In August 2015, I had the pleasure of being interviewed along with my daughter Jana on The Coaching Show by my colleague Christopher McAuliffe. He asked me to share with his listeners how I transitioned from a law career into coaching. I invite you to read and listen and to “Speak Your Mind” in the comment box below. Thank you and bless you!
CLICK HERE to listen to both segments of the interview.
CLICK HERE to download the transcript.
Christopher McAuliffe: Thank you very much for being here listening to The Coaching Show. Let’s get right into it. Our first guest — check out these credentials. Jana Beeson is a magna cum laude graduate of Southern Methodist University. She holds a BFA in Theater and she is the assistant, that’s right, her mother, Jory Fisher, is both a JD, I think that means an attorney, and a PCC and summa cum laude graduate of Southern Methodist University. That’s right. They both went to the same school. She also holds a master’s degree in Spanish from Middlebury College and a law degree from the University of Virginia. She has been a practicing attorney for 20 years in Virginia and served as a founding faculty member and associate dean of Liberty University School of Law before moving to Maryland a few years ago. Let’s welcome to our microphones mother and daughter, Jory Fisher, PCC, and Jana Beeson. Hello.
Jory Fisher: Hi Christopher. It’s good to be here.
Christopher McAuliffe: Thanks for being had, as we like to say. Jory, look around outside. Where do you find yourself today?
Jory Fisher: Today I just happen to be in Bel Air, Maryland, which I’m claiming as my home now for the past three years, outside of Baltimore.
Christopher McAuliffe: Well, it’s a beautiful place to be. Jory, let’s talk about the work that you do. As an attorney, you can see both sides of almost any issue I presume. What was it that drew you from the law to coaching or is it sort of an adjunct? How do you hold both mindsets?
Jory Fisher: Well, I’m no longer practicing law but I did do both for quite some time. When I moved from Virginia to Maryland three years ago, I did decide not to become a practicing attorney in Maryland. I’m an inactive member of the Virginia State Bar and not a member at all of the Maryland bar. Yes, I lawyered for 20 years, absolutely loved it, and now I’m a fulltime coach. You will be speaking with my daughter, Jana Beeson. So it’s Jory Fisher and Jana Beeson for this 30-minute segment and I believe you’ll be asking me a few questions and then moving on to my daughter. We’re both very glad to be here. I don’t know if Jana has had the chance to say hello yet. Jana, are you there?
Jane Beeson: I’m here. Hello everybody.
Christopher McAuliffe: Let’s get back to the journey from law to coaching. That’s the question that I asked and I’m interested because I think more and more of our coach training schools are interested in that journey from one career to another. I think attorneys are generally well regarded in our society and thought of as people who have chosen a career path most often for life. I’m interested in what had you switch from the bar to becoming a coach, someone who supports human being’s endeavors especially business endeavors?
Jory Fisher: I do like to think that lawyers are known for being advocates and very successful advocates for their clients. One of the things that I did when I was practicing law was … I was a public defender. In that situation, it can be difficult sometimes to cheer your client on if you’re not exactly loving what they are accused of doing, but I believe we all need encouragement. For me, before I entered into the world of coaching, I was serving, as you mentioned, as associate dean. I was Associate Dean for Career and Professional Development and a law professor at Liberty University School of Law, and a lot of my law students I found were struggling to determine, to discern, what they were going to do with their law degree when they graduated and even how to maneuver through the challenges of law school. It was at that time that I decided to look into this new field of coaching. It seemed new to me.
Of course it had been around for a while since Thomas Leonard and before perhaps, but it was really, really good for me to become a coach while I was an attorney, while I was a law professor, etc. in order to help my law students. I did decide … and it was at first for health reasons that came to fruition. I was not aware that I had an atrial septal defect that was huge and I needed to have that repaired. It was for health reasons that I decided to step down from working at Liberty University School of Law and actually go into the field of coaching fulltime that did allow me to work from home. Jana and her twin sister, Brett, were 16 at that time when I made that decision. It was really great to be able to work from home and be with my children. The motivating factor really was that health concern and wanting to grow my coaching business, absolutely loving the positivity of being a coach. It did start out at first I had a part-time law practice in addition to growing my coaching business and, as I said before, now I’m full-time coaching and mentoring.
Christopher McAuliffe: I think that one of the things that people can hear in that is that there’s sort of a call. As an attorney, you could have made a ton of dough going and working for some corporate behemoth and instead, you were in a public defenders’ office. That indicates already sort of a pull toward serving people and then into the world of education, another pull towards serving people. So I’m really hearing a common theme. Many people are in careers that they may not be loving, but they have that sort of pull towards serving people and that’s what I’m hearing as consistent for you.
Now Jana, here you are, you’ve totally gone the other direction. You’re not an attorney. You’re not in education. You’re in theater and want to bring your acting, singing, and dancing skills to the world. What is it that attracted you to supporting your mom in her coaching practice?
Jana Beeson: Hello. Well, just being related to her and growing up, you can’t help but kind of learn that you also want to help people and you want to be a part of not just where the focus is all on you. You want to figure out how you can give back. When mom started really diving into coaching and needing a little extra help, I’d already been hearing her for years talking about it so I said, “Well, hey I’d love to help out” and I’m also getting to learn beside her about being an entrepreneur, which of course is helpful for acting. It’s kind of a give–give and very helpful area for both of us.
Christopher McAuliffe: And you still have flexibility. I’m hearing that when you were a teenager, your mom was very interested as most of us parents are in having a flexible schedule and being able to be there for you and your sister but also maybe a little bit to keep an eye on things. How important is it for you to have a flexible schedule as you’re developing your career in the theater?
Jana Beeson: Oh my gosh. That’s like an understatement of flexibility because one day I’ll get called. Like yesterday, I got a call like, “Hey, can you be on set in 30 minutes?” Unfortunately I was driving to and directing here in Virginia. Otherwise, I would have jumped on it but, yes, the flexibility is crazy. It’s fast paced. I’m very appreciative. Thanks mom!
Christopher McAuliffe: That’s right. Jory, let’s talk about the career transition. Do you ever miss or get sad about your choice or miss the law?
Jory Fisher: Well, I do miss the law and I’m not sad about my choice. I absolutely loved it. In addition to being a public defender at another point in my law career, I served as an assistant county attorney representing the Department of Social Services in Fairfax County, Virginia and mostly worked on child abuse and neglect cases. Very sad and yet very rewarding knowing I was making a difference there, and another position I held as an attorney … I was a Legal Aid attorney in Lynchburg, Virginia and helping a lot of people who were down and out deal with domestic relations matters, or landlord-tenant, consumer protection, a variety of issues. I miss that, and I love what I’m doing. You know what it reminds me of, Christopher? My dad was in the Navy and moved a lot in different places over my lifetime. It’s sad to leave and yet it’s always like, “Oh, I wonder what’s under the Christmas tree” the next move. I don’t like leaving one thing, but I’m always happy where I land. It’s all good.
Christopher McAuliffe: Great. When we come back, we’re going to talk about the work that you do and as I said, I’m curious about whether your work is faith-based and you bring it to entrepreneurs or if you’re working primarily with faith-based entrepreneurs. We’ll answer that question and more when we come back. Meanwhile, if people want to get to know more about Jory and the work that she does, you can go to her website which is JoryFisher.com. Is that accurate, Jory Fisher?
Jory Fisher: Yes, sir. Thank you.
Christopher McAuliffe: When we come back, we’ll find out how you can get a free copy of the Niche Secrets Guide and also, we’ll talk more about faith- and service-based solopreneurs and coaching that community.
Christopher McAuliffe: We’re continuing now with a twosome for you. We’ve got Jory Fisher who is a coach based just outside of Baltimore, Maryland and her daughter, Jana Beeson, who is also her assistant in her coaching business. We’ve talked about their credentials and how they are both cum laude graduates of Southern Methodist University, Jory – summa cum laude, Jana – magna cum laude. Just want to get everything straight on that. In addition, if you’ve gone to Jory Fisher’s website, you know that she is a collector of certifications. She’s a PCC coach. She’s a Certified Professional Christian Coach, a Certified True Purpose Coach, a Daily Marketing Coach certified trainer, a certified MBTI practitioner, among others. You get the idea.
Jory, let’s talk about the work that you do. You do an interesting approach in that you are a Christian coach as we said. You are a faith-based coach and you work with solopreneurs. Is it important that the people that you work with that are entrepreneurs have the same or similar faith to you?
Jory Fisher: What a beautiful question. Thank you very much. No, it’s not and they need to feel comfortable with me. I think it’s pretty clear for anyone who googles my name, looks at my website or whatever that faith is incredibly important to me and I am very emphatic that somebody be clear on their purpose, on their calling, and I love helping people discern that their purpose is their calling; but if somebody says, “You know what, Jory? I really want to work with you and I don’t necessarily believe exactly everything that you believe.” As long as it’s fine with them, it’s fine with me; but I do know that when people go shopping for a coach, if they are shopping for a coach or a consultant, that it is important that they feel a connection with that coach and so I make no bones about it. I am a Christian and my faith is exceedingly important to me.
As for do I weave my faith into the coaching? It depends. If it is purpose coaching that they are doing, since I do believe that we are called to be here on earth for a specific reason, then there is a Caller and so the terminology that I use of course is the Caller is God and so if somebody is looking to discern their purpose, then it is even more important in my opinion that we be at least somewhat aligned on our faith so that the coaching that we do together is very meaningful. As far as business coaching goes, as long as someone is comfortable with me, then it’s not quite as important that our faiths be that similar because business fundamentals are business fundamentals. The primary thing there is that the people that I coach are service providers. They can be doctors, they can be lawyers, they can be dentists. They can be chiropractors. They can be coaches, consultants. As long as they are providing a service and they are one-person business owners, then they would be a good fit for what I do.
Christopher McAuliffe: I’m interested because one of your areas of expertise or authority is niche and marketing for service professionals.
Jory Fisher: Yes.
Christopher McAuliffe: So for you the brand is clearly Christian, right?
Jory Fisher: Yes.
Christopher McAuliffe: You work with purpose-guided leaders and entrepreneurs but your website says “Glorify God through Success.” So your connection is through the Christian faith to God. How important is it, do you think, for other coaches to be as clear about their niche and what’s the value of knowing a niche or even creating one?
Jory Fisher: Beautiful question. Exceedingly important, in fact, if somebody is struggling then there is a highly, highly strong likelihood that the reason they are struggling is because of a niche problem and/or a messaging problem. Niche and messaging go hand in hand. I’m going to say, Christopher, that this was hard for me to grasp at first because I consider myself egalitarian and I hate to exclude people; but then I read Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church and it made so much sense to me as he was describing what he did to start up the Saddleback Church out in California, and it finally dawned on me that just because you plant your flag and declare, for example, Christian women entrepreneurs as your target market, that doesn’t mean that if somebody comes to you who doesn’t exactly fit that profile that you’re not going “let them in.”
Rick Warren did have a profile of the people he was “marketing” to when he was setting up his church, but absolutely it doesn’t mean that he won’t let anyone through the door if they don’t match that “profile.” When I realized that then it gave me the freedom to go ahead and declare it, and the other thing was that I’ve had not one but two good friends who were Jewish, in fact one was Jewish Orthodox say, “Jory, I am not the least bit offended by this. You go girl. You just go right ahead and declare Christian women entrepreneurs and I would still work with you.” That sort of freed me up. We have limited time. We have limited resources, financial and otherwise, so it is very important to spend your marketing efforts, your marketing dollars on a specific niche and that is essential to being successful as a service provider.
Christopher McAuliffe: Great. We’ve got a giveaway for our listeners today. How should they find out more about the wonderful giveaway that you have for us?
Jory Fisher: Thank you. Two things actually that I will do.
Christopher McAuliffe: Two, nice.
Jory Fisher: If you email me at Jory@JoryFisher.com, I will provide you with the Niche Secrets Guide which is amazing. I’m in partnership with Tommi Wolfe who is known as The Startup Expert and she put together this Niche Secrets Guide which is absolutely amazing; and I will give you a link to apply for, I call it, a Say Yes to Success Strategy Session with me. That would be complimentary and I would love to help them start to get clear on their niche. The other thing I want to say is a lot of times people are afraid that, “Oh my gosh. If I declare I can never change it.” That’s not true. You can start out doing something and then as you work with those people, you can get either more clear in that “Yes, this is the person I want to work with” or “You know, I think I need to do a little tweaking here.” That’s fine, but it is important to get started. That’s what I would do. I would give you a copy of the Niche Secrets Guide and in addition to that, I would give you the application for Say Yes to Success complimentary strategy session with me.
Christopher McAuliffe: Very generous, thank you. Jana, let’s get you in here. You’re a recent college graduate, right? How recent are we talking, Thursday?
Jana Beeson: I did early graduation in December.
Christopher McAuliffe: Congratulations. Now you had this sort of built-in opportunity, right? While you’re building your acting and your directing and stage and theater career, you can sort of support your mom, which is a nice little nepotism advantage there. I’m wondering, as you’re one of the generation where there’s a struggle to find jobs or at least employment and career satisfaction, what advice do you have for recent college graduates or people about to?
Jana Beeson: All right, well, a couple of things, is definitely shoot for ultimately keeping that idea in your head of what you dream and what you want, and make sure that you’re doing steps along the way that are going to get you there. I’m not going to lie. I want to be an actress, but I’ve been doing stuff with stage management and directing, and I’m a puppeteer. So there are all kinds of stuff where I’m like, “Okay, that’s not exactly what I’m trying to do” but it’s leading in the right direction. Get creative but try and find something that is ultimately getting you inside knowledge or experience on what’s going to bring you joy and where you’re going to feel useful as a human being and not like, “Oh, I’m not really good at XYZ but it pays the bills so I’m going to do it.” You’re just going to drive yourself crazy because you spend most of your time at work, why not like it?
Christopher McAuliffe: Nice. You sound adorable. If people want to find out more or hire you to star in their stage productions, how should they reach you?
Jana Beeson: Awesome. Right now I’m doing my website through Backstage. So if you go to Backstage.com/Jana-Beeson and that has a lot of information on how to contact me and what I’m up to these days.
Christopher McAuliffe: Great and also the parts that would be perfect for you. Our time has flown by. It’s nice meeting both of you. I’ll be in the DC area next weekend so maybe I’ll have the opportunity to catch up with you for a cuppa but we’ve got just about a minute left in the segment, Jory, and I know you might have a little parting shot, a little parting thought, something you’d like 20,000 or so coaches to know. The last minute is yours, my dear.
Jory Fisher: Love it, thank you. Well, actually at 12 Eastern today so in 30 minutes, there’s going to be a live webinar. I use The Coaches Console as my back office and I‘ve been using it since 2008. It’s phenomenal what they are doing. By they I mean the founders — Melinda Cohan and Kate Steinbacher — are putting on a live webinar called Following the Map for Profits: Behind the Scene Secrets of Profitable Coaching Business. I would encourage you to jump on that. Just email me again Jory@JoryFisher.com and I can send you the link. That would be one thing, and the other is just know how important it is as we were saying earlier to get clear on your niche. I would be so glad to help you and that I am a Top 6 coach and it’s called that because only the top 6% of entrepreneurs truly thrive — that is they bring home a 6-figure income. I would love to help you so please do reach out to me at Jory@JoryFisher.com. Thank you, Christopher. You’re the best.
Christopher McAuliffe: Thank you both. It has been delightful to meet you. Again, the website is JoryFisher.com. You can find out more there including Jory’s own radio show. That’s right. It might even be better than this one. Go check it out right now. Thanks so much for being with us.
Transcript by Alma Noefe