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The Art of Reinvention - Simon Drury

Posted 374 Days Ago in: Coaching Articles

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It is a Thursday afternoon in May 1982 and I am sitting with a sixteen year old pupil in the library of a school for children with moderate learning difficulties. We are talking about life beyond school. It is an upbeat conversation about how he is going to get a flat of his own and have a job that brings him all the money he needs. Clearly he has ideas that need a reality check and I am the person who is going to help him plan his exciting future.

It is a Thursday afternoon in May 1982 and I am sitting with a sixteen year old pupil in the library of a school for children with moderate learning difficulties. We are talking about life beyond school. It is an upbeat conversation about how he is going to get a flat of his own and have a job that brings him all the money he needs. Clearly he has ideas that need a reality check and I am the person who is going to help him plan his exciting future.

I had no idea then that my experience through the 80s, helping young people plan for their adult life, would eventually lead to a major decision to leave teaching and move into the business sector - a significant change of direction and personal reinvention!

Initially, I set a goal to train to become a business trainer with my ultimate goal being the opening of my own coaching practice. However, all the overtures I made to the leading training organisations in the UK came to nothing. I had no business experience or qualifications.

The only industry I was able to access without these two prerequisites was Financial Services. This couldn’t have been more incongruent with who I was and my personal work aspirations. So with great trepidation, I stepped away from special needs education and into the world of financial planning as a self-employed financial advisor.

After 18 months of advising the public on how to become financially secure, I engineered my way into management - the first real opportunity to coach and train others.

Eventually, after 5 further years of recruiting, training, coaching and managing teams, I was asked if I’d like to join the training department to create and deliver a prestigious advanced sales skills programme. Naturally I agreed. It was during this next 8 years in the industry, I gained my wings! I took myself through an Open University degree in Psychology and approached the Coaching Academy to train as a coach.

The exciting denouement in this 15 year chapter in my expedition was opening the doors of my own coach/training business on the 1st January 2003. I had, at last, reached my major goal!

Beginning, as I would imagine most coaches do, with private individuals to experiment on, I gradually built up a small client base and gained massive amounts of experience. When I joined my first networking organisation I set my sights on developing a business coaching element to my practice. This very soon grew and I found myself adding to my client bank with businesses of varying sizes from small, owner-managed companies to large corporates.

As I developed my business coaching capability I put myself through various training programmes, including the Executive Coach programme with the Coaching Academy. They not only gave me the valuable tools of my trade but also helped me raise my confidence and self-belief.

It is now 2012 and, having helped hundreds of business people successfully achieve their goals, I am feeling I need to reinvent my coaching practice. I realise that I need a new and refreshing approach and I had heard many successful coaching practitioners talk about niching - working with a specific type of client in a specific area of business need. Someone once said to me, ‘There are riches in niches!’ Not desperately eloquent but I got the message!

So, I created a new business model based upon the wealth of insight I had gained working with executives, senior managers and business leaders over many years. It was, in a sense, the culmination of everything I had experienced over what amounted to some 14 years of coaching.

Of course, I was concerned that if I built my reinvented business on a much narrower stratum of clients, I would lose those not fitting the ideal client profile. Interestingly, that didn’t turn out to be the case.

The benefits I have found in niching are manifold. It has enabled me to create an avatar of who I want to work with and why. With a specific type of client in my head I have been able to focus my marketing and general search for these people. This, in turn, has helped me word my online material and public speaking content, influence what I say to people whilst networking and craft the benefits of working with me.

It has afforded me the opportunity to discover where my ideal clients ‘hang out’, get in amongst them and talk confidently about what I can do for them. It also helps them make a buying decision!

Being certain about my area of coaching expertise has helped me position myself as the ‘go to’ person in my field. I have found it much easier and significantly more successful talking about my work with such clarity whereas before, I showed up as a general practitioner, which, although enabled me to become firmly established as a coach, I believed it had limited scope for my future. This was a very personal reflection.

Art of Reinvention has gone through 3 iterations in the 13 years since its inception and we’re just getting started!

Simon Drury - Business Psychologist, Corporate Coach and Mentor, Speaker and very nearly an Author!

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