The Profitable Woman Business Coaching and Speaking is a global business that, Jean Caton, operates virtually from her home office in St Louis.
Jean’s primary business vision is to inspire and empower the business women of the world to achieve their greatest professional and financial potential. Coaching women (and men), speaking to associations and organizations, and virtual group training are the primary services the company provides. Initially, the business was strictly one to one coaching. Later, the business expanded to include coaching groups and speaking and training which are also very powerful ways to inspire, empower, coach and train business professionals.
MO: What initially attracted you to the field of coaching?
Jean: During my 22 years in Corporate America I always recognized the people part of profit. Coaching and mentoring my staff and many of the aspiring leaders as well as my peers was something I just did. People would come to me whenever they needed direction, insight or support for all type of career issues. Unfortunately many managers in the corporate world do not take the time or have the skills to mentor and coach their teams. When employees get this type of support and direction their confidence, ability, and productivity improves. When I decided it was time to transfer this strength and other skills I developed as a MBA corporate type to my own business, coaching was a pretty obvious choice. Witnessing the success of others I coach is the best!
MO: Is the process or approach any different when coaching women instead of men?
Jean: Interesting question. Yes and no. Unlike some of the large firms that offer coaching, I do not herd all my clients through a boilerplate of standardized processes. So I am able to meet my clients where they are and coach them as unique individuals. In general, men seem to prefer more direct ‘laser’ like coaching; women often like to build more of a relationship with me as their coach, explore ideas a little more and report in more detail on their progress. These are generalizations. Every client is bit different.
MO: What would be your advice for someone contemplating reinventing their career?
Jean: Do it! Coaching is not my first reinvention. Depending upon how you count, it is about #4: Teacher, HealthCare, Corporate Executive; Small Business owner. My second piece of advice is find one or more mentors, a coach, and organize an advisory board who knows you, understands your business, and you can consult as needed. Sometimes service-based business owners (coaches, nutritionist, marketing services, photographers, graphic artists, image consultants, chiropractors etc) think they just have to hang out their shingle and start offering their services. However, it takes a lot more than that as successful business owners realize. Many first time entrepreneurs focus only on the business plan, business structure and products and services. For many small businesses a comprehensive marketing plan is just as important. Anyone considering reinvention as a small business owner must recognize that they have to spend a lot of time marketing and selling them self and their business.
MO: How can the most serious of introverts become Master Networkers?
Jean: I used to hide behind the label introvert and avoid face to face networking as much as possible. I thought networking was about selling, and “working the room.” That was a big mistake! I had it all wrong. I have learned how to be comfortable and really good at networking, because I now realize networking is about building relationships. I can do that by having one on one conversations. That’s really not so difficult – even for introverts. A really good strategy is to ask the other person a lot of questions so they can do all the talking and you can listen – something most introverts are usually very good at. I am an introvert and I now use networking and speaking as my top two business building strategies. I even coach and train others how to network well and speak to groups to grow their business! Lions don’t have to roar! You don’t have to be an extrovert to be a good networker. You just need to get a lot of quiet time to recover!
MO: How would you coach someone who is going through the major transition of ending their corporate career to become a small business owner?
Jean: It depends on whether it is a voluntary transition or not. For those who are making the transition because they have lost their job, I would caution them that a pink slip is not a business plan! If someone is starting their own business simply to recreate a source of income – that is basically a job and often not a good idea. If, on the other hand, they have always wanted to be a small business owner, this may be a great time to follow that dream. So the first thing I do is go through a series of questions to clarify the purpose, vision, mission, business and financial goals. Basically, assure this is the right decision at the right time. Any serious business owner will tell you it is not as glamorous as some believe it is – it takes a lot of hard work. Without the dream, vision, passion and persistence to build a business it will not succeed.
MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Jean: I have recently launched a new program, Money Talks: How to turn confident conversations and powerful presentations into clients, promotions, profits! After coaching countless small business owners and corporate climbers, as well as my experience as a woman in corporate America and now a small business owner, it is very evident that confident, comfortable and clear communicators and those who can command a room when speaking to groups, are hands down the most successful. Money Talks is a combination of both live workshops and virtual teleseminars where I coach and train business people to be more effective in one to one conversations such as networking events or the ‘money conversation’ with clients as well as speaking to groups as a marketing strategy to attract clients. When it comes right down to it, if you are in business…you are a speaker! You need to learn to do it well.
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