Today I received a letter saying that, further to my application a few weeks ago, my experience as a coach and consultant has been recognised through election to membership of the Institute of Business Consulting.
I'm delighted to have had my first meeting today for two hours with a coach/mentor that Business Link have supplied. Under this helpful scheme people volunteer to give their time free to be a mentor to a new business.
He is encouraging me to focus my business more, and to develop a talk that I can give at business gatherings as a way of encouraging business.
The last few weeks things seem to have gone really smoothly with the business when I have focused on what I know needs to be done, rather than being anxious about where and when new jobs are coming together. Although I have had a lot to do, I believe that I have prioritised well and what I have set my mind to has gone well.
I have been encouraged and challenged by visits to Corsham School – a Visual Arts College renowned for its creativity, and to the black tie dinner final of the North Wiltshire New Business Competition. (I was not an entrant: I hadn't heard of it in time!) The guest speaker, Alex Tew, had failed to win in a previous year, but had famously made $1million by selling 1 million pixels on a web page to help fund his business studies degree. He was so successful that he had to postpone his course!
I find myself being impressed by those who are in touch with what they do well, and having gained an appropriate grounding in their discipline are willing to break the conventional boundaries to “go beyond” and demonstrate excellence in a unique and groundbreaking way. This surpasses those who seek to achieve not so much by unique talent but by careful methodologies (wise and helpful as those are). I also find myself admiring those who, perhaps working quietly behind the scenes as local councillors, are able to help reconcile people who by helping them to see their different perspectives and so build community.
Maybe these are pointers to where my own life is heading.
This week I've been seeking to do more sales and marketing for the firm, which has included trying out networking meetings (with interesting speakers but we'll have to see how much business comes), and seeking to register with Train To Gain for their new Leadership and Management Advisory Service. The idea is that they will give grants to small businesses and charities to encourage top leaders to receive training – which may include coaching.
The idea is that as well as funding they connect clients and suppliers through their skill brokers. What seems strange to me is that it is very difficult to work out from their web site how to register as a provider, and when I phoned to find out I ended up following a chain of about six phone numbers that threatened to take me back to the one I started with. (In the end I did connect with a director, who knew what she was talking about.)
Maybe it's my fault for imagining that the process would be quick.
I've particularly enjoyed the last week as my new work continues to grow. I have been working in partnership with the Wilsher Group by participating in training courses and working with Baxter Europe (part of Baxter healthcare) in Vienna.
The work with Baxter contributed to their leadership development programme and we included training, facilitation, and group coaching to improve communication skills and support project teams. We used Insights® Discovery and other material. It was very enjoyable, and there was great enthusiasm in each of the teams.
Our venue, the Hilton Hotel, overlooked the impressive River Danube, which was an added bonus.
I'm pleased to have completed my courses in Spiritual Direction and coaching. The two have fed one another, and I feel more equipped for the work that I am doing.
Starting a new business continues to challenge emotionally, as I need to persevere with what I believe are the right things for some while before seeing results – months rather than days!
I'm very much enjoying the Change Leadership and Coaching Course that I am doing with the Wilsher Group in Corsham.
It is an eight day course and I have just completed the second set of three days, and there are two more to go.
There is a great balance of theory and practice, to further develop coaching skills. I am also enjoying the content on the ways people learn, which has been a gap in my previous studying.
Today I visited the One Life Live exhibition at Olympia, London. This is an exhibition for people wanting to make the most of their life, and comprised several hundred exhibition stands grouped in zones to do with coaching, spirituality, gap year opportunities, starting a business, etc.
I went along to observe the competition in the coaching market. It was interesting to see that some coaches were obviously clear about what they offer, and others not – and some stands were far too cluttered. I feel challenged to focus my own marketing more effectively.
The spirituality zone was next door to the coaching zone, and some of the stands seemed really wacky, and to be offering escapism rather than a way of excelling at life.. On the other hand, the coaching zone didn't really seem very interested in spirituality, and was thus not really holistic. I found myself wondering what it would look like to offer coaching that takes spirituality seriously as a part of real life.