Olivia Smith, Transformation Expert, founder of Write a New Story and Master Certified Professional Coach (MCPC), specializes in personal and professional strategies for growth. Olivia started her career as a Registered Nurse and transitioned to the corporate world founding and running a multimillion dollar organization.
Due to a life-changing volunteer experience at The Tennessee Prison for Women, she shifted her focus to the nonprofit world. She paired her passion for helping those healing from trauma with her entrepreneurial experience to found Healing Housing, a transitional living community for women in recovery from alcohol and drug abuse.
Serving as Executive Director helped her lead Healing Housing to become the first and only transitional living facility for women in recovery in Williamson County. She brings an unparalleled combination of skill and experience when it comes to challenging the limiting beliefs of her clients and equipping them for lasting forward motion.
As a certified trauma-informed coach, a special designation held by a limited number of coaching professionals, and a seasoned business woman with more than 25 years of experience, she helps her clients to have a better quality of life with the confidence to face personal and professional challenges through the viewpoint of turning obstacles into opportunity.
Her signature process begins with a behavioral assessment and gives both corporations and individuals the ability to thrive in team situations, expand leadership potential and see possibilities they haven’t before identified so that they can Write a New Story. She loves sailing and the water so much, that it served as the inspiration for her organization’s logo.
Follow Write a New Story on LinkedIn.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- Her personal journey that lead her starting a new consulting and coaching company
- Behavioral assessments
- Assessment process for an individual vs doing assessments with a group
- Why does a business owner need a coach
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix.
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for High Velocity Radio.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:14] Lee Kantor here another episode of High Velocity Radio and this is going to be a good one. Today on the show we have Olivia Smith with Write a New Story. Welcome, Olivia.
Olivia Smith: [00:00:26] Good morning. Good to be with you.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:28] Well, I’m so excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us about write a new story. How are you serving, folks?
Olivia Smith: [00:00:34] Well, what I’m doing is I am a business consultant and transformation expert, and I work with businesses and individuals to create transformational change, hopefully trying to help them turn their obstacles into opportunities to propel their growth.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:52] So what’s your back story? How did you get into this line of work?
Olivia Smith: [00:00:55] So I sort of had a long career, went from nursing to the business world to founding a nonprofit. And after I founded the nonprofit and got it off the ground and was its executive director for a couple of years, I stepped away from that role and spent some time really thinking about all the years that I’d spent sort of tracking all the way back to nursing through business and starting several businesses and tried to figure out where I could spend my next chapter of my story serving others and really thought that the business consulting was my lane because of my background and sort of the variety of things I had done. It seemed when I put that all together, transformation and helping people work through challenges had been a thread all the way through my career, and I really felt like I wanted to turn that into a full time, full time gig. So that’s what I’m doing.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:56] So now, now that you’re kind of wearing this new hat, do you have a niche that you serve? Is there a sweet spot on types of clients that are the perfect fit for you?
Olivia Smith: [00:02:05] I really like working with businesses anywhere from 100 employees on down to UPS. You know, each of those types of businesses have their own challenges start ups. A lot of times people just want to know how to get going and want to make the right steps. I love working with businesses that have been in business for somewhere between five and ten years because a lot of times they find that their foundation is starting to crack and that we need to go back to the beginning and fill in some of those cracks and retool what we’re doing to build a stronger foundation from which to grow the next phase. So those would be my sweet spots.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:45] So you mentioned that as maybe a symptom that they need help. Are there any other kind of clues that a business owner would have that it’s time to maybe get some fresh eyes on the challenge that they have?
Olivia Smith: [00:02:57] You know, I think business owners have a unique ability to to sense when things aren’t right. I think a lot of times they don’t act upon that quickly enough. Business owners, I call it business owners Island. They spend a lot of time by themselves. They really can’t talk to their employees about the problems. They go home and their spouse may understand a little bit, but probably not a whole lot about what they’re doing. So they find themselves alone, really struggling, for the most part, with no one to talk to. And I think that is the biggest reason to to go get help, to get a coach, a mentor, someone that’s that neutral sounding board that you can lean upon for advice and just helping you think through problems anywhere from, you know, hiring turnover. Building a stronger team. And what I have started doing in my practice is we really start at the beginning with a behavioral assessment and dig in to really who the business owner is. If the business owner started their business five or ten years ago, they may have lost their vision. They may not know what their roadmap is anymore. They’ve had their head down being the technician and working in the business, not spending a lot of time working on the business, and they’ve sort of lost their way. And so we back up and start all the way at the beginning with who they are, what their vision is, where they’re trying to go, where the stumbling blocks are. And that’s how we find our starting point.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:32] So how did you kind of discover that behavioral assessments are a good way to begin a relationship with a client?
Olivia Smith: [00:04:42] I had been involved in doing those in the past and of course have done them myself. And I have when I started using them in the client relationships, what I was finding was people were very surprised many times at the results, meaning they sort of know who they were. But what the behavioral assessment shows is kind of who you are naturally. And then what’s happening to you when you enter your work environment. And I think people were very surprised at how they were changing when they got to work. And so that is the starting point for the conversation, is why are you finding that when you go to work so much is happening, you are feeling like you have to be so different and play a whole different deck of cards than who you are naturally. And is that working for you? And if not, what changes need to be made? Because as you know, the business owner, where so many hats or tries to wear so many hats and usually tries to wear too many hats and not all of those hats fit very well. The same goes for their teams. They have nice people working in the seats on the bus, but a lot of times they have the wrong people in the wrong seats on the bus. And so it starts with the owner, the owner figuring out who they are, making sure we get them playing to their strengths. And then many times it involves teaching them how to delegate, what to delegate and to whom to delegate those tasks. And then when you do the assessments, the next thing you hope happens is that they carry the assessment idea forward and they take their key leadership team, their key employees, and we do assessments on that group of people and and again, uncover a whole new layer of problems which we can then fix by looking at those team members strengths and where the opportunities are for shifting responsibilities so that we make sure we get everybody playing to their strengths.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:44] Now, could you share a story? You don’t have to name the name of the company, but when you went in and did one of these assessments and the discovery that maybe was that aha moment that propelled this team or this firm to a new level.
Olivia Smith: [00:07:01] Yes. A recent client. It’s a business client. And there are two partners involved. And then they have several people that work with them. So we, of course, started with the assessment. The two partners both did their assessments and we really dug in for several hours on what those assessments showed, both individually and then what that looks like as they worked together. And what we found was that one partner was always sort of being pushed into things without feeling like she was being heard because she was the more passive of the two people. The other partner had a much more assertive personality, and so it left the one of the partners kind of feeling like she was just always responding to her partner’s suggestions and nobody was really listening to hers. And so we sort of dove into that and explored why that might be happening, ways to overcome that, to allow both partners to feel equally heard and sharing both feeling like they would be sharing in the decision making. One partner moves very quickly, one partner moves very slowly. How do you address that? That’s just who they are. So you have to talk about that and bring awareness to that.
Olivia Smith: [00:08:16] And while that’s happening, while those habits are there. And so it just really enlightened both of them to. What a process would look like if they did it differently, Meaning both voices were being heard at the table, both voices were being paid attention to equally. And then, you know, that’s not a light switch. If you’re used to operating in one way and you’re asked to look at that and start operating differently, that takes those changes take time. And so they’ve begun to work on that. And then we profiled the main key employee that works with them and found that yet she was even different than the two partners. And so that’s great. She brings different strengths to the table. Where does that fit? What responsibilities should she take on that she’s not doing right now? And what should we remove from her? And back to the partners? We really started shifting their responsibilities in in the work that they were doing to make sure that what each partner was doing was playing to their strengths and not their weaknesses.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:24] Do you find that without doing some sort of an assessment that people don’t necessarily kind of. Move in the world of their strengths, that sometimes that they get kind of hamstrung by their weaknesses and they don’t even they’re just frustrated. They can’t put a finger on why.
Olivia Smith: [00:09:46] Absolutely. You’re exactly right. I think they don’t realize what’s what’s happening. You know, the business owner wears or tries again to wear so many hats and most of the time inappropriately. So, you know, they’re they think they’re supposed to do everything. They’re not good at delegating. They get themselves into messes and think they have to know how to get out of every single one. You know, they think they’re supposed to be an attorney and an accountant and you know how they’re the one that are supposed to make the product and ship the product. And, you know, they just get caught up in doing and they don’t raise their head up. And ever really think about why I’m doing what I’m doing, can I do things differently? What might it look like if I did things differently? They just don’t it’s they get caught in the trap of I’m just so busy. I can’t stop long enough to assess any of this, especially myself. And when you start pointing this out to them and showing them how their company could be more successful if they did less so if they did more in their lane where they really are strong and delegated the things that they’re not so good at doing to other people and let that the other people play to their strengths, how much more their company could grow it. You know, you see the light bulb starting to come on. If you can offer a business owner a way to get unburdened from all that is on top of them in a way that lets them continue to do the things they actually love and do the things that were the whole reason why they got into business in the first place and teach them how to delegate out the things that that shouldn’t be on them. You get their attention pretty quickly.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:37] Now, can you share some advice for other people that maybe are on a similar journey or similar path as you? You know, you worked for some large organizations or some organizations at different levels, and then you go out on your own to be a coach and a consultant. Can you share maybe some of the do’s and don’ts, a couple of them that could help somebody maybe have a smoother path?
Olivia Smith: [00:12:05] So for me, the coaching is is all about working and speaking from experience I think because I. Owned companies started companies from the ground up, built companies from the ground up. I’ve made all the mistakes. I’ve made bad hires. I’ve had to fire people because of my hiring mistakes. I’ve worked the 80 hour week. I’ve also made some good decisions and had some really good successes. But I think in my line of work, being able to say that I’ve literally walked in your shoes. Is very important when you’re looking at another business owner and they’re looking back at you, hoping you can help them. Being able to calm the situation down by saying, I’ve been there, I’ve done this. Trust me. And the wonderful thing about coaching is the business owner has most of the time has the answers in their head. They just can’t figure out how to get the puzzle pieces in the right place. And you’re there to help them sort out what they already know. But have been unable to put, like I said, the pieces in the right place. And so for me, having lived all of that and seen all of the moving pieces and parts, I can help be their sounding board for making those puzzle pieces fit. I think the second thing that’s sort of different about what I do is after having worked with the nonprofit I founded, was for women in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. So I worked in that organization with women who were turning their lives around and most of whom had had trauma in their past. I have coaching trauma certifications, which I think also give me a lens. We’ve got a lot of walking wounded out there, including many business owners who have trauma in their background. So I think that gives me another lens through which I can see a business owner when the problems of life surface and are impacting them in their business. I’m able to walk with them through that, see how it’s affecting them today, and how we’re going to move forward with all of that in mind in the future.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:35] So what do you need more of? How can we help you?
Olivia Smith: [00:14:43] Well, I just love spreading the word on on transformational change and how that can occur. If people want to go to my website, it’s w w w dot write a new story dot com and learn more about what I’m doing. That would be great. I’m also on Facebook and LinkedIn and Instagram at write a new story. Would love to have people comment, share their feedback, share their war stories of being business owners. And if any business owners out there feel like they could use some coaching, I would love to help them.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:21] Now when somebody kind of signs on with you or a coach in general, is there a time frame they can have an expectation of some change of some kind?
Olivia Smith: [00:15:33] Yeah. I typically personally work with people and the typical engagement would be a six month engagement, which is about 24 hours of coaching. When you think about 24 hours, that’s one day when you add all of that up. So it’s not a tremendous amount of time, but we spread that out over a six month period because when you meet with someone and you go over so much information, I sort of like to give them time to digest that and come back to the next coaching session feeling like they’ve worked on their homework and have some things to report back on. So spreading it out gives the coach and the client time to absorb and work on and make progress towards whatever goals are set at the beginning of the engagement.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:22] And one more time before we wrap the website.
Olivia Smith: [00:16:27] The WW dot write a new story dot com. It’s wri to write a new story.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:36] Well Olivia congratulations on all the success and thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing such important work and we appreciate you.
Olivia Smith: [00:16:46] Thank you so much, Lee. Great to be with you.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:49] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We’ll all next time on high velocity radio.