead.
- If it is to be, it starts with me.
- To help heal others, I must first heal myself.
My worth as a coach is impacted by my ability to practice what I teach.
Do you have any examples of how a “failure” set you up for later success?
Failures are simply experiences. If you learn from them, you can achieve a different result. You never know how a life lesson can further your career in the future or help others. Today, I can say that my failures are now my successes.
- As a kid, my dream to become a professional basketball player did not happen. FAIL.
- As a young man, I was married, had kids, argued, and divorced in 3 years. FAIL.
- In 2020, I attempted to become a Toastmasters International Accredited Speaker. FAIL.
- As an entrepreneur, my 1st business (online retail) went under within a year. FAIL.
DON’T GIVE UP!
- As an adult, 20th Century Fox hired me to train professional actors to become basketball players in a feature film. SUCCESS.
- As a father and husband, I am happily married (13 years) and have a great relationship with my children. SUCCESS.
- In 2021, I became only the 89th person worldwide to become a Toastmasters International Professional Accredited Speaker. SUCCESS.
- As an entrepreneur, my 2nd business (media) celebrates 19 years in 2023. SUCCESS.
If you could put a message on a huge billboard—getting a message out to millions—what would it say and why?
“Fear, Failure, and Emptiness prepared you to meet Confidence, Success, and Purpose. I look forward to introducing You to Yourself.”