It’s August and it is starting hot. We love it or we hate it but it is part of the British summer to contend with temperatures in the high 20s or even 30s. I hate it because it makes me feel washed out and there is the constant problem of what to wear, especially if I am working. How do you feel about it?
Is it maybe a quiet time in your business life? Are all the conversations about when/where you are going on holiday? Did you have a great holiday? Is life either about looking back or looking forward taking all those good holiday experiences and feelings into the autumn?
It got me thinking about reflecting and going forward. I have been doing lots of networking as business starts to get going again and I am anticipating the autumn and (dare I say it?) 2021. I am meeting lots of lovely new people and enjoying hearing their stories. They are asking me about my story and asking what does a mentor actually do?
This is the most difficult question I ever have to answer. My shorthand is this “Helping you and your business grow. Together we find your focus and craft the plan to build your success. Together we’ll create your legend, we’ll make it a reality”.
Obviously this is different depending on the circumstances but let’s unpick this:
Helping you and your business grow
Some people know exactly what they want from their businesses: for example, build it to a million pound turnover and sell it in 10 years’ time; to build something to pass on to my children; to build a business now that I can scale up in 5 years when the last child goes to university; to generate £5000 a month in the first year etc.
Other people have little idea what they want. We need to find their “why” so that we can focus on it. I admit to being ruthless about this. People, especially women, underestimate what they are capable of. It might be because no one has ever believed in them; it might be because we find it difficult to say we are good at anything; it might be other things. My first task is to help clients believe in themselves.
Together we find your focus
Once self-belief is established we can start to look at goals. Saying you want to generate £5000 a month is great but is it realistic? Have you done your market research? One of my favourite sayings is “because there is a gap in the market does not mean there is a market in the gap”. In other words will people pay proper money for what you are offering?
On the other hand are your aspirations too low? This is very prevalent. Sometimes it is about pricing – the tendency is to sell too cheaply. Back to self-belief…just because you can do it does not mean everyone else can – they cannot. You are a mixture of a wonderfully unique range of talents, skills and experiences.
Sometimes it is about formulating stretching goals. Some of us are far too reticent about what we can achieve once we put our mind to it. My task is to help people stretch their horizons to what is possible and what they can do.
Once there is focus there can be success!
Craft the plan to build your success
This is often the easy bit. Now we know where someone wants to go we can plan how to get there and what the milestones will be.
Together we create your legend
What is this all about? This is creating that thing which makes you unique in your market and making it very clear to potential and actual customers. It can be a simple thing like a fabulous logo. I remember once starting a job and insisting on having a white BMW – a very lovely car but more importantly BMWs were not on the company car policy and white was totally verboten. It meant that word went around that I had bent the rules and my reputation was that I was a bit of a maverick. It was what a new HR Director needed – she thinks out of the box and can get her own way!
We’ll make it a reality
Again this is the easy bit. Building a plan is one thing but then it needs to be monitored and tweaked early if the ship is veering from it’s course. My most successful relationships are regular – often monthly to look back and then look forward.
So now you understand much more about what I do.
Why do I do this?
I do this because I love people. I know that everyone has talents and however deep down inside, ambitions. There are lots of ways to develop people but mentoring is one to one, completely customised and supportive for the long term. Other ways are less cost effective. All I want for everyone is to break down the barriers they often build for themselves and for them to achieve their ambitions. Success is like love – there is no finite amount. It is there for us all to achieve.
Am I qualified?
There are 45 coaching organisations just in the UK and the word “coach” is not protected so it signifies nothing. Most of these organisations have come into being in recent years and are still developing.
No, I have none of those qualifications though coaching skills were part of my professional training. I have 45 years’ experience of coaching and developing people alongside my day job. I have worked my way up from a temporary Saturday retail job to the boardroom. I have been incredibly fortunate in having received lots of management training, all the professional qualifications to make me a Fellow of the CIPD and the equivalent of an MBA via an in company programme way ahead of it’s time. As a freelance I taught business, management and personal effectiveness skills at the British Rail Management College. I have run big businesses for other people and started and run businesses for myself.
My fundamental belief is that no one can succeed by themselves: we need lots of support and lots of challenge. We all need a mentor. Someone to work with us on an individual basis, to understand us, to believe in us and help us push boundaries.
So if you like my ethics and want to grow why don’t we talk? I love speaking with people, off the meter, to help explore possibilities and whether/how to take them forward. Please feel free to contact me.
Life will be good again; let’s be more appreciative of how lucky we are and live the lessons we have learnt.