It’s Monday and we could all do with some motivation so allow me to introduce you to Entrepreneur, Creative, Photographer, Speaker, Coach, Mentor, Amber Leach. Amber’s ambition and disposition are bound to leave you inspired.
How long have you been a mentor? What does mentoring mean to you and what motivates you to mentor someone?
I began mentoring and coaching other photographers and creatives two years ago – and it is by far one of the best things I did. I love seeing people reach their true potential and achieve their dreams. I also enjoy helping fellow business owners especially women. It is such a shame when people feel like they’re stuck or can’t make things work – if I can see a solution to their problem I just want to help them. I find it incredibly fulfilling being able to pass on my knowledge and experience to help provide them with the motivation and confidence they need for success.
More recently, I have taken on the role of mentoring for a local charity, to help younger disadvantaged women achieve their dreams and take control of their lives. I wish there had been someone available to me when I first started out as a business owner and entrepreneur – I know I would have found it invaluable and think I would have achieved my goals even faster.
How do you manage this alongside your other roles?
I am lucky to have a great team who support me and keep me on track with my schedule. I have a 14-strong team including admin support in my office, a Virtual Assistant, a Social Media Manager, a PR Strategist, a team of Copy Writers, a Designer, and a team of five Photographers and Video Editors.
Having enough hours in the day is always challenging, but I find that effective time blocking is the best way for me to manage my schedule. I also ensure that when I’m in the office I work alone, so there are no other distractions. I stay late on Mondays and Thursdays and arrange all of my client meetings for then, usually on Skype or over the telephone. I launched my business to be able to spend more time with my daughter, and so I make a point of working shorter hours during the week so that I’m there for school drop offs and pick-ups. I also make a point of not working on Sundays, and it is having this balance and being strict with myself that I’m able to have the best of both worlds; being a successful business owner and still having quality time with my family.
How does coaching differ from mentoring and when would you recommend a person try them?
Coaching is more of a short term arrangement and can help you to focus on solutions to any issues that you’re facing. Mentoring is a longer term relationship, which is built wholly on trust and works really well if you can see that you can benefit from someone’s expertise and background. Usual mentoring timescales are anything from nine months to a year.
Coaching is also task orientated such as helping someone to think more strategically or speak more articulately. Mentoring helps you to look at the bigger picture such as how to create that work/life balance, improving self-confidence and self-perception.
When looking at what you achieve with both – coaching is definitely performance driven, so looking at how to improve someone’s skillset or performance. Mentoring is about future-proofing your business or an area you choose to focus on.
And then there is the immediacy that you get from coaching on any given topic. This is versus a longer term approach for mentoring, where you will want to determine the strategic purpose and the focus areas that you will want to concentrate on.
What’s the most common reason for individuals looking to be coached or mentored?
I get approached all the time by business owners who are struggling for one reason or another to progress or grow their businesses as they would like to. It’s so important to reach out to someone who has been in exactly the same position but has managed to achieve a great deal. It enables you to benefit from their experience and learnings and also helps you avoid any costly mistakes. I also get approached because my clients like to have accountability; someone who can call them out if they don’t meet a deadline or finish a project they started. Other reasons include needing a confidence booster, developing an amazing mindset or earning a consistent income.
What can a person expect from a session?
During a one-to-one mentoring or coaching session all of my clients get my full attention for the time that I’m with them, focusing on their individual needs. There’s also on-going support and guidance through a specific issue of their choice.
My longer term coaching clients get one-to-one time with me to help with direct accountability, support and hands on help in their business where they need it. I also provide training videos, which include practical step by step information to help build on their success, as well as worksheets and templates for all of the modules that I take them through. My background is in Marketing, so I have extensive experience in knowing what works and what doesn’t in terms of you getting out there and reaching your ideal clients. I also like to provide a personal touch for any of my clients including private email support during the entire time that we work together. It’s like having a motivating accountability coach on speed dial to help you get things done.
What would you advise if someone was looking to develop a growth mindset?
Having a positive mindset plays a vital role in being successful and feeling fulfilled in any area of your life. When you change your perception of events or even how you see yourself, a real shift takes place in terms of what you’re able to achieve. If you’re looking to develop a growth mindset, the first thing to do is to look at how you see yourself. Do you use positive words and affirmations or do you view things in more of a fixed way, saying to yourself ‘I can’t do this; I’m no good at it’? By looking at yourself in a different, more positive light and thinking of your ideas as something that can be developed, you’re on the way to set yourself up for success. Go for it, you can achieve your dreams. Be bold. Be daring. Take risks.
Have you ever learnt something from someone who you mentored or coached? A case of the mentee teaching the mentor?
I have learnt so much from all the people I have mentored and coached. A common thread seems to be that those who approach me to work with them, are incredibly talented and already have all the right ingredients for a successful business. But they just don’t see it that way or don’t have confidence or know how to put their knowledge and talent into practice.
I have also learnt that sometimes too much information without actionable steps can be very overwhelming. That’s why having someone who can guide you and who you’re accountable to, can be really helpful when it comes to having a strategy in place.
As well as business issues, I also work with clients who want to focus on their family and home life. This is why I’ve introduced a health and work life balance module into my coaching courses.
At the heart of everything, it’s important for those being mentored to know their why. This reason will be the thing that they will come back to time and again when things get tough. Their why will be their anchor to help keep them going.
Everyone also works differently and what suits one person, doesn’t suit another. This is why having someone by your side who can give you individual attention, and who will be looking out for you, is really important.
I have also learnt that marketing changes so quickly. One of my younger mentees taught me some top tips for Facebook advertising, which have been a real eye opener for me! It just shows how things develop so quickly.
Are there any resources you can recommend?
There’s nothing I love more than to listen to Ted Talks on Youtube, one of my favourites have is Simon Sinek – How great leaders inspire action.
I listen to numerous podcasts around various subjects including photography, business, faith, leadership, family and marriage. In my experience most entrepreneurs chose this career path due to the flexibility of life style and freedom, so being inspired by just business podcasts isn’t enough. I want to have the best business I can possibly have but also the family life, marriage, faith, creativity as a photographer so I am continually investing in each of these areas of my life.
Podcasts I listen to:
Family: Care For The Family
Marriage: The Marriage Challenge
Health: Laura Rimmer
I also make the time to read lots of blogs and books. Some of my favourite go to books include The Magic of Thinking Big by David J Scgwartz and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey. I find them both really inspiring.
And then of course there’s the internet, where you can learn so much within such a short amount of time. I’m forever Googling something, especially when I need a more immediate solution to something.
For more on Amber’s new signature coaching course Be Audacious, visit www.audaciousl.com
Photography by Anneli Marinovich