The beauty of working with a coach or mentor

Before I dive in, just a note about language: I’m currently pondering my own relationship with the words “coach” and “mentor”. I believe they’re different, but I also believe I do both. So please forgive that I use both in this article. Other business mentors or coaches probably have different opinions on this distinction.

As I return from maternity leave, I’ve had some pretty good reminders of what it’s like to start up in business. All that excitement, but also all those questions you have: Should I do this thing? What about that? How do I prioritise? Who am I targeting? What should I focus on?

And on and on…

Just like when I first started out, I’ve had to become my first client again. I sit with my own questions, and I ask myself what I’d ask a client. What’s really important this year, this month, this week? Who’s going to benefit most from my work? How do I really want to show up?

It’s incredibly easy to get taken over by questions, fire-fighting and comparison, or even imposter syndrome.

Here are a few ways working with a good mentor or coach can help:

They’ll hear what’s really important to you.

A good coach is trained to hear what you’re saying beneath the actual words you say. You might feel like you’re just talking or perhaps have a bit of verbal diarrhea, but those of us with an attuned ear hear so much. And we reflect that back to you. Or we ask a pertinent question. We help to guide you towards clarity.

They’ll help you stay focused and accountable.

Usually, with all the listening and the questions and the talking, we reach a point where we know the focus you need. You see it, too. There’s a first step, and a second, and you take it from there. A good mentor will help you find a way to take that first step, and stay accountable a few steps down the line, so you don’t get distracted by things that aren’t on your important list.

They’ll see things you don’t.

A fresh pair of eyes on your business and your personal strengths and weaknesses can be invaluable. A business coach will spot opportunities you haven’t, and will share insights on your business structure, marketing, customers, brand and more (depending on their unique skills). If you run your business without a partner or business manager, this can give you so much: more money and profit, more energy, more enthusiasm – and less time-wasting.

You’ll learn how to work through decisions and problems.

Sometimes, you might work with a mentor to get through a big change or a big decision in your business. But if you work with someone over a longer period of time – say six months or more – you learn so much about how to approach different situations. Making one decision is great, but learning the skill of decision-making has a long-term payoff. A coach has insights and questions and ways of thinking about things that will boost your business skills for years to come.

They’ll champion you and your business goals.

The thing about having a coach is that they’re on your team. Which is exactly what you need if you’re a business of one! Friends and family are great, but coaches have the professional and business knowledge so that they not only boost your mood, but also get you doing the best things for your business. It’s such a relief to know someone is on your side.

I could probably go on and on! Depending on where you are in your business journey, there are loads of ways a business mentor or coach can help you. If you’re starting out, they can help you get going. If you’re building on the early years, they can help you find your stride. If you’re considering a shift or pivot, they can help you see and make that transition.

There are so many options

There are loads of business mentors and coaches available these days (certainly many more than when I started in 2014!). Find someone you like, who has experience that will help you, who says the things you need to hear.

If that person is me, or could be me, I’d love to hear from you. I work with business owners (mostly women) who are in various stages of business, usually creative. I help them to understand themselves and their businesses better, in order to make better business decisions.

Get in touch and set up a free chat to find out if we’re a good fit!

(Thinking of becoming a mentor or wanting to improve or establish your mentoring business? I’m going to be launching some resources for you later this year. Get in touch to get the info when it’s ready!)

15 things for 15 minutes: shift your energy, boost your business!

We all have moments, days (weeks?) when we struggle to show up for our goals and vision.

Sometimes we have to trick our imposter syndrome or our inner critic so they don’t notice us side-stepping them and playing bigger.

Sometimes we have to gently encourage ourselves to form new habits or do the things we need to do, but don’t particularly want to do.

Sometimes we need some practical inspiration and suggestions for things that will actually move us forward in the direction we want to go.

That’s what I’m sharing today: my list of things you can spend 15 minutes on that really benefit your mood, and therefore your business (and sometimes the other way around!).

You can read on for my tips, but I also really encourage you to write your own list.

Use the timer on your phone and stop when the alarm goes off.

  1. Tidy up. Whether it’s your desk, your workspace, your entranceway, your bag, just set a timer and go. (I hate tidying up but it ALWAYS makes me feel better.)
  2. Write down your strengths. Go for the whole 15 minutes, and keep your hand moving. You’ll feel better for it at the end. (And it might even spark some big business ideas.)
  3. Write down all your worries. As above, but maybe burn it or do something about it at the end. Either way, get it out of your head and remove your blocks.
  4. Go for a walk. Even if it’s just up and down your own garden or around the block a couple of times. 15 minutes. In nature. Go.
  5. Find out your bestsellers. Not what you think are your bestsellers. Check the numbers: highest units sold, but also which item made you the most money? Knowledge is power.
  6. Look at your website traffic. Where are people finding you? If you don’t know how to track your traffic, spend 15 minutes finding out.
  7. Put your prices up. Or at least start to run the numbers. Around 70% of my clients have needed to put their prices up by 20% to actually make a profit or take a salary for themselves. Chances are you need to do the same.
  8. Write a newsletter. If you have an email list and haven’t sent an email for a month or more, JUST EMAIL THE PEOPLE. You don’t need a 10-part email strategy, just send some nice photos and words.
  9. Brainstorm or research a new project or product.
  10. Do your bookkeeping. Little and often is the way forward! If you don’t have bookkeeping software, research it. It’ll make your life easier next time.
  11. Look at your website’s homepage. Tweak, update, edit, or write a bigger plan to do so.
  12. Look at your long-term business goals. Or write down three things you’d like to achieve in the next 12 months. Get inspired by them!
  13. Meditate. Find a guided meditation on an app (I like Insight Timer), or put on some relaxing music and breathe for 15 minutes. You won’t regret it.
  14. Write a pitch. Maybe you want to appear on a podcast or you’d like to write a guest blog or appear in a magazine. Start writing to the relevant people. (Tip: I love Tiffany Han’s 100 Rejection Letters project for this.)
  15. Analyse your to-do list. What’s bringing in money? What’s fun? What’s future-focused? What’s a quick win? Now cross out anything that doesn’t move your business forward, that’s a nice idea but getting in the way of your focus. (We do this every month in Progress not Perfection. It’s a learned skill.)

If you need a more personal or a deeper to-do list, if you want to shift those worries and blocks, you might like to consider business mentoring and coaching with me. I have two spots open right now, and you can get in touch to set up a free consultation to find out if we’re a good fit.

Or for more free resources, check out my 20 favourite business coaching questions and go deeper!

Believe: my word for 2020

It’s that time of year!

So many of you choose your own words for the year these days, and I loooooove hearing about them.

It’s also a delight to reflect on not only the past 12 months but the last few years, the journey of words I’ve been on.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a little reflection on last year (my word was grow), as well as introducing my word for 2020: believe.

Growing in 2019

In 2019, I wanted to grow: my business, my belly, my family, my integrity. You can read about my intentions here.

And I did grow, in lots of ways. I grew a tiny human. I grew in confidence, and I certainly grew in clarity. Something about becoming a mother has made me very clear on what I’m doing and what there isn’t room for, which is honestly pretty amazing.

This was part of growing in 2019! Taken by @girl_behindthelens in June 2019.

What I couldn’t anticipate is how much 2019 would show me the depth of my own resilience. A lot happened in 2019, including a lot of hospital visits, and that required a lot of strength – strength I didn’t really know I had.

From a business point of view, I knew it would be challenging to grow my business in a profit / turnover sense while taking maternity leave. So my expectations weren’t exactly huge from that point of view. But I did grow my client list in the first half of the year, which is a key growth indicator for me: I want to help people in their businesses, and I did just that.

I still think about feeling good, feeling bad and feeling right in an atmosphere of growth. This phrase from Gretchen Rubin has really stuck with me, and I’m not done with the concept of growth at all. I think that’s one of the magic things about choosing a word: they stay with you beyond the year.

2020: the year of believe

Our beliefs influence our actions, consciously and unconsciously.

If I’ve learnt anything over the last few years, it’s that what we believe has a significant impact on what we achieve, how we feel and how we think about ourselves and our work.

This year, I’m ready to review and redefine my beliefs. I want to work in a way that’s aligned with what I truly believe, and I want to weed out some of the unhealthy beliefs that hold me back.

I want to do work that I really believe in. I want to share my beliefs openly, honestly, so that they reach the people who will find solace, inspiration, support in them.

And, at the simplest level, I want to believe in myself. I could do with some specific care in this area, especially as I shift into balancing work and motherhood.

I’ve started asking myself big questions, like “What do I believe in?”, “What do I believe about money, work, motherhood, creativity?” and “How would my to do list change if I believed in myself fully?”

And I’m loving getting started…

Using radical honesty to support this journey

While I was reflecting on the year past and the year ahead, the concept of radical honesty came springing out.

I think I have to be radically honest with myself, so that I can get to the bottom of my beliefs.

And I have to be radically honest about my beliefs and, well, pretty much everything as I get back into work, back into being The Jenny Pace.

It does feel a bit edgy. And to be clear, it’s not that I haven’t been honest in the past. It’s more like another stripping away of the layers that I might have been holding on to.

How’s your year (and word) going?

Have you chosen a word? Or made a resolution? Or set an intention? How’s it feeling to you?

I’d love to hear!

Until soon,

Jenny x

PS If you’d like to get blogs via email each week, you can sign up here.

PPS I have two coaching-mentoring spots available right now, for three or six sessions. Read more here and get in touch if you’d like support creating and achieving your business goals in 2020.

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