I discovered coaching at a particularly challenging time in my life, which later, during my training, I found was not unusual. Like many others I indulged my new passion by buying a number of coaching books from the internet. They all duly arrived through my letter box and I set about reading them.

The first coaching book I read was “The Secrets of Successful Coaches” by Karen Williams. Why did I read this one first – over and above the others including bigger named authors? It’s simple, Karen had written in the front of the book “To Donna, I hope you enjoy the book! Best wishes Karen x” This really resonated with me, I was going through a tough time and this simple, yet personal message meant a lot. I read Karen’s book first, and because of this Karen has a special place in my coaching life.

My coaching journey began, and what a wonderful journey it has been so far! I have met some amazing people and learnt, and continue to learn, so much! Yet it is the little things throughout my journey that stand out for me. At my initial 2 day event we were told to turn our phones off, to be in the room, if we felt a need to use our phones then please step outside and when we had finished come back into “the room”. Moving on to the accelerator days, the days that stood out were the ones where we had a clear contract – we would start again at 2pm – and we did start at 2pm. The integrity came through, which is such a critical part of a successful business – do what you say you are going to do. Simple, but so integral to building up that important trust and professionalism. And of course it was so valuable and much appreciated to get the written feedback following a practical assessment on the same day. Just like in business we need to write up notes from meetings straight away to ensure we remember things clearly and accurately.

My background is business management having spent over 20 years in senior management positions from manufacturing, corporate strategic planning, development work and charities and at all stages it is the little touches that have stayed with me and I have taken forward at the heart of my new business Baobab Growth.

The name Baobab Growth, was inspired by the great baobab tree, which I discovered during my time working in Africa, and which has all of the resources within to not only survive, but to flourish in the harshest of environments. At Baobab Growth we believe that everyone and every business has within them the resources to achieve whatever they want to, they just get knocked off track, distracted, overwhelmed with the everyday tasks and can’t see the best way forward for them. This is when coaching comes in to help them find clarity and the success they are looking for. We encourage businesses to get out of the workplace – to change the environment and therefore to start seeing things differently, which leads to thinking and behaving differently and then the goals that seem unsurmountable suddenly become achievable. We offer Executive Retreats, Away Days, Wellbeing and Team Building, we also follow up afterwards to ensure the great plans and actions that were decided on these inspirational days are being taken forward! Again, it is this little bit extra – the follow up afterwards – that provides the real value to the client.

At all stages of my career it is the little touches that have made the difference, and they often involve listening and taking the time to understand the people and their challenges. I have run my own holiday home business for many years and all guests arrive to a home baked cake – we don’t advertise this, however it is this special extra touch that people rave about in the all-important reviews! In the busy, technology focussed world we live in, these personal thoughtful gestures make all the difference to the customers’ experience and help our business stand out from the crowd.

When I started Baobab Growth I did a lot of networking. I was delighted therefore to meet at one of my networking groups Karen Williams. I was also concerned because Karen was this amazing coach who had written lots of books and here I was trying to set up my own coaching business with such an experienced coach at the same networking group! I need not have worried as Karen is as lovely and supportive as I had imagined when I first read her book.

Karen also trained at The Coaching Academy back in 2006. She launches her 5th book “Book marketing made simple” on 7th June and I interviewed Karen in preparation for this – my first podcast – another small step on my journey! The interview gives insight into Karen’s story and how small steps, such as that simple message in the front of my book continue to be important in her life today. She also offers some great advice to coaches starting out on their journey. You can listen to the interview on: https://soundcloud.com/librotas/donna

All that time ago, when I first unwrapped those coaching books, I had no idea where my journey would take me and certainly didn’t think I would be interviewing the author and running my own coaching business! Small steps and thoughtful gestures really can make it happen!

The world of coaching is full of the most amazing, inspirational and kind hearted people where little things are not too much trouble and really do make all the difference to the people around them!