Many have asked how I came into leaving my General Counsel career behind and became a Business Coach. I have been a bit amazed about it myself as well. I lived so long in that role and it played a major part of my life.
I have been in a General Counsel position (Head of Legal) in several companies and industries since year 2000 and a legal counsel for six years prior to that. Aside of heading the Group legal services and the international legal teams, I have been a member of the Group executive teams and the secretary of the board. I have been heading also compliance, risk management and insider information management. The work has been exciting, independent, with lots of challenges and therefore satisfying. I have had the power and freedom to act in my responsibility areas, I have been respected for my work and I have been well compensated. I grew with all the experiences with different work cultures and growing responsibilities. From the start, it has been important for me to work for companies whose operations I found ethical and meaningful such as clean energy manufacturing and supply and IT security. With the 24/7 work role that I had, I’ve always valued time over money.
The last two-three years as the General Counsel were exceptionally hectic with a large IPO and a big court case on top launching a global compliance program and all the other projects and daily work. At the same time I was also a Chairman and board member of a listed company. Last year I looked at the picture from outside, not just me in it but the bigger picture: my reasons and motivators for doing what I do and what I wanted from my life going forward and most importantly, what is happening around me. I had 25 years behind in my career and many more years to come. I decided that it was the time for change. At first, it was surprisingly difficult to define myself outside of the work role, I had been living and breathing it for so long. I left my position promising to myself not to make any hasty decisions about the next steps but instead let the time tell. Very soon I realized that I cannot just be without doing something meaningful. I knew I was not motivated about office work and endless meetings. I love outdoors and it gives me the best ideas and balance.
I started thinking about what I’ve experienced. The ups and downs of companies, the good and not so good leadership styles, strategies and business cultures and what effect it had on managers and the business. I was looking deeper into the business trends and leadership styles and profiles, I listened to the experiences and interests of others in business. And then I came across business coaching, of which I did not really know much about. It sounded like something that could improve my role as a board member and mentor but also in finding my next goal. So I decided to give it a chance. I trained to be a certified business coach. Quite soon during my studies I noticed that it was the perfect addition and continuation to my board and mentor roles and the executive and manager roles that I have had. It became the exciting next phase for me, a way of supporting companies that are motivated in improving the work of their leaders and managers and thereby improving their business. My dream during the studies was to be able to give coaching to teams also in great outdoor settings.
Coming from such a different role, I was nervous to start the coaching but I felt strongly that it was what I should do. I was so happy to get all the positive feedback from the customers. My ex-team member from 2005 commented my first coaching blog that she realized from it that I was practising coaching leadership style already then. I knew I had found what I was looking for. I set up my company. Phase 3 of my life had started. And today my coaching retreat in 2018 in a beautiful landscape in Southern France was published.