The Drivers for My Work with Clients

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Topics: About Caroline Nicholl

My friend and expert storyteller, Michael Margolis claims everyone has a story to tell. Entrepreneurs like myself are, in particular, driven by our personal stories: otherwise, how could we assume the risks and perservere with all that a business entails? There has to be a powerful force which brings passion, a knowing (often from past adversity or experience) and tenaciousness. My drive comes from never settling for the status quo or complacency: if we are alive we have constant feedback. If we listen to feedback, we have the option to grow. Get an installment loan on the

When I am busy coaching and facilitating for existing clients and generating business with future clients, I am mindful to tuning into their needs and wants yet I am aware of my needs and wants too. The relevant narrative begins when I helped my mother sell Tupperware in North London in the 1960’s when I was 13 years old. My mother was a teacher but my parents’ divorce prompted her to take on a second job. I loved helping Mom with the ordering, accounting, packaging and delivery of all those funny colored containers. While the money (for my mom) was important, the work itself was curiously intoxicating for a goal-oriented teenager eager to learn the ins and outs of a business.

Tupperware-selling was not exactly complicated but it taught me the importance of listening to what people wanted, being honest and accurate with ordering and invoicing, and receiving feedback in good spirit: one lady who ordered a a storage box complained she did not like the green. Instead of telling her (truthfully) Tupperware only made it in that color, I offered her her money back and showed her some alternatives. She doubled her order in a jiffy! Wow!

Fast forward a few years when I joined London’s police at a time when the cop culture was going through some challenges. Among the worst accusations were the cops were racist, sexist, incompetent at protecting crime scenes and brutal to crime victims. Instinctively I knew I needed to be a different kind of cop. Feedback is feedback. You can’t ignore it. I must have been a bit of a pain constantly challenging assumptions deeply embedded in the “canteen talk” during which colleagues and my supervisors exchanged stories and moaned about the leadership! I took it all in. I also asked a lot of questions. My favorite questions were, ‘Why?’, as in ‘Why do we do this…’? and ‘Why don’t we…’? Sometimes I got good reasons but many times I got a lot of gibberish. I learned an entire system – or organization – can have its blind spots. Another wow!

Later, as the chief of police in a large city in England (Milton Keynes), I was in a position to test a lot more assumptions, paving the way for new thinking about our priorities, our value proposition and how our service delivery would come across to the young, the old, the people in power, the vulnerable, to minorities, even to cop haters etc. Another ‘Wow’ as small shifts in our practices led to new revelations and the exploration of much larger change that ultimately led to national legislation.

Why do I do the work I do? Because I never forget that eager teenager. Nor London’s Police Force in the 1970’s and 1980’s when grappling to become more service-oriented and inspiring of public confidence. Nor what was accomplished by asking questions and getting to the heart of what matters most. I do what I do because in all of us is that capacity for learning, for challenging long-held beliefs and assumptions, and developing new awakenings and possibilities to make ourselves, our organizations, and the world at large be and do better.

If I ever have the sense I am not helping my clients get in touch with this core capacity, I get anxious. Hence my needs and wants with respect to my clients includes their willingness to engage in a different conversation, ponder on a different set of questions, and anticipate a different future – for themselves and those around them.

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