Feedback - what it's like to work together

Carolyn Tate - Brave Women Write

Connecting the dots that I cannot see

I’m Carolyn Tate and I describe myself an ex-banker, who then became a small business owner 23 years ago. There’s been a continuing evolution in my business focus over the years and I am now an educator and a writer. My passion is writing books that make a positive impact on the world, and I support women to find their voice and write stories of purpose, justice and equality.

The challenge

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey I’ve regularly repositioned and recalibrated my business and brand in the marketplace. Then I’ve developed a fresh strategy and determined new services and how to successfully market them. The challenge has been managing the ups and downs of business as a solo operator. Even when I created and was running my business school about five years ago surrounded by people, I was still a solo Leader and the key decision maker and that’s hard.

How we work together

We all need thinking partners.

Each time I’ve shifted into a new business territory Angela helped me understand what it means. She’s critiqued, analysed and suggested, helping me find clarity when I needed to make good decisions.

Angela is not a theorist, she actually owns and operates businesses and so has empathy for the challenges we face because she’s experienced them herself.

Trust is important and I can tell her anything and everything about my business – the turnover, what’s working, what’s not, my frustration and fears. Angela considers issues not just from a business perspective, but from a personal perspective. And because she knows me as a human being as well as a businesswoman, she understands what I really want in terms of my values and therefore, what’s going to stick and what’s not. She makes sure I’m not setting false goals – goals based on what the market or some guru tells us we should want!

Angela helps me stay focused and keep my eyes on the prize, regardless of what’s happening around me.

The balance we strike

For me, there’s a constant tension between what’s profitable and marketable vs purposeful and sustainable. What’s often missing in the coaching world is a dose of reality. Angela is always honest, making sure my ideas are viable (commercially and professionally) as well as personally satisfying. Her insight comes from having been around the traps, having worked with so many businesswomen and from working for herself, and on herself, for so long.

That experience means she’s developed wisdom and I benefit from that.

The questions that lead to clarity.

That wisdom shows up in every session we have.

For example, I’ve raised the challenge of getting more people to my Writers Circles. Angela asks critical questions to help me identify the real problem that needs to be addressed. And then our discussion moves into creative and iterative thinking to solve the problem. She always has fresh ideas that move me forward on a clear and positive path.

She’s also able to integrate ideas into the bigger picture of my business and life because she understands my long-term vision. She’s connecting the dots that I don’t necessarily see. A great recent example was the idea she had about creating an anthology from my participant’s stories – it blended marketing, revenue and credibility and I’m excited about it! She helped me see how I could expand the reach of my Circles geographically to increase reach, impact and revenue.

What do you value the most?

It’s her business acumen, and her ability to get to the heart of things.

Angela sees what people’s problems are because of her experience and knowledge.  She’s quick, sharp, and incisive and able to quickly understand what’s blocking their growth and what needs to change.

After every session we have, I feel empowered and hopeful. Let’s be honest, we can sometimes find ourselves in a cloud of doubt as a business owner, wondering what we’re going to do next. One of my biggest challenges has been the tendency to jump from one thing to the next without thinking it all the way through.

Because Angela knows my purpose and my vision, she’s able to hold me true to them, and make sure my actions are aligned. She helps me stay the course and not succumb to bright shiny object disorder! That’s what builds traction and it’s one of the most valuable things about working with her.

There’s still a lot of work to be done in my business to evolve it, but that commitment and focus is far easier when I have Angela on my team.

Who do you recommend Angela to?

I’ve often referred women to Angela who are doing meaningful work in the world and are ready for the next step up or for recalibration.

They’re women wanting to streamline their business or take it up to another level. They’ve been working for themselves for a long time, are great at what they do and have good connections and loyal clients.

They’re at a point where they know that they can do better.

They’re frustrated they’re not making progress and are stuck in a loop. They want to do better and need to spark some fresh thinking. That’s where Angela adds immense value.

I know they’re in good hands with her. The feedback I get confirms this – so I’ll keep sending women her way.