A Review of Coaching with Excellence

CWE picture - May 2016

This is my complete review of Dan Miller’s Coaching with Excellence 2-Day Conference, which I attended in May 2016. I paid full price to attend the event, and I received no compensation for this review.

The Basics of Coaching with Excellence

Cost: $$ ($997 at the time of my purchase)

Time Commitment: 2 days + 1 travel day

Location: Franklin, Tennessee (outside of Nashville)

Accommodations: On your own. Plenty of options available at various price points.

Meals: Most supplied on site. Delicious, and include vegetarian options.

Attendees: Business coaches, life coaches, and other coaches with existing businesses; entrepreneurs and 9-to-5ers considering launching a coaching business

Host: Dan Miller and the 48 Days team

Pros: Comfortable energy and environment, diverse business niches of attendees, specific step-by-step instructions, applicable tools, lots opportunities to make connections, plenty of focus on marketing strategies and potential income streams

Bottom Line: Highly recommended


What Is Coaching with Excellence Really Like?

After listening to Dan Miller’s 48 Days podcast for several years, I finally decided to attend a 48 Days event.

The conference is held at the 48 Days Sanctuary, an incredibly peaceful venue. Wide open green space surrounded by trees beats a hotel conference room any day.

Being greeted with freshly brewed, locally roasted coffee is always a good sign too.

Dan and Joanne’s young grandchildren scurried around the property, and the older girls participated in the conference in different ways, lending their youthful energy and helping everyone loosen up a bit more quickly than we might have otherwise.

Forty-eight men and women from all over the country gathered to learn from Dan and several guest speakers. We shared ideas, asked questions, and brainstormed solutions.

We received an information-packed “Coaching with Excellence” binder filled with worksheets, templates, and checklists. This content provided the basis for our 2-day event, but Dan often strayed away from it or jumped around to find the information most relevant to our particular group.

Guest speakers spoke about several key areas, including how to grow your income as a speaker, how to build an online course, and how to create your first info product.

The attendees had all taken our DISC profile assessments before attending. Ashley, the resident DISC expert, helped us get over some of our shock at the results. (They made it pretty clear that many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of trying to be all things to all people.)

During our breaks and meals, Dan and Joanne Miller, and two of their children, Ashley Logsdon and Jared Angaza, made themselves available to get to know us better, listen to our ideas, or answer our questions.

While I respect an event facilitator’s need to escape the event and recharge now and again, this accessibility was incredibly beneficial. It allowed us to connect with these leaders one-on-one, in a low-pressure, friendly environment. The other presenters stayed for meals and mingled with us as well.

During one lunch break, I listened as Jared helped a young counselor figure out how to define her coaching niche and position her offering. It was essentially a mini-coaching session. Everyone at our table took something away from the discussion.

When I spoke with Ashley about the possibility of joining Coaching Mastery in the near future, she was encouraging, but she didn’t give me the dreaded high-pressure sales itch.

Just as valuable, I was able to connect with several attendees and find ways to help each other move forward in business.

I also invited several people to be interviewed on Write Books That Sell Now, the podcast I co-host.

In the following weeks, I invited one of the speakers, Terry Hadaway of My Thinking Box, to join our Book Marketing Mega-Summit as a presenter. He not only agreed, his presentation was incredibly valuable.

Before the conference, I’d been struggling to find the direction for a workbook I’m currently creating to help entrepreneurs develop sharper problem-solving skills and tap into their inherent creativity.

After day one of Coaching with Excellence, I had a solid direction for that book. Just listening to entrepreneurs ask questions helped me figure out what to include in my book.

What Can You Get Out of Coaching with Excellence?

Coaching with Excellence will help you:

  • decide if coaching is the right business for you.
  • figure out what style of coaching you want to pursue.
  • choose marketing strategies for your coaching business.
  • identify new income opportunities.
  • connect with amazing people in a relaxed, welcoming environment.

My one regret: I should’ve brought an extra tote bag with me. I left the event with the training and business-building manual, along with a stack of useful books that speakers and other people shared with us. It was a bounty of useful material that I continue to reference.

Is Coaching with Excellence Worth the Money?

Even if they charged twice as much.

Go write something!


How to Write So People Want to Read Your Book

How to Write So People Will Read Your Book

I love it when I meet friends for lunch and they bring me books to read—most of the time. A few weeks ago, a client showed up for our lunch date with a book her friend had recently published. My client wanted to share it with me to get some input on how her friend could increase his book sales.

The title and subtitle (which I won’t share here for reasons you’ll quickly understand) grabbed me right away. This hybrid how-to and inspirational book had a lot of promise. The bright, inviting cover design, which was clearly done by a professional, would’ve caught my attention on a bookstore display. We were off to a great start.

As I skimmed the pages, it was clear that this author knew his stuff. His advice could be easy to use and would probably get results.

There was just one problem. The book was boring.

I’m talking, “I’d rather be tied to a chair and forced to watch C-Span for 24 hours” boring.

The author had forgotten who his readers were. (This happens a lot with people who have advanced degrees. They’ve grown accustomed to writing for the world of academia, and it can be difficult to transition to writing for an audience of regular folks.)

As I suspected, this author held a doctorate and had spent time as a professor. Unfortunately, most readers don’t want to read a book that’s written like a doctoral thesis. They just don’t. The language is too formal. The voice is stilted. There’s very little storytelling to illustrate points or engage the readers. It’s no fun.

Even if the author speaks that way in his everyday life, he’s cheating himself and his potential readers. It’s highly unlikely that his book will connect with the readers he wants to reach or help him to brand himself as an expert.

His intended audience of lay people who are looking for a little help won’t get it from this book because they won’t read it. It’s just too much work for a payoff they can get more easily get in the next book.

A good content editor or author coach would’ve sent the author back to revise his book again. The book needed:

  • more and better storytelling
  • dialogue and conflict in some of those stories
  • a mix of shorter paragraphs to balance all of those page-long paragraphs
  • commonly used words to replace some of the run-for-the-dictionary word choices
  • varied sentence structure to avoid lulling the reader into a daze

As an author, you don’t need to dumb down your writing. But you do have an obligation to keep your intended readers in mind when you’re writing your book. You can introduce them to new concepts and new vocabulary, but you should do it in a way that meets them where they are. You should do it in a way that engages them. You should do it in a way that makes learning feel like a pleasure, rather than a chore.

Go write something!


6 Proven Steps to Avoid Writing a Bad Book

How NOT to Write a Bad Book
One of my author-mentors is a brilliant fiction writer. She takes ten years to write each book. Seriously. In the last twenty years, she has written two brilliant novels. She writes books that win awards, get excellent reviews, and move readers. Each word on the page is there because she chose it. But as beautiful as her work is, not many of us can afford to (or want to) spend a decade crafting perfection.

At the other end of the spectrum are the newbie authors who publish work they’ve written in a mad dash, often over the course of a few weeks or a even a short weekend. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with writing fast, but these authors never look back at the work. They’re high-achievers. Accustomed to setting and reaching goals and never missing deadlines, they just want to reach “The End” and get the published book in their hands.

Believe me. You don’t need ten years to write a book that captures your expertise, tells your personal story, or shares your philosophy. But rushing to finish a book shortchanges the author and the reader.

The author hasn’t taken the time to clean up the writing to make it flow. The book is filled with fluff or confusing gaps. Let’s not even talk about typo-riddled books. Readers end up ticked off that they paid fifteen bucks for a book they have to struggle through.

Just as bad, the author shortchanges herself when she rushes her book to print. The content may or may not be good, but readers question her commitment to quality, her knowledge of publishing, or even her competence in her field.

If she’s good at marketing, she may start off with great book sales, but sooner or later, reviews start to come in from people other than her most loyal fans. After that, sales tend to nose dive. Or worse, sales continue, but readers talk among themselves about how unprofessional the author’s work is. Her reputation is tarnished, and she doesn’t even know people are saying her book was, well, crappy. All that work for nothing.

Finishing your first draft within a fairly short period of time can be the best choice for new writers. Momentum powers you forward. Moving fast leaves you little time to question whether or not you should be writing about something else. Without all the stops and starts, you’re more likely to finish your book.

But remember that whatever you write in that first dash is just the first draft. Don’t rush it off to a publisher. Take the time to raise your writing to a professional level with the following steps.

6 Proven Steps to Avoid Writing a Bad Book

  1. When you finish the first draft, put the manuscript aside for a week or two.
  2. Come back to your draft and read it page by page, making notes on what you can improve.
  3. Make the necessary changes.
  4. Send your revised draft to beta readers in your target audience.
  5. Take a deep breath, and make changes based on feedback from your trusted beta readers.
  6. Work with a skillful editor to make your book the best it can be.

Yes, these steps will add a few weeks to your writing process, but you’ll have a much better chance of writing a book you can be proud of and happily call your own.

It’s great to set deadlines and to hold yourself accountable to them. But not at the cost of failing to write the best book you can reasonably write.

Take the time to write a book that will represent you well.

GET IT DONE: Right now, make a list of 3 to 5 people in your target audience who you can ask to be beta readers for your book.

Go write something!


Giving Away Too Much Information in Your Book?

What to leave out of your bookWay back in the day, when I wore a suit and heels to work five days a week, I rarely thought about my customers in any meaningful way. For a while, I managed a team of call center customer service reps, but my focus was on keeping my employees happy and productive. Unless a customer was screaming at me on the phone, they were pretty much just account numbers and balances to me.

I met the company’s expectations, so I was good at my job. We had lots of metrics to hit each month, and they were important. But the customer experience, satisfaction, and yes happiness, never made it to the top of our list.

As an author, your readers are your customers, and you need to do everything you can to provide them with a satisfying customer experience.

How do you do satisfy your book’s customers?

Give your readers all the information they need to accomplish what you promise to help them accomplish.

All too often, I come across a self-published book that makes big promises it fails to fulfill. Instead, the author presents a 200-page, look-at-me-cuz-I’m-awesome sales pitch with very little actionable information.

How does that happen? The author wants to be seen as an expert, but she doesn’t want to share too much in her book. She’s writing her book from a place of fear.

As a coach, consultant, speaker, or business owner, you may be afraid to share your best tips, strategies, and stories with your readers. That, my dear, is a rookie mistake.

You Cannot Give Away Too Much in Your Book

Short of secret formulas, proprietary information, other folks’ personal business, and your bank account passwords, you cannot give away too much in your book.

If you focus on serving your readers, you won’t be able to hold back your best information. Readers will become fans, and some of those fans will become your best cheerleaders, promoters, and clients.

Put everything you know into your book

Last year, I was contracted to co-write a book for a dynamic woman who has a successful corporate career and is building a business as a career coach. She poured all of her knowledge into her manuscript. Whether readers want to know how to improve a resume, sail through the interview process, or ask for a raise, the information is in there.

After a little nudging from me, Yvette wrote her book fearlessly. She recognized that high-quality, actionable content will set her book apart from the scores of other books on the same subject. It will position her as the expert the media wants to talk to. Her ideal clients will read the book and immediately want to work with her.

So far, the response to the material in Recalibrate has been incredibly enthusiastic. (Click here to check out her book.)

Yes, some readers will get what they need from the pages of the book and never move forward to take a course with her or use her coaching services. She’s perfectly fine with that because, in all likelihood, those aren’t the people who would’ve worked with her anyway. And if they’re happy with the book, they’ll refer it and her to other people.

You cannot give away too much because:

  • Most readers never finish reading the non-fiction books they buy.
  • Your potential clients will want your input and insights on their specific situations.
  • The more you share, the wiser you look.

When authors give all of what to do and none of the how to do it, they short-change readers and come across as bait-and-switch artists. Not a good look.

Take a deep breath and drop every bit of wisdom and knowledge you can reasonably include in your book. A chef wouldn’t write a cookbook with the first three ingredients for every recipe and an invitation to purchase his coaching services for the rest, would he? Neither should you share half-processes and high-level ideas without going into the actual steps to accomplish what your reader hopes to achieve.

Every time that little voice tells you to leave something out because no one will want to work with you if you share that particular point, resist the urge to be stingy with your knowledge. Put that juicy material into your book, and make it the best possible resource it can be.

Love your readers enough to give them everything you’ve got.

Your readers will thank you by leaving great reviews, recommending your book, and seeking to connect and work with you in other ways. You’ll build loyalty and strengthen your reputation as the go-to authority in your niche.

Go ahead. Give ’em all you got.

Go Write Something!


6 Reasons to Plan to Make Money from Your Book

plan to make money with your book

As much as the book you’re writing might feel like a calling, a ministry, or a story you’re burning tell, I’m here to convince you to plan to make money from your book.

Recently, a coaching client told me she didn’t think it was appropriate to list money as one of the main reasons she was writing a book. While she wants to earn extra income with her book, she doesn’t like to say that’s a priority.

“People who do things for the money,” she said, “don’t really care about their customers.”

Ouch! Please don’t fall for this myth. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to earn money from book sales. In fact, you should plan to earn as much as you can. Here’s why.

Why You Should Plan to Make Money from Your Book

  1. It costs money to self-publish a quality book, and you deserve to recoup that investment.
  2. People often value what they pay for more than what they get for free.
  3. Writing a book is a serious investment of your time and hard work. Work should equal pay.
  4. Selling more books means reaching more people with your message, knowledge, or story.
  5. Treating your book as a product that deserves to be bought will keep you focused on making it the best it can be.
  6. If you don’t implement specific strategies to earn money from your book, you can easily end up losing money on your book venture.

Many of us were raised in a culture that equates money with greed and greed with evil (at the root of which is money). When you hear that “money changes people”, it’s not usually meant that it changes people for the better. No, we’re supposed to believe that an abundance of money turns us into Mr. Scrooge, the evil One Percent, Imelda Marcos with her 3000+ shoe collection, or a table-flipping real housewife. Yikes!

It can be tough to change those negative money beliefs. But it’s not impossible.

Try this exercise:

Write out a list of the negative beliefs you have about money and identify where and when you took them on in your life. (Hint: Most of them probably started before you were old enough to legally hold a job.) Write a list of truths that refute those beliefs.

Here’s an example.

Money doesn’t grow on trees.

There’s an abundance of money available to me.

When negative money beliefs come up around writing and selling your book, talk back to them and remind yourself that you’re providing value that deserves to be rewarded.

That reward will be yours to do with as you please. If you don’t need the cash from your book sales and the opportunities they bring you, no worries. Pack that cash in a box and ship it to me. I’ll spend it wisely, I promise. Or you can always donate it to charity.

If you’d like to do more to change your limiting money beliefs and develop an abundance mindset, please see some of my favorite books on the subject. Every one of them helped me change the way I think about the money I attract and the value I provide. Click on the photos to check out some of my favorite experts on this subject.


"Real Money Answers for Every Woman" by Patrice C Washington         "How to Be Rich and Happy" by John P. Strelecky and Tim Brownson         "Get Rich, Lucky Bitch" by Denise Duffield Thomas         "The Big Leap" by Gay Hendricks Phd

Go write something!