Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Robin Buckley, Owner and Founder of Insights Group Psychological & Coaching Services and Dr. Robin Buckley Coaching, located in Rye, NH, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I have two business paths. The first is Insights Group Psychological & Coaching Services, the practice I own in Rye, NH. I grew this business from just two practitioners to a staff of ten in three years, focusing on creating a multi-disciplinary practice. I wanted clients to have options for their mental wellness using therapy, coaching, and neuropsychological evaluations as options for their goals. Because of the variety of services, our clients have a range of needs or wants to achieve the lives they want.
On the therapeutic side, we support clients dealing with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Within coaching, our three coaches have specific populations they each support, including family and loved ones of the LGBTQ+ community, athletes, executives, and high-performance couples. With coaching, clients focus on where they are and where they want to get to in the future.
Finally, our evaluator provides assessments to help with psychological diagnosis, learning issues, and executive functioning problems. The concrete data from the evaluations helps clients refine their level of care to make therapy or coaching even more effective.
My other path is as an Executive Coach and Professional Speaker. When I get to focus on my specific work beyond that of an entrepreneur, I gain energy from my work with couples and in my speaking. As a coach, I created a proprietary model around couples coaching, which is an alternative to couples counseling. Not every couple needs counseling, and my model gives those couples who are in a rut or who want to create a strategic plan for their relationship a way to do so. As a professional speaker, I talk to audiences of women and executives about female empowerment and mental wellness. This allows me to help a broader group of individuals beyond those I meet with in coaching sessions.
Tell us about yourself
I fell in love with the topic of psychology in my first class at Marist College and followed this passion into my graduate work. Specifically, I was fascinated by the concept that the brain controls much of what we feel and do, and because of that, we can learn to manage our thoughts to get the results we want. After I earned my Ph.D. in clinical psychology, my initial work was within traditional mental health settings, but the part I did not align with was the framework of mental health services from an intervention perspective. I wanted to support people in a preventative manner, particularly individuals who were motivated to engage in their improvement. A colleague introduced me to coaching, and I began my training back in 2005, long before coaching was as widespread as it is today. Coaching was a way to blend my education and love of psychology within a preventative, self-directed model.
As an executive coach, this approach works very well with the female executives and business owners I work with. They want to achieve exactly what they want in their relationships and careers and are motivated to work to get their wants. I help them separate out the cognitive and emotional roadblocks that get in their way, but they are the experts in their own lives.
Over time, two things made me expand my work to couples. The first was how often I heard from women that they wished they could get the same level of success in their relationships as they do in their professional lives. The second was personal. I went through two divorces. In the first, I was 24 and too young to see the warning signs before we got married. In the second, I didn’t take time to really reflect on who I was and who I was becoming. I married my second husband because he was everything my first husband wasn’t, and while a good guy, he wasn’t the right partner for me.
I didn’t have any plan when it came to a long-term commitment which is ironic because, in every other area of my life, I had carefully thought-out plans. The more I listened to my female clients and thought about my own life, the more I wanted to create a way to help couples be more successful and have a different plan from couples therapy. That’s where my model of couples’ coaching developed.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I never planned to be a business owner, but I knew I wanted a different approach to mental wellness than what was being offered. I could never understand why society sees therapy or other supportive approaches, like coaching, in terms of intervention during a crisis. I mean, we wouldn’t wait to see our physician when our leg was turning black, would we? Of course not. We’d go see our physician when the first signs of dysfunction occurred. Yet when it comes to our mental health and functioning, society teaches us to wait until things are bad. Why? Why not go early, to stop the dysfunction in its early stages, when things are easier to correct?
The other thing I never understood was why mental wellness checks aren’t part of most people’s self-care calendar. Most people I know have their yearly dental appointments, gynecological appointments, eye checks, skin checks, and even monthly hair appointments. But rarely do people have a professional who they check in with once or twice a year to ensure their mental health is still functioning in an optimal way. These booster sessions could help alleviate the mental health crisis that is occurring and affecting younger and younger populations. So when I think about my biggest accomplishment as a business owner, it is creating a new model around mental wellness, starting with the team I’ve put together and extended to the talks that I give to promote this idea.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Right now, the biggest challenge is ensuring I devote equitable time to the business's health since it impacts the amazing individuals who work for me and time to grow my own work as a coach and speaker. Both sides are important to me and, luckily, there has been a good rhythm between both. Some weeks I spend more time on the business – more new client calls to return, a new marketing strategy to put in place, networking events to attend, and time to connect with each staff member.
In other weeks, I spend more time on my career – talks to write and practice, proposals to submit, and clients to see. I have some contingencies planned if a pattern develops in which one side requires more time so that neither of my passions is neglected, and I believe that is essential and aligns with my perspective on relationships and mental wellness - having a plan before there is a crisis.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First and foremost, NETWORKING. It is crucial to develop skills around talking to people and learning how to genuinely connect with them, especially around the idea of how you can support their needs as business owners. It amazes me that we don’t teach high school and college students about networking and give them opportunities to practice this skill, as I think it is one of the essential components of being a successful business owner.
The second is inherent to being a leader: be sure to hire and surround yourself with people with the skills and strengths you don’t. As a business owner, you can’t – and shouldn’t – do it all. It isn’t a weakness to acknowledge those tasks or abilities which are not your forte. Hiring the right people to fill those spots can leave a business owner more time and energy to do things they are good at, which can move the business forward.
The third one is something I am still working on. It is essential to know when to step away from the business and make time for the other areas of your life. I have a hard time with this because I love working on my business, and I love building my career as a coach and speaker. Some nights I wake up thinking about new marketing ideas or new twists on my talks, and I can go all day working on each area of my professional life.
But my work is not the only thing in my life. Spending time with my husband, walking my dog, and doing a day out with one or more of my kids. Reading. Yoga. Visiting with friends. These are all equally important, and acknowledging them as priorities allows me to create harmony among these parts of my life. They recharge, thereby making me a better business owner. There’s never a work-life “balance” because there are times when I spend more hours on work, and on other days, I spend more time on my personal life. But this ebb and flow creates harmony and helps me avoid the unrealistic idea of achieving “balance.”
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
When your brain tries to convince you something is too scary, challenge it. Your brain will build fear through the “what if’s” – what if I fail, what if I make a fool of myself, what if it doesn’t work? If you want to conquer the fear, you have to answer your brain and give it a different way to look at the situation. What if I succeed? What if I show my skills? What if it succeeds? WHAT IF I GET EXACTLY WHAT I WANT? Then use your past experiences to give evidence to your brain: your education, achievements, and positive feedback from others. Training your brain in this way becomes your biggest ally rather than your harshest adversary. And that’s where your business goals become a reality.
Where can people find you and your business?
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