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DAVID CAMPBELL - Business Coach & Mentor


David Campbell is based in Canberra, but assists clients throughout Australia. It was a delight to interview him about his coaching and mentoring business.

WHAT IS IT THAT YOU DO?

I help you Transform your business by renewing your thinking! Establishing the Freedom to Succeed

That sounds a bit cliché, but the reality is that I have over 40 years of working life: 20 years in the Royal Australian Navy and a further 20 years in private enterprise, the public sector and the Not for Profit sector.

Over the years, I’ve built up a range of qualifications in business, project management and coaching. Those skills and qualifications are coupled with experience and give me a unique position as a coach and a mentor to help you moving forward to the next level in your potential. I do that by growing your. Your business growth follows very closely behind.

Here is a shock statement for you. “There is no potential in your business.” Your business sells products or services. The potential in your business lies within you. Once you grasp that as a business owner, you’re freed up to grow yourself and your business will follow.

WHAT SETS YOU APART?

What sets me apart is my experience. Not just the amount of experience, it’s the range of experience. During 20 years in the Navy, I managed upward of 250 staff at a time, I carried that experience into the private sector managing a geographically dispersed team around Australia. So I have staff management experience. I’ve got operational management experience from the Navy and other organisations. I have coupled this experience with formal training and qualifications.

PERSONALITY PROFILING

I’ve come to understand that managing people is about serving them. I have utilised human behavioural understanding (DISC and LDP (Leading Dimension Profiling)) to manage and motivate teams. Understanding people gives you a greater ability to grow organisations because you can start to speak to people through their personality rather than through your or worse, just giving direction.

This also adds to the way a team perform and how they interact together. A team that understands each other from a personality, work point of view, becomes a more powerful unit. The difficulties come when there is a personality clash.

I’ve done a lot of work with managing Toxic teams. Teams that have lost their way. One of the first things I work with is helping everyone within the team to own their own contribution towards toxicity. Some people say, “Well, I didn’t do anything!” I respond, “That’s exactly right, you didn’t do anything and that’s part of this toxicity we’ve got inside the team.” If you fail to make a decision, you’ve actually made a decision!

This kind of understanding about toxicity in a team is not necessarily easy for the team members. The foundation is, getting to the point where everybody recognised their contribution to “where we’re at now” and then you can build what their contribution is going to be towards changing direction. It’s less about having an easy solution. For example, if someone had put on a lot of weight over 20 to 30 years, they’re not going lose it in five days. It’s the same concept with business, if you’ve allowed something to build up over an extended period, don’t expect it to change overnight. But If you’ve got a plan of action you can expect it to change.

LEADERSHIP

This is where my experience in the Navy coupled with the John Maxwell Coaching Team comes in. There is a very strong leadership culture in those organisations. John Maxwell focuses on leadership. I’ve got experience and connection with all that skill set, which allows me to go through the principles on how you lead successfully, how you take a team from being toxic and build momentum and use that momentum to lead the team in a new direction.

I treat my whole interaction with a team as a mentoring role. There is a difference between mentoring and coaching. Coaching is about asking the right questions and encouraging people to come up with the answers themselves. I always adopt a coaching methodology regardless of whether I’m mentoring or coaching because people who have come up with their own answers will naturally run with those answers rather than having someone telling them what they have to do. I use the coaching and mentoring interchangeably within my business engagement, while noting that there is a significant difference between the two.

In terms of mentoring, I like to keep going with the senior management team to ensure that the changes they’ve been putting in place will take effect and stay in effect for the longer period.

I don’t claim to have saved someone’s business through my input. I’d like to think they’ve saved the business themselves. However, I’ve had significant impact on businesses by stepping in and working with them. Not all of them are toxic workplaces. They may be just a little bit off-track. But if you left them for another twelve or eighteen months, they would probably become toxic.

PERFECT CLIENT

My perfect client is a business owner who’s grown their business to a point where they realise they need some injection from outside to grow the business further. They know where they want to go but they need to have someone they can talk to about it who’s a confidante. As a business owner, you can’t necessarily talk to your staff and you can’t really talk to your family about where you’re trying to go with the business. You have an entrepreneurial spirit and having someone with that same entrepreneurial spirit, whose got 40 years of experience, qualifications and skills, makes it easier.

CHALLENGES

There is a quote that “Your vision needs to be a Grand Adventure”, so people will follow and join in. Over my experience, I’ve had a few big challenges. There are two that particularly come to mind. One where I am particularly proud of, in terms of organisational growth is Charity Computers. The first thing we did was to change the culture of the organisation. Established a grand adventure. It wasn’t that the culture was wrong, but to grow, it’s culture needed to adjust. So, we went through a process of incremental change that slowly brought the organisation round to a slightly different focus. They were still doing the same work but with a different cultural focus to it. Over 18 months, it grew the organisation from around a $150,000-to-$200,000 turnover to $1.6million. That was a Not for Profit organisation.

There are other clients where I haven’t had a great experience, but it’s given me personal growth. I was asked at one stage to help lay off 17 staff and make them all redundant. That was hard work! I was coaching people, counselling people, helping people write resumés and just trying to be there for them. That was a significant and quite painful process for me, but I learned a lot about myself through that. I learned a lot about how to engage people, I learned about not expecting people to react the way you anticipated they would react and a whole range of things. I learned that being a business owner, or being a leader, can be a very lonely journey. It felt like I was standing in a crowd of people and I didn’t know anyone. When times get tough in business, you learn who your friends are.

However, through my understanding of people, using DISC and other tools, I was able to help the staff members move on towards satisfying careers. That event was around 15 years ago, and I am still close friends with four or five of the people. All of them have moved on into new or different roles but they take with them, the experience of walking through that journey.

EXAMPLES

I know that in Canberra, people always look at what qualifications you have whereas elsewhere in Australia, people tend to look at the experience you bring to your work. I have both and offer these to anyone seeking my assistance to help them grow their business.

There is a quote that “Your vision needs to be a Grand Adventure”, so people will follow and join in. Over my experience, I’ve had a few big challenges. There are two that particularly come to mind. One where I am particularly proud of, in terms of organisational growth is Charity Computers. The first thing we did was to change the culture of the organisation. Established a grand adventure. It wasn’t that the culture was wrong, but to grow, it’s culture needed to adjust. So, we went through a process of incremental change that slowly brought the organisation round to a slightly different focus. They were still doing the same work but with a different cultural focus to it. Over 18 months, it grew the organisation from around a $150,000-to-$200,000 turnover to $1.6million. That was a Not for Profit organisation.

There are other clients where I haven’t had a great experience, but it’s given me personal growth. I was asked at one stage to help lay off 17 staff and make them all redundant. That was hard work! I was coaching people, counselling people, helping people write resumés and just trying to be there for them. That was a significant and quite painful process for me, but I learned a lot about myself through that. I learned a lot about how to engage people, I learned about not expecting people to react the way you anticipated they would react and a whole range of things. I learned that being a business owner, or being a leader, can be a very lonely journey. It felt like I was standing in a crowd of people and I didn’t know anyone. When times get tough in business, you learn who your friends are.

However, through my understanding of people, using DISC and other tools, I was able to help the staff members move on towards satisfying careers. That event was around 15 years ago, and I am still close friends with four or five of the people. All of them have moved on into new or different roles but they take with them, the experience of walking through that journey.


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