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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Coaching for Maverick Entrepreneurs Recognized

Lynne Brisdon, CPCC, PCC
Lynne Brisdon, PCC (R) celebrates at
 ICF Vancouver Awards Gala with
Joni Mar,  MCC (L)
and Cheryl Stafford, PCC (C)
May marked a decade of my work as a Business Coach in Self Employment programs and I got to celebrate by having my contribution recognized as a finalist for 2014 Business Coach of the Year at the ICF Vancouver Chapter Gala.  I deeply appreciated the honour and the opportunity to share my story. 
 
When I started working for a Self-Employment Program at BCIT back in 1998 I hadn’t even heard about coaching.  The government funded program supported people transitioning from unemployment to self-employment and I noticed many had challenges making the shift.  They needed more help than the training and business advice we provided.  Something was missing.

We could teach them what they didn’t know about running a business but they were independent and didn’t always like being told what to do. Sometimes our Business Advisers complained that clients just weren't listening. 
 
I saw an opportunity to contribute and discovered coaching while seeking out practical methods to guide people through transition.  I started training right away with CTI and enrolled a few of our participants as practice clients through my training and certification and saw positive results. Rather than advising, I listened to my clients and we made action plans together. In 2001, I earned my CPCC and qualified for an ICF credential.
 
At first, I kept my Program Coordinator job and started my coaching business Living In Vision Enterprises part-time.   Then in 2004 I landed a contract to work as a Business Adviser with a different SE program and asked if my role could be Business Coach instead.  Using coaching methods not only supported the knowledge transfer from training to individualized application, it also advanced the decision making and leadership skills required to succeed in business.
 
What’s more, coaching became a container for building resiliency on the emotional roller coaster ride through that first year in business. One of the 230 odd yearling business owners I’ve coached is Judith McLean of Hi-Q Training Systems. She shared her experience of my coaching for the Business Coach of the Year nomination.  At the Gala she talked about how my customized coaching style worked for mavericks like her. 

Maverick: an unorthodox or independent minded person
synonyms: individualistic, non-conformist, free spirit, original, eccentric
North American: an unbranded yearling
Coaching influenced her through the learning, and continued beyond the formal contract, “With Lynne’s continued whispering in my business ear I now tune into the needs of potential clients, figuring out how to improve bottom lines for all of us.”

A week before the awards event Judith had some tough business decisions to make.  “Despite all of Lynne's encouragement, wisdom and faith, I almost gave up this month.  Staying in business was getting too hard. There was way more money going out than coming in.  I began to doubt if anyone would contract my services.  Then a week ago, my PC froze, my lap top seized up and no emails came through my cell phone.  I had to cancel an event booked for seventy people as only one had signed up”. 
 
“Two things kept me afloat:   First, Lynne reminded me how much I had accomplished in one year. I had pretty slick promotional materials and two associations trusting me with educational planning.” 
 
“The second: I knew that Lynne was being recognized as my Business Coach at the Gala and it would be embarrassing to report that the business had folded.” 
 
So Judith stuck it out. Her technology got fixed and as synchronicity would have it, ten people signed up for her inaugural Respectful Workplace workshop plus she got her first serious fee paying order for mid-June.  

Lynne with PCRS SE Team: Leslie Martin,
Client, Judith McLean and; Linda Lu
Today, the efficacy of Business Coaching in Self Employment Programs is recognized by government funders. My reputation as a business coach has kept me working through government contract changes and program closures.  I truly appreciate how coach training and credentialing gave my career a boost and the enormous contribution I get to make in supporting new business owners.

My vision for the next decade is to continue supporting maverick entrepreneurs and emerging business leaders, in the Pacific Self Employment Program and through my company Living In Vision Enterprises