A Day on the Job: Business Coach (2007)

In mid-2007, Brisbane’s Courier-Mail newspaper interviewed me for their Career One section feature: A Day on the Job. At the time I was about a year into my business coaching career. Since the article is no longer online, I have chosen to publish my answers here with a short note at the end about what has changed in the seven years since that day.

A Day on the Job

Name: Jacob Aldridge
Position: Business Coach
Company: Shirlaws

Time of day:
8am-9am: Driving down the Coast for my first appointment. Calling one client to follow up some discussions from last week. Visualising how I want today’s coaching sessions to run.

9am-9.30am: Briefing the business owner on how to control the agenda in an impromptu meeting that has been arranged for him by a key distributor.

9.30am – 10.30am: Facilitating a ‘Functionality’ meeting with key support staff. This will give them space to identify current workflow issues and help them with developing practical solutions.

10.30 – 11.30: Sales Meeting. I’m helping these clients shift away from the limits of charging ‘per hour’ towards offering proactive support to their clients, and charging fair value. This meeting reaffirms the use of face-to-face Review Meetings with clients to help build referral business.

11.30 – 12.00pm: Summarising the morning with the business owner – his meeting went so well he may be able to increase profitability with that source next year. We agree on actions to undertake before we meet again in two weeks – it’s my responsibility to keep him accountable, not do the work myself.

12.00pm-1.00pm: Travelling back to Brisbane. Mentally reviewing this morning – what worked well, what could I improve? Nothing pressing in the office, so I’ll park by the river for…

1.00-2.00pm: …Lunch on the riverbank at West End, which is a great way to clear my head. I also spend some time reading the training notes for an internal seminar Shirlaws is holding for coaches this week.

2.00-4.00: Team meeting with a new client of ours in the construction industry. They’re flat-chat at present, so we’re helping them to plan strategic growth moving forward. My meeting presents to the team some of our key frameworks around growth and efficiencies that will be the focus of their business for the next six months.

4.00-4.30: Check emails; confirm the agenda for tomorrow’s full-day coaching session in the city; and return a phone call to one of our larger Accounting clients updating my feedback on a team session from yesterday with some suggestions about future group sessions.

4.30pm: The rest of the month is scheduled and my follow-up activities are done, so I’m going home.


And please answer the following questions:

When you got out of bed this morning, what were you looking forward to about today?
The chance to present to the whole team for a new client, and bring them together on the priorities for their business and how they each can help. When clients are all over the shop and not knowing how to move forward, I love focusing their energy and helping them find their direction.

What is the greatest thing that has happened so far today?
One client had an impromptu meeting with a key distributor, and was concerned it may be a negative meeting. I ran through how he delivers value to that distributor and how to introduce his own agenda into the meeting – not only is the distributor happy, my client is now looking at a price increase in the new financial year.

When do you plan to knock-off today?
Just before 5pm – my partner organised movies at Portside tonight, and I promised to take her out to dinner first.

2014 Review

Personally, the most obvious change from that day is that I no longer refer to “my partner”. I proposed six months later, and now refer exclusively to “my beautiful wife”.

Professionally, it’s amazing to me how similar that day is to some of my days seven years later. In fact, I am still working with the first client! They successfully moved away from the ‘per hour’ work, a it not only protected them during the GFC it meant that post-GFC the business has never been stronger.

The other noticeable change is that I focus less on Profit these days, and more on Multiple (as in, your business Valuation = Profit X Multiple). With both of these 2007 clients I was working towards an agenda of increased revenue and profitability – in the order of a few hundred thousand dollars per year. Today I had a meeting with one client about how we might add $29 million to her business valuation – same processes and business IP, just applied in the most valuable way.

Oh, and it’s been a long time since I had lunch at West End. Now I have two clients who meet me there for breakfast every month.


Want to become a business coach? Shirlaws is recruiting, and I would love the opportunity to share my experience with you and help create or advance your business coaching career. Drop me an email jaldridge@shirlawscoaching.com


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