Coach Interview Series: Genny Heikka

by Brandon

Genny Heikka

Life Coach, Consultant, Speaker

Our main objective here at the National Coach Academy is to enable aspiring coaches to reach their full professional potential. One of the most effective ways to educate students about the world of coaching is by offering them a window into the world of real, practicing coaches and showing them all the different ways coaches make a difference in the lives of their clients.

We hope today’s interview adds another insightful glimpse into the dynamic world of coaching.

Today we are interviewing Genny Heikka. Genny is a Life Coach, Consultant, and Motivational Speaker based in Boise, Idaho and serving clients worldwide. She is also a member of the High Country Chapter of the ICF.

NCA: Can you describe your coaching practice and the kinds of clients you typically work with?

Genny: Her Team Success really focuses on helping women thrive and lead. I typically coach women who are looking for more purpose, clarity and confidence in their career path or life – from CEOs to women just starting out in their careers. I also work with companies that are looking for help with women’s leadership initiatives, personal branding, employee engagement, training related to developing mentor and sponsor relationships, and other topics that help empower and equip women. I also speak at various conferences and events to help companies inspire their employees and cultivate a sense of purpose and passion.

NCA: What initially got you interested in this career path and what kind of degree or certifications did you need to complete, if any?

Genny: I started Her Team Success about three years ago, but I’ve been working with women for much of my life in a variety of different roles – from my job as a manager at HP, to my work with a non-profit that helps girls rescued out of trafficking, to the organization I cofounded called LIFT, which equips women to Live Inspired, Fearless and Thriving lives.

I have an MBA and a background in marketing, management and branding, as well as experience as an author, so there’s a strong overlap with the personal branding coaching that I do to help women and teams unearth and harness the power of their unique story to stand out and make a difference. I’ve found that so many amazing women live beneath their potential and dreams, and the work I do really focuses on helping them discover and lean into their strengths, truly believe in themselves, show up as their best self, and make the greatest positive impact by being who they authentically are.

NCA: What is the most rewarding part of your career?

Genny: Seeing transformation in women’s lives. Seeing them truly grasp their value and believe in themselves. Seeing them own their story, pursue their dreams and set and reach goals. Seeing them not settle or give up. Seeing them identify their next step and charge ahead with determination and confidence, whatever that next step might be.

NCA: What is the most challenging aspect of the work that you do?

Genny: I wouldn’t really call it a challenge, but part of being a coach (and this is actually something I love about it), is that it requires a high degree of self-awareness and EQ. I need to be at my best so I can help others do the same. That means I have invested a lot of time—and continue to do so—on personal and professional growth, self-discovery and self-awareness. If I am going to walk women through this process, it’s important for me to have walked through it as well.

People are all unique and we each bring a different background and perspective to life; if you understand what your way of showing up in the world is, and your unique value, it really helps you to give others space for theirs. I think appreciating others’ perspectives helps coaches approach their work from a compassionate and very effective starting point.

My role as a coach is to support and challenge, guide and encourage, ask questions and help my client gain new insights; it is not to set my client’s goals for her or tell her what to do. And in order to effectively coach in that way, I need to be healthy and follow the same principals I talk about with women in my own life.

So, again, it’s not really a challenge because I am passionate about continually improving myself, but it’s a discipline and priority that I think is really key to coaching.

Don’t set out to be like everybody else. Think about what makes you you and the unique qualities and experience you bring to the field of coaching. […] We all bring something unique to the work we do. And when we lean into that, we can add the most value to our clients.

NCA: Can you think of mentor who was most vital to your success as a coach? In what ways did this mentor help you to thrive in your career?

Genny: I’ve had so many great mentors throughout my career. Mentoring others and being mentored is a huge priority for me. I’m currently a member of an ICF chapter in my area and I can think of a few coaches in that group who have served as amazing mentors to me, especially when I first started out. I also have a peer mentor who has become a dear friend, and she and I meet regularly and coach and challenge each other. We help propel each other toward our goals and hold each other accountable.

If anyone is just starting out coaching, I would highly recommend connecting with someone who is already on that path and has experience, as well as a peer you can meet with regularly to help each other with growth and goals. It makes such a difference.

NCA: Finally, what advice would you give someone looking to get started in the career path that you chose?

Genny: I think the number one thing I’d say is find your niche. Don’t set out to be like everybody else. Think about what makes you you and the unique qualities and experience you bring to the field of coaching.

For me, it was my marketing and branding background and my years working with women that helped me develop the personal branding process I take women through today so they can leverage their story for the greatest positive impact. It was just a natural outflow of the years of experience I brought to the table; I didn’t sit down and try to come up with some new idea of how I could make an impact. I simply began coaching women as a life coach and quickly realized how my background and experience could help them in their journey, and the process unfolded. The same is true for every coach; we all have a unique area of expertise, and we all bring something unique to the work we do. And when we lean into that, we can add the most value to our clients.

The other thing I’d say is don’t let imposter syndrome get the best of you. We all experience nerves when we start doing something new, so don’t let fear intimidate you. I remember when I got contacted by my first client and set up a coaching session, I couldn’t wait to work with her. But right before our first meeting, as I sat there getting ready for it, a huge case of imposter syndrome set in and I felt terrified–and unqualified. But after pressing through the nerves and going into that first meeting, my fear was replaced with that calm reassurance and excitement that comes from doing what you were meant to do and being able to truly add value in someone’s life.

So if you have fear or nerves in the beginning like I did, don’t let it stop you. Simply view it as a sign that you are on the right path and that something new and exciting is just around the corner.

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