One of the great things about owning your own business is that it never has to stay the same. Having established my coaching business 14 years ago, I have been through several different phases and I sense myself emerging into yet a new one now.
The way I explain this next phase (to myself) is that I want to lead a sustainable commercial organization that adds value to society while providing fulfilling and rewarding work for me and my colleagues. My reason is as usual, personal improvement. It’s funny to recall that the first time I started working for myself, back in 1993, the goal of my work was #1 to support me financially and #2 to give me opportunities to learn. So, in a sense, nothing has changed.
Through my years of leading in non-profit organizations, I have proven, at least to myself, my ability to lead groups that rely mostly on volunteer labour. Now I want to prove that I can also lead in a commercial organization where people work for money, as well as for love! Afterall, when we are paid for our work, it supports us more fully and we can commit fully to it. Some of my executive clients have remarked that leading volunteers is much harder than leading paid staff, but for me it is the opposite. I’m not absolutely sure why it feels like a bigger challenge for me. It could be some kind of moral issue, some internal resistance to using money to influence others (my Canadian socialist background?) or maybe there are some other hidden blocks that I will have to go through in order to be successful (by my definition) at this. I’m aware that whatever my reasons for doing anything, in reality I have no idea why I do anything. (Sam Harris explains more.)
So, in 2015 I’ll be taking steps to serve more clients through more coaches and offering new kinds of services, still along the lines of helping people develop themselves to be freer, wiser and more compassionate. And I am confident because I am well supported. My favorite book of the year, gives many specific examples of the most advanced ways of leading organizations for me to learn from. And I am continually inspired and supported by my business coaching group.
And there is another internal drive affecting me. It saddens me when I meet people who are suffering in their working lives. There are so many examples of this. People work too hard and face too much pressure and stress in ways that compromise their lives and values. People are treated badly at work, they allow themselves to be treated badly and they treat others badly! People compromise in their family lives and hold back from expressing their creative talents and their highest skills. And worst of all, many people think this is normal, acceptable and unchangeable.
It is very rewarding to be able to help people thrive in their working lives in ways that support their whole lives. But our one-on-one services are quite expensive and certainly beyond the resources of many people who could benefit. So I am quite committed to finding new, more cost-effective ways to support more people with career coaching.
This next phase in my business is well on the way. I already have 6 coaches who work with me on a freelance basis. Their presence encourages me to find more coaching clients who we can help! And I am currently exploring new ways to reach more people, particularly through online group coaching and community building. Here are our two newest initiatives:
Loving Your Work Website in Traditional Chinese
The Loving Your Work career coaching website is now available in traditional Chinese. This addition is an experiment to see if we can reach out to Chinese-speaking clients in Hong Kong. And here it is! We have three Cantonese-speaking career coaches in our team who are eager to help people create more rewarding working lives. Do you know anyone who could benefit from career coaching in their native tongue of Cantonese?