It doesn’t take long for Christine to find the ‘elephants in the room’ when she’s engaged by businesses to maximise their potential. Christine has discovered there are six key elements to business success.
Meet your ActionCOACHChristine Beard
Certified Business Coach
Pyrmont, New South Wales
Christine Beard Business Coach
When ActionCOACH business coach, Christine Beard is working with a business owner, the MD or management team she brings a world of expertise and wisdom to the tasks of maximising the business potential by uncovering the ‘elephants in the room’. She has an impressive record of recognising opportunities to get the best out of people and businesses and to hold the stakeholders accountable until the job is done.
It all started for Christine as a young twenty-something lawyer in one of the UK’s most prestigious law firms (70 partners, 300 staff). Her talent and propensity for hard work were recognised immediately. Still, in her twenties, she became one of the country’s youngest legal partners; an almost unheard of achievement.
Her appetite for work and expertise was such that she would spend long days advising and counselling her Blue Chip and multinational clients, only to continue late into the night on her firm’s administrative matters. Success followed; all the trappings, an enviable reputation, everything except time for herself and a healthy work-life balance. Finally, her years working at this frenetic pace caught up with her, resulting in burn-out.
After a lengthy break and a decision to pursue non-legal opportunities, Christine and her husband embarked on a franchise in the UK. She recalls clearly that her lawyer instincts identified some irregularities in the business. It was to be a turning point, in a number of ways. However, at first she was loathe to seek outside business advice. ‘I came from a profession where I was the expert. I wasn’t used to people telling me what to do. I was usually the one telling people what to do,’ she says.
Eventually, Christine recognised the need for some business coaching. She chose an ActionCOACH business coach who steered her successfully through her franchise. It was during that process Christine had an epiphany; the former lawyer discovered that she enjoyed the prospect of business coaching and mentoring rather than working in a business.
‘I’m actually one of those people who enjoys the challenge of being across a number of activities and who loves finding solutions to other people’s challenges’ she said.
Christine decided to attend an ActionCOACH coaching conference in Ireland and was impressed enough and courageous enough to become a coach and mentor – in Australia, where she would undertake the training and accreditation!
Christine, her husband and two sons had visited Sydney and enjoyed the lifestyle. They all agreed a move to Sydney would be the best thing for them. However, the would-be business coach decided she would make the trip to the Harbour City and the family would follow shortly after.
Christine arrived in Sydney alone with her two suitcases. What was meant to be a few weeks, turned into a few months before her family joined her.
In the meantime, Christine, in a new country, with a new profession, tenaciously completed the training and accreditation and began to build a network and establish herself as a coach. Her initial enthusiasm about coaching and helping people and businesses grow was justified. She achieved outstanding results with her clients, across a broad range of industries.
In the following years, with her family well settled in Sydney, Christine’s success multiplied and she was awarded the #1 ActionCOACH business coach in Australia. Greater recognition came when she was judged the #2 ActionCOACH business coach in the world. The transition, from one of the UK’s top lawyers to one of the world’s top business coaches and mentors, was complete.
Her Business Approach
It doesn’t take long for Christine to find the ‘elephants in the room’ when she’s engaged by businesses to maximise their potential. It’s what comes next that is the challenge; one she’s up to as a former high flying UK lawyer, who has turned her considerable talents to accelerating a diverse range of Sydney businesses, beginning with the business owners, through to management teams and team members.
As an ActionCOACH coach, Christine is contracted by successful small to medium-sized businesses (10 to 50 employees). While they might be doing well, the business owners recognise they could benefit from external and objective guidance to take their business to the highest level by removing all the barriers impeding their success.
After incisive conversations with and observations of the business owner, management and team members, Christine uses her forensic skills to quickly identify blockages and opportunities for change within the company. What she has discovered is that most of the problems are to do with the ‘people’ side of business.
‘It’s all about communication,’ she says. ‘Typically the business side of the operation is running well, but the personality traits and behaviours, the politics and problematic communication styles, get in the way.’
Not one to ‘beat about the bush’ (an Aussie phrase she likes), Christine is frank and honest about what is really happening in the company.
‘I pretty quickly identify the ‘elephant in the room’ and get the business owner and executive team to front up and acknowledge it. I guide them through the process of addressing it and removing it,’ she says.
Management by Telepathy
Christine’s experience is that owners and management teams are not trained sufficiently in management.
‘They may have the theory, but not the practical skills. It’s often management by telepathy. I frequently hear them say, ‘if only the staff would listen to me’.
Team members say to me, ‘if only management would get out of the way and let us do our jobs.’
When Christine is working with a business she will ask team members to identify three changes they would make to the business if they were in control.
‘They have no trouble coming up with excellent suggestions; however, they are fearful of putting them to management. I give them the confidence and strategies to take them to management. Much of the time these suggestions are implemented. It’s a win win win situation.’
Habits and Honesty
Christine will encourage the management team to look at the changes they need to make in their communication styles. She says most people are unaware of their poor communication habits which prevent clear messages. People become too scared to say anything constructive to them.
‘Not me,’ she says. ‘I’m there to get everyone pulling in the same direction. They get an honest appraisal from me. I explain that it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. It’s about tailoring the message so that you embrace everyone. It’s not easy because it’s the human stuff and we’re creatures of habit.’
That’s not to say Christine is a big fan of the warm and fuzzy approach. ‘I’m there to do a job. Time is of the essence. I can’t afford to fluff around. I can see what’s wrong and needs to be done. I’m the conduit for change, albeit an honest and frank one,’ she says.
Once the goals are agreed on by all the stakeholders, Christine ensures that everyone is accountable throughout the process. ‘Tough love’ would describe her approach.
One of the impediments to successful communication within a business is the proliferation of emails, according to Christine.
‘An email lacks the subtlety of a face-to-face conversation, or even a phone call,’ she says. ‘Things get misinterpreted, messages become mixed.’
Hence Christine tells executives or managers to pick up the ‘phone and speak to people. ‘It’s amazing what a difference it makes,’ she says.
The various diagnostic tools and strategies Christine employs, plus her business acumen and wisdom, result in mini and major breakthroughs and transformations.
‘It’s like climbing a wall and getting to the top and achieving another milestone in the quest to make each business the best it can be, without encountering too many elephants in the distance,’ says the ActionCOACH coach.
Typically, Christine will be engaged by businesses for a six month period.
Since becoming an ActionCOACH mentor and coach, Christine has discovered there are six key elements to business success.
- Mastery Everyone and anyone in charge (whether or not they have the title of manager) must have a certain level of business acumen. They must be across the basics (financials, planning, strategies for growth, customer service, time management and self-discipline for starters). These are the keys that form the foundation for any business.
- Knowledge Successful people work harder on themselves than they do on their job. They are continually learning and gaining new knowledge which they can use in improving their career, their results and their performance. As Christine says ‘If you don’t change, nothing changes. The only failure is the failure to participate. Learn something today and you will use it tomorrow…..guaranteed.’
- Emotional Intelligence A business is an inanimate entity. It is the result of the varied activities and decisions of the people who work in it. Many are hired for their skills and their academic intelligence but it would be better if they were hired for their high levels of emotional intelligence too. Emotionally intelligent people with ‘can do’ attitudes should be prized highly as vital members of the team that is developing business growth and success. Emotionally intelligent people are self-aware and capable of self-management so that they know how to impact positively in their relationships with their colleagues and their clients or customers.
- Strong Leadership A business that has a committed and tenacious leader will be one that is following a path mapped out for success. It will, however, need to be more than reliant on just that one person if it is to flourish. It is a weak business that relies so heavily on its leader that its leader is weakened and overwhelmed. Better that a leader allows their team members to display their commitment and passion for the business too. A leader that encourages and supports risk-taking among its managers and demands that they feel free to express their forthright opinions will be a leader that sits alongside the top 5% of those that run the strongest businesses; ones that are built to compete.
- Activity and Momentum Lots of stop/start activity can be like lots of bursts of energy; eruptions of hot air that get you nowhere as they have nothing to sustain them and are of little substance. Lots and lots of the right activity coupled with the right emotional impetus will make almost any strategy a success. It’s the mojo of a business that makes the difference. And it’s the mojo of its people that gives a business its emotional strength and its solid core.
- Mojo Christine says ‘Figure out how to get it, how to keep it and how to find it when it appears lost and you will hold one of the most prized keys to business success. Mojo is the ‘motion juice’; the emotional motivation of the people. It’s the energy at the heart of the team and the leader that gives a business its vibe and attracts us to it as one we want to do business with. Protect the mojo and nurture it. It’s a precious asset.’
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- Pyrmont, New South Wales