Pam Aks is the founder of What’s Within U in Arizona. We hope you enjoy this interview!
Coaching Focus: What’s Within U is an international mindset coaching practice supporting coaches, leaders, and entrepreneurs to help them go from “Can’t” to “Yes, I can!”
Location: Cave Creek, Arizona, USA
Tell us about your journey as a coach.
Since I was about 10 years old, I’ve been on a quest to figure out how to stop all the crappy stories that played on a loop in my head—the stories that ultimately made me feel not good enough.
And the thing is, I didn’t have some catastrophic event that turned my life around. I’ve not led a tragic life filled with one dramatic event after another.
However, I have experienced situations, people, circumstances, words, and actions that helped me craft some “wicked” stories. Stories that had me believing “You can’t, so don’t.”
I can honestly say I’m grateful to have had those experiences. And I’m equally thankful to the coach I worked with over a decade ago. She helped me to challenge those stories.
That’s where my journey to becoming a coach began.
Through being coached, I didn’t just change my negative narratives, but I experienced the power of coaching. It was then that coaching became the fire under my feet, the fire that still challenges me daily to do my own mindset work so I can help others do the same.
And as a result, since 2005, I’ve coached and taught thousands of coaches, leaders, and entrepreneurs, supporting them to create a badass mindset where they believe in themselves and what’s possible—where they change their negative narrative of “I can’t” to “Yes, I can!”
Because when we stop believing the negative thoughts, we start seeing what is possible.
What courses, programs, or certifications have you done?
I once heard that great coaches are committed to continually learning and growing. That has stuck with me, so I’m constantly looking for opportunities to grow and learn.
My coaching “learning” journey began with Coach U, which lead to obtaining a PCC certification from the International Coaching Federation. I’ve since expanded to training programs like Coaching Out of the Box and Wiley’s The Leadership Challenge.
My most significant learning has come from being a mentor coach and serving as a faculty member and an assessor for the University of Texas at Dallas’s Executive and Professional Coaching Certificate Program.
It’s true what they say: you do learn by teaching. I’ve learned a great deal about coaching from and alongside my students.
What advice or perspective might you give to a new coach trying to get her first clients?
Leverage excitement for what you do and feel good about what you offer!
Have you ever seen the movie “When Harry Met Sally”? There’s a particular diner scene in that movie that is the perfect example.
At the end of that scene, the woman at the table across from Harry and Sally says to the waitress, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
Because excitement is an attractor and people want to feel good. If you feel good about what you have to offer as a coach and are excited to share it, others will want what you’re offering.
And the last piece of advice I’d like to share: own your value! I tell mentees this all the time. Just because you may be a new coach, don’t ever underestimate the value you bring to your coaching and the people you work with. For example, you bring your heart, your intellectual property, your life experience, and so much more. If you don’t own that and recognize how priceless that is, no one else will either.
What are your thoughts on “choosing a niche” as a coach?
I think it’s helpful to know who you wish to work with and your specialty (or specialties). I liken it to being able to see the bullseye on a dart board. Without a clear vision, you’re essentially “blindfolded,” making it harder to see that bullseye.
One thing that helped me tremendously was creating a client avatar. I gave my avatar a face, name, hobbies, likes/dislikes—basically a personality. That way it became easier to spot my ideal client. And since I love to write, it made it fun to write about topics in a way that would resonate with that imaginary person.
What are some of your favorite mantras or thoughts currently?
I am a quote junkie! Quotes serve as mantras and I find them empowering and inspiring. Here are a few that I absolutely love:
- “Be a voice, not an echo.” – Albert Einstein. (I actually have this quote tattooed on my wrist to remind me to not shrink, but instead to stand firmly in my personal power so I can help others do the same.)
- “The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.” – Albert Einstein
- “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou
When you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or have lost your focus or motivation, what do you do?
Breathe. Seriously. Breathing is a magical tool that helps me to calm down my nervous system and get my brain back online. I love to take a deep breath into a four-count, hold it for a four-count, release it to a four-count, and then hold the “emptiness” for a four-count before I do another round.
If you could put a message on a huge billboard—getting a message out to millions—what would it say and why?
My message would be, “What we feed our minds is just as important as what we feed our bodies.”
Just like eating an entire bag of potato chips leaves us feeling slow and sluggish, feeding our minds crap stories like “not good enough,” “can’t,” and “don’t have what it takes” causes our confidence levels to drop significantly.
At the end of the day, your mindset is a powerful tool that you have control over, not the other way around.
This article was written by the Life Coach Magazine staff. We cover everything from personal development, to coaching tips, to how to grow your coaching business. Follow us on Instagram or sign up for our emails!