An Interview With A Master Coach D’Arcy Vanderpool, MA, PCC – Dec. 2005
Featured Article Published in “The MentorCoach™ eNewsletter”
A Free Newsletter for Helping Professionals
December, 2005 www.mentorcoach.com
by Ben Dean, Ph.D., MCC, founder of Mentor Coach
Here you’ll meet a senior, master coach, D’Arcy Vanderpool.For the past 25 years, D’Arcy’s broad coaching practice has ranged from executives to members of a rock band! If you’d like to learn about her path from uncertain beginner to master coach, read on…
D’Arcy Vanderpool is a senior business and personal coach, corporate consultant, trainer and author with a 25-year portfolio of business and corporate clients.
She is founder and CEO of D’Arcy Vanderpool and Associates in Las Vegas, Nevada. Currently, she serves as a Senior Trainer on the faculty of MentorCoach and is a Ph.D. student in Coaching and Human Development at the International University of Professional Studies.
In addition to coaching and consulting, D’Arcy provides marriage and family therapy, invests in real estate, and remodels and redecorates homes.
She recently opened a beautiful retreat center in southern Utah in the shadows of Snow Canyon State Park. D’Arcy is currently completing two books and preparing her second radio show featuring topics from a positive psychology perspective.
She loves sailing, interior design, gardening, collecting antiques and entertaining friends. D’Arcy can be contacted by phone at (702) 242-4222 or by e-mail at: DArcy@drhappiness.com or on the web at https://drhappiness.com
BEN: How long have you been coaching, D’Arcy?
D’ARCY: I started a consulting business in Las Vegas back in 1970. We didn’t call it coaching then. I started coaching as we know it today in 1998.
BEN: When did you start coaching by telephone as well?
D’ARCY: I began virtual coaching in 2000.
BEN: Was it initially difficult to coach by phone?
D’ARCY: Yes, I was concerned because I could not see people’s facial expressions and I thought I would be lost. However, I discovered that I loved being able to take notes without feeling rude! And of course, I loved not having to wear make-up and business clothes.
BEN: How much of your coaching is conducted by phone today?
D’ARCY: About 50%. I still enjoy face-to-face coaching.
BEN: Can you describe the range of your practice?
D’ARCY: I work with many executives and small-business owners, architects, hotel and casino executives, financial planners, realtors, developers, public sector directors, spiritual counselors, couples, emerging female business owners, coaches, entertainers and NFL players. I don’t coach sports teams, but I do help sports figures transition into second careers.
BEN: Do you still have a clinical practice?
D’ARCY: Absolutely, yes!
D’ARCY: I love working with couples! And my marriage and family practice affords me the opportunity to help people heal the patterns of childhood that don’t work in adulthood. We all come out of childhood with ineffective beliefs and behaviors that arose from the immature perspectives we developed as children. I marvel how we all select spouses or partners who will trigger our childhood issues! Marriage allows us to correct our childhood patterns of relating while becoming unconditionally loving. Relationship excellence is a yoga.
BEN: Do you have an ideal client?
D’ARCY: Well, let’s see… spiritually-based, growth-oriented, intelligent, creative, energetic, open, caring, grateful, and talented individuals who love the momentum of coaching, have confidence in their risk-taking, and have the drive to spend their money on their personal and professional development through coaching or mentoring. I love high potential clients! And better yet, I love helping a team – be it a relationship team, an executive team, a staff, a band, or a group of abused women survivors writing a book together.
BEN: Is your practice of securing huge coaching contracts and hiring other coaches to work under you unusual?
D’ARCY: Yes, I do go after and get large consulting and coaching contracts. Sometimes I hire coaches, trainers, or researchers to work with me.
BEN: Can you give me the Reader’s Digest version of how you work?
D’ARCY: Well, I have done consulting since 1970, so I have accrued many contacts throughout the years. I like to have individual clients and either a couple of small engagements or one large engagement at a time. First of all, I try to balance my schedule. I have not always been successful at this: one year I ended up working 35 weekends in addition to my regular weekly work load.
I use my intuition to determine when to do marketing behaviors and events. I ask for what I want and pray about it. I meditate regularly, listen for answers and watch what the universe seems to send to me. I talk to people about what their needs are and am constantly asking them powerful questions. I try to get in the right conversations, those that lead people to discuss their needs and visions. When someone takes a real interest and responds well, we proceed with follow-up discussions, presentations, or “dog-and-pony shows” during which I present a sample of my work and a proposal.
I customize consulting engagements to fit the organization’s needs. Usually I include components of needs assessment, orientation, leadership development programs, training meetings, coaching programs, mentoring programs, and a flexible section in which we can add unexpected activities. Each component is specific and separate, and is presented with benefits and value-based fees. If I am doing a culture change project, I include a coaching program for the top three to five levels of management: I work with the CEO and sometimes those on the next level, while other coaches work with lower-level executives or managers. We also establish trainings and mentoring programs so that concepts flow downward through the organization.
These engagements last a minimum of one year. Usually I do additional proposals and add-ons annually. Sometimes I am even “on-call” or on retainer for the CEO or executive team.
BEN: I understand that you coach professional entertainers, something I’ve never tried. Did this happen partly because you live in Las Vegas?
D’ARCY: Yes and no. My first consulting gig with entertainers came about because I lived here and worked with Johnny Carson’s agent’s wife. Another engagement came my way because I was in a minister’s group with a producer.
My first big internationally-known client was from LA. She came to me because her daughter had been one of my marriage counseling clients. I had no idea who my client’s mother was until I had a call from her after the daughter’s third session. I was surprised to hear the woman on the other end of the phone state her well-known name and ask for relationship coaching with her then boyfriend who was equally famous. I did virtual coaching with them in different corners of the globe at all hours of the day and night.
BEN: You’ve recently been working with a rock band. True? What do you coach them on?
D’ARCY: I have worked with several bands, coaching them toward more success. We have focused on membership talent and change, relationship and communication skills, leadership development, and strategic planning.
We have also done a lot of coaching around issues of scheduling, performances, European tours, and balancing life with spouses.
I have seen them perform, attended rehearsals and jam sessions, and facilitated meetings with agents. Like many clients, they are fun, though it’s challenging to work with their egos. I try to remember to take my ear plugs.
BEN: You also have a long history of diversifying your professional interests. Can you talk about your real estate business, and about the retreat center you’re building?
D’ARCY: I caught the real estate bug when I was a kid. I love to “knock and rip,” my version of remodeling high-end homes, living in them and then leasing or selling them. I have a custom home in southern Utah that I spent about 4 years remodeling to use for retreats. This place has special and wonderful energy. You can feel it as you approach it. Many spiritual leaders and metaphysical healers have presented workshops here. Even the Dalai Lama has been in the house, which adds to its spirit.
BEN: Most successful coaches tend to forget how anxious they were about marketing their new business. Can you recall the fears you harbored when you first started your coaching practice?
D’ARCY: Ben, I am not going to give you a typical answer, so bear with me. When I first moved to Las Vegas, I gave up teaching and worked for a radio station selling advertising. I hated the job, but I learned cold calling.
This forced me to meet hotel/casino executives and entertainers. Then I did educational consulting, building on my hotel and entertainer contacts. I was still afraid of cold calling, but had to report my marketing efforts in both positions.
When I started my own consulting business, I told people what I was doing, opened the door, quoted reduced fees, and asked for referrals. My biggest fear was being able to consistently make enough money to support myself. I always showed my open time slots in my schedule book and I always prayed. And the business always came. When I needed a break, I always had cancellations or completions.
BEN: Describe some of the ways you drummed up business in the early days.
D’ARCY: I spoke at organizational meetings, breakfasts and lunches. I asked for referrals. I sent letters to professionals. I took people to lunch. I stayed in touch with former clients, calling them and sending cards. I always sent a thank-you note for referrals. I also sent gifts for occasions and holidays.
Today, I continue some of these practices. I give a short round of free coaching to former clients who continue to refer to me. I always set aside 10% of my time for reduced- fee clients. As I have mentioned, I pray, listen and watch for answers. I always use my intuition.
BEN: What were some of the things you tried that did not work?
D’ARCY: Advertising in hospital brochures, society membership booklets, and police and lawyer annual publications.
BEN: If you ever got discouraged, what helped you hang in?
D’ARCY: I don’t get discouraged. I’m very optimistic; I think positively. My mother taught me that I could do anything I wanted, and I believe in that mantra. When I’m challenged or things don’t work out, I look for lessons. Instead of trying to flow upstream, I flow with the energy; I try to find the tongue of the river and stay there. I also take time off from big engagements, make sure my work has enough variety so that I don’t burn out, and keep a fresh approach and attitude.
BEN: What are the biggest secrets you have to share with new coaches who want to be (a) personal coaches and (b) executive coaches?
D’ARCY: Here are my current top ten tips for all emerging coaches:
1. Know and use your strengths. Spirituality, forgiveness, curiosity, and zest for life are four of my signature strengths. You can hear how I use them in my answers to your questions.
2. Know yourself and keep learning and growing.
3. Have a vision for the next 5 to 10 years that includes an action plan. Write it down and have a coach or support group to hold you accountable.
4. Take risks according to your intuition, guidance and good thinking.
5. Know who your ideal client is and execute your marketing accordingly.
6. Get in the right conversations, be curious and ask powerful questions.
7. Coaching is a business, not a practice. You are a business owner. Think as a business person.
8. Spend 1/3 of every week marketing until you reach the income you want.
9. Remember that you will always be doing personal coaching no matter what the client’s goals or your specialty.
10. You come first. Self-manage well. You can’t do it wrong. Express your gratitude daily. And at all times, have fun!
BEN: What do you most love about teaching Foundations?
D’ARCY: I love helping our talented students open new doors for themselves. I love seeing their potential blossom. I love seeing their passion develop into action. And I love celebrating their successes.
BEN: Well, you certainly get rave reviews from your students…
D’Arcy can be contacted by phone at (702) 242-4222 or by e-mail at: DArcy@drhappiness.com