I have a doctorate degree in music. You can’t get more certified than that. I have even gotten on calls with potential clients who say they feel intimidated by my prestigious client testimonial roster (more folks with doctorate degrees…).

They half-heartedly joke, “Do I need a doctorate to join your program?”

So I flip the question:

“Are you applying to work with me *because* of my doctorate degree?”

Unanimously, the answer is: No. The doctorate has nothing to do with my decision to work with you.

I’m not saying it’s BAD to have a doctorate degree. I’m just saying it’s not a deal-breaker/maker.

What is? My messaging, vision, values…

Everything ELSE that I have created.

When I flip the question around to potential clients who wonder if they need more degrees and certifications, they have breakthroughs almost immediately.

Experience and – above all – confidence, is everything.

The other day, I spoke with one of my clients about a roadblock she was facing on her own sales calls. She told me she felt her lead was too “ahead” of her. We’ll call it “starstruck”.

The prospective client asked her if she was certified as a coach (though it was asked innocuously, as her lead was just making conversation, sharing about her own certification in music).

But instead of being a conversation starter, it caused a bit of a freeze. She retreated and avoided the pitch.

I might have a doctorate in music but like **all** of my clients? I don’t have a coaching certification. And yet? I am a coach. The thing is, you don’t need certification to be able to support your clients.

So, what do you need? 

What does it take to make us feel comfortable enough to introduce our services to people?

It takes a huge lift of self-esteem. Knowing that what YOU do, helps your ideal client. Not because you’ve learned a specific style of coaching, but because you are confident so that whenever people question it (or it feels like people are questioning it), it won’t cause us to retreat.

What does it take for us to step into our own authority?

What does it take for us to say: “Yes, I am a leader”?

And don’t let that ego try to tell you: “well… maybe if I go and get a certificate, then I’ll be confident…”

Getting a certificate will not magically give you confidence (though it seems like it will before doing it). Learning how to have these conversations WILL. 

That’s not something you’ll learn in a certification program (necessarily). It comes down to knowing how to support YOUR clients.

Knowing how to ask the right questions.

Knowing how to connect with people in a deep way.

How can we gain the confidence to go from idea to pitch – to put ourselves in the position in a place of belief, confidence? What does it take to make bold moves?

One answer? 

Creating content and sharing it (for free, or paid, whatever it takes to start!).

Show up and declare it. And do it over, and over, and over again.

Showing up and sharing what you know (hopefully) without fear of what other people will say.

Of course, it also helps to set yourself up in an environment where you feel supported. (Perhaps, by joining my upcoming free masterclass… It hasn’t been officially announced yet, but I’m dropping this link here in case you want to get in early.)

But the key is PRACTICE. Practice sharing, practice having conversations, practice asking questions.

And speaking of sharing content, next Monday, July 26th, I’ll present two highly interactive workshops at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy along with three other colleagues. 

Below are the descriptions of the two sessions

Claiming Your Leadership Potential

Our field is hungry for new leaders, yet such roles can be intimidating, especially to independent musicians and educators. This session demystifies some common leadership tropes and presents actionable steps for engaging your leadership potential. Attendees will become familiar with different leadership styles, develop a basic understanding of how they can flourish as leaders in a variety of circumstances, and learn how their pedagogical skills may transfer to such contexts.

Innovating Your Practice: From Idea to Pitch

Innovation is the work of applying imagination and creativity to realize novel solutions to pressing problems. Musicians already do this as they perform, teach, improvise, conduct research, and refine their curricula. But how can we transfer those skills towards the development of new projects? This session introduces key principles of innovation that could spur adaptive and responsive artistic programming. Attendees will leave with actionable steps for differentiating content and pitching the value of those ideas with confidence.

Both sessions will be highly interactive, with breakout rooms, boards, high-paced and fun.

If you can join us live, you’ll be able to participate in the experience in a fully immersed way as this will not be your typical “sit-down-and-watch” type conference. We’ll be actively engaging all the participants to experience breakthroughs and work collaboratively to come out of the experience as a different person. 🙂

NCKP 2021: The Piano Conference
Dates: July 13-31, 2021

Even if you can’t join us live, you’ll have access to the replays, so I encourage you to register for the conference and join us next Monday!

I look forward to seeing you there.

Let’s Prosper Together,