Posted: Tue 9th Dec 2014
Following 15 years of working in the city, Karen Kwong took a new route in life and business to become a coach. We ask Karen what coaching is, why small business owners should consider coaching for themselves, and the results it delivers.
Q: What is professional coaching and what is the role of the coach?
A: Coaching is a collaborative and results-orientated process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of self-directed learning and personal and professional growth of the coachee.
Coaches work on the basis that their clients are the experts of their own personal and professional lives. Sometimes however, people may need some support and guidance to unlocking their potential. A coach works closely with the coachee to uncover, clarify and agree his/her objectives, as well as inspire self-discovery, whilst offering relevant tools and techniques.
This powerful collaboration should result in the client being the very best version of themselves.
Mentors often provide a similar service to those of coaches, but traditionally the difference is usually one where a mentor is a more experienced colleague or industry expert supporting the development of the individual with his or her knowledge and experience. Often, the relationship between the mentor and mentee lasts longer than that of a coach and coachee.
Q: How did you get into coaching?
A: I spent over fifteen years working in the City thriving in a fast-paced and dynamic environment. However, I realised that despite the day-to-day challenges, I wasn't growing anymore. Whilst working with my coach, I embarked on an exciting and often scary journey of self-discovery. She helped me 'unearth myself' and in that time, I also learnt that I was ready to start a new adventure. I left my firm, went travelling for a year and then enrolled on a Masters in Organisational Psychology at City University.
I have always been interested in the power of people and how if they are properly nurtured, they and their organisations will evolve, flourish and succeed. Effective coaching can play a very powerful role for the growth of the individual and the organisation. I felt that my professional experience along with my new learnings combined perfectly to lead to a new career in professional coaching and business psychology & organisational consulting.
Q: Why do you think small business owners need a coach?
A: Being a small business owner is an exciting and highly motivating opportunity. But it can also be a lonely endeavour, even if there is a team behind you. The challenges that face small businesses are just as significant as those faced by larger enterprises yet, the support structure may not be as accessible. As coaching is about self-directed learning, it is perfectly poised for the entrepreneur, supporting them in realising their potential and that of their business.
Your business is personal to you and given that the business is yours, and coaching is about getting you to be the best that you can possibly be, why not lay down firm foundations and give yourself the best possible chance of succeeding? World-class athletes are always seeking to improve and they have coaches. Novak Djokovic, despite being world number 1, recently started working with Boris Becker to improve his already brilliant game.
'With great power comes great responsibility' says Spiderman's Uncle Ben. The possibilities for your company are endless, but the responsibility lies with you to give it the best version of you.
Q: For how long should a small business owner see a coach before instilling practices into their own work and life, ie do you coach people to help themselves?
Coaching typically lasts for six months - with one session each month. Six sessions are enough for realistic learning, reflection and growth, without encouraging a dependent relationship.
Q: Can you give an indication as to how much a small business owner could expect to pay for coaching?
Small business owners could expect to pay around Â£600 per session for 90 -120 mins of one to one coaching (based on six sessions) or for Group coaching (min 2 & max 5 participants, based on eight sessions) Â£350 per person/per session for 120 mins.
Karen Kwong is Founder of Ren Organisational Coaching and an adviser on the Enterprise Nation marketplace.