Andrea Cole is a career coach who founded Andrea Cole Coaching in 2013. Using her vast experience and circuitous career route, Andrea guides individuals to career fulfillment and personal happiness. She has partnered with major outplacement firms such as, Lee Hecht Harrison, Waldron and CareerCurve, helping individuals laid off from their jobs land fulfilling new career opportunities. She applies a personal, caring and supportive approach to her work with individuals. Part coach, part consultant, part cheerleader, she believes everyone has the perfect job out there waiting for them and is determined to help everyone find it.
Andrea is originally from New England, but she and her heart reside in Seattle, WA where she enjoys life on the beach enjoying the ever changing landscape and beauty of Puget Sound. Prior to career coaching, Andrea has worked in leadership development, project management in the tech field, and higher education.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I’ve had a long career as an ‘employee’, experiencing the joys and not-so-joyful experiences that come with that. I have worked in higher education, tech, accounting and learning & development. I have worked hard to find happiness and fulfillment in my work. We spend well more than 40 hours a week at work. This can have a tremendous impact on our personal happiness.
Four years ago, I quit my job at a national non-profit, sold my house in Maryland and moved myself back to Seattle. Seattle is the one place I am happiest and knew I could live my best life there. I started by consulting in the learning & development realm when the opportunity arose to join an international outplacement firm that was helping people impacted by the huge Microsoft layoffs in 2014 find new jobs. I immediately knew I’d found my niche!
Having gone through various career transitions as well as the process of job hunting myself, I could relate to what my clients were experiencing and bring a wealth of personal experience to my work. I fell in love with career coaching and now can’t imagine doing anything else. My work touches people’s lives in a very personal way. I have arrived at a place of true happiness and contentment in my work and want to help others arrive here too. My motto is dream, believe, achieve. And on my website, I say ‘Your success is my success’.
Tell us about your business.
I work with individuals seeking to improve or advance their careers. Some are out of work and seeking to re-enter the workforce, others have been laid off and need the morale support as well as the strategic guidance I provide. Others simply want to change jobs for any number of reasons. Another group are those who are seeking to pivot from what they are currently doing to a new career.
Sometimes they know what that new career is, sometimes we work together to discover that new career. I work with them on the full scope of job seeking, essentially teaching them how to land a new job. I often joke that “I’ll put myself out of a job helping you land a job”. Entrepreneurs often come to me for coaching as well since I have done it successfully and they want to learn through my experiences. I work with them from concept to developing a business plan and preparing to launch.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I offer webinars (Webinar Wednesday) on the 2nd Wednesday of each month for just $25 per webinar. This allows people to be part of a group coaching session at a small fraction of the cost of a private hour of coaching.
- Finalist for King County Small Business Award for 2016
- Delivery Excellence Award for the Lee Hecht Harrison Microsoft Outplacement project (voted on by the candidates)
- Certified Brain-based coach
- Senior Action Learning coach
- Certified Myers Briggs practitioner
- Certified DDI Facilitator
Where is your business based?
I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest in Seattle, WA and work with people all over the US.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
After the initial legal steps of incorporation, I partnered with a firm to enhance my skills and build a referral base of satisfied customers, then used my network and social media to build a brand and reputation.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
I’ve raised awareness primarily through LinkedIn where most of my client base spend their time. I enjoy writing, so frequently write blog posts on my website and share them on LinkedIn, along with regular contributions and comments.
My main source of new clients is word of mouth from former clients, who continue to be a great source, followed by LinkedIn and Google. I also constantly develop my network to build a cadre of referral partners. I also enjoy public speaking and seek opportunities to share both my personal story as well as educational workshops on a variety of career topics.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Marketing for sure! What I do comes naturally to me, but marketing was a skill I have had to develop.
Being alone much of the time and being the ‘giver’. I miss the collegial atmosphere of working with a team and sharing ideas, books, and what’s new in the field. I’m a learner and thrive on a constant stream of new information. As an entrepreneur, I have to work twice as hard to find sources of new learning.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I hired a business coach and consulted with a marketing consultant to learn how to capitalize on my love of writing and communication, where the best outlets for communication are, building a strong website, etc.
I started working out of a co-working space part-time to increase my peer group, and stay active in the coaching community.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Remembering my WHY, the reason I do what I do. Working with an individual, helping them through difficult career transitions is rewarding and gratifying. I help people improve their lives through finding happiness in their careers. I help them see that finding a new job is very much like dating: finding that right mix of skills, values and lifestyle.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I care and with the experiences I have had, I can empathize with my clients. Each individual is a unique person and I enjoy getting to know them, what’s important to them and what will work best for them. Many of my competitors, I’m told, are very mechanical and don’t invest on a personal level with their clients. I do. Some clients have even become friends because of the close nature of our work. Clients have told me the thing that sets me apart is my energy, my positivity, my ability to build confidence and to build them up after a disappointment.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
To be patient. Nothing happens overnight and good things will come eventually in their own time. I’ve always struggled with patience and work hard to wait for things to happen. Trust the universe!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Believe in yourself. Build a tribe of people who can provide advice and support. Go for it. It’s better to try and fail than never try at all. Hire a good coach, they are worth every penny.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
My scheduling tool. It radically improved my life by allowing clients to book meetings directly on my schedule without a multitude of emails going back and forth trying to find the perfect time. It’s also allowed me to establish firm business hours, allowing me to plan my days more effectively.
As a coach, the ICF is a fabulous resource that opens the door to a world of coaches who are happy to help, guide and partner.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I’m currently reading “Designing Your Life” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. Not only is it a great tool for my clients on how to design the life they want, it’s a reminder to me of how I can continue to create the life of my dreams.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I’m very interested in working with people who are looking ahead to retirement. People have active retirements these days and often can use help planning how they will use their time to enjoy a meaningful and happy retirement. To that end, I’m currently earning my retirement coaching certification so I can be a resource.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
- Retirement coaching services – earning the certification will help me accomplish that.
- Develop workshops to offer to help anyone continue to enhance their professional development. I have a list of workshops in my mind and am working on developing curriculum for them.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.