So what’s it all about? Hello and welcome to my first blog post! My role is Business Confidante and I suspect that you’re probably scratching your head and wondering to yourself what that is – so grab a coffee, put your feet up and read on whilst I explain and paint a clear picture for you …
Having worked in senior management and leadership roles in both the private and public sector, I grasped an opportunity to set up my own consultancy business in 2004. I spent many years working with businesses as a Strategic Business Consultant and I found that increasingly the gigs included an element of coaching and/or mentoring. In that additional role as a coach or mentor, I found clients were confiding in me about things which troubled them – with what was going on in the business in general, difficult relationships with their peers as well as their personal lives and nothing to do with the work that we were actually doing together!
A large part of what I was doing was supporting people as that independent, neutral person. Yes, from time to time I might challenge my client and guide them towards a different way of looking at a situation – or share an insight – but mostly they simply wanted an opportunity to talk out loud and just say what had been going around and around in their head. You can probably identify with that scenario on some level, can’t you?
Generally just hearing themselves talk out loud would reveal a greater understanding of what they felt and what was really going on which would be accompanied by insights – often with a verbal commitment to themselves about the specific action they would take. Group level Directors have shared how difficult it has been to work with other Group level Directors, for example; others have needed support when they reorganized their own department, whereas it would usually be them giving the support. Partners in the top accounting firms have shared their vision for their own personal development and career, which they haven’t shared with anyone else.
And so, working with clients directly as a coach and/or mentor, it became clear to me that often there was a specific role which they were looking for – akin to an independent sounding board and supporter and it was crucial they knew that whatever was said would stay confidential. It was one of my own mentors, Rachel Elnaugh, previously of Dragon’s Den and Red Letter Days – who suggested the title of Business Confidante and it’s perfect fit for the service I provide!
Recently at a business dinner, the person I sat next to told me his story – about his business, his previous roles and the impacts they’d had and about his personal life. He commented more than once that he’d never told anyone some of those things. He had insights, shared happy and long forgotten memories about people and times in his life and by the end of the conversation there was a visible change in him.
It can be quite lonely in a senior role within an organisation and maybe even lonelier as the MD or CEO. It’s not always appropriate to talk to peers and at other times there’s simply a desire to be able to talk to someone about anything and everything – or just that thing that keeps you awake at 3am in the long dark night of the corporate soul. And that’s a role that I fulfill for people as a Business Confidante; the independent, neutral, non-judgmental person with no attachment to the business or the issues, who can be a sounding board, who may challenge and perhaps gently nudge them in a slightly different direction.
I have powerful “unlocking conversations™” with my clients to unlock their inner wisdom; to help them achieve absolute clarity; to be more resilient. And the feedback that I am given is that my clients are able to see a way forward – they’re empowered to understand that there is action that can be taken and what that specific action is. These insights about themselves and about others result in improved business and personal relationships.
As Peter Shallard – the Shrink for Entrepreneurs – says, “Yes, its all in your head” – in many different ways; and that can be shifted.
So, there’s a little insight to my work for starters! As my blog grows, you’ll learn more about me and what makes my world tick; in the meantime if you’d like to get a feel for how I may be able to help you personally, why not give me a call on +44 (0) 1296 681094 and let’s chat!
Until next time …