July 11

Amanda Coleman, General Manger, Nelson Coleman Jewelers


Amanda is the 6th generation of the Nelson Coleman Jewelers family business and is currently first female owner. She is a Graduate Gemologist and Certified Gemologist Appraiser with AGS. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, she has worked to create a diversified business full time since 2004. Other achievements: Board member for Maryland Retail Association and AGS, President of the AGS Maryland National, Capital Guild, member of Center Club of Baltimore and Baltimore Chapter of Accelerant and Vistage.

Podcast Highlights:

  • Give your people the benefit of the doubt
  • The only thing you can control is your own behavior
  • Good leaders walk their talk
  • Care for your employees and they will take care of your customers in the same way

Contact Amanda:

[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:06
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello, everyone. This is Umar Hameed, your host and welcome to the no limit selling podcast where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how to make you better, stronger, faster. Get ready for another episode.

Umar Hameed 0:37
I am really excited to have Amanda Coleman Phelps joining me today she is the president of Nelson Coleman jewelers. Welcome. Thank you. Thank you for having me. And we met must have been like four years ago or something.

Amanda Coleman 0:51
Yeah, I can't believe it's been that long.

Umar Hameed 0:53
Time flies. Yes. And at the time you were an executive at the store. Yeah. And now you are the big enchilada.

Amanda Coleman 1:01
Yes. I guess you could say that. I like to say that it's still very much a family affair.

Umar Hameed 1:08
Absolutely. One of the things that really struck me was when I first came to visit your location, going down into the basement, there's a little shelf as you go down the steps, and there is a trunk. That your Is it your great grandfather?

Amanda Coleman 1:22
Yeah. First generation the trunk that they used

Umar Hameed 1:26
to come to America? Uh huh. Yes, that's history.

Amanda Coleman 1:30
Yeah, it's amazing. We try and there's a clock on our wall, also, that we have a picture of in the shop that they had in Munich, before Munich, Bavaria before it was Germany.

Unknown Speaker 1:43
Oh, wow.

Amanda Coleman 1:44
Yes, we have that in the store as well.

Umar Hameed 1:47
So your third or fourth generation in the business? I'm six sixth generation in the business. So does that add any pressure to the situation that you know, you need to make sure the captain

Amanda Coleman 1:59
does but good pressure, good pressure?

Umar Hameed 2:02
Yes. All the way that we, as human beings, we make meaning out of everything that happens to us. And you're making meaning that this is good pressure that allows me to be at my very best?

Amanda Coleman 2:12
Yes, definitely. That's something that is one huge lesson I've taken away from working with family. I really fought that challenge. With the dynamic I mean, you you can imagine working with your parents, it's not always easy. And I fought that for a long time, because I wanted to prove myself. And I realized through the process that I, I really require challenge, and I crave challenge in order to grow. And it's not a bad thing. It's really good, because that struggle means you're getting closer to the meat and potatoes.

Umar Hameed 2:50
Absolutely. So in my worldview, a leader has to do a few things that are important. One of them is to have a compelling vision. There's been visions in the past, the generation before you, your parents generation, what was their vision for the future of the company? And now that you're in charge, is it still the same? Or have you altered it in some way?

Amanda Coleman 3:14
So the vision of my parents was to was really centered around family. Yes. And it was to provide really provide an income stream to be able to support support their families, and I believe it was one of my dad's biggest missions in life, to find a sixth generation. Yes, he worked very hard in making sure that that happened. equitably, you know, with my uncle's family and with our family. And so really, he, his mission was to obviously provide a beautiful product in a professional, fun atmosphere, but also to provide a succession.

Umar Hameed 4:04
Brilliant, and now that you've taken over vision is really important. Oh, how has the vision changed? And how do you see the future of not only your company, but the industry,

Amanda Coleman 4:17
I have been given an opportunity to really build on the foundation that my parents created, which is such an honor. And it's almost like they built the base of the foundation and I get to build the rest of it. And so I really see us growing in multiple locations, being able to provide a trustworthy, fun atmosphere for our clients. That really touches all the life cycles of the jewelry purchasing experience. Usually starting with bridal, all the way up until it's time for them to, you know, possibly dispose of their jewelry so that someone else can enjoy it someday

Umar Hameed 5:10
nice. As you grow your organization, you certainly have the legacy from the past, and parents that are, you know, still watching. So what's that? Like? How do you balance the take a breath, stay calm and still grow the company? Like, what's that like, because there's lots of people that have multi generation companies. And it's a very challenging thing to navigate.

Amanda Coleman 5:34
giving people the benefit of the doubt.

Amanda Coleman 5:38
I'm very lucky in that I don't work with anyone who's malicious. My family, they're great people. And so when things get heated, or opinions get really pushed. I know that there's a reason for that. And so giving everyone the benefit of the doubt and taking a step back and allowing them to explain their their point of view. And really listen, I find in nature, I'm a very reactionary person. So something I do for myself, to give others the opportunity to explain is to ask questions, and I find that the only thing I can control is my own behavior.

Unknown Speaker 6:19

Amanda Coleman 6:19
And so by controlling my own behavior,

Amanda Coleman 6:24
that's the only thing I can do to help keep things calm. And like I said before, are my family, we have no problem telling each other how we feel, I think for a period of time, I resented that,

Umar Hameed 6:37
yes. But now that I'm older and had a family of my own, I've just totally embraced the fact that I've been raised in a in an atmosphere where we're not suppressed. And so being able to foster that, in the workplace, in a professional way, has been kind of a goal of mine. And I think asking questions is really important for two reasons. Number one, oftentimes a person that's agitated, they don't realize the underlying cause of the vegetation. They just know, right? This is triggered something within me and I'm reacting this way. And that's the reality. And by asking questions, sometimes you can give them insights into, oh, this is making me feel unwanted or unsafe. And then once you get down to the core issues, because now we can solve that, here's what I'm doing. And so number one, you help them get insight. And number two questions allow you to mess with their brain chemistry in somebody else's head. I was doing a demonstration presentation, and I turned to the woman to my right, and said, Do you remember the first time you held jack in your arms? That's her oldest son. Mm hmm. And her entire demeanor changed. And she had these dreamy eyes. And she got transported back 15 years to holding her son for the first time. And just by asking that one question, I changed her brain chemistry. So we have this amazing power, yes, that we sometimes don't realize how useful it is.

Amanda Coleman 8:08
It's true. I tell my kids all the time, because I have two boys and having young boys means that we talk about superheroes a lot. I'm staying with my husband to I don't think he would mind me saying that. But I always tell them, you know, you really are a true superhero. We have the power of choice. And we can choose truly what we can do every day, and that will impact what is going to come next. And I know they're six and four. So I know they don't truly understand what that means. It took me a long time to figure that out for myself. But if they can figure that out, I know that they'll they'll have a really good shot to be who they want growing up.

Umar Hameed 8:53
Absolutely. If you remember when I did a presentation for your team. Yes. I said, you know, most of our beliefs come by the time was seven years of age. So you've only got another year laughs and it's alright. And hurry up and program it and then that'll be your on your own now. Yeah, exactly. Being a manager, you also have staff. And you have a certain way you want your staff to interact with clients that come in? Yes. But how do you instill that in their hearts and minds? Because we've all been to restaurants where somebody greets you takes you to your table, and they say all the right things and you know that they don't mean it. And other times you go in and you can just feel that welcome. So how do you get people to really authentically interact with people in the way that you want?

Amanda Coleman 9:35
I'm a big believer that it comes from the top down. So if I want them to act a certain way, I need to be the example. Otherwise I'm giving permission for them to not act that way. I a big believer in how we say things is just as important as what we say.

Unknown Speaker 9:57
Probably more so

Amanda Coleman 9:58
probably more so because I joke around I use the example with like, a dog. If I am excited, I could say anything I could be like, I'm taking away all your treats,

Unknown Speaker 10:10
but if I'll be

Amanda Coleman 10:11
laying their tail. So that's important. And have

Umar Hameed 10:15
you seen that State Farm commercial? Where this young lady, she's getting her first car and her dad's presenting a tour? Have you seen this? Yes,

Amanda Coleman 10:23
I totally know the one. And they're doing the same dialogue, but it's just a

Umar Hameed 10:27
guy who's got his car wrecked. Isn't that amazing? tonality Oh,

Amanda Coleman 10:30
true. And that is something that we try to talk about when we're doing, you know, live examples and, and role playing. Just how we say things will put the customer at ease. But we truly have to mean it. And I think working in an environment where your boss truly cares about you and your well being. If that's not there, then it's really hard

Umar Hameed 11:01
to absolutely say

Amanda Coleman 11:02
things the way that should be said for the client. So how I treat them is going to dictate how they treat their clients.

Umar Hameed 11:11
And modeling that behavior is not only essential for boss employee, but mom and son stew, right? Yes, they don't care what you say they watch what you do.

Amanda Coleman 11:22
Yeah, and I try not to turn it off when I get

Amanda Coleman 11:25
it on.

Umar Hameed 11:28
What is a lesson that you learned from one of your parental units are your uncle that you still use today that makes you a better leader?

Amanda Coleman 11:35
Probably the biggest lesson I have learned was, I've learned a lot from my mom, my dad and my uncle, but one from my dad sticks out. It's the willingness to apologize, and to accept when you're wrong, and accept that you've made a mistake, letting go of that ego in that pride, because I have learned that until I'm willing to apologize and accept the things that I haven't done well and that I need to improve on. I'm not going to change. I'm not going to learn from them. He has shown me through his actions that something that you should do. And I've always appreciated that lesson.

Umar Hameed 12:19
One of the worst situations in the world maybe, is when one spouse has an affair. Yeah. And they deny, deny, deny, or excuse us, then you have another spouse that does the same behavior. And at one point when they fully transparent, especially if it's right away, when they find out. Those marriages survive. And the ones where people don't take responsibility never recovered. They might stay married. Yeah, but the joy is gone.

Amanda Coleman 12:47
And the trust is gone.

Umar Hameed 12:48
And the trust may not come back when they're totally transparent. But it does come back eventually. Yeah. And so just that ability to be authentic and vulnerable. In our society. We think vulnerability is a weakness.

Amanda Coleman 13:03
Right? It's so disappointing to think that

Umar Hameed 13:05
I was doing a podcast with the CEO of Gilson snow, they do snowboards. And this guy's all about engineering and the best board. And initially, it was like, we just need the best board. It doesn't need any graphics or anything fancy on it, the quality of the board is what counts. And after 18 months, he went to his staff and said, I made a mistake. Like this is costing us business, I was wrong. And we're going to start adding graphic designs just coming in. And when he realized it being vulnerable. And what it did was it built up trust between the employees and him. It's like, that's okay, boss, you made a mistake, let's move forward. If it was the customers of stupid, we're going to do this anyway, it just would have been inauthentic and wouldn't have strengthened the company would have weakened.

Amanda Coleman 13:51
I totally agree with that. It's such a huge message that you send to your team. And it allows them to be more vulnerable. And it teaches them that that's okay. And I learned the most from how to grow from our team. I'm so lucky to have a team that's extremely entrepreneurial, and they have great ideas. And I'm willing to listen and they're willing to give me feedback. And I have learned to really crave constructive criticism. And by asking for that constructive criticism allows me to feel comfortable and allows them to feel comfortable with me giving it to them. So it's like you're saying it's a two way street?

Umar Hameed 14:35
Absolutely. And I think part of getting the team to come together. Usually not so much for the leader. I think a lot of leaders go you know, look at me, I'm pretty and I'm fantastic. And you got to be part of my team. And I think when you do that you can build a good team. But when you get a team coming together for the greater good, yeah, it just creates something that's magnificent.

Amanda Coleman 14:56
You're absolutely right. And so talking about purpose, and talking about what drives you. I will say that until I really stopped and looked at all the strengths that our team brings to the table, I don't know if I could answer that question, right. But now that I look, and I see everything that our team brings, the, the real purpose that I have is to create an environment for them where they can grow, because you spend all this time at work. Shouldn't you love it? Shouldn't you feel like you have a purpose there? And you can be innovative and grow? And, man, how cool is that, that I get to create that atmosphere for them? That's a huge driver

Umar Hameed 15:40
for you. Because I think I told you what I thought leaders were Yeah, another definition is, leaders need to have a kick ass amazing vision that inspires people to go beyond Mm hmm. build a culture. And that's what you're talking about. Yeah. Where people suspend their fear, come at the enterprise with passion and joy, because they trust in the leader. And that trust allows them to go beyond their capacities. Yeah. And then the third thing is long term shareholder value, how do we make sure this entity grows? And do those three things? Easy to say? Yeah, but a constant challenge to to live up to? Yeah, once you get the team there, it's a piece of cake. Right? Tell me about as a leader, or as you were moving up the organization. Tell me about a mistake that you made or allowed that ended up being a learning lesson. That was something that wow, I'm better for having gone through that.

Amanda Coleman 16:43
Geez, I have so many, I, I'm trying to think of a really good one. I think a mistake that I have made, maybe not very specific, is not being completely transparent with people. That's something that I try to work on. Early on, in my career, not being completely professional and being on time. And I know that seems silly, but not paying attention to some of the things that really make you a professional person, right? That would be one.

Umar Hameed 17:24
And that's huge, huge.

Amanda Coleman 17:25
The way I handled conflict with my family in I learned a lot from how to do how to handle conflict that way, not handling it well, is how I've learned to handle it. Well.

Umar Hameed 17:40
Sometimes you got to go through the crucible of go through the fire to get to the other side,

Amanda Coleman 17:45
right. And so those are some, like major mistakes I think I've made in my growth, just in life, not always being very appreciative of what was given to me. And having to high expectations were some mistakes that I've made, keeping people in longer than they probably should have been.

Umar Hameed 18:08
Yeah, that's a tough thing a leader isn't it?

Amanda Coleman 18:10
It's tough, because I think one of and I'm still learning, one of the big lessons is you think that's what is best, you both think you and the employee both think that that's a good fit, and you're trying so hard to make it work. And it's up to you as the leader to decide when it's not working anymore. And so keeping someone longer instead of allowing them to be free to do what they should be doing

Umar Hameed 18:37
is a disservice to everybody. It is

Amanda Coleman 18:38
it's a disservice to everyone

Umar Hameed 18:40
a huge distraction for the later huge distraction

Amanda Coleman 18:42
for the leader and really everybody and it puts your culture and your workplace at a lot of risk.

Umar Hameed 18:49
Definitely. And I think that's why it's so critical for every leader to know what their purposes, what their values are, what the criteria is, because it allows them to make those decisions and see them more clearly, than when you don't absolutely know what that is, then there's this nebulous pneus that stops us from executing at the speed and the certainty that we need, because the rest of the company is relying on the leader to do fulfill that role. Exactly. And it's not a easy role to do. No, because tough decisions and lives depend on making the right decision because they got families and kids and all that stuff. actly

Amanda Coleman 19:31
and you want to make that choice for I think it's not recognizing that you're holding them back. Yes. And the initial shock is it's always hard. But I think if the person is open enough to the fact that that's not their right environment to thrive, then they will ultimately understand.

Umar Hameed 19:55
So I'm gonna do a podcast might make it a video one. There's this process that I develop That is designed to help teams and individuals get clarity on what's going on. Now what's happened in the future employees especially can take a look at, oh, my God, this is a problem. And oftentimes they self select out of the equation, because it brings clarity to the situation without emotions being involved. Sure. And so when it's done, I'll send you a link to it.

Unknown Speaker 20:22

Umar Hameed 20:22
that'd be great. So Amanda, is there something I should have asked you that I did not?

Amanda Coleman 20:27
I cannot think of anything to do so well, asking questions. I can't think of anything.

Umar Hameed 20:33
Is there a book you're reading right now? Or have read that you would recommend to people?

Amanda Coleman 20:37
Yeah, there's a it's a short read. It's by Rob Slee. And it's called time really is money. And it helps you as a leader will help. I'll say it helped me as a leader, and also someone who works as a manager still in the company. Yes. Really look at how I spend my time. And the value of that. And I think a lot of leaders get bogged down in the every day tasks, yes. And don't spend enough time really strategizing and giving them selves permission to think about their company. And the big picture.

Unknown Speaker 21:25

Amanda Coleman 21:26
And in reading this book, it really forced me to have to look at my day, how I invest using my time. And it was important, because I'm

Umar Hameed 21:37
not sure how much you're worth an hour. But it's a lot more than you getting paid. Let me say this?

Amanda Coleman 21:43
Oh, no, no.

Umar Hameed 21:45
Because oftentimes, if we're doing tasks that are utilitarian, then we're doing a disservice to the organization, because Wait a minute, I'm being paid, let's say you're a consultant, you might be paid $500 an hour, I'm doing this $10 an hour work exactly. And I'm getting paid $500 an hour to do it, and I am ripping my own company off. Whereas you go ahead, doing this high end work, and making relationships with amazing customers that could be two generations with the business coming into our store exactly is your highest value to the company.

Amanda Coleman 22:18
Exactly. And getting others to understand that and and communicating it to them. And you're right, it, it really kind of trickles into all areas. Because if I'm not doing it, then I'm suppressing others from being able to do what they're best suited tasks are. And, you know, that can create morale issues here. And so that all kind of lies with me. And it's funny, you brought up the like, pay? Yes. And I can say that was way more important to me, before I came into this leadership roles

Unknown Speaker 22:51
that amazing Yeah.

Amanda Coleman 22:52
And then as soon as I came into this leadership role, where you would think your pay would grow, it became something generation, a secondary, it's certainly not my fulfillment. And then, whereas I thought it might be, it's definitely not, my fulfillment is watching other people make money in my business

Umar Hameed 23:14
going to high five, but now

Amanda Coleman 23:17
it's true, and it's so much I get such a greater reward. Watching that, then, for my for myself, and, you know, people say to me, like, well, because you know, that's gonna help you grow. And I'm like, I'm not even really thinking about that. And it's cool.

Umar Hameed 23:34
It's really cool. See you four years ago, if somebody said that to you, there would be an eye roll.

Amanda Coleman 23:39
I would be like, you know, and I never was a materialistic person. I'm still not but like, it's not even a thought right now. And it's really cool. Like I'm, I would hope that all leaders can get to that point, because I don't think until I got here I really had the amount of clarity I have now.

Umar Hameed 24:00
Brilliant. Amanda, thanks so much for sitting down with me.

Amanda Coleman 24:03
Thank you for having me. This is fun.

Umar Hameed 24:10
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at no limit selling calm. I've got a free mind training course there that's going to teach you some insights from the world of neuro linguistic programming, and that is the fastest way to get better results.


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