Although there has always been a plan – very adaptable – but always a plan, for many years there were very few doers executing the plan! As 2009 came around the picture was more vibrant but certainly more complicated! Elizabeth had by then facilitated a few lunches with successful women and these usually ended with a quiet comment – “She has a business coach”. I am possibly a deliberately bad learner so this didn’t register… Never deterred she then introduced me to Lynn Zettler. We met, had lunch, agreed to a trial session and away we went.
If you’ve never had a business coach – and based on my extensive experience of one – the process includes a written self-analysis ( please check blog 1 to see that I am English and therefore this is not in my gene pool) and identifying a series of goals. We then began meeting initially weekly, then bi-weekly then monthly and now biweekly again but we meet by phone. This has several advantages for me; it moves to where I am at any point in time and I feel perfectly comfortable taking notes as we talk since it can’t be seen or judged and finally I, and I’m sure Lynn, can roll our eyes but after that continue to move forward.
Initially I was very unsure what on earth we would talk about for 45 minutes weekly or bi-weekly but that has over time come to be one of those issues that was never real and certainly no longer seems real. In an overdramatic analogy, I write this on the road and must be missing my children, but it seems a little like the idea of worrying how you will have enough room to love a second child after the total love you have for number one and then of course you cannot imagine what was in the void that two now occupies!
- time management – this one is ongoing but likely will be till I die if you know me at all!
- communication – clear, calm, open questions and asking for a restating of what was understood
- facing up to tough conversations – use a neutral voice as one would state “the sky is blue”
- expectation management – mine and those I work with
- accountability – mine and others
- reading nonfiction to gather an understanding of how others tackle issues
Disappointingly for me – a very linear black and white girl – the main understanding I have gleaned is this not a program I can complete and move on from. Just imagine what I could do with those extra 45 minutes (see number 1 above)!!! Each learning opportunity presents a new series of challenges I can identify and then begin to develop strategies to tackle!
After slowly and gently embracing this new coaching model (Lynn are you spinning, surely you’ve felt the embrace!) the company continued to grow and (Elizabeth again!!) in 2010 we won the NAWBO Athena Powerlink award and had a board coaching us. This was brilliant and provided a wonderful opportunity for challenging dialog and accountability – at the end of the award year we set up our own advisory board and this I highly recommend.
The board again raised the idea that the company’s mentoring would come through the revisiting of the business plan and the establishment of a living strategic plan. To this end we reached out to Kathleen Paris and she facilitated sessions with the executive team, the entire team and the owners and we developed our plan – that was November 2011.
Back in the day, well last year, we strategically established:
- Marketing, business development, and consultative sales
- Internal communication
- Knowledge management systems
- Support of new netlogx subsidiaries companies
- Presence in UK and Europe
- Recruiting, hiring, and development of talent
So now it is time to take a look at what we did – what we didn’t, why and what we want to do now and how we manage doing that! Kathleen is back on board and as they say it is time to Carpe Diem!!!!
As I mentioned I am very English and so think most things in life are solved by a stiff upper lip (actually sucking it up) and a nice cup of tea but coaching has won me over personally, professionally and organizationally and I suggest you too take a walk on the wild side – with teabags!!!