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Coaches In The Spotlight - Karen Jones and Joanne Spencer

Posted 1444 Days Ago in: Coach Spotlight, Success Stories

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We are delighted to feature not just one coach in the spotlight but two highly experienced coaches, Karen Jones and Joanne Spencer. Together they run two highly successful businesses, work as a job share and still manage to find time to create a great work-life balance. To find out how they do it, read their Spotlight feature here...

We are delighted to feature not just one coach in the spotlight for you but two highly experienced coaches Karen Jones and Joanne Spencer. Together, they run two highly successful businesses, work as a job share and manage to find time to create a great work-life balance. To find out how they do it, read their Spotlight feature here...

What made you decide to work as a job share?

We first met when we were working at Marks and Spencer back in the 1990’s and quickly established a firm friendship which continued even when our career paths altered and we moved to different organisations. Over the years we had both started families and both of us knew that we wanted to create more balance in our work and home life and just knew that the traditional full time or part time roles were not the complete answer for us. So, we decided on a job share.

What support did you draw on to help you make the move?

Our families were hugely supportive. However, many people thought we were mad to think of it, saying that it would risk ruining our friendship. We knew we could make it work and started to think of our job share more as a marriage of two minds, which would bring great value to us, any organisation we joined and also for our families. As we are both trained coaches we focused on establishing a strong and living goal and were clear that with that in mind, our friendship and job share could develop and work hand in hand. Within 4 weeks of creating our goal we had been offered our first job share position, as a senior manager within Buckinghamshire County Council.

Tell us a little more about the businesses that you run

We have always had a passion for supporting and enabling the development of others, so, after working as a successful job share for over four years, the natural progression was to start a business together which did just that. We launched Infinite You Limited five years ago and specialise in supporting organisations with change management, strategic leadership and people development.

We are totally passionate about supporting self-sustaining change and use a wide range of coaching and facilitation techniques to enable organisations to maximise the potential of their people and to make sustainable improvements to individual, team and organisational performance.

During the last five years we have had the privilege of working with some amazing people and organisations and have been struck by how many individuals and organisations have been keen to hear about how we have made our job share so successful. As a result, we launched Infinite Us, a sister brand to Infinite You, earlier this year.

What was the driver which led you to launch Infinite Us?

Having spent over 10 years working together as a role/job share, running a successful business and bringing up our families at the same time, we realised that we had gained some hugely powerful insights about the core building blocks which are required to manage a fulfilling and progressive career whilst working together in a more flexible way. We also have an organisational perspective on what businesses can do to manage flexible working more effectively and leverage the benefits which can be gained from it for their employees and customers alike. Infinite Us Limited will enable us to share this extensive experience to support individuals and organisations who want to explore the benefits of adopting more flexible working options; helping them to navigate the steps to work with others, to Succeed as One

What advice would you give to others who perhaps are thinking of a flexible working option?

For us there are two key pieces of guidance which we would give. Firstly, it’s about focusing on the practical elements such as taking time to research and prepare all of the facts about what flexible working means to you, the skills you have, the values which you hold dear and how you want to work with someone else to make these components work for you, work for them and just as important - bring value to the prospective organisation who you want to work for.

We have developed the Infinite Us Model which incorporates all the core elements from our learnings as a job share, and use it as a road map to support clients through the process. We also use the model to support organisations that are looking to maximise their recruitment and retention of talent by investigating more flexible working options.

Secondly, the other piece of guidance we would give is to establish a clear goal at the outset. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t refer back to our shared goal and we firmly believe that our coaching training has really assisted us in scoping out a clear goal which is now our clear compass in all that we do.

What’s your main objective for 2013?

Our main objective is to maintain the success of Infinite You and grow Infinite Us in tandem. Our aim has always been to give back and add value to individuals and organisations whereever we can and it’s that aim which continues our drive to succeed.

Becoming millionaires has never been part of our plan, in fact far from it. That’s why we also do an element of ‘free of charge’ work for some well know charities, who don’t have the resources to invest in staff development.

How do you work with the Coaching Academy with your work?

The Coaching Academy has been a real mainstay of our work within Infinite You and will certainly be within Infinite Us. Many of our clients are blown away by the benefits which they get from the coaching techniques and interventions which we use and we always refer them to the Coaching Academy when they are looking into becoming qualified in coaching.

In our experience the Coaching Academy training is second to none. The other aspect we work with the Coaching Academy on is in their role as the UK distributor of DISC profiles. DISC provides an ideal framework for work-based behaviour profiling and we always use it with clients to help to identify individual personality styles. DISC is such a flexible tool and one which is a mainstay of our coaching and facilitation toolkit.

How powerful has coaching been in helping you to achieve your success?

Coaching has been absolutely crucial for us to be honest. It’s helped us to create a clear compass direction in all we do and ensure that our approach is always self-sustaining. It’s also helped us grow our job share and friendship in conjunction and work through matters as they arise, focusing on a solution which works for both of us, our clients and our families.

What do your families think about your success?

They tell us they are immensely proud and that’s just great. We have always included them in developing our business. For example, asking our children to help us develop our logo and branding helped them to share in our goal and be a part of our success. Creating a strong work-life balance and developing a progressive and satisfying career was always our intention, so in essence we evaluate our success by what our clients say about our work, by how we both feel we are achieving the goals which we have set and finally, by the feedback our families give us about getting that work-life balance just right!

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