Daniel Isaac shares his views on entrepreneurship and coaching with Grey4Gold
A few years ago, a colleague of mine represented an employee claiming constructive dismissal because her employer had assigned her an executive coach. Today, the situation is reversed and people (including me a couple of weeks ago) scream if they think their executive coach is going to be taken away. I have spent the last three days chatting to various people in the business of helping entrepreneurs in different ways.
Today I visited Publicis Drugstore at The Trampery Old Street with Dylan Williams, the chief strategy and innovation officer at Publicis. It is (or soon will be) a base for startups with access to events, workshops and, perhaps most importantly, outside guidance and collaboration possibilities. It also looks like it will be a very cool place to work. Of course, hubs such as this work well for ideas-based such as tech start-ups and product developers but there is less logic to a retail business taking such space.
That’s where mentors come in. Yesterday, I met Rowland Gee of Grey4Gold, a service matching grey-haired mentors with young businesses, especially in retail. He talked through some of his own projects and I could immediately see how useful it would be to have someone like Rowland on board.
And the day before that, I spoke to a headhunter who commented that lots of start-ups suffer from hiring from a shallow pool of family and friends because they don’t know how to choose and use a professional search firm.
Sometimes I worry that we have become a nation of coaches coaching mentors who are, in turn, mentoring coaches. The start-up they are all looking for turns out to be a guy working on his laptop in a coffee shop because he can’t get a job and thinks he will use his redundancy money to pay for some guidance to help him turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. Obviously there is an element of self-employment hiding unemployment but there are also a huge amount of exciting start-ups out there. Generally, I think the new focus on coaching is a good thing because we should not claim to be expert in everything and we can all learn from others.
One of the most interesting things Rowland said to me was that he advised his mentees to instruct City firms such as Withers because ‘it is inexpensive to use the most expensive’. It’s my job to prove him right (once I have finished my coaching session!)
About Daniel Isaac
I am a partner specialising in partnership and employment law. I also work with many entrepreneurs assisting them with their business launch and growth. I tweet as @tribunalmonkey and walk long distances for good coffee.