Because every individual and every company is different, the Horizons approach to business coaching recognises that all coaching contracts are unique. There is no "one size fits all" solution. Nonetheless, three core programmes have been developed as the framework for discussion with client organisations. These are:
1. The Small Business Managers Programme: This flexible programme is aimed at owner-managers of small businesses, helping them to grow their business whilst retaining a good work-life balance. It focuses on the emotional side of running a business, rather than providing specific financial or legal advice.
2. The Executive Coaching Programme: This programme takes an holistic, whole-life approach to the development of managers, sales executives and other high performers in larger organisations.
3. The Leadership Development Programme: This one-to-one 4-month programme is particularly appropriate for managers or other talented individuals who have been identified as having significant leadership potential. If required, the coaching sessions can be delivered alongside a parallel study programme using some of the world's greatest texts on leadership and self-development.
On the corporate side, Paul’s clients have included senior sales executives from the computer systems company Oracle, managers from a major North East recruitment agency and several IT software developers, as well as the regional manager of a prestigious national charity. Paul has also had many Small Business Owners as clients. They have included Financial Advisors, Marketing Consultants, and the owners of online sales businesses, training companies, and a Newcastle-based pub chain.
Business coaching provides a great return on investment because of its transformational power to raise management and leadership capabilities. For this reason there are few major PLCs that do not already offer coaching to their Directors and Management Board, for whom it is often seen as a mark of honour and respect. Click here to watch a 40 second video on the value of coaching by Google Chief Executive, Eric Schmidt.
Because of its effectiveness in the Boardroom, more and more companies are coming to understand the role that coaching can play throughout the whole organisation. Coaching is not just a "nice to have" when times are good. It can make a massive difference to every business by improving leadership and communications, delivering more effective selling and resulting in better decision making.
The aim of coaching as defined by the Institute of Leadership and Management is "To develop an individual's performance by unlocking their capabilities through guided conversation and questioning". The principle that coaching helps the individual to find their own answers is the key factor that distinguishes it from business advice or mentoring.
Unlike an advisor or mentor, a coach does not have to be an expert in the same industry or profession as the client. Indeed this is often a disadvantage because it opens up the temptation to the coach to start providing advice. Whilst it is often helpful in a coaching session to introduce useful leadership theory which has a solid research foundation, a good coach would never "advise" the client what he would do in the same circumstances or, even worse, "tell" the client what to do. Coaching is much more powerful than that. Coaching helps an individual understand their own values and motivations (often for the first time in their life) and from there to set goals and agree actions that are going to be fully aligned with those values.
Think about your own life: When when you best motivated? Was it when your family, teachers or friends told you what subjects to study, which profession to follow, what hobbies or interests to pursue, or where you should live? Or was it when you came to your own decisions about these and other similarly life-changing matters?
Business advisors will usually tell you the "right" or "wrong" way to do something, giving all their clients the same basic guidance. Coaches recognise that everyone is unique and that the best solution for one person can potentially be the worst for another.