My next guest is a personal coach and a widely recognized sales expert. She’s helped hundreds of mission-driven coaches discover sales methods that feel fantastic, transforming their businesses and their lives.

Welcomed back to the Author Hour Podcast. I’m your host Hussein Al-Baiaty and I’m joined by author Michelle Rockwood, who is here to talk about her newest book called Joyful Selling. Let’s flip through it.

Hello friends and welcome back to the show. I’m super excited to have my friend, Michelle Rockwood with me today. She just launched the book called Joyful Selling and you guys, I got to tell you, I’m really excited for this conversation. Michelle, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Michelle Rockwood: Hey, thank you for having me.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah, absolutely. So I got to tell you, your book was not only sort of easy to swim through to pick up all these notes for our conversation but I really wanted to just sit down and read. Like it was so… it pulled me in, like I really wanted to… I’m like, “Oh man, I need more time here before meetup” but I’m really excited because again, it was sort of easy to navigate, easy to get through.

So kudos to you and the team for putting this together. How are you feeling about the book launch?

Michelle Rockwood: I’m feeling amazing. I can’t tell you the response I’ve gotten, so far it has been overwhelming. I hadn’t imagined it would be this amazing.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah, so let’s go back in time a little bit, I’d love to share with our audience, a little bit about you, who you are, where you grew up, and perhaps a person or an event that took place and really shaped the path that you’re on now.

The Work of Coaches is Life Changing

Michelle Rockwood: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I grew up in Southern California, Orange County and if you know me, you’ll kind of giggle because I am not an Orange County girl and I wasn’t quite a fit in the Orange County scene, not that I didn’t love it. I loved growing up there, I loved going to the beach doing junior lifeguards, it was an incredible place to be.

But as soon as I went off to college, I went to college in Chicago, I knew that I probably wouldn’t go back even though again, love Orange County, love Southern California so much and I think it was actually you know, you asked what’s a pivotal time. It was when I hired a life coach and that’s really what brought me in this life coaching journey.

Like, I think so many people is when they hire a coach and having grown up with brothers, I have three brothers and now, three boys, I hadn’t had that kind of support. I hadn’t even, really had much therapy, you know? Coaching isn’t therapy, it’s much different but when I hired my first coach, that’s really when woosh, the floodgates opened up and I was like, “Woah, this is incredible.” The work of coaches is life changing.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: I love that. Can you point to something really specific? The day after or the week after, you’re just like, “Oh my God, I just applied this to my world and it’s really changed my perspective” or would you say it’s over time, sort of compound effect of those coaching sessions?

Michelle Rockwood: I was working. I lived in Cleveland at that time, I had to fast-forward through my life, I had joined the Peace Corps. I had lived in Southern California, I joined the Peace Corps in West Africa, in a country called Mali and I had come back to live in Cleveland, Ohio and I was working for an incredible law school and I just had a boss that was not a good fit for me, we should say and I was in a really bad place mentally.

And my mom at the time, actually worked at Kaiser Permanente and she had an executive coach and she gifted me her coach for three hours and said, “You have to speak to this lady” and this incredible coach took the calls in her car, which I found very exciting, how is this woman getting paid, right? To take calls in her car. And she didn’t give me advice or tell me what to do or have some magic tools for me to latch on to.

Instead, she helped remind me of that brilliant Peace Corps-loving girl that I was and help remind me of all that I’m capable of and I quit that job promptly, got a raise, moved down the street to the Cleveland Clinic and I ended up raising a million dollars over lunch just a few months later. So to say this coach like changed my life, I knew then, I didn’t know exactly how I would find my way back to coaching.

But I knew then that she had instilled this in me and that there was something in there for me to explore and sure enough, I found my way back.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah, it’s really powerful. The coaching world has profoundly impacted me. I know when I hired a coach for my business, really, for me as well but it was more like a business coaching, I had no idea either. I had no idea the profound impact. You know, like, because when you hear… you know, growing up, you hear a coach like, okay, you know, coach from basketball.

You know, your basketball, whatever you’re cheerleading and then but like in the professional world, I always thought like, “Well, what can this person do actually? What can they tell me that I don’t know?” And I don’t know a lot because that’s a very ego statement. I don’t know a lot, I don’t know anything in the reality of things but a coach is there to help remind us of the things that we do actually know.

The things that we do need to lean into in those conversations around those fears and the things… I don’t know, I think for me personally, that person helped me get out of my way.

Michelle Rockwood: Yes, well said.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Or you see around me a little bit but then the work began, right? But that moment was profound for me. It sounds like it was for you as well. In the first section of your book, you talk about turning coaching into like a high-ticket offer but you know as beginner coaches, that’s kind of like a leap but can you share a story about a time when you successfully started doing this and how it impacted your coaching business.

Michelle Rockwood: Yeah, I was so blessed from the very beginning of my coaching journey. I was taught by Laura Wick from Body Mind Coaching, to never sell single sessions and to never sell packages. Instead, we were introduced to this concept of working with people for a set period of time and this is one of those things where you just slap yourself on the forehead and go, “This is so obvious.”

Instead of a transaction, it becomes about transformation. It becomes about, “What are we going to work on in this three, six, or 12-month period and when we’re done, you’re not going to need me anymore” and so I was taught that that’s how you do it. I didn’t know any different, which is why I love to work with coaches while they’re still in training when you don’t know any different.

It’s so easy to say, “Of course this is how you work.” The work and the brilliance of coaching actually takes place in between the sessions. So I was introduced this from the beginning and this is what I did with my clients from the beginning and right away, instead of ever selling the $150 an hour program, I right away sold a $1,500 three-month client coaching partnership where we worked together, meeting and serving and that was easier than selling a $150, which I saw my peers do in other programs, an hour experience.

And so right away, I saw the transformation of that big investment, right? And that’s actually for coaching as I’m sure you know on the lower side of what coaches charge. That big investment right away when I was able to help somebody come to ca hoice in that call, amazing things would happen even before our first conversation. They would hire a nanny, they would talk to their spouse, talk about the support they needed and they would put things into place.

So I saw the impact right away for myself as I enrolled people in my coaching programs and then later on, as I would teach others in the program as well.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: That is so powerful and in reframing that thinking and how we see our time and the time of who we’re trying to help and the idea of you know, transformation over transaction is huge. That’s fundamental and I think that flip is definitely one I will remember but it’s a crucial one.

You keep going though, you talk about how you focus on this idea of the feminine way of sales, which I found really interesting. Can you tell us a little bit more about what that means and how it differs from like traditional sales methods?

The Feminine Way of Sales

Michelle Rockwood: Yes, can I tell you a story?

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Please, yeah, I’m always down for a good story. Why do you think I’m doing this?

Michelle Rockwood: I had an incredible coach. You talk about your coach, this was life changing in the beginning of my career and after a few coaching sessions, she took a deep breath and she said, “Michelle, you have a very masculine sales energy” And, what? How do you respond to that? I didn’t even know what that meant, my body instantly became hot from head to toe. What did she mean?

But I took a deep breath and I asked her, “Tell me more, you know? What?” and she said, “You’re chasing people, right? You’re really chasing people, you’re hosting long calls, you’re following up, you’re doing anything to get a yes.” And I was. This is what I’ve been taught, right? I literally thought that was the playbook. I was taught you make seven calls to get a yes. I was taught it’s all about the follow-up.

I was taught do or say whatever needs to be done to get a “yes.” We’ve got to get it done and it never felt good to me but I thought, that’s how you made a sale and she introduced me to this feminine way of selling that’s, you know spoiler alert, good for all genders and no matter how you identify and that’s really tapping in and taking back your power.

As a salesperson so often you feel diminished, less than, groveling. But instead, when you sit up tall, you meet in the middle, you put boundaries up, you only work with people that light you up, you start to shift and go, “Is it necessary to work that way? Why am I following up? Why am I chasing?” And then you actually start looking at the data and you realize that it doesn’t even work anyway. So that was really my first introduction, a slap across the face, right? Into feminine sales and I really started to reevaluate how I was operating.

How I was showing up to calls. Now, it was a meeting in the middle, it was me interviewing the client on the other end, “Are we a good fit?” versus them interviewing me and that just started to shift how I show up and today before we talk, I had an incredible life-changing call with somebody enrolled in the program and we’ll both remember it for the rest of our lives. It was fantastic and that’s sales and that is possible.

And so yes, this is feminine sales, I could go on and on about all, but it’s not about gender. It’s about stepping into heart-centered boundaries, operating in integrity, all the things that we think are of stereotypical feminine energy.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah, that’s really powerful. I think of it as like, you know, the mechanisms that create attraction, right? And I think you’re right and that I feel like masculine energy is like, you know, in a way there is like this warrior kind of going after the thing, right? Hunting the thing if you will, I don’t know if I’m describing it well.

Michelle Rockwood: Absolutely, yes, yes.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: To where I feel the masculine energy is more like, you know, this queen’s energy where things are attracted. The busy bees are always, you know, they’re getting their… they’re collecting and bringing over, right? There’s a place where you can frame yourself from and how you show up, how you interact, and how you communicate and integrate all these things, all start to play a role with how you actually present yourself and your energy. I think that’s really powerful in how it attracts. I like that, the feminine way.

Michelle Rockwood: Well, I wanted to say the masculine energy is amazing as well. It’s finding that balance because masculine energy is bold, it’s brave, it doesn’t take things personally, it’s not about me and so when you can pull from both the masculine and feminine, right? You end up in that perfect balance and really creating your way of selling and that’s what’s going to feel best.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah, that’s so powerful. I love the balancing effect too and as you learn, as you know you are of one, then you can learn to kind of bring in the other, right? Because if you’re swaying one way or the other too far, then that’s when you’re at a balance, I feel like and that’s really a great way of putting it.

In your third section of the book, you discuss setting yourself up for success. What is the most important things that you’ve done to set yourself up for success in your own coaching business?

Michelle Rockwood: This chapter is one of my favorites because when you implement what you learn in this chapter, I call it the five golden rules of sales call setup. I actually have a free training for folks on that chapter. Whether you know it or not, from the moment somebody reaches out to you to book that sales call, that’s when the sales journey begins, not when you say hello.

And so if your calendar is wide open, if there’s no email sequence setting the stage for what it’s like to work with you, if they don’t understand, right? That you only take calls at certain times, all of those things, there’s five golden rules to follow, then already, when you’re on that call with the person, you aren’t setting them up for success and you’re not demonstrating what it’s like to work with you.

For example, a simple thing is it’s very important that clients show up on time to meetings that they don’t miss calls, they don’t reschedule and that they’re ready for a face-to-face interaction and when you don’t have that as a requirement as a salesperson selling coaching, you may find your client walking down—and this has happened to every coach, I am not unique here—down the vitamin aisle of Target and there’s no way that you can help them, you know, really think about what it is that they’re struggling with and how to tap into their true desire if they’re in the vitamin aisle of Target, it is just not going to work. So setting up those boundaries, using that feminine energy on that sales call starts from the moment they click and see the availability on your calendar.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: I love that. You know, the setting up and organizing yourself in a way that welcomes, that offers value, that really listens but like you said, from your perspective, from your schedule, from your, you know, those boundaries that you built up. It’s really designing all of those things and thinking about the lifestyle and the way that you want to lead and showing up in that way as opposed to just kind of like, “Here’s my email.”

You know, it’s like just constantly trying to chase and I just see that working through, right? At least I saw that working throughout your book, how you set yourself up to receive, right? I think that’s a different approach. Go ahead.

Michelle Rockwood: A great example of this is the feminine energy is woven all throughout all of my teachings of course and that stems here but I am at my best every single day at nine and 11 AM. My kids are off to school, I’ve worked out, I’m sitting down, I am ready to focus and so that’s when I take sales calls but if a client is only available at 5 PM and that’s the time I book, that’s actually never going to work for me to coach them.

So already, I haven’t set us up for success by taking the sales call at a time that works for me and we’re most likely not going to be a good fit. I’m never going to be my best at five, I have three young boys, right? So just these little tiny shifts make our sales process feel easy and our business feel lighter when we’re always at our best. Zig Ziglar says, sales is essentially a transfer of feelings and it’s so true.

Mentally, feeling your best, working out, eating right, doing your meditation before a sales call, jumping jacks, really being able to connect to and listen to the client in front of you is where you’re going to see the most success.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: I feel like you’re coaching me right now. I feel like we’re doing a session right now. This is how big this is, this is what I am trying to tell people in this episode like you got to read this book because it is incredible and your approach is actually very unique and I find some of the things that—have you ever used baby wipes by any chance?

Michelle Rockwood: Yes, I have. For my children?

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yes, okay. So I got super lucky and got introduced to the lady who invented that, that product and she was my coach for about a year and a half. Her name is Mindy, she’s an incredible human being and she honestly, I could totally say that she led me on the path to think in the feminine way. I mean again, differently of course, you know, how you bring it to the table, how she saw it, right?

But I feel like it’s similar in the sense that you’re saying think about attracting as opposed to chasing and that completely shifted my business and how I really see myself and you know I love that because it’s not one or the other, right? Of course, it’s both in balancing but I used to despise cold calling and I used to own an apparel printing company but when I made this shift, we literally started, were doing things for Nike, which was down the street up in Portland, Oregon, you know?

Like our focus completely shifted and that moment of like transformation for me definitely owed to in like as a human being, right? She totally worked with me until she was like, “That’s it, that’s all I really need to teach you, like you run it from there.” You know? That was so – she’s like, “You know, come back if you need any more advice or whatever but I think you’re ready to just kind of practice what you’re practicing.” And I love that because it was so honest and true.

It wasn’t like, “Oh, now you go to my next package and my next.” You know what I mean? You’re with me forever and I guess you know that does work for some coaches and it does work for people who are in that, you know, design and path but I love this idea that “Look, you know, I am going to lead you in this part of the journey. If I can lead you further, that’s great. If not, that’s okay too.” And you talk about this in one of your chapter titles, how to stop the sales yuck.

Can you talk about this a little bit more and what you personally struggled with when it came to the sales yuck and how did you overcome it?

Michelle Rockwood: It’s that chasing, that ickiness, that manipulation, that always feels so gross and how did I overcome it is really tapping into that feminine energy that you’re talking about, doing things my way, setting everything up in a way that felt really good to me and then tapping into that masculine energy that allows you to be brave. You know, remember that movie, Liar Liar, with Jim Carey back in the day. You might be too young.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yes, of course. Jim Carey is one of my favorites. Oh no, no, no. I am not too young.

Michelle Rockwood: Okay, you remember this movie, where suddenly he had to tell the truth and he had to speak the truth. It sounds like with your coaches as well, you become a mirror into yourself and on these sales calls, I started really speaking my truth and I had the coaching skills to say it in a way where it could land with the client and really resonate and so I would tap into that boldness and I found a way, right?

I found the words, I practiced, and was able to speak the truth and tell the client what I was thinking and what I was actually seeing and that often felt amazing to them. I had a client and I know she’d be okay sharing the story. We got to the end of the sales call and it was a lovely fine sales call but it was pretty surface-level.

And at the end of the call, I took a deep breath and I said, “I have to tell you, people don’t usually pay me thousands of dollars when everything is okay and just going just right. I suspect and tell me where I’m wrong that things aren’t all perfect in your life in the way that you’ve presented yourself here to me today is how you present yourself to the community.”

And immediately you could see, because we’re hosting the call face-to-face that her demeanor shifted. Her shoulders relaxed and she said, “Michelle, you’re right. I’m on the brink of a divorce.” And so it’s my –

Yeah, it’s that draining that feminine energy mixed with that bold brave and the having training, right? That beautiful coach training that allows me to lean in and be gentle and ask for permission and trust my intuition but to say the thing, she said, “Yes, you see me. Now I have to work with you.” Right? It was a lovely relationship still to this day but that kind of skill where you can be feminine yet be bold, speak your truth, especially in coaching, especially for heart-centered people who are not salesy, they have often the most to give.

When we can bridge this gap for them and teach them how to tune in and tap into that brave, that boldness and speak that truth, boom, so, so powerful.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: It’s really the reason why I’ve considered becoming a coach. Now, I haven’t taken all the necessary steps, you know, in some ways I have coached a few people here and there, more like accountability type of coaching, more like inspiring, motivating, nothing too out of the box. I help people apply some of the methods I used to grow my businesses but like again, nothing too intensive and I haven’t really you know, in a way packaged it or designed it in a way.

I have thought about it a lot and this has given me such, sort of you know, you are opening up the gates because I am that type of person that really enjoys the process of seeing someone light up like I – this is exactly why I do this show and why I got into podcasting, why I got into just wanting to meet other people. It’s genuinely like I love when I see someone light up in a way that inspires them and motivates them.

Where like, “Oh, I’m going to go do that thing right now” and when they go do it and they apply it in their life and it’s just like, you know, you get that text in the middle of the night like, “Oh my god, thank you. I was able to talk to my daughter today,” or whatever it was. It had nothing to do with business, you know what I mean? But this is so powerful, it’s so rewarding, it’s so enriching. I feel like coaching is one of those selfless things that we could really indulge in as far as like helping other people.

But you’re right, there is this part of it that’s you know, self-selling is a very hard thing, right? It’s like being camera-shy, right? It’s like you know you’re good at this thing but being in front of a camera is weird, you know? It’s like you have to overcome this weirdness and really show up. So you know with that, I want to talk about the last part of your book, which you provide like, you know, the five ways to find clients.

Can you share a time when you used one of these methods to find a client who turned out to be, you know, of course, a great fit for your coaching practice? Like for us newbies if you will and people going into this world, what are some ways we can think about this?

Michelle Rockwood: I highlight five ways to find coaching clients in the book and it’s probably different than most people listening think because so often coaches graduate a program, they join a marketing course and they follow somebody else’s path and so my journey to finding clients, to finding aligned clients has really been figuring out what feels good to me and so really, what’s been great is when someone else invites me in to speak to their group.

It’s that shift in energy where I am not chasing and in fact, somebody has invited me and said, “Please come” and then when folks are there, they receive me far more easily and that has been really, really nice for me and even in small groups. So typically what I do is I just network on LinkedIn, I love LinkedIn, find me there and I will hang out with another coach who has a coaching cohort and get invited to come speak in a coaching situation, where I will do a small training.

From there, people typically come and do a $37 training and then join my larger courses but as far as one person that stands out, I’m not sure. I think it is just really the way I meet people that really establishes that relationship long-term. Just like in that sales call, how they come to you matters and it’s just that really, “How can it be this easy, how can we make it feel light?” not that chasing energy that always feels really good.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: What would you say the favorite part of putting this book together was for you? I know that’s a journey and writing a book is no easy feat, for sure, but what was your favorite part of putting the book together?

Michelle Rockwood: My favorite part was my incredible editor, Geneva Ross. She was my favorite part. I would love getting on calls with her. We laughed, we cried, she has nothing to do with sales, right? She’s an editor and for her to love this as much as I did was incredible and we would just imagine people reading it or we would high-five each other over the Zoom call when we got something just right and that was a blast.

I looked forward to calls with her and maybe I’d think of a fun story to share or a different angle and I couldn’t wait to share it with her. She was a gift from God and I just think that she did such a service to coaches everywhere helping me with this book and the process was joyful. She helped the title of the book, Joyful Selling. I was actually on the call like going through the different iterations of the title and I really loved this, A Better Way to Yes because there is many ways to get to yes.

You can get there many, many ways but this is a better way and she messaged me and she said, “Joyful, you had mentioned joyful so many times during our work together. I think joyful needs to be on the cover.” And it just clicked and I loved the title.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: It’s perfect, it’s so good.

Michelle Rockwood: I loved it and the promises were so joyful. It’s been – Scribe is amazing and this process was just an incredible experience and the parameters I think even of once you get the outline of the chapter down, that’s really when my creativity went into place because I had those bumpers and so I could just really plant the seeds and flesh those stories out.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: What an incredible journey. I am blown away Michelle, thank you so much for sharing your stories and your experiences with me and the audience of course. The book is titled, Joyful Selling: A Better Way to Yes for Heart-Centered Coaches. I know I’ll be finishing it this week, it’s amazing already. So besides checking out the book on Amazon, where can people find you and connect with you and perhaps reach out and seek out a new coach?

Michelle Rockwood: Absolutely. Well, like I said, I’m always hanging out on LinkedIn. That’s really the only social media that I am hanging out on these days. You can also get the book and get the first chapter downloaded free on my website,, and of course, you can find the book on Amazon.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: I love it. Michelle, thank you so much for coming on the show today, I really appreciate you. I’ve learned so much, I feel like I found a new friend. I’m definitely going to be reaching out on LinkedIn but again, thank you for coming on.

Michelle Rockwood: Thank you so much.