Harnessing talent: Firm Builder Rob introduces star employee coach

Rob Pickering has always felt torn between the money available to work with in large businesses and the pull of being his own boss. Having moved swiftly from a computer programmer to managing his own team, he finally received his first management training when he was 27 years old.

“I was so impressed by the trainer, I wanted to be like him and help other people, making the same impact he made on me. So, I moved to start as a freelance management consultant. It was a very successful business but it was really disheartening when I realised that hiring a management consultant could be seen as a sticking plaster, rather than a real fix. To be effective, you need to get the company working with their people, focused on the company vision.”

Joining ActionCOACH

It was during his regular squash session that Rob Pickering was asked why he didn’t offer business coaching alongside his management consultancy work to make the recommendations happen. Rob’s initial thought was to check out some other business coaches to see what strategies and tactics he could borrow.

“That’s when I came across ActionCOACH. From my initial contact, they weren’t salesy or pushy – they genuinely cared. Very early on in my discussions, they shared their 14 Points of Culture and, I thought if a company could live to these high standard of values, I had to be a part of it!”

Rob is soon to celebrate a decade as an ActionCOACH franchise partner, working with business owners in Reading. He has recently taken on a new challenge, stepping up to the new Firm Builder licence where he will focus on a 10-year development plan in an exclusive territory of 10,000 businesses.

Part of that development includes building a team of employee business coaches. I’ll be recruiting 10 over the next five years but the first of my employee coaches came through a much more organic process. Lisa Chaffey and I have worked together for almost as long as I’ve been an Action Coach. Her company, Pickle Marketing, used my coaching services and I used her marketing services to the point where we decided to join forces.”

Nurturing talent

Lisa Chaffey

Lisa Chaffey

The two joined forces and Lisa continued with her forte of marketing and worked alongside the ActionCOACH team. But Rob had seen Lisa’s potential and invited her to attend as many ActionCOACH support events as possible. In October of 2017, Lisa met with another ActionCOACH Coach, Cassandra Bodington, and felt inspired to become an ActionCOACH employee coach, but was not without her doubts.

“My toughest challenge was actually before I signed the paperwork to become an ActionCOACH business coach and book on to training. I had to do a lot of work on my own self-belief and confidence to take, what felt like, a big step forward, out of my comfort zone. Once I got over the first initial hurdle, I was ready to go.”

Like all new coaches, Lisa attended the five-day UK training programme to bring her up to speed with all of the ActionCOACH processes. Out of the five that attended the training, Lisa was the only employee coach but that only left her even more determined to succeed.

“Straight out of training, I’d got three one-to-one clients already. I think it’s fair to say that all those years attending conferences with Rob had paid off as I was ready to start coaching by myself. Six weeks later, I launched my first ActionCLUB where I had 10 clients booked. My main focus was to introduce a group coaching environment that could benefit everyone and, from my own personal experience as a client, I was passionate about delivering these as I knew they work.”

The role of an employee coach

Lisa’s group sessions run fortnightly, with the rest of her appointments fitting in nicely around her schedule. She dedicates Tuesday to Thursday as her coaching days, Fridays for her seminars and workshops and her weekend is just for her to enjoy the well-deserved spa days. Her Mondays are set aside to focus on her own planning and development.

“I think it’s extremely important I factor in time to focus on my own development. I can look at some of the problems I’m facing and work out ways of incorporating those into my group sessions. I can see a real benefit in my performance by taking some time out, and I try to relay this message to the business owners I coach. As we like to say at ActionCOACH, we focus on getting people working ON, not IN their business.”

In her very short time as an employee coach, Lisa has many successes to be proud of. A number of her clients are beginning to notice the benefits of coaching, with Lisa providing important insight into the way their businesses can, and should, run.

“One client has got to a point where he could take three months out of his business to climb Everest! We worked on a strict one-to-one basis and he has since written a book and currently works just four hours a week ON his business.”

Lisa’s successes are not always client-based though, after taking home the title of 2019’s UK Business Coach of the Year at ActionCOACH’s annual conference in early 2019. She is also currently ranked as No.13 Employee Coach globally, with her focus now on growing her list of one-to-one clients. Reflecting on the past 18 months, her short time as an ActionCOACH employee coach has been rewarding.

“One of the most fulfilling moments has been building a strong community of over 30 ActionCLUB clients. It’s been amazing to see them all grow and flourish to the point where they’re all achieving great things in both their business and personal lives. It makes me feel extremely proud to see them employing staff, collaborating with one another, referring business opportunities and become raving fans of what we do at ActionCOACH.”


If you would like to know more about the ActionCOACH opportunity and you:

  1. Get a buzz from helping others succeed
  2. Love learning and developing yourself
  3. Have enjoyed success in your career or sport…
Find out more by watching the 6-minute overview video here