What Entrepreneurial Coaching Is Really About, with Geoff Carnevale
Published DateAuthorDan Sullivan and Strategic Coach
Mortgage broker and lender Geoff Carnevale used to be a one-man show. Now, he knows much better ways to do things. In this episode, Geoff talks about some misconceptions people have about entrepreneurial coaching and shares some of the incredible tips he’s learned in The Strategic Coach® Program.
Here's some of what you'll learn in this episode:
What people think Strategic Coach® does that it does not.
Why you should sometimes pull the trigger on getting something done more quickly.
Why a desire for control in his life is in Geoff’s DNA.
Why it’s not always on you to solve problems.
Why Geoff used to feel he had a job, not a business.
Not unique: Entrepreneurs starting out think their problems are unique, but the reality is that they’re not.
Keeps you accountable: To reach your goals, you can create a game plan that keeps you accountable.
Accomplish quicker: It’s not that you wouldn’t accomplish your goals without coaching, but that coaching can help you accomplish your goals much quicker.
Might be different: What you want might be totally different from what another entrepreneur wants.
Very similar issues: When Coach clients hit a stumbling block, they’re in a room with many other entrepreneurs who have probably dealt with very similar issues.
Make a plan: If you think about what you want to have in the future, you can then make a plan to get there.
More invested: If you include team members in decision making and planning, they feel more invested in the business.
When you invest: When you invest in yourself, which can include hiring other people, you do well.
Dan Sullivan: Hi, this is Dan Sullivan, I'd like to welcome you to the Multiplier Mindset podcast. I'd like to introduce you to an entrepreneur in Toronto, Geoff Carnevale. He's in the mortgage business. He tells a story that I think really points out something, why small businesses stay small. And the reason is because most entrepreneurs—those who consider themselves entrepreneurs—don't actually have a company. What they have is a job. And their goal, actually, is to see if they can do everything in the job by themselves.
And I can tell you from coaching entrepreneurs for almost 50 years, that doesn't work. And it's not just that you don't grow, it's that it isn't a good way to live. It isn't a good way to work.
Okay, and Geoff starts off with what I think for him was probably a very unhappy experience, in that he was trying to do everything himself. And it ended up with him not doing what he really needed to do, and oftentimes putting himself in a position where he actually failed to follow through on promises that he had made to his customers. Okay?
And as you know, the business of getting mortgages actually has to happen quickly. There's a very, very narrow window of opportunity when your mortgage broker has to get the funding secured, and has to meet the deadlines of the clients. And he had a situation that really scared him, because he almost waited too late to actually do the work. And that forced him to examine his life and examine how he was looking at things. And about that point, he joined Strategic Coach.
Geoff Carnevale: My name is Geoff Carnevale. I'm a mortgage broker and lender here in Toronto, Ontario. My primary market is the Southern Ontario, the GTA, and just kind of the outskirts of that.
For any entrepreneur, it's not like you go in into Strategic Coach, and now they've given you this whole other game plan that you didn't think of. It just kind of helps you organize your thoughts as to what it is you want. And then, essentially, just kind of make a game plan to get there. Keeps you a little bit accountable.
One of the phrases at Coach is "thinking about your thinking." And I think that's a big one, where it's not just, you know-- The classic example is, you know, "I've got this really great idea." And then you shelve it for six months, and then you go back to six months later because you thought of it again. And, you know, it's not that you wouldn't accomplish the things that you would want to accomplish. But maybe you can accomplish it in two or three years versus 10 to 15 years.
Some of the exercises you kind of work through, and certain ideas you think to yourself, "Like, why am I holding back on this?" Sometimes just pull the trigger sooner than you expected.
It just kind of helps you get out of your own way a little bit. You know, my father was an entrepreneur, and I think I just grew up—whether it was consciously or subconsciously wanting to take control out of my own life and not being that, you know, "When does my boss have me working this week?" Or "When do I have to book vacation time?" And like, just something about having your own control, I guess, somehow was in my DNA from seeing that as a young child.
Obviously I didn't think about that as being an entrepreneur, but people asked me about Strategic Coach and I say, you know, like, I remember in one of the first workshops, you know, talks about, like, you know, freedom of time, freedom of money. And it's like, not every entrepreneur wants the same thing. What I want might be different than what other people in Coach want. And so it's all based on you: What do you want? And then how do you build a business to support that and cultivate that? People kind of have this misconception that Coach is about they tell you how to grow your business, they don't tell you anything. They just kind of give you the tools to work through how you want to grow your business. Right?
And, and I think the thing is-- People think that Coach is like this, "What if I don't want to do what they tell me to do?" And it doesn't work that way. They just kind of give you the tools and you figure out what you want and how you want to get there. And if you hit a stumbling block, well guess what? You're in a room with 40 other entrepreneurs who have probably dealt with very similar issues.
I think one of the biggest revelations for me was that, as an entrepreneur, when you're starting out, you think that all your problems are unique, and no one else would understand. The reality is your problems are not unique and millions of people have had the same problems, sometimes harder, sometimes, you know, not as bad. And they solve it. And here's how. And I think if you just open your mind to the fact that like it's not always on you to figure out problems, and you just start to realize that you can make changes quicker.
You know, when I started the mortgage business, looking back, I didn't have a business I had a job. And I was my own sales rep. and I was going out to try and find people that need a mortgage, and then if they need a mortgage, do I get the money from a bank, do I get somebody from a private lender, whatever the case may be.
And I think when I started Coach, I had two employees. But I never really had employees, and I just kind of jumped in and was figuring it out. You know, looking back, there's a reason why I had issues with them was because I was the problem, right? So I think what Coach did for me, first off, was just take a step back and think, "Okay, like, what do I want here? Like, what do I envision out of my company? What do I envision about the future? Like, where do I want to be in 50 years from now, and how does that-- If I want to be here fifty years from now, like, what are the things I got to do today to get there?" And even thinking like, with employees, and with delegating, and we've talked about "reverse delegating," and, and how, you know, sometimes the easy solution was just to give your employee the answer, do it yourself. Well, now, it doesn't help them grow, and then therefore take ownership of things.
You know, just taking steps back every three months is like, "Where are we going here? Like, what's the whole plan?" I don't think business owners, versus smaller business owners, they do that enough to know like, "Where am I going? And how am I getting there?" Like, "What am I trying to get to? Let's make a plan to get there," versus "Were's where I want to get, and I hope I get there one day." So that was, I think the biggest difference now, you know, my partner's been in Coach. And, you know, we know what we want. And we know how we're gonna get there.
I think a big revelation for us was "Who Not How." I think we use that in, you know, a lot of other facets of our life, not realizing it. But knowing that I don't have to figure it out, I just got to find someone who's already figured it out and let them do it for me, and it takes it off my plate. And they probably do better than I would do it. That has been a big catalyst for how we've grown, because we no longer try to figure it out or do it ourselves. Sometimes, you know, we do it ourselves at the beginning, because we're trying to figure out what it is we need. And then, now we know what we need we can go find that person. And then they take it over. And what that does is now it takes a lot of things off of me and my partner's plates, but it puts it in the hands of people that are better at it. And then you start to just get this multiplier effect.
When I started including in the team in decision-making and planning, they feel more invested in the business, which is what every entrepreneur wants. They feel like they're really, you know, making a difference. We have a summer student, and I wanted her input. Part of our planning session was implementing some of her ideas. So she feels kind of really valued now as a team member, which is I think that's really cool.
When I was a one man show, I remember, I had a client text me in the morning and say, "Hey, Geoff." They were buying a house. And it's, "Hey, Geoff, are we good for the closing next week?" And I hadn't done anything on the file. I've completely forgot about it. I didn't submit it to a lender or didn't get it approved—nothing. Then I went into real panic mode, and we ended up getting it done, but I remember just thinking to myself, "I can't operate that way. Like I can't be in a situation where I'm just forgetting about their-- Bought a house, and now they don't have a mortgage for it."
So it was at that point where I realized, "If I'm going to grow this thing, I can't do this as a one-man show." And I think it's easier as an entrepreneur just having to rely on yourself at some level, like, especially when you've never had anyone else. And you know, "If I bring on this person, it's gonna cost me this much money. And what if I don't make that much money?" And if you can just rely on yourself—like that's easier. In a way, when you're in that space, that's easier to do. But that's also harder to do until you actually get the help.
One of my friends in particular, who I've recommended Coach, and he's in construction, and he's the classic doesn't want to share stuff with his team, just like some of his trades. You know, if he goes golfing on a Wednesday afternoon, he doesn't want them to know, because then they'll think bad of him. And it's just very cool, I said to him, like, "Let me ask you a question. Think of the biggest construction company, you know. If the head of that company is going golfing, do you think the trade workers care?" I said, like, "Like, you're thinking like a small company."
And, you know, I remember like, even me, like I used to handle all of our essentially bookkeeping and whatnot. I didn't want employees to handle that, because I didn't want to police them and make how much we made, or how much I made. I just insecurity about that. And then someone brought it up. They said, "You know, just think of, like, the biggest mortgage company, like, you know, a publicly traded bank. Everyone knows what the CEO makes. So why do you care? Right?" And it kind of made me think that, you know, I think when you're growing your business, don't make decisions based on the kind of company you are today. Make decisions based on the kind of company you want to be.
So if you're 10 years from now, and you're a bigger and you're doing everything you want to do, how would you make a decision that, like, whenever we kind of make decisions now on how to do things, we try to think of "How would a bigger, advanced company make that decision? Because that's the decision we want to make. We don't want to be making the decision where we're at today, because where we're at today, we don't want to stay here. We want to get bigger. So let's try and think if we were a bigger company, if we had 100 employees, we had, you know, 10,000 square foot office space, whatever the case may be, how would that company make a decision?" And then try to use that as our guiding light.
And I think that it's really easy to kind of make a decision where you're at today and kind of be held back by the, you know, the fears associated with that.
In a way, it was good that we did that, because it forced us to kind of understand what it was we were doing. What I realized is that, the more I invest in myself and my company, you know--? So people are like, "Well, what does that mean?" Well, I mean, when I hired an assistant, I hired an assistant based on the income I was making that day, but the minute I hired an assistant, my income went up, and I hired another person income went up again. So what I've learned is like, when we invest in ourselves and bet on ourselves, we do well. And I think that when you're a one-man operation, you think to yourself, "Well, if I hire someone, it's going to cost me this much," versus, "If I hire someone, I'm going to be able to double what my output is." But until you've actually taken the leap of faith and done that, it's hard to imagine that, right?
You know, I always use the analogy of, you know, shoveling your driveway to people. And I say, "Look, if you shovel your driveway yourself, you know how long it's gonna take, you know which energy it's going to take. If you have five people doing the driveway, you're done in a fraction of the time, and maybe you don't even have to lift the shovel." And I say, "Just like, that's the analogy. The more people you have, the more things you're getting done, the more you can just multiply all the different things that you want to get done in a day."
"Who Not How" was basically like, when you're starting a business, you think yourself, "Okay, you know, I need to figure out how to do my bookkeeping, because I'm going to do my own bookkeeping." And then you're kind of Googling, and maybe you buy QuickBooks, and you're, you're figuring it out, and it takes up way more time. And it's probably wrong. And versus "I'm going to find a bookkeeper, and I'm going to let them do it. And I'm not going to touch it, they're going to do it quicker, faster, better." And yeah, it might cost you whatever it costs you. But when you go back to that as as an entrepreneur, how much is your time worth? You know, let's say you're worth $100 an hour. I know, this is you know, a lot of people have heard this, but if you're worth $100 an hour based on how much money you pay, and you're doing bookkeeping, well, would you pay a bookkeeper $100 an hour do that work? No.
You know, if you have a problem with your car, very few people fix it themselves. They have a "Who". They have a mechanic, you bring your car to the mechanic, they do it quicker, better faster, so you can go to work, versus you taking a week off work and researching how to fix things, right? So we do it and other aspects of our lives, whether you know, if you're sick, you don't try to figure out what's wrong with you, you go to your doctor. That's your "Who". They tell you how to fix yourself in a much more efficient way. And I think if you just apply that to your business, you'd be amazed at how quickly things happen And then you start getting these, you know, "Whos" around you, they have other value that they bring to the table. Like, you know, essentially our CFO, she's great. A big part of her career was also business valuations and getting companies ready to be sold. And, you know, we're not looking to sell our business tomorrow. But how great is it that we have that resource? She knows our business inside and out. So when it comes time that we want to sell in maybe 10 years or five years, she can help us get there.
So I think you know, when you bring these really qualified, talented people around you, they just increase your capacity and capabilities. You don't have that if you try to do it all on your own. In fact, you have less, because then now you're spending less time doing the things you should be doing.
Yeah, no, I just think in general, as an entrepreneur, like if you surround yourself with the same people with the same mindsets, you're gonna get the same results, if you open your mind to the fact that there's other ways to do it. The reality is that if you can kind of open your doors a little bit and see how other people do it, you can apply that to yourself. And I think in just-- The growth can be exponential at that point.
Dan: In Coach, the first thing that we teach you is called "Who Not How". And "Who Not How" says if you're going to have big goals, and you're going to have bigger achievements, then you're going to have bigger results. You can't do the "Hows". You're the person who sets the goals. You're the person who has the vision for growth. But then as soon as you've established it and you're completely sold on your own future, then you have to find "Whos" who do the "Hows" to reach your goals.
And that's the secret of not being an entrepreneur who only has a job, but an entrepreneur who has a company that can grow and grow and grow.