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Redundancy – 10 years on with ActionCOACH

Redundancy – 10 years on with ActionCOACH

What did you do before franchising?

I had 27 years’ experience working in the food industry. At the age of 49, I lost my job as factory general manager at Premier Foods due to organisational change. I faced a critical decision. With two teenage kids still at school, I needed to work and couldn’t disrupt family life by moving us to a new location. There weren’t any major food companies on my doorstep looking for someone with my level of experience, so if I worked locally I’d have to take a lower paid job. If I wanted to continue my career with big food brands, I’d have to be prepared for a long commute. Another option was to do something completely different and set up my own business. While this certainly seemed more daunting, I felt ready for a change and decided to go for it.

What drew you to franchising and ActionCOACH in particular?

I’d been paid a lump sum when I left Premier Foods and used this to buy an ActionCOACH franchise to operate in my local area. Business coaching was a natural business for me to move into. My management style had always been focused on getting the most out of the teams and helping people develop. I had strong coaching instincts and lots of solid commercial experience to draw on and share. Although I wasn’t specifically looking to buy a franchise, I felt the ActionCOACH brand would accelerate my coaching business. I liked the support ActionCOACH provides and the emphasis it places on each coach’s own development. You’re encouraged to keep learning and training, so you continue adding value to your clients. For someone like me, that’s really appealing.

What is the ongoing support like?

ActionCOACH’s UK support team is always looking to bring us the best professional development opportunities. I was one of the first UK franchise partners to roll out the Engage & Grow programme, designed by human capital and team dynamic expert Richard Maloney. Employee engagement was highlighted as one of the greatest challenges for employers with only 14 per cent of employees in Western Europe feeling engaged in their workplace and that was why this programme was offered to us at ActionCOACH. I also took part in a two-day workshop with Marshall Goldsmith, the world’s leading executive coach, learning how to coach senior teams on how their behaviour can impact the business performance. We don’t just get together to work either. My fellow Action Coach, Gary Mullins, and I have cycled from London to Paris raising £3,000 in sponsorship for charities including Parkinsons UK.

How have you found trading so far?

I won my first client, a tow-bar fitting and trailer manufacture business, in my third month. From then I gradually built things up until I had eight clients at the end of the first year. By month four, I could take money out of the business to pay myself and by month 18, I had a very secure, stable coaching business. I was comfortably earning what I’d been earning at the height of my corporate career and I was doing it on my own terms, with no major commute.

What have you found most rewarding?

While the financial rewards are fantastic, it’s the client work that has delivered the real highs. For instance, I’ve been working with a client who specialises in IT support since 2010. In their first year, they grew from £400,000 turnover to £1million. The client was able to move to new premises and I worked with them to hit £2million in the following 12 months. They are now on track for £3million and have increased profit margins further.

Would you recommend ActionCOACH to others?

Absolutely, it’s great to be doing my own thing. I’m making a real difference to the businesses I coach. I’m in charge of my own future, I’m free, fulfilled and financially secure – not many people can say that.

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