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Coaching Celebrities by Mary Gardner

By: Melting Pot

Iíve kept the same cell phone number for the past 7-8 years. Iíve lived in NYC, NC and now Florida and in all that time, Iíve never changed phone numbers. Nor will I. Sure, itís inconvenient for my mom who lives across town to have to dial a NYC phone to get me and Iím only a few miles away, but for me itís worth it.

I have clients that still call me periodically for coaching that used this cell phone years ago. They like knowing that Iím just a call away if they need me. Several of these clients would probably have names that you might recognize, and donít use a coach on a regular basis, but if the need arises, they know Iím there.

Iíve spent a large part of my career working with and for celebrities. Whether I marketing for them, do PR for them or consult and coaching with the them, Iíve made a part of my career working in that market. As a result, Iíve gotten to know many agents, publicists and Event Planners.

I also coach individuals in business. Right now, it seems that a large bulk of my clients are in new jobs, businesses or about to make a transition. I donít work by contract, only on an as needed basis. Some of my clients show up every week. Others are clients that are only once a month. Iím flexible because my clients are busy. So am I, and Iím fine with them rescheduling with me a day in advance.

I started coaching this way because the high profile clients that I served couldnít meet on a regular basis. They were traveling or unavailable at normal business times so I made allowances for them. As my business and experience grew, I found that working with high profile types was going to be different than a traditional client that may be.

I work on a project basis with many of these high profile types. Some of them are high level executives, besides celebrities and Iím there as a personal consultant that they call upon for many different issues. Most of them found me through the communication coaching that I provide and weíve kept the relationship going through the years. Whenever they call I merely write it down and keep a log. I usually bill once a month. On projects, Iíll estimate a cost for the project and always try to come in under the estimate.

I have clients that will fly in for the day and for that, my fees are a bit higher than on the phone. Itís a concentrated coaching session that can deal with family issues to creating a work out schedule or recreating a brand or speech. Weíve discovered projects to create that they can market and weíve written the outline of books.

I noticed right up front that celebrities are keenly aware that people try to make a buck off of them so I actually charge them less in some cases. Regardless, overestimating the bill is the way to go, and they always appreciate the financial break. I learned this early on when I had a repeat customer and I sent a bill that she questioned. She didnít feel that I had put in that much time with her so I told her that I had struggled with the bill myself because the project was so ďoff and onĒ. So, I told her to rip up my invoice and to pay me what she thought she should. I got a nice check in the mail that was just a little bit less than I had originally charged and it had a nice note attached. It was definitely the right decision because Iíve continued to coach this person here and there over the last many years.

Coaching high profile types are a great gig if you can get it. But donít make the mistake of holding to your exact requirements or you might lose a client in the process. The ones that I know appreciate my willingness to be flexible with my schedule and to reschedule if something else comes up. Iím fair with the money and I always try to deliver more than promised.

I love the coaching people who are successful, energetic and ambitious. They never refuse a challenge and theyíre always up for new ideas. They appreciate others who are hard working like them.

That is why I keep my cell phone number the same. Being available to these people is the name of the game.

Mary Gardner has been working with celebrities for the past 20 years. First on Capital Hill, then as a celebrity lecture agent, publicist and TV professional. For more information: www.marygardner.com

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