Q+A with Ruth Kudzi, Founder of Optimus Coaching

Here at Business Leader, we recently spoke to Ruth Kudzi, Founder of Optimus Coaching Academy, about what makes a successful coaching business, her background in the coaching industry and her success stories along the way.

What were you doing before you founded the Optimus Coach Academy and what inspired you to start the organisation?

I was running my own coaching business working with individuals and business owners. I had a background in educational leadership and a lot of experience as a teacher and trainer combined with a background of studying Psychology to a Masters level.

I had been told a lot over the years that people thought I should run my own coach training and had looked at the market and thought that I could provide something different to what was already there; there were some great organisations providing introductory training and then universities providing in-depth, year-long programs and I wanted to do something with the depth that was accessible online to more people.

My passion for coaching and quality coaching had come from being coached when I was a brand new deputy head teacher and the impact it had on my performance and confidence. I believe in the process and knew that many people lacked sufficient training and skills so wanted to be part of the ripple effect supporting more people to feel confident.

What do you believe makes a successful coaching business and how do you coach people to create their own?

For me, a successful coaching business is down to a couple of things. Firstly, the coach’s confidence in what they do and their ability to speak about this with others. Especially at the start coaches need to really understand how they support people and the typical results people may get.

Secondly, the coach’s ability to deliver and to be consistent with clients; as a coach you can’t guarantee your client’s results, you can influence them with how you show up and the work that you do outside sessions. The more you do this work on yourself the more you can hold space for clients to have deeper transformations.

The coach’s ability to market themselves successfully is also important. This is a completely different skill and when coaches are trained and have experience, this is often the part that people struggle with. The best way to support clients to do this is to help them to get really clear on how they want to work and who they want to work with. This may be through niching down or it may be by looking at more of a portfolio career. Coaches then need to look at their business development and relationship building so they are able to build a solid foundation for their business.

Through the coach training, we help support our clients grow in confidence and competence and equally give them business support so they can start or grow their business; the most important thing is being visible in a way that works for them and having a strategy that they are able to be consistent with.

Have you seen an impact on the industry as a result of the pandemic? What has the pandemic changed for your business?

I have seen a growth in new coaches coming into the industry, some who have brought skills from other industries and are more like mentors or strategists, and a lot who want to retrain. I think the pandemic has driven an increase in demand alongside the supply, so there are more opportunities for coaches. Equally, there is an increase in people wanting to talk about training and accreditation and I think in the UK, we are moving towards a more regulated industry.

The pandemic has meant that we run all of our training online and we have been able to adapt to this relatively easily as we were looking at a 90/10% hybrid model.

What is your biggest coaching success story and how many businessmen and women have you helped to date?

I have worked with 1000s of businessmen and women as a coach through 1:1 coaching, group programs, masterminds, events and my memberships, and trained in excess of 500 people. For me, the biggest success is always personal to the individual – I have helped people get their very first clients, leave jobs and start up businesses that are now successful and hit huge financial milestones (multiple 6 figure years, 50K+ revenue months).

One of the stand out moments is how someone I was coaching decided to get married during our time together which was really memorable, others have relocated, found love and grown in confidence. For me, the results are always down to the clients and the work they put in.

We’ve noticed that you donate 10% of your profits to charity – in what other ways do you try and have a positive impact on the world around you?

We donate 10% to one charity alongside supporting individual charities as well. Alongside this, we are looking at how we can become more sustainable environmentally and working with consultants to ensure that we are a fully inclusive organisation, which is one of my core drivers.

We also offer scholarship places to those who are on long term unemployment benefits or work for charities who work with those who can’t normally access coaching as well as working with third sector organisations and charities by providing our students as coaches to those who wouldn’t normally be able to access coaching.

When coaching, do you try to incorporate these values into the people you are training?

Yes, for me, one of my core values is inclusivity, and we aim to challenge and support our students to develop inclusive businesses. Equally, we talk about how coaching can have a positive impact beyond our businesses and encourage our students to think about the legacy that they want to create.

Any future plans for Optimus?

Yes, we plan to grow our core diploma by 25% in 2022 with some additional pathways and options as well as bringing out a lower-priced coaching skills course for those who are interested in developing basic skills.

We are building an app that will host a brand new academy for those who want to be coached and use coaching tools; it will be a one-stop-shop for personal development and support and will mean people can access quality coaching for £150 a month. Alongside this, we are developing our corporate arm where we work with companies on coaching culture.

My dream is to have a second business which works on a not for profit basis with schools, so we can get coaching skills and personal development work embedded into the curriculum.