Have you ever looked back over the past 10 or 20 years of your life and discovered that each job, even that seemingly meaningless one, has given you experiences that has lead you to the place you are today?
I’d like to introduce you to Andy Kerr of Andy Kerr Coaching.You’ll hear the story of how each of his past jobs has lead him, step by step, to where he is today: as a life and leadership coach. Andy is brand new to owning his own business. He probably didn’t imagine doing this 20 years ago when he graduated with a health and physical fitness degree.
His first job was selling Nordictrack at the Millcreek Mall in Erie, Pennsylvania, and knew it wasn’t going to be a lifelong career. He said his education was great, but becoming a teacher wasn’t something he was passionate about either.
As of today, he has spent 20 years in the nonprofit world. He worked at the Barber Center, then with Campus Life. That transitioned into becoming a pastor and then becoming the chaplain for the Erie City Mission, running their food and clothing pantry.
Andy discovered his life was meant to give back and help out. He loved helping people make the best choices in life - and find out why they are here. He found out he was more people oriented and not so much task oriented.
“My main driving factor in my life is my faith.”
— Andy Kerr
Andy explains in this episode that God had planted a vision in him. He explains, “Sometimes God gives us a vision to get us where He wants us to be. Then he reveals things little by little. God’s vision for our life is way better than ours. And way cooler. Our journey in life is played out one step at a time.”
One of the things Andy became well aware of as he worked at the Erie City Mission was the huge struggle with poverty. Erie has a 30% poverty rate. That is DOUBLE the national average of 15%. And Andy notices the effects of this in his city.
“I began to build relationships with people in poverty. Poverty was no longer this big issue. It was now “Martha or Bob.” I never understood poverty until I understood what kind of struggles people were living in.”
Andy’s passion is to make a difference in Erie. He knew he wanted to do something, but wasn’t sure what.
He saw people who had struggles and needed help and jobs. But he realized that was only HALF of the equation. He felt like he needed to start working with people that HAD the resources and jobs.
“One of my desires was to move into business and move into leadership because the principles are transferrable, whether you’re talking about church, non-profit or business. Good leadership is good leadership and being able to influence people in the right direction.”
— Andy Kerr
Andy wanted to start the change in whatever capacity he could with people in the business world. Dave made a good point in the show when he said, “Many people just try to throw money at poverty, and that’s not really the solution. It’s more about teaching them and giving them life skills to help them get out of that.”
Andy has reflected on what he does well and how he is personally wired. He jokes that he doesn’t have a lot of gifts, and he is okay with that! He is good with connecting people and connecting WITH people. So he decided to pursue formal training so that he could coach people.
He hired a personal coach and spent the next year reflecting on his own life and what direction he needed to take. He recalls, “It was life-changing.”
Andy talks about what coaching can look like and how it helps. He explains,
“It’s about being very interested in the other person’s life and how they are wired and who they are. It’s trying to help them in the journey of figuring out why they exist.”
“As a coach, I’m going to be the biggest advocate of you figuring out how to be the best YOU.” Andy helps people figure out how to tell their story.
Becoming a John Maxwell Coach gave him a template of how to help people come to specific answers to questions they have, helping them take specific action. As a coach, Andy holds people accountable to actions that they want to see happen. He helps people stay the course. He helps them to discover how to ask the rightquestions. He helps people come to decisions that make an impact on their life.
Andy talks about the very real fear that is present when starting a business. He talks about the mental game of coaching yourself into believing that what you have is actually valuable and that there are people who really need what you have. They will benefit greatly from it and should pay you for that.
“That’s a really hard conversation to have with yourself” he says.
In the podcast, Dave asked a great question: “What is the value in mentoring/coaching?” Andy replies with a great story (listen to the episode!) His coach asked him a whole series of questions that changed his whole course of action. It ended up saving him tens of thousands of dollars.
“If I can help somebody really wrestle with the things they need to come face to face with that will change them for the better, and be able to help them accomplish what they were created to do… that’s why I coach."
Andy ends the episode with a great analogy and teaches us, “You can’t get to where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. Our journey is never straight. The most fun journeys are the ones that meander through the mountains.”
In the last 10 weeks, Andy has begun living his life more intentionally, starting up his life and leadership coaching business.