Back in 2003 singer Beyonce topped the Billboard charts with ‘Crazy in Love’.
The number 1 song in Australia was ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem.
And a coaching company with a big vision was founded!
For 20 years, at Open Door we’ve focussed our vision:
Creating workplaces we can all be proud of.
By bringing a culture of coaching to our workplace.
This month we celebrate Open Door’s 20th birthday. And we want you to join us for a range of inspirational Coaching Cafes. With a few flashbacks thrown in. Paula interviews Natalie our Chief Executive Officer to reflect on 20 years of coaching. Furthermore, how our industry has changed over the last two decades. Indeed we can’t believe we are saying that!!!.
Listen to the Coaching Cafe podcasts
The start of Open Door Coaching
Starting at the beginning, Natalie admits that she was motivated by making ‘more money’ than she was currently earning as a consultant. But at the same time, it was about her vision of having her own company. Importantly, making a difference. Furthermore, being free to make decisions. In addition, being surrounded by a high performing team. Servicing clients. And having a lifestyle that would be ‘family friendly’.
But everything changed when Natalie discovers coaching. At the time there was only one book available at Dymocks. Coaching for Performance by Sir John Whitmore. She read the book cover to cover. Furthermore, highlighting and writing in the margins. And declared over the Summer break that she would become a coach. And do this thing called ‘coaching’
The inspiration behind the name Open Door Coaching Group
A lot of people may not know the origins of the name. Truth be told, Natalie remembers, it was not her first choice, but can’t remember what the first choice was. She walked out of the Registry office in April 2003 with The Open Door Coaching Group Pty Ltd as a registered company.
The ‘Open Door’ part of the name is about what coaching enables. It opens doors inside people. Opens the doors to new possibilities. Brings out the best in people. That was the original tag line.
‘Coaching’ was about being really clear that is what we do.
And ‘Group’ was always about a group, a team, an organisation. Not being just a sole-trader.
Starting out with a plan and some basic goals
Natalie laughs because her husband insisted that she write a business plan. But she previously wrote business cases in her corporate role and had a marketing background. So, it was just a matter of applying everything that she already learned, to the new business.
The company goals were documented in a business plan. And started with:
Get 4 individual clients and 2 corporate clients. Work towards replacing my corporate salary. In addition, earning enough money to pay for my child’s school fees by doing coaching.
In the first year, Natalie produced a budget with healthy income projections. The actual income was negative because of the investment in the start up.
The vision grows quickly and so does workplace coaching
Natalie shares, ‘But from here, the vision grew. Because I had a project management, directing and telling background. No-one was doing coaching. It really became about bringing coaching to organisations. Coaching managers to coach. Making a difference through coaching.’
Natalie goes on to say, ‘I saw a niche in the marketplace. No-one had courses or more importantly qualifications around workplace coaching. It was all life coaching. But that wasn’t adequate for what we needed in the workplace. To equip managers to coach. I wanted to build a culture of coaching.
So I wrote courses. Importantly, achieved accreditation by the Government and the International Coach Federation. And then we became a Registered Training Organisation. Oh and baby Ashdown was born that year too in 2005.’
The vision expanded to: creating workplaces we can all be proud of by bringing a culture of coaching to our workplace.
The concept of coaching culture was all new. We introduced it to the workplace via our coaching programs. Particularly, the Diploma of Organisational Coaching, which features modules on coaching culture.
Surviving through the difficult times and keys to success
20 years in business is impressive. Paula says, ‘You have not only survived but thrived through the Global Financial Crisis and the global pandemic. In addition, tightening of budgets, loosening of budgets’. Paula asks: What do you think are the keys to your success?
Natalie lists a number of keys. These include:
- Having a vision.
- In addition, continuously improving.
- Furthermore, working really hard.
- Importantly, believing in yourself and your clients.
- Building a great team around you – forming a powerful coalition of people.
- Striving to be the best at what you do.
- Staying focused.
- Importantly, working with amazing people in the workplace who are championing coaching.
- And let’s not forget having fun.
It’s about getting out of bed every morning and loving what you do.
For anyone who is just starting out in Coaching, what advice would you give them?
Believe in yourself. Believe in the difference you can make. Enjoy your coaching. And importantly, build a great team around you, because those relationships grow and sustain you over many years.
Every week our team of experts present “Coaching Cafe” webinar with topics for Managers, Leaders, Business Owners, and everyone who wants to be a better workplace coach, leading their teams to higher productivity, better outcomes and a happier, healthier workplace.