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From Independent Coach to ActionCOACH

Vanda Hollinshead-Rowell

Originally trained as a solicitor Vanda Hollinshead-Rowell then embarked on a corporate career, working her way up to senior management at British Gas as a Category Manager, later becoming head of sales and marketing for a manufacturing company.

In 2001 she set up her own consulting business to assist friends and acquaintances using the years of experience she had forged across many different fields, whilst recovering from a horse-riding accident; she broke her back and needed to take time out to recover and learn to walk again.

While she was recuperating people were asking her for help and advice with their business plans and concerns. Initially Vanda gave her services for free, but soon realised that she should be charging for her expertise, time and energy.

Vanda didn’t consider herself a coach at the time, as she explains: “I was probably more of a consultant, because I was doing the work for my clients. Quite early on, I found that it worked much better if I coached my clients to do it for themselves. ”

Vanda’s coaching business was doing well, when ActionCOACH first approached Vanda in 2006 she also had interests in other businesses, as well as a burgeoning property portfolio, so, naturally, she was apprehensive, as she confesses: “My first reaction was ‘why would I want to pay somebody to do what I’m already doing?’ However I was actually at a bit of a crossroads in my career. I didn’t have any real pressure on me to grow, financial or otherwise. I did want to head in a new direction so I thought I would look into theActionCOACH franchise business and see what it was about.”

As Vanda explored the opportunity she saw that, although it was similar to her business, with ActionCOACH she could get more fulfilment from it as ActionCOACH have proven systems that had been in place for a number of years. Vanda adds that “Most importantly ActionCOACH had a wealth of valuable input from people all over the world which, on my own, I would never had been able to source.”

Vanda found that there was a large amount of information and strategies she had not considered; she saw ActionCOACH as an opportunity to re-educate and improve herself in many ways. Joining ActionCOACH allowed her to stretch herself again, helping her to re-evaluate what she was doing, by taking a fresh approach to coaching in a different, better way.

Vanda says “There is always the opportunity to talk with other coaches on specialist subjects that you think they might be able to help with, or they might need help with. We also have regional meetings, which allow us to share ideas and catch-up. There will always be somebody, somewhere who will be of some help to you.”

When asked if she could go back and make the decision to join ActionCOACH again, Vanda has no hesitation in saying: “I would definitely do it again. For me it has been absolutely ideal.”

Vanda’s advice to anyone considering joining ActionCOACH is “You need to have a strong passion and desire for helping people, be a good listener and have an interest in other people because at the end of the day you’re a coach and it’s not really about you. If you’re the sort of person that needs to be in the limelight all the time, then your ego might well end up getting in the way some of the time. You have to want to enable other people to succeed, and that is where the true sense of achievement comes from.”

For anyone that is thinking of being a business coach and has those qualities, then I’d definitely recommend it. And I’d certainly recommend joining ActionCOACH as it is the most established, has the best infrastructure, and there is always so much going on with new developments all the time, there is something for everybody. Whether you want to have a big coaching practice with loads of coaches in it, or would rather have a cash flow business like I’ve got, where I can spend time looking after my family, as well as doing other things outside of the business like building my property portfolio and having an interest in other businesses that I have equity in, you’ll be able to find what is right for you. And there aren’t many businesses or jobs where you can do that.”