Southerly is a London-based content marketing agency producing engaging content for customers, employees, partners and suppliers. Shelley Hoppe, founder and MD, was first introduced to Rob via the Growth Accelerator Government funded coaching programme in the autumn of 2012.
Growth Accelerator has a coach ‘matching’ process and Shelley felt it was particularly important to find the right coach. She commented,
“I wanted a coach who had good empathy with me and our growing business. Since Rob had built his own agency I felt he would understand where we were at and where we wanted to get to.”
At this time Southerly was in its early years and Shelley had ambitious plans to grow the business. Shelley knew her agency especially needed to expand its client base, including taking on a wider portfolio of both corporate and large SME clients.
The importance of a vision
The coaching work started by capturing the short, medium and long-term vision and turned this into a yearly strategy and action plan. The value of defining a long term vision of the business gives the organisation a road map and focus, and helps identify the key priorities along this journey. Businesses without it can meander and stumble their way along and eventually feel frustrated at constantly taking two steps forward and one backward.
For Southerly, this process highlighted a number of gaps, for example defining Southerly’s values. To this end, after the initial 1-2-1 coaching with Shelley had started, Rob ran a series of workshops with the wider business. One of these focused on defining the company’s values and embedding them into the business. This was delivered via a fun and interactive afternoon of group working and presentations, ending with the delivery of three values: “Human”, Spark” and “Illustrate”. One of several outcomes to keep the values alive was to create an inspiring wall in their meeting room:
Developing the management team
Another key strategy to ensure consistent (and pain free) business growth was to develop the management team. During this time, Southerly was growing rapidly so establishing this layer of management was more important that ever.
Rob developed and delivered a series of workshops focused on Account Management and development, ‘what it means to be a manager at Southerly’ as well as communication skills.
“Since Rob is a coach rather than a formal trainer, his approach to delivering workshops is very interactive and practical. He is very willing to go where the conversation takes the group rather than stick rigidly to an agenda. Consequently the managers were enthused and took away a number of practical steps to start using with their teams.”
The value of having a coach
Having worked together for the past two years, Rob asked Shelley what the value of having a coach was. She commented,
“We are all very busy delivering the business, so it can be a juggling act to find the time to also focus on the future. Rob brings focus on this area together with useful tools and frameworks to guide us on the journey.”
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