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Business Coaching Lessons I Learned From Tony Robbins with Karl Bryan

by | In the Magazine, Karl Bryan, Lessons | 0 comments

“I owwwwwnnnnnn you!!!”

This was my first, of many Tony Robbins experiences and the setting is a huge stadium in Sydney Australia in 2004. Three thousand Tony Robbins fans all shouting the same three words to a stranger standing in front of them. Pig noses everywhere. Faces knotted. Chests being poked. Classic rock and roll music blasts over the speakers…. everyone is trying to outdo one another whilst channeling primal aggression that is rarely seen outside a competitive sporting field.

“I own you!!!” As I grumble, grimace and holler at a guy 3 inches shorter than I. Remarkable in and of itself. He does the same thing back and unleashes more raw energy than I thought the little guy would ever be able to muster. If you were being filmed doing this you’d crack up laughing and beg to have the footage deleted, but there was something raw, real and competitive that makes 3000 ppl keep amping it up.

I honestly remember the EXACT MOMENT I had my breakthrough and from that moment on life has never been the same.

Anyhoo… that was my first experience with Tony and I’m officially a lifer. He’s made me many millions of dollars and there is no question in the event mentioned above that he empowered me to turn my life around. With fear of sounding a tad obsessed… LOL… I even named my daughter Saje after his wife.

Many still reference Tony as “motivational” but he’ll tell you time and time again he’s a strategist. He’s influenced millions upon millions through his books and audio material as well as personally coached some of the highest profile amongst us like Andre Agassi, Serena Williams, Princess Diana, Bill Clinton, Paul Tudor Jones, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Mariel Hemmingway and the list goes on and on. I subsequently feel like I’m in good company :o)

Many years prior to gaining this kind of following Tony was a pint-sized kid trying to pound through a difficult home life. His birth name is Anthony Mahavorick and his father was a parking garage attendant. His parents split when he was 7. His Mom was an alcoholic pill user whose father was a writer for Walt Disney which might explain his super natural story telling skills. She had a series of husbands that Tony refers to as “his fathers.” One of them was a former semi-pro baseball player, Jim Robbins, who adopted Tony and hence the name change to Robbins.

Here are six powerful business coaching lessons I’ve learned from Tony Robbins.

1. Do Your Homework

The first thing you need to do for a new coaching client is PREPARE. You need to know what your clients deepest needs are, their deepest desires, and their deepest concerns.

You can deliver the best business and marketing strategies in the world, but if you can’t get them to take action they’ll be left disappointed and you’ll soon be looking for a new client.

It’s not enough to know your client, you must also respect them at the deepest of levels. You’re not going to be able to influence a business owner that you’re judging.

When first sitting with a client ask yourself “Who is this person?” “What do I respect about them?” “What can I appreciate about them?” “How am I going to QUICKLY get to what really matters to them?”

Tony also encourages spontaneity when coaching. So many coaches try to follow a set curriculum or sequence with their coaching, but you need to be able to adjust on the fly so you can be real and in the moment.

People are crying out for spontaneity and your coaching client will respond well to it.

2. Understand the 6 human needs

Regardless of background, race, religion or socio-economic status, there are 6 human needs we all share and that drive your coaching clients behavior. Generally, you’ll find a person will value two out of the six needs more and therefore filter decisions and behaviors skewed in that direction.

The six human needs are as follows. The first four are the needs of the personality:

  1. Certainty: Our need to feel in control and this dictates how much risk you’re willing to take. We need to feel comfortable we can avoid pain and gain pleasure.
  2. Uncertainty/Variety: Ones need for change, the unfamiliar and new stimuli.
  3. Significance: We all need to feel special, important, unique or needed. This is why ppl sacrifice to wear expensive labels, buy flashy cars, act out in a violent way, get tattoos in strange places, etc. *A person driven by this need is invariably pretty unhappy.
  4. Connection/Love: Love is the oxygen of life, it’s what we all want and need the most. A strong feeling of closeness or unification with someone/something. Losing love can be incredibly painful so most people settle for connection, “the crumbs of life” according to Tony. You can get a connection through intimacy, friendship, enjoying nature or even through a pet, and this is where most of the population settle rather than looking for true love.

The final two are the needs of the spirit:

  1. Growth: The expansion of capability or understanding. The real reason we grow (why coaches love to read/learn as a rule) is so we have something of value to give.
  2. Contribution: The secret to living is giving. A sense of service and focus on giving, helping and supporting others. Life is about creating meaning; meaning does not come from what you get… it comes from what you give.

A person might meet their needs for certainty, uncertainty, significance, and connection through smoking. They can feel certain the cigarettes will be there for them when needed or certain it’ll help them relax due to the large inhale/exhale. They experience variety because smoking instantly alters your biochemistry. A person could feel significance if they deem smoking hip. They can feel connection by sharing/offering cigarettes and smoking with others.

A different individual can meet their needs through a healthy habit like hitting the gym. One can feel certain the gym will not be available. They’re certain to feel great and energized and to get a good night’s sleep. Variety through a new workout routine and the biochemical change that takes place in their body. They can experience significance by a six pack and toned muscles. Connection at a high level with themselves for looking after their body and also with others they work with.

Any habit, emotion, or thought that meets at least three of our needs at a high level becomes an addiction.

When working with a new client it’s paramount you get a sense of what needs drive them. When you’re able to hit 3 of these (all?) with your coaching client you’ll have a long-term relationship.

3. Where focus goes… energy flows

If you want to achieve extraordinary results and fulfillment in your coaching you’ll need to get laser focused on what your clients really want. Having that crystal clear picture and consistently focusing on it will change their behavior, providing the momentum necessary to take small actionable steps that will provide you and your clients the desired outcome.

Whatever we increase attention to – grows. Focus on how you can improve the marketing of your clients’ businesses and/or newfound profit opportunities and you’ll subsequently find examples and ways they can help market more effectively and profit at a higher level. Focus on why you can’t achieve something like getting coaching clients and you’ll be guaranteed to find roadblocks and obstacles standing in the way of your success.

Client exercise:

  1. What do they want to accomplish in the next 90 days?
  2. Why MUST they achieve it no matter what?
  3. What one small action can they take right now to start moving in this direction?
  4. What are some one-week goals they can set to ensure momentum towards the goal?


4.    Work to an outcome

An error with most “time management systems” is they’re glorified to-do lists and focus on a derivative of the question “What do I need to do?”

A FAR better question is “What do I want?”

In other words, start your day with an outcome and you’ll be much better off than starting with a to-do list that you’ll never get through. Think of it this way – why start your day with a guaranteed failure?? The solution is to transition from an activity mentality to a results-based mentality.

When you start with the outcome you desire you’ll organically attract the resources (a positive and determined state of mind is the ultimate resource) and actions to get you your results more rapidly.

Tony has a program he calls RPM, results focused, purpose driven, massive action plan. It’s effectively a methodology and allows you to achieve results and productivity up to 20 times more efficiently. The methodology helps you start your day (week/month) knowing your result. You’ll establish WHY you want it, and therefore build your massive action plan to get the desired result/outcome.

5.  The 2-millimeter rule

I play hockey and the difference between a perfect shot and missing the net is the smallest of margins when the puck is released off your stick. Or if you’ve ever played golf you know the difference between a slice into the trees and the ball landing in the middle of the fairway is equally small.

It’s the same in business and for your clients. Tony refers to it constantly and he calls it optimization and maximization. The smallest adjustments can provide the most exciting financial results. When your marketing is not going according to projections, and you’re telling yourself “Nothing works!” it can feel like you’re a continent away from where you should be. The truth is you’re only 2mm away from success.

Adjusting a headline on an advertisement can make a HUGE difference. Making 3 calls a day first thing in the AM can be a game-changer (think compound interest – these calls create the same effect over time), changing your restaurant from a family restaurant to a Pastaria with a tighter menu and less need for many menu items and therefore less wastage (HUGE problem for restaurants) can take a business from failure to success.

An example I like to use in my seminars is that of a business owner making $100k profit with 20% margins. Grab his credit card statements from the past three months and go through them with him/her ruthlessly trying to save every dollar they can. I’d be AMAZED if you could not find 10% savings (probably far more) and it should take less than a couple of hours. My grade 8 math says a 10% increase would mean an extra $10k for this guy. When you take margins of 20% and increase them to 30% that is NOT a 10% increase… it’s a 50% increase! That means the business owner in this example went from $100,000 profit to $150,000 profit in a couple of hours. No cold calls. No ads to buy. No long hours. Just a 2mm adjustment from what they’ve been doing. I’ve sat with hundreds of business owners and almost no one has ever taken the time to do this. They spend any and all resources on attracting more clients.

Also, make a point to measure everything because you can’t manage what you do not measure. Learn from experiences and the results of you and your clients. Evaluate wins and losses while mentally preparing for the next challenge.

Note: the little things are not little — they’re EVERYTHING. It’ll be in the details where you’ll find the small little distinctions to take your business and marketing to the point where you no longer need to generate copious amounts of leads because referrals flow so quickly. And much like compound interest works… these little 2mm shifts will be what achieves gobsmacking results soon and into the future.

This 2mm rule is not unique to business; this is in every area of your life.

6. Success leaves clues

If you want to significantly increase the speed at which you accomplish your goals, here are three sure fire ways of doing so:

Number 1: Model someone who has already been successful in what you desire. If you don’t have these ppl in your life now, find someone who is a rock star in your chosen field and model them. Reinventing the wheel is common, and in most cases, the wrong approach. Simply learn from those that have had success.

Number 2: Ask someone who can help. Whatever you desire in life, someone, if not many people, have already worked out how to get it — simply find out what they’re doing. These folks will be able to provide incredible insights and subsequently save you time and effort. Importantly, respect their time. Before you call to try to figure out a way you can provide value to them and then you’ll be more likely to get the meeting/time you need with them.

Number 3: Success leaves clues. Contrary to popular belief success is not a matter of luck… Those who succeed are doing something differently and working hard. They’ve worked out a proven roadmap and if you follow the same strategies then you’ll be guaranteed to get similar results.

And there we have it! That’s 10 amazing lessons I’ve learned from Tony Robbins that have profoundly increased the quality of my life and that I hope will benefit you and your loved ones.

Thanks for tuning in,

Karl Bryan

Karl Bryan, creator of Profit Acceleration Software™  

Karl is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Six-Figure Coach Magazine and Chairman of, home of the largest private community of Business Coaches (24 countries and counting) in the world. His goal is straightforward… to help serious coaches/consultants get more clients. Find out more at

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