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Everything you wanted to know about coaching but were afraid to ask

Misha Saidov has worked with over 50,000 clients worldwide and coached 15 companies with turnovers of more than $1m.

Photo courtesy Misha Saidov
Photo courtesy Misha Saidov

Opinions expressed by Digital Journal contributors are their own.

My guest today is Misha Saidov. Misha is a serial entrepreneur, a master coach instructor, and a psychotherapist. He is the founder of Think Meta, a company that conducts over 4000 client sessions each month and employs 75+ certified practitioners. He is best known for creating Metacognitive Programming, a renowned psychotherapeutic and coaching technique. He is also the founder of the Institute of Metacognitive Programming, which conducts cutting edge research into the latest developments in neuroscience and biopsychology. Misha has worked with over 50,000 clients worldwide and coached 15 companies with turnovers of more than $1m. His clients have generated over $100 million dollars.

Misha, why do you think coaching has recently become mainstream and many people are striving to master the profession?

Coaching, as an industry, occupies a special place. Nowadays, many people really want to join the “coach community” because they believe that doing so only requires structured information. After all, in an age of informational noise, information “flows” from all sides: you can get it through courses, or you can just read an article on the internet or hear a special issue on TV. However, the coaching world is not as simple as it might seem at first glance. It is important not only to have up-to-date structured information, but also to be able to present the material intelligibly.

The coaching industry is currently growing rapidly – over the past few years we have seen a massive influx of people joining the industry. For example, in the United States in 2022, the coaching industry market size was $14.2 billion. According to IBISWorld, there are 60,472 business coaching businesses in the US as of 2022. Indeed, demand creates supply– at least 1 in 6 entrepreneurs turn to business coaching to expand their capabilities and achieve their goals. More than 92% of small business owners who applied confirm the positive impact of coaching sessions on their business. Forbes shared their predictions, which show that by 2025 the knowledge industry will bring in a billion dollars a day. The numbers are just incredible. The coaching industry has become very attractive for the same reason that the gold mines temporarily gained popularity. People have realized how to monetize it. They see real examples of people who were able to get wealthy through coaching. Plus, the coaching industry is not regulated at the legislative level, which is an additional incentive for its development.

Tell me, does someone who wants to become a coach need any special skills or natural talent to do so? 

The first step is to try coaching for yourself. If you try something on yourself and it really works, then you will have a better understanding of your capability to assist others. You can’t train people if you’re not “the product of your own product.” Only in the case of your own transformation will you be able to influence others and give them a chance to transform themselves. Following this principle, we allow our clients to transform and experience what they intend to do for their own clients. During the programs, our clients– in addition to learning coaching tools and gaining skills– feel changes in themselves, noticing growth and gaining insights. And only after our coaching approach has changed their lives do they go to change the lives of their own clients. Rather than going forward with a set of tools they learned in some coaching school, the coaches we train know that their learned methods will bring results, and they personally know how those results feel. After all, they themselves have already experienced such growth themselves. This is why our coaches are so effective. Our main principle, which really bears fruit, is that you must first learn from and change due to a set of principles before you can effectively teach those principles to others. That is, to experience yourself what you offer when working with a client. The most interesting thing is that by the time you receive a certificate from us, you yourself will be completely transformed. If not, then you are not certified. And we recognize that sometimes we ourselves are the cause, because you grow thanks to us. Likewise, it is our responsibility if you do not grow. In this case, we will refund your money.

Great, what type of course does your school offer?

Our course is grounded in the belief that we transform our clients in the process of their learning to transform others. We do not believe that you can give to another what you do not use yourself. Our program– named The Catalyst– lasts for 11 weeks and is designed for coaches who want to work with CEOs and top management professionals. After working with the coaches we train, these CEOs and management professionals will be able to change their mindsets and ways of thinking so that they can scale their businesses. After all, a business can only be as big as the CEO’s capacity to grow. During The Catalyst, our coaches grow as leaders and subsequently have the capacity to grow their clients’ businesses. It all starts from the mindset. 

What do you teach your clients in the program?

Let me start with a little history. Every business goes through certain stages, and my business is no exception. The first stage is learning how to reach 100 thousand a year with regards to income. At this stage, the market decides whether you have expert knowledge or not. In other words, are you able to create a product that is good enough? Whether you are a product of your product matters. On the way to your set monetary goal, you are completely responsible for your business in every sense: you create a product, you advertise it, you answer calls, and you create and maintain your website. The next step is how to go from $100 to $1 million? Here, it is worth thinking about the functioning of the “marketing machine” and about delegation. Your goal is to sell a product. You are looking for information on how the sales mechanism works and what techniques to use: launches and funnels, right? At the same stage, it is important to find a few people who will help you with these tasks. And by the time you make your first million dollars, you will probably have at least four people working for you. The third stage – how to get from $1 million to $10 million? The numbers are completely different. Therefore, you begin to scale your business: marketing, products, and profits. Imagine that you are a yoga instructor. How do you reach such an income when you are teaching and teaching 24 hours a day? It’s practically impossible. You really need someone to help you and take some of the responsibility for the product. Otherwise, you will have to be a yoga instructor for the richest people in the world who can pay for your course – a million dollars.

Once you’ve crossed the $30 million line, the next step is to move from scalability to finding other paths and other markets for your product.

Now you understand the essence of each stage that the owner goes through as his business grows. Each new stage dictates its own rules – you need to reinvent yourself every time. For example, when you reach $10 million, suddenly you are no longer just a guru. You must become the CEO. There are two paths for things to happen: either you stay the author of your product and become known to a large circle of people, or you follow the path of the CEO and build a scalable organization. You literally have to reinvent yourself and change the structure of your ego– it’s very hard. But this is the only way to successfully move from stage to stage. This is what we teach in business coaching, how to reinvent yourself over and over again. I show all of the above steps with illustrative examples, explaining where to start and how to sum it up. This is what coaching is all about.

What countries are your clients from? Can a client practice remotely? What is the class schedule?

We are the largest coaching company in Europe, and clients trained in our programs have been from 52 countries. They speak 26 languages. Our clients are very different– some are CEOs who want to develop their business, and some are mothers with young children who want to change their profession. Many study in parallel with their main work, thereby preparing the “ground” for new ideas and activities. We are currently entering the US and other international markets. We are not resting on our laurels and are actively scaling up our activities in various countries.

All programs are run remotely. They include live lectures that are then uploaded to the learning platform. Our clients can review them at any time convenient for them. The programs also provide recorded lessons that cover topics in detail and are available for viewing at any time without restrictions. In addition, our company provides the opportunity for group and personal meetings with coaches. We select the most convenient time for everyone, as our coaches are located in different time zones. As practice shows, this is a very convenient mechanism for direct communication.

What factors can be used to assess and measure the effectiveness of a coach? And what allows them to consider themselves a professional?

The effectiveness of a coaching specialist is measured by two indicators. First, do their customers recommend them to their friends? If yes, then they believe that the coach has positively influenced their lives. Second, has the client made objective progress by working with them? If the coach is working on achievements in their client’s life, what exactly has changed in 12 months of work? If they work on a client’s emotional control, how many times less will the client lose their temper due to their work? The effectiveness of coaching is revealed in whether the client was able to achieve the desired result with the help of the coach.

You have accumulated an impressive number of students during your career. What are your students’ most interesting achievements? What moment as a coach are you most proud of?

My biggest pride was probably my first client. I remember that he achieved absolute greatness thanks to my coach and me as a shore coach. It was a useful experience for me, as I learned from my coach and applied his work as an example. Then I was able to adopt the most important methods and mechanisms of interaction with the thinking of each individual person and take them as a basis in my subsequent activities.

Yes, many students have passed through our company. Many of them were inspired, revealed their potential, and achieved their goals with the help of our sessions. About 15 clients who have completed our programs have become millionaires. For us, these are valuable indicators that the programs really work; they help to improve the effectiveness of communications and the ability to set goals and achieve them.

Is it true that your book is expected to be released soon? Can you summarize what it’s about in a few words?

Yes, it’s true. Soon I plan to publish the “Efficiency Journal” through a self-publishing agency. Publication is expected in March– any day now.

The journal is designed to help you become the hero of your own life. Throughout the journey, the journal will accompany you and your goals so that you reach the end and become a winner. It contains planning forms for the week and each day, a place for summing up the results of the week and for reflection, and wise thoughts and hints along the way. Also, the journal will reveal to you some techniques to achieve success, using the example of famous people. With such an assistant, you will definitely not go astray. The journal will be a kind of motivator and engine of your progress.

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Jon Stojan is a professional writer based in Wisconsin. He guides editorial teams consisting of writers across the US to help them become more skilled and diverse writers. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

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