Life as an entrepreneur building a coaching company
I re-connected this summer with a mentor who helped me in year 1 of being an entrepreneur. She had offered invaluable advice on focus and encouraged me to define the vision, mission and values for Pivotal Coaching sooner rather than later. When we met for a social and catch up, she asked the question, “Would you start the business again knowing what you know now?” My honest answer is no. Both the coaching industry and building a coaching company have been more challenging than I expected. I’ve worked harder than imagined, have worked through unexpected obstacles and perceptions and I’m happier than ever!
Here I am marking three years in business. January 16th marks three years since leaving a prestigious corporation and my comfortable corporate career to build a coaching company from scratch. I get asked less frequently if I’d return to corporate. People see that I’m thriving as an entrepreneur. I am fueled by my vision and my passion for how great coaching can help leaders realize their best potential and achieve better results for their companies. The moments of success keep me engaged and wanting to see what new milestone can next be realized.
There’s still so much I don’t know about growing a business. At times I feel like a toddler learning to walk, and all I really want to do is run! Despite having more learning to do, I am now confident that I’m on the right track and there’s more growth to be realized. This year I grew revenues again by 40% and have planned the same growth for 2020. I thought I’d share what I’ve realized this year, what’s helped my success and what’s next. (Here are the previous posts that mark our growth story: Being Two Years Old and Moments of Success).
What’s contributed to Pivotal Coaching’s success:
• A network who believes in us and are willing to buy our services. Trust has been at the
forefront of all these sometimes-illogical buying decisions
• Having a vision and staying focused on that vision
• Being client focused and listening to clients. Following their lead and being open to
changing our methodology. I started Pivotal Coaching as a sales effectiveness focused
business. Today the majority of our business is driven by leadership development work
• Measuring results. The ROI of coaching can be varied. Our ability to establish, measure,
track and report is highly valued by our clients
• Partnering for growth is a viable growth strategy. This means being open to the
opportunity that our competition could be an important partner. After three years of
nurturing a relationship, Dave Veale has become an important part of delivering our
clients more services, coaching technology and talent
• Lots of passion! Passion is the fuel of an entrepreneur. A big fuel tank is needed to
harness the energy to get through all the work and long days
Here are a couple of our 2019 milestones:
∞ Building a branded library of our proprietary resources
∞ Leading Growth Program Cohort #2 with Volta
∞ Leadership and Sales Coaching Program Cohort #2 with Toronto law firm client
∞ Hosted an IWD event supporting local women entrepreneurs
∞ Invested in a research project on coaching trends, business case for coaching, and
marketing coaching services
∞ Began partnership with Vision Coaching
∞ Participated in Supplier Diversity Trade Mission with NSBI as a WBE Certified Company
∞ Found a wonderful Executive Assistant in Tamara Stephen!
∞ More clients in Toronto than Atlantic Canada
∞ The answer to cost effective and sales effective consulting takes shape with a partnership
and under the leadership of Venkat Chandra and his technology enable consultant
∞ Sponsored 100 Seeds Atlantic again
could be like
∞ Successful event on High-Performance Teams with Vision Coaching
∞ Wrapped successful $1.4 million capital campaign with Feed Nova Scotia as a committee
and board member
∞ First trade show booth at WBE Annual Conference and the launch of Pivotal Coaching
powered by V1 Coaching System™
∞ Launch of proprietary Leadership and Sales Diagnostic Tools. A big, big thank you to my
network who trialed early versions and generously gave of their time and feedback
∞ Long-time client Michael Yhip won national recognition and credits his coach as a
contributor to his success
∞ After two years as an idea, finally brought about leadership interview video project.
Thank you Peter Moreira for partnering with me!!
∞ Finally finished the culture playbook for the Pivotal Coaching team and new team
members that start working with us
Tap on arrows for more photos
What I’ve Learned
✔ A support network is essential to success. It’s been hard to maintain good relationships
when time has become filled with client work
✔ Keep investing in formal learning:
o Got certified as a Hogan Assessment professional
o Completed Simplicity Designs’ Performance Excellence
✔ Finding the right partners matters and needs nurturing
✔ Identifying relationships that are reciprocal and protecting them takes work
✔ Investing in my professional development
o Continued work with my presentation coach Elissa Bernstein
o Working on growing the business and myself with my coach Chris Hornberger
✔ Selling and working with big corporations takes longer than you’d hope and takes
strong account management
✔ Never underestimate the value of a simple idea
A journey of passion, vision, mindset, habits and execution get you to your success. - Lisa W. Haydon
What’s next will be about what’s important to focus, and stay focused, on:
• Strong partnerships to meet client needs and to scale
• Building relationships, pipeline and doing more work in large corporations
• Leveraging Pivotal Coaching’s persona diagnostic tool for assessment, solutioning
and program design
• Being a supplier diversity champion and a leading WBE certified service provider
• Helping corporations implement strategic coaching programs
• Continuing to nurture and grow the Pivotal Coaching community
Never perfect, never done. Take the time to mark moments of success. - Lisa W. Haydon
Writing this post almost didn’t happen. I wanted to put my time into the future rather than the past. My time reflecting on milestones brought back a number of happy memories that had slipped away. It’s been a wonderful year thanks to our clients, the Pivotal Coaching community, my network and my family!!
I’m looking forward to our 2020 work and success!
About Lisa W. Haydon
Lisa W. Haydon founded Pivotal Coaching three years ago. She left her prestigious corporate career to pursue her vision of the opportunity for strategic coaching as the mechanism to drive higher performance in leaders, teams and companies. She’s successfully making her mark on the highly competitive coaching industry and is capably working with large corporate clients. Lisa’s been an early adopter of coaching trends in her development of holistic leadership development coaching programs, data enable insights and coaching platform technologies.
Pivotal Coaching specializes in strategic programs for Leadership Development and Sales Effectiveness.