Actional International:
Get a Life not a Job

With the demand for a lifestyle greater than nine to five, the advent of new technology and the changing dynamics of the modern day family, more people are turning to business coaching, the ultimate white collar franchise.

Paul Fagan, Action International Ireland, believes that time, lifestyle and income are the three key motivators fuelling the growing popularity of business coaching in Ireland.

Recent statistics show that Irish commuters spend an average of one and a half hours getting to and from work each day and in Dublin this escalates to three hours a day.

Our business coaches are not disadvantaged by the down-time normally spent travelling to and from work and they also enjoy flexible hours.

The latest addition to the Action team in Ireland is solicitor Brendan Looney who left a highly successful career in international banking in favour of a more entrepreneurial lifestyle. 'I wanted to own my own business as an entrepreneur, not an employee,' he explains. 'Owning your own business allows some degree of control and security in changeable times as well as increased earnings. Profit is the reward for risk taking. This opportunity allows me to spend more time with my family and less time dealing with big company politics.'

According to Paul Fagan, being a business coach is like coaching an Olympic swimmer. 'Every great sports person in history had a great coach or mentor so it is a proven concept. When an Olympic swimming coach is in the process of teaching a swimmer a new technique he walks along the side of the pool calling out instructions. You never see a coach dive in the water. The swimmer doesn't expect the coach to be an Olympic swimmer, he just expects him to teach the best methods and strategies that will help him win the race and to keep him motivated all the way to the end.

'This is the essence of what an ACTION Business Coach does for a business and what makes a business coach different from a consultant.'

Paul adds, that rather than being paid a set rate to go into the client's business and 'do' the things that need to be done, a business coach teaches the business owner 'how to' achieve the results they want themselves. Often one of the biggest values a business coach can offer a client is being a source of focus, direction and motivation. Like many aspects of our lives it is often one thing to plan to do great things but another thing to follow those plans to fruition.

Another factor that sets an ACTION Business Coach apart from many other consultants is the fact that they own their own business. 'Business owners relate better to other business owners. They find it easier to build a rapport with someone who has shared some of the same scenarios and sometimes frustrations.'

However, given that many consultants start their own enterprises, why should people pay to join a network of coaches when they can build their own business?

Paul believes the biggest factors are systems, support and a proven track record. 'This is where the concept of leverage comes in. We have world-class systems and a databank of collective intelligence that has been researched, tested and proven throughout the world and which is always being developed and improved by the experiences of over 500 franchisees.

'It also means that coaches aren't alone, they are part of a global team benefiting from a huge pool of knowledge and support. If a coach has a challenge or starts working with a business sector they haven't worked with before, they can post a message on our Intranet site. By the morning, he or she will have on average of ten responses from other coaches from around the world sharing what has worked for them and their clients in the same type of scenarios.

'This combination of a proven system, support and ongoing training and development has resulted in a winning formula that has translated well across cultural boundaries and has inspired people to join a team rather than start from square one on their own.

'When you research any business opportunity you should be looking for a return on your investment as well as making sure you have the free time to enjoy it. Otherwise you haven't bought a business, you have just bought yourself another job.'