How Did You Get that First Client?
I first met Tammy Lenksi last April when she commented on a post I wrote. I liked her right away because, she taught me something new and useful, and did so in a cheerful and inviting way.
I suppose that makes sense. Tammy is an expert at conversations that other folks might find uncomfortable. She’s Dr. Tammy Lenski of I Can’t Say That! She shows people how to have tough conversations that build relationships with confidence and finesse.
Over the time since that first comment, Tammy and I have shared emails and gotten to know each other. She’s told me about her thriving practice as a mediator, personal coach/consultant, teacher/trainer, author, and speaker. I had the pleasure to interview her recently and over the next few days, I’ll be sharing what she said. The first topic I wanted to know about was how someone gets a practice like Tammy’s going.
Hi Tammy. I suppose everyone’s first question is . . . what do you do — what is the BIG IDEA of your business?
I help people talk out their differences and build stronger relationships in the process. I do this in three ways: As a mediator, I help pairs and groups work through and resolve disputes at work and home. As a coach and consultant, I help women prepare for and learn how to navigate the conversations that matter most. And as a teacher and trainer, I help people learn how to engage difficult conversations successfully on their own.
My guess is that the second most asked question would be . . . how did you get to be a coach and conversation mediator and strategist?
Mediators, people who step into the middle of other peopleÃ¢â¬â¢s disputes, have to be both strategists and coaches. We have to be able to figure out the best strategy for sorting out a dispute and we often need to be able to coach people in staying focused on goals and conversing constructively, even when theyÃ¢â¬â¢re frustrated. I was a career coach many years ago, when I was first out of grad school, but itÃ¢â¬â¢s really my mediation work that brought me to the kind of coaching I do nowÃ¢â¬âpeople started asking me for individual help in instances where they didnÃ¢â¬â¢t need a mediator but still needed a sounding board, advisor, guide and ally.
How did you connect with your first client?
I had worked in senior leadership in higher education for years, so the day I formed my business I called five college presidents and deans I knew. I told them what I was now doing and asked, Ã¢â¬ÅDo you see some ways I can be helpful to your institution right now?Ã¢â¬Â Two of them said yes. It was my very first lesson in marketing: YouÃ¢â¬â¢ve got to ask.
So that’s how Tammy came to start her business. She asked and was ready when people came to her. She told me that being prepared, letting folks know what we do, and asking for business are the key — that she counsels other consultants to do just that almost daily.
Do you have questions for Tammy about what she does or how she got started? I know she’s more than happy to answer them. After all, conversation is a big part of her business.
Next, we’ll explore how blogging fits it to make her practice both personal and virtual.
–ME “Liz” Strauss