The Aha!NOW Chat with Berry Fowler [Interview]

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Interview with Berry Fowler Poster


This is an interview with the highly successful coach and entrepreneur, Berry Fowler. I’m sure all those interested in and wanting to become entrepreneurs, life coaches, and money making bloggers would love to learn more.

Some of you might not have heard of Berry, but I’m sure that by the end of this interview, you’ll know and appreciate him well, and probably try to emulate him to be a successful entrepreneur yourself.

Moreover, anyone who desires to become a business coach or life coach would love to take his coaching program.

Berry Fowler’s success can be gauged by the Newsweek magazine’s comment that at one time referred him as “Colonel Sanders of Education”.

Not only that, the Success magazine praised his entrepreneurial efforts by reporting, “Everything Berry Fowler touches turns to gold”.

Yes, today’s interviewee on The Aha!NOW Chat is Berry Fowler, the Master Business Coach and entrepreneur, who over the past three decades has started several successful businesses.

Berry was the founder and former Chairman of the highly successful Sylvan ® Learning Systems Inc. and The Little Gym ® International Inc.

He started Sylvan Learning Centers in 1979, which became America’s leading provider of supplemental education to school-age children, and later sold it off in 1985 for millions of dollars.

The Entrepreneur Magazine ranked both the companies started by Berry among the Top 100 Best Franchise Companies in the World.

In 2008, Berry co-founded a coach training company that quickly became the world’s leader in providing online coach training and certification.

Later in 2012, he created the Fowler School of Business and Executive Coaching to offer Master Level Certification to experienced people.

It’s no doubt that Berry Fowler is recognized as one of the world’s leading educational entrepreneurs.

Berry, who is known for his training systems that are effective, practical, and unique, now continues to set standards in life coach training through the Fowler International Academy of Professional Life Coaching (FIA).

So, let’s go ahead and learn the lessons of excellence from Berry Fowler on entrepreneurship and coaching.

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Interview with Berry Fowler

Interview with Berry Fowler Photo

Q1: Berry, Welcome to Aha!NOW. Let’s start with your life experiences. I had read somewhere that you had a difficult college experience. Was this the reason for you to become a teacher?

Berry: Yes, I had managed to fool my way through high school and into college without learning to read well enough to be successful. Because of this, college started off as a horrible experience.

I would go for a semester or two and end up quitting because it was so difficult to keep up. My grades were poor and on several occasions, I was placed on academic probation. So, I would quit school for a while and tried something else. I found I could be successful in the real world, but college was a completely different matter. There I felt stupid.

At age 24, and on my fifth return to college, I finally learned to read. When I was registering for school, I noticed an offering for a non-credit speed-reading class. I signed up immediately thinking if I could learn to read faster, maybe that would solve my problem.

Fortunately, the class was being taught by a wonderful and very astute teacher, who very early in the class determined that speed-reading was not what I needed. Instead, she explained to me that I had missed out on some of the very basic reading skills and concepts and rather than trying to increase my reading rate, she offered to tutor me on the basics.

Working with her for only one semester changed my life. My grades went from a below C average to all A’s. Suddenly, college that had been a place of such frustration became a place of excitement and fulfillment. Most importantly I no longer felt inadequate, I now felt empowered.


It was this experience that led me to becoming a teacher in the public schools and later creating Sylvan.

Q2: When did you realize you could become an entrepreneur, and what led to the start of Sylvan Learning?

Berry: My grandfather was an entrepreneur. He was in the oil business and owned his own company all of his life. We were very close and I had the good fortune of spending much of my childhood, hanging around my granddad.

It was his entrepreneurial spirit and the joy he derived from owning his own business, which led me to start my first business at age 19 when I began drawing portraits and caricatures of tourists. It was a fun business, which I quickly grew by teaching other college students in my drawing methods and hiring them to work at various locations. It provided me with enough money to live well while I finished college.

A few years later, after teaching in a junior high school classroom for five years, I was fully aware of the large percentage of students, who like me, had slipped through the cracks and were struggling in school because they too hadn’t acquired the basic reading skills they needed to succeed. These kids needed help.

I also knew, because of budget cuts and low teacher salaries, many of my teaching colleagues were frustrated with their jobs as well. They loved kids, but wanted an alternative to teaching in the public schools. Sylvan filled both of those needs. We offered individualized instruction to struggling students and a new business opportunity to teachers. It was a win for everyone.

Q3: Sylvan Learning was very successful. Within a span of 6 years, you added hundreds of franchise centers and later sold the entire chain at great profits. You achieved the similar feat with your other venture “The Little Gym International, Inc.”. What as per you were the reasons for your entrepreneurial success?

Berry: There were a number of factors that led to our success. The first was we provided an effective solution to a major problem. When I started Sylvan, about twenty-five percent of the kids in school in the USA, needed help in learning to read. With The Little Gym, childhood obesity was becoming a big problem. Children needed to exercise more and develop skills to enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

Next, I had a crystal-clear vision of what Sylvan and The Little Gym could become, and the huge number of families we could help. My vision of the future enabled me to stay focused and motivated in the face of the many roadblocks and other obstacles I encountered during the start-up phase of both companies.

Another factor that contributed to my success is my team, and I invested a lot of time in creating very detailed plans of all the things we needed to do to achieve our goals and objectives.

Once that was complete, all we needed to do was to take the action steps necessary to make our vision come true. It wasn’t always easy, but we stuck with it, thanks to having our vision so well defined.

Q4: Many of my blog readers are bloggers wanting to become entrepreneurs and Internet marketers too. Can you tell them what personal qualities and skills should they possess to be successful entrepreneurs and marketers?

Berry: Sure – the best advice I can give to anyone wanting to start or grow their business is to know where you to want to go with your business, create a plan that will get you there, and stay motivated by knowing your business dream can become a reality. Don’t let anyone talk you out of your dream.

Q5: What is life coaching? How can a life coach help people?

Berry:  It is often said; life coaching is to the 21st century what therapy was to the 20th century. Life coaching has become a more popular choice for those wishing to improve their lives. Unlike therapy that many times focuses on the past to determine the cause of a problem, life coaching focuses on the future.

Life coaches help people to achieve their full potential and live a happier and more fulfilled life by looking to the future. The relationship between a life coach and his or her client is based on trust and respect. Life coaches do not provide therapy. They do not provide advice or counseling.

A professional life coach is an expert at asking open-ended and probing questions designed to assist clients in identifying and achieving their goals and objectives. Life coaches help clients develop strategies to overcome roadblocks and obstacles, either real or imagined.

They help their clients to create plans and take actions that will enhance their lives. Some life coaches may specialize in a specific niche. They may help their clients to improve their relationships, lose weight, prepare for a new career, start a business, or get ready to enjoy retirement.

Regardless of their particular specialty, all successful coaches have one thing in common. They know to be a great life coach. They don’t need the answers, but they do need the questions. Helping clients to develop the best answers for themselves, gives clients ownership and confidence.

Coaching helps clients to become internally motivated and enthusiastic about the future.

A truly great life coach is a motivator, a cheerleader, and a taskmaster with the clients’ success, happiness, and well-being – at the forefront of their coaching focus.

Q6: Who can become a life coach? Do you need to be a self-development or personal development guru to be a life coach?

Berry: One of the wonderful things about the profession of life coaching is it is open to anyone.Anyone with a genuine desire to help others can learn to be a great life coach by mastering the tools and techniques of professional coaching.

They don’t need a college degree or years of experience in personal development. They just need the desire to help. Over the past six years, my team and I have trained and certified over 5,000 individuals from all over the world and all walks of life to become successful life coaches.

Q7: Why should one become a certified coach? What are the benefits and uses?

Berry: During the past decade, the profession of life coaching has grown dramatically. The main reason for this unprecedented growth is that life coaching really works. Clients are finding joy and happiness by hiring professional life coaches.

The two main reasons a person would want to become a certified coach are:

1) Potential clients are better informed than ever before and they are asking their potential life coaches if they are certified professional coaches. Being certified provides coaches with credibility.

2) The second reason is even more important and that is “know how”. Rather than guessing at what a client may or may not need to achieve their goals and live their dreams, our student’s master a proven professional coaching system that absolutely and truly works. By the time they graduate, each is thoroughly prepared to provide the finest coaching experience to clients from all walks of life, with all types of needs.  

Being a Certified Professional Life Coach is very much like living a dream. You can own your own business, work from home, set your own hours, and enjoy the rewards of a highly paid professional, all while helping others to succeed. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Q8:In spite of being a successful entrepreneur, why did you choose to become a professional coach? What made you start your own professional life coach training and certification company?

Berry: Coaching was very much a part of my success at Sylvan. There I would coach my students to believe in themselves, stay focused and motivated, and build skills to reach their full potential.

When I began offering Sylvan franchises, I continued coaching my franchisees to launch and grow their Sylvan Learning Centers and to balance their personal lives as well. Soon, I discovered I have a proven system of coaching that worked for anyone interested in improving their lives and their businesses. I have been enjoying coaching and training others to coach ever since.

I founded the Fowler Academy of Professional Coaching to provide motivated individuals with the opportunity to become a Certified Professional Coach at an affordable tuition rate. We teach our students how to coach using our proven professional coaching system.

During our twenty hour, Certified Professional Coach training course, our students master the tools and techniques they need to become excellent coaches. Moreover, with our self-paced, home study course, they can earn their coaching credentials from home and on their own schedule.

Together, we are helping thousands of clients to improve their lives for the better. We are building a legacy and improving the world by helping one client at a time.

Q9: What courses do you offer for professional coaching?

Berry: Our main course is our Certified Professional Coach Course where our students earn their Certified Professional Coach (CPC) credential and graduate completely prepared to help others. This is really the foundation of coaching and provides students with everything they need to begin their successful coaching career.

We also offer several business coaching courses for those interested in helping business owners and executives, to achieve a higher level of success. Soon we plan to offer additional courses in weight loss coaching, group coaching, and other areas.

Q10: There are many life coaching courses and institutes around the world. What makes Fowler International Academy of Professional Coaching (FIA) special and different from the others?

Berry: There are several things that set us apart from the other coach training organizations.

First, because we teach our students how to coach using our proven professional coach system, our training can be completed in as little as twenty hours.

Second, instead of costing from $3,000 to $10,000 plus other incidentals, our student tuition starts at $795 and includes everything.

Next, students receive a coaching credential that is accepted and respected around the world and it is theirs for a lifetime.

Finally, once a student graduates and receives his or her Certified Professional Coach Certificate, there are no additional requirements or fees.

Because of this we have grown to be one of the world’s leading providers of professional coach training and certification, with graduates coaching on six continents.

Q11. Can coaching really become a business? Can you coach or practice it alongside blogging or marketing? How much can a coach really earn?

Berry: A well-prepared coach can develop an excellent business. It’s all about desire and motivation… and training. Now is the perfect time to start a coaching practice. The coaching profession is still in its infancy. There are lots of opportunities for those who want to help others and own their own business.

You can become a successful coach and still run your other business. Many of our graduates coach part-time. Some combine their coaching with their existing business and find it very rewarding. The beauty about becoming a coach is the flexibility it offers.

The latest research on coach’s incomes that I have found is from a 2012 global survey by the International Coaches Federation. In the summary of the results, they report that the average income for part-time coaches in North America is about $26,000 per year and the average income for full-time coaches in North America is over $83,000 per year.

The average fee for a one-hour coaching session in North America was $214 per hour. The average fee for a one-hour coaching session worldwide was $229.

Q12: Does the FIA training and certification only work in America or is it useful and applicable globally?

Berry: We are proud to report that our certification is accepted and respected worldwide and according to recent research – about one out of every ten certified coaches in the world uses our professional coaching system. That’s why we offer our training in English, Russian, and Spanish.

Q13: Does becoming a life coach help to solve your own problems besides helping others? Can it help people to remove obstacles and create their way towards success?

Berry: This is an excellent question and one that is often answered by our students.

We constantly hear from our graduates just how much our coach-training course has helped them personally. Not only do they learn to be great coaches while taking our course, they also learn to make changes in their own lives as well.

Our graduates learn how to develop strategies to overcome their own roadblocks and move forward, filled with renewed purpose and motivation.

Q14: You have also authored the book – “Return from Krypton: Rational Steps to Entrepreneurial Success”, which is targeted towards small business owners and fledgling entrepreneurs. Can you share some important points from the book for my blogging audience?

Berry: If you were to read my book, you would find much of what we have talked about in this interview. I am a big fan of anyone who has the courage and tenacity to start his or her own business.

The primary message in my book to small business owners and fledgling entrepreneurs is simply “Go for It”. Take the steps necessary to stack the deck in favor of your success, and remember that success happens when our dreams, plans, and actions are working in harmony. When starting a new business or rebuilding an existing one, do the following three things:

1) Create a crystal-clear vision of where you want to go.

2) Develop well-articulated plans of exactly how you are going to get there.

3) Take the action steps necessary to achieve your dreams.

Q15: Lastly, what do you think of Aha!NOW? Do you have a message for its vibrant community?

Berry: I love your mission “Bringing happiness into your life”. It resonates perfectly with all of us who desire to help others.

Aha!NOW provides me with inspirational articles, useful and practical information, and an opportunity to be involved in a community filled with the world’s nicest people. I am honored that you selected me for this interview.

“Live your dream on a daily basis and it will become contagious to those around you.”

Thank you.

I’m sure you want to visit Berry’s site and checkout his awesome course.

Well, if you click on this link or on the Sidebar Ad on this blog, you’ll be taken to his site, where you not only get a chance to attend a FREE webinar, but you’ll also be eligible for a special discount of $70 for course registration that Berry has exclusively offered to the visitors of Aha!NOW.

Whatever you choose to do, I hope this interview enlightened you on some new aspects of entrepreneurship and life coaching.

I’ve finally shortlisted FIA as the institute to earn my Certified Professional Coach (CPC) credentials, and have just started my course to be a life coach!

What about you?

Share Your Thoughts –

What do you think about Berry’s tips for entrepreneurial success? How do you like the idea to be a life coach? Did the Aha!NOW Chat with Berry Fowler inspire you? Let me know in the comments.

Photo Credit: Berry Fowler

Disclaimer: I’m an affiliate of FIA and will make a commission if you register for any of its courses through my links. Thank you in advance if you do that! 🙂


Show Comments

52 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. Haroon Ashraf Awan

    2014-09-02 at 5:00 pm

    Thanks for sharing this inspirational interview Harleena Ma’m.I just loved reading it.Its the first time I am hearing about him.He is great!

  2. supreeth bharadwaj

    2014-08-08 at 11:31 am

    great and inspiring post harleena mam
    thanks for such a great interview inspired me to achieve more in blogging
    will be waiting for next aha chat
    (proud to comment here)

  3. Adrienne

    2014-08-08 at 1:03 am

    Hi Harleena,

    I will admit that I’ve never heard of Berry but who hasn’t heard the name of Sylvan Learning Centers. That is a household name and has been for years now. I guess I never paid that much attention of who created it mainly because it wasn’t something I personally needed.

    He is definitely an entrepreneur and a go getter. You can tell he also loves helping people as well which of course made him a wonderful candidate for your interviews which I’m late getting by here for as you know.

    I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I should become a life coach. I guess it’s because of my background, my own struggles and perhaps my attitude on life. I’m not sure but I thought about it. I even bought a book and a lot in there was over my head so I decided it wasn’t really the direction I wanted to go at the time. I think they are important though, I’ve worked with two now and they can help you figure things out that you really weren’t aware of. I can see them really making more of a mark in the world in years to come.

    Thank you for introducing us to Berry and I now know the man behind the businesses.


  4. Sylviane Nuccio

    2014-08-07 at 6:46 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Wow, what the nice surprise. I happened to be very familiar with Berry Fowler since I’ve gotten my Life Coaching Certification with his academy earlier this week. I only wish I’d be here earlier, but as you may or may not know, I’m going through some grieving right now having lost my mother.

    For one thing Sylvan academy has caught my eye a long time ago reminding me of my own first name 🙂

    It’s nice to know that someone as successful and entrepreneurial person as Berry did not do great in school, because for years I had believed that I wasn’t smart enough because I’ve never done great in school. The truth is that I’ve never done well in school because of bullying issues, and teachers not getting it. When a student doesn’t do well in school it’s more often than not, not THEIR own fault, but more because they’re not getting the necessary help.

    Now I’m jealous and I wish I had interviewed Berry first 🙂 but I didn’t even think of it, maybe feeling that he wouldn’t. Hum that makes me think now.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful interview.

  5. Ken Kai

    2014-08-07 at 10:03 am


    Terrific interview. I always love reading about other peoples success and their tips & tricks for getting there to speed up our own progress and avoid mistakes a long the way.

    To Question 4: I like that. There’s always someone trying to bring you down in the world. I was in the entertainment industry and just had enormous amounts of backstabbing and blackmail to deal with. I lost over $300,000, from my own employer! A horrible experience, but the worst part is I can’t get it back.. Indonesia’s law system is broken.

    But I will always be persistent. Just as all those who achieve success have done.

    Persistent will get us there.

    Thanks Berry for the interview and thanks Harleena for providing it.


  6. Angela McCall

    2014-08-06 at 8:48 am

    Wow Harleena…did you just say you started your course to be a Certified Professional Coach?

    Is this the surprise you’re telling us? I am surprise indeed and yet delighted cause I know you are more fit for this type of career!! 😀

    When I was in college, I first wanted to become a Therapist. Major in Psychology. But didn’t go through it all the way thru. Change my mind and majored Commercial Arts instead. I guess a “Life Coach” is the new career in the 21st century. This is great. 🙂

    I like that approach. Not so much about the past. But the here and now. And concentrate more on the plans of the future. Who you want to be doesn’t really have much to do with the way you were raised, your religion, who your friends are, what kind of money you have, buy towards your goals and what you really want to achieve in your business. Forget all these lame excuses.

    Anyway, great interview with Berry.

    And, after me being too busy with a client, I finally made it back to your place. Kudos to you my friend. Have a wonderful week!


  7. William Butler

    2014-08-05 at 5:09 pm

    Hi Harleena, and Hi Berry, if you’re reading this.)

    Thank you for an insightful interview.

    I really enjoy stories where people such as Berry Fowler have turned their life around, and to think that one teacher made the difference.
    Then he saw fit to make an even greater differences in the lives of others, and that is really the story behind his success.

    I believe when it is your mission to make this a better world, success is sure to follow.

    Best Regards,

  8. Reginald

    2014-08-05 at 10:38 am

    Hey Harleena,

    This is INSANE! Great interview and I remember seeing Berry around the sphere. Glad to see that you made an interview with him!

    Top notch and I even shared on Inbound for ya!

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