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EXECUTIVE, BUSINESS & LIFE COACH
The work of Strada Innovation has been showcased in the following media articles.
Vanilla Magazine (Suffolk) Sept 2013:
“The secret to business success… revealed
Have you ever wondered what business coaching is all about?
Well we have, so we booked a session with Maria Banks at Strada Innovation…
Ten years ago the idea of having a business coach was as foreign as using your mobile phone to access the internet – but now it’s possible to do both, and you can even find yourself a business coach from your mobile. Yet despite the growth in popularity of coaching many people are still not entirely sure what it involves – or why they need one. “For anyone who wants to perform at their peak they need a coach,” states Maria – and she should know for not only does she work with clients coaching them to success but she attributes her own success to a business coach.
It was while Maria was working in a Human Resources Development role that she first trained as a coach, learning the key coaching skills of listening and questioning without judgment. When the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy was offered Maria took it and decided to set up her own business coaching practice – and on the cusp of making this decision she came across the woman she credits with helping shape her business. “I attended a conference in Cambridge hosted by Everywoman and joined a workshop run by a coach called Gabriella Goddard,” explains Maria. “I felt inspired and when I saw Gabriella was offering a free half hour coaching session over the phone I jumped at it. In just that short period of time I became clear about so much, that I signed Gabriella up as my coach and we worked together for a year on my business brand, vision and values.” It’s a move that paid off – this year sees the 10th anniversary of Maria’s company.
The small team at Vanilla magazine undertook a similar exercise when we spent two full days, a month apart, with Maria. With her help and guidance we were able to focus on where we want to take the magazine, look at what was holding us back (including our own personalities) and give us the confidence to think big. We’ve made tracks already and are launching a Norfolk edition of Vanilla in the New Year so watch this space to see what other changes we’ll be making thanks to Maria’s support! The wonders of technology mean that support is easily accessible over the phone, email, Skype or good old fashioned face-to-face. And though we met in person, in between sessions we knew we could contact Maria if we ever needed.
“Coaching is about getting away from running your business and moving towards growing your business,” comments Maria. “Women in particular often find it difficult to progress their business – a coach is the support to do just that. Women aren’t weak,” she asserts. “Every woman is different but the fundamental issue in my female clients is a lack of self confidence and/or self belief. My work is all about raising their self esteem to firstly value themselves and what they bring to an organisation, to their business and to their family and friends.”
THE great potential of coaching grew out of the sports arena – Olympic Gold medalist Jessica Ennis was coached to her success from the age of 13, and be it the running track or the boardroom the principal is the same. “We often don’t ask ourselves the questions which need to be asked – we don’t have the time or ability to ask the right question,” points out Maria. “Professional coaches believe that the answers we seek lie within us, so we never tell people what to do, we enable the client to find the answers for themselves by actively listening and asking the right questions so the client has a clear vision of what’s next.”
Coaching is a long-term investment in your career – it can take up to three months to begin to see results – but it’s one that Maria’s clients say has paid off. Karen Mast lives in Switzerland and sought Maria’s help after spending 25 years as a stay-at-home mum. “As the girls got older I began to have a serious case of what I call the ‘now what?’s,” she says. “I decided to go back to school and become either a stylist, a makeup artist or an esthetician but I was indecisive and hesitant. I just couldn’t, or wouldn’t, make up my mind which direction to take. I also became an expert at finding excuses why I shouldn’t bother.”
By chance Karen met Maria on holiday, and seeing the struggle she was having, Maria offered her a coaching session on the spot. “The session wasn’t easy. Maria has a way of listening and asking just the right questions that force you to be extremely honest and open with yourself. At some points it felt very raw and painful but in the end I felt free and confident,” explains Karen. “During the session I was able to vocalise my goals and decide which direction I wanted to take. My fears didn’t magically disappear – I was just able to look at them from a different angle and realise that the hurdles weren’t as high as I was making them.” And that one life-changing coaching session with Maria was all it took – Karen first trained as a make-up artist, graduating top of her class, then went on to do a stylist course – and this November she once again returns to school to train as an esthetician. “Who says we can’t have it all,” points out Karen, “I just needed Maria to point me in the right direction.”
Local Interior Designer, Helen Jennings has also benefitted hugely from business coaching. “I decided to work with a coach as I’d reached an impasse in my professional and personal life and felt overwhelmed with how to meet the challenges that faced me. I knew I needed a trained professional to help me and was delighted to connect with Maria at a networking event.” And Helen is definite when it comes to what she gained from her sessions: “I learnt to be clear and true to myself about my aims and goals, to take and enjoy each small step of success and be proud of the power of successes which I had previously overlooked.”
Want to try a free coaching session?
Maria is offering readers of Vanilla a free 30min coaching session either face-to-face or over the phone. This will give you the chance to experience coaching for yourself and just how much you can benefit from working with a professional. To take up this offer please email Maria on firstname.lastname@example.org
Vanilla Magazine, Sept 2013
Reviews & Recommendations
"With great insight, skill and passion, Maria immediately grasped the mighty purpose
of our endeavour, and put us
firmly on the road to success."
Ian Rowlands, Co-founder, Planet Whale
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