David Fleming is the subject of our latest coaching profile. Based in Christchurch, David has more than 30 years’ senior management experience, and has a proven 20-year track record of managing business improvement projects across every conceivable sector.
Clients seek out David to tap into his vast experience, maturity, and common-sense business advice, which has involved mentoring and advising sole traders to businesses with more than 100 employees. He has been a New Zealand director of a large multinational and he has owned his own occupational health training company.
David is a familiar face in the Canterbury business community and 2020 proved to be one of his busiest-ever coaching years, guiding approximately 40 businesses through substantial COVID-related disruption and interruption. He explains that over the COVID ‘noise’, many owners just needed some straightforward conversations – and plenty of reassurance.
‘I was discussing this with fellow Christchurch Icehouse coach Kevin Bailey recently. In times of turmoil, when you start throwing around theory and catch phrases at clients, it just goes over their heads. So what I tend to do is pull everything back to practical principles and ask; ‘What are your challenges?' and ‘Where do you want to be?’, then we’ll work on a plan to solve these challenges.’
Creating lasting value
2020 was also the year David got to know The Icehouse a little better. ‘I was referred as a potential business coach to Darilyn Kane (Coaching and Advisory Lead at The Icehouse) in the middle of last year by Bruce Gray at Asset Insurance. He felt that I would be a really good fit and I believe I am!’
One of David’s talents lies in finding greater and ‘better’ value in the areas in which businesses believe they are operating well, such as sales and marketing.
‘No matter the sector – be it manufacturing, professional services or the trades, there’s an urgent requirement to refocus back into marketing and sales because the strategies developed two years ago, if there was a strategy, had to be put on hold or now need reviewing, thanks to what happened in 2020.
‘So many businesses don't understand their target market, for example. They’re often not focusing on the right market at all, or are not putting resources into the right areas to target the particular part of that market which will generate the most profit.’
David also has a wealth of experience in people management and is skilled at re-motivating an entrepreneur’s focus back onto 'working on the business' which can be an illuminating journey for the entrepreneur so they start enjoying owning a business again. That can lead to some fascinating coaching opportunities.
‘There are the business owners who make decisions far too fast, while others will take months to address the identical issue. So a good coach will try to move an owner away from someone who is perhaps too reactive or procrastinates to someone who begins to think like a business person and makes intelligent and appropriate business decisions in a timely manner.
How to work on the fix
‘Some owners want to meet for two hours every week for the next three months, and want to ‘get there’ as quickly as possible. Often they will, as long as they have an open mind and don't rush key decisions while at the same time not procrastinating. Whereas others will want to meet for two hours every other week and it will take twice as long to achieve what they want to achieve or fix what they want to fix.’
It goes to show that there’s no blueprint when it comes to making intelligent business decisions and no timescale when it comes to seeking coaching help. The best coaching subjects are the ones who admit they need help and then go out to get it.
David gets the most satisfaction from working with those clients who say that he made a real difference to their business.
‘When you go into that meeting for the first time, you never quite know what you're going to get,' and David creates a safe environment for business owners to discuss their challenges in a non-judgemental environment. David has heard most stories and business owners learn quickly they are not alone and help is there.
For business coaching opportunities, and to find out how coaching brings real value to your business, head to our dedicated resource.
For more coaching profiles, business ownership and leadership advice, check out more of our blogs.
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