I never meant to become an executive business coach. It’s not something a young boy really dreams about, but it turns out that coaching is in my DNA. Here’s my story of how I got into coaching and how I – a Scotsman – has a BHAG® of positively influencing 500,000 businesses world wide before I retire.
My young-age obsession with success
From a young age, I was observant and aware of what drove an individual to success and prevented another from success. This question of what drove people fascinated me and I’ve never stopped searching for more answers. I remember as a young teen seeing Scottish rugby hero Finlay Calder bring home the epic Grand Slam decider against England in 1990, and being completely absorbed by the idea of an individual pushing themselves to being the best at something. By contrast, I also noted similarities in people who consistently faced failure. As a coach, I now identify one of my best strengths as being able to find people’s talents to help propel them towards success, and away from failure.
A teacher first, a coach second
We’ve all heard the proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.I apply this same principle to my coaching. First and foremost I am a teacher and I make it my job to pass on my knowledge to you, my client, so that after we lay the right foundations together through my coaching programmes,you can catch your own proverbial fish. I choose this framework for you because it brings sustainability. Eventually I want you and all my clients to ‘graduate’ from needing my services and become your own coach and follow the principles you learn during our time together.
A fanatical approach to business coaching
I live and breathe business coaching and I’m rarely far from whatever book I’m reading by one of our favorite business thinkers, Jim Collins and Verne Harnish. Their books Good to Great and Scaling Up are my bibles and helped to form the foundations of my coaching. This has culminated in me becoming one of only three certified Gazelles International Coaches in New Zealand able to teach and apply the intellectual property for those authors and many others like them.
My business experience
Let’s be frank; there are a lot of coaches out there, some more qualified to offer advice than others. It’s normal for you to question why you should invest in my service. In fact, I welcome your curiosity! At the risk of sounding pretentious, here are my achievements in business:
Leadership from an early age
At age 19 I was made assistant store manager for a large British retail store, Olympus Sports. The particular outlet that I was made assistant manager for just happened to be one of the worst performing branches of the company: It was in a low socioeconomic area and sales were low. The only record this store held was for the highest level of shoplifting across the chain in the country! Within 6 months, I had turned around the store’s sale losses from -5.2% to -1.5%, then to -0.8%. I continued to make profit levels rise until it went from the highest loss to the lowest loss of all the stores across the national chain.
Becoming a teacher
With the same company, the next 5 years gave me an opportunity to develop a reputation as an expert trouble shooter. Soon enough, I was being moved approximately every 18 months to another store that was underperforming where I would take over the management of the store. My process of staff training and attention to detail when dealing with administration and merchandising would inevitably see each store increase it’s sales, whilst significantly reducing its losses.
I’m proud to say that I recorded the lowest ever stock losses to sale revenue ratio in the company at 0.08%.
By the time I was 25 yrs old, I was managing my first “super store”, a 10,000 square foot premise in Aberdeen. The store had over 40 staff and operated 7 days a week (which was unusual back then!). From there, my capabilities as an effective trainer were recognised and these skills were called upon to train other managers and their staff throughout Aberdeen and the surrounding region. It was during this time that my training techniques and ability to customise training solutions in a sales environment were developed.
Owning my first business
My first business was very successful. Together with a business partner, I owned a kennel and cattery called Bunny Lodge, south of Christchurch. Bunny Lodge had tried to position itself as a top notch facility, but was severely lacking when we first arrived. It had a bad reputation; boarding quality levels were very low and not even the local vets would recommend our facility to their clients.
Within two years of buying Bunny Lodge, we completely transformed the facility and it’s reputation. We started by rebranding the business and launching a new website. We worked with those local vets who previously wouldn’t recommend us. We proved to them that our boarding quality levels had significantly increased and subsequently, built strong relationships with them. We also reached the finals of the Champion Canterbury and Selwyn District Business Awards, and won the Telecom National Home Business of the Year Award.
My coaching business
I’ve been a professional coach since 2009. It has been my biggest challenge thus far and it has been incredibly rewarding. I take great pride and responsibility in getting intimate access to my client’s businesses. I have worked with a wide range of clients
from one-man-bands to large organisations with full executive teams and a large staff count. Industries I have worked with include:
- Software development
- Web development
- Engineering and Automation
- Property management
- Manufacturing & exporting
- Commercial cleaning
- Construction and trades
Outside of business, I’m a self-confessed geek. I love technology, keeping fit, video games, Star Wars, and spending time with my wife Kirsty and our two boys Jamie and Lachlan. I’m also a volunteer mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters New Zealand.
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