The Thomas J. Leonard Memorial Fund
Changing our course; helping others change theirs.
When the project to honor Thomas J. Leonard by
coaching those who cannot afford a coach was conceived, the plan
was to offer a limited number of scholarships for three months of
coaching. The original thought was for coaches to offer their services
pro bono or at a reduced rate. Applications from prospective clients
and coaches were accepted by a committee of volunteers who met regularly
for many months. The program has undergone some dramatic changes,
and those will be announced soon. But so many coaches and clients
had applied for the original program that the committee made a radical
decision that Thomas Leonard would have loved: everyone who had
already applied for a Thomas J. Leonard Memorial Coaching Scholarship
would receive three months of free coaching. Thirty-six coaches
offered to coach free, with several agreeing to serve three clients
or more. In February, the coaches and clients were “introduced”
via e-mail. Within the first five days more than 25% of coaches
and clients had set the date for their first coaching session.
And, clients wrote back to
the Fund coordinators with comments like these:
- “You don’t know what
this means to me in this stage of my life.”
- “Is there anyone that I can
personally thank for something that will change my life?”
- “I will honor Thomas Leonard.
I will take full advantage of this wonderful opportunity.”
- “I know what a gift this is.
I will not let you down.”
All coaching will be completed by June
30th. Clients and coaches will then fill out a “follow-up
form” to let us know how it all worked. Here are the names
of the coaches who are coaching free to honor Thomas J. Leonard
who had once said, “If I had it to do again, I would coach
100 people FREE.”
||Jo Hawkins Donovan
|Lupe I. Torre
||Ruth Ann Harnisch
How does a
coach get that first client?
Anyone starting a coaching career asks,
“How do you get that first client?” We asked three coaches,
with three different specialties, from three different geographical
areas, how they did it.
They all said they got their first clients by
“coaching free” and by being “OUT THERE”,
talking to people, participating in organizations, and giving that
“elevator speech” at every opportunity. Remember, pro
bono clients can become paying clients, great references, and sources
Specialty: Chronic Illness Coach
“When you are
looking for your first clients, the first things you need to do
are be interested in people and want to make a difference in their
I became a coach in 2002 and in November, only
a few months later, I chose my specialty.
I took a medical leave from my engineering job.
My first client was a former co-worker from that job. My former
co-worker had seen that the quality of his life mattered to me,
and he had noticed that our interactions helped him make changes
to improve that quality.
My former co-worker was one of the first people
I contacted in my quest for clients, and he readily agreed to be
one. Soon after that, I chose my niche of coaching the chronically
ill. My first client with a chronic illness was my sister-in-law,
who has Multiple Sclerosis.
While working with my web site designer, he
got a good sense of who I am and what I offer. He asked me to coach
his sister, who has arthritis; she became my first paying chronic
What is coaching? Coaching
is about listening to people and asking the right questions.
Specialty: Helping entrepreneurs with using word of mouth marketing
to grow their business
“How did I get clients? I worked on the attraction principle.
First and foremost I approached people with whom I felt an affinity
and who were working on
I decided to become
a coach in the spring of 2002, shortly after the graduate school
of coaching was launched by Thomas Leonard for Coachville.
I was a technical writer
and created web-based user manuals and training materials.
My first client was a woman I knew from my son’s day-care
center. She and I were acquaintances: friendly, but not friends.
One day we were chatting, and she told me she was going to Chicago
for a seminar on helping “at risk” children. I was really
interested in her project. We had breakfast and talked more. I told
her that I was a coach and asked if she would like to work together.
She said “sure.“ At the end of breakfast we agreed that
I would coach her pro bono for three months and then we would renegotiate.
So, she also became
my first paying client. She is still a client. Together for two
years now. About that time, I got two more clients in the same way:
people I felt an attraction to who were working on interesting projects.
They all started as pro bono clients and later converted to paying
What makes a good coach?
A high degree of self awareness. Know your strengths and weakness;
your likes and dislikes. Your awareness helps you keep the focus
on supporting the client rather than focusing on getting your needs
met. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about being
ok being imperfect.
Vancouver, BC – Canada
Specialty: Personal & Professional Relationship Development
“I am right now taking on a new paying
client every week but I’ve coached over 100 clients free.
And as long as there is room in my business, I will continue to
coach free. I learnt to engage with whatever shows up for me to
deal with in or out of my business and as soon as I understood that,
I found success personally and professionally. I also found my niche,
sustainable and workable relationships with self and others.”
I have been doing coaching
professionally for four years. I found my first client at a workshop
that I was leading for free. I asked him if he wanted to be ‘my
first client.’ I could tell he understood that I "got"
him, and so I added to his energies around being "gotten"
by offering to "get" him ongoing! He responded with an
immediate yes. I coached him for free for the first 8 months, then
he re-entered the executive level work force and became my first
full fee client! He is still a client and has referred many people
to my business and thanks me for being his coach every time we speak.
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