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Jacky Sherman

The Consultant's Consultant

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Case Study: Coaching For A Quick Fix That Lasts

How Mark Coster came back again ...


Posted by Jacky Sherman on 14/12/2022 @ 8:00AM

Not everyone needs or wants a full programme of coaching across their entire business. Some just need an external voice and a bit of a push in the direction that helps them look at the issue differently ...

In my case study blog post this week, I'd like to introduce you to Mark Coster of Pixooma!

In my case study blog post this week, I'd like to introduce you to Mark Coster of Pixooma!

copyright: mark coster / pixooma

I offer them short focused sessions that I call 'Coaching for a Quick Fix that Lasts'. For this, I use a wide range of coaching techniques and exercises that use established personal development models. However, more importantly, I like to leave it to my coaching clients to gain the insights that lead to them devising their own solutions. Here's a lovely example

"In my case study blog post this week, I'd like to introduce
you to Mark Coster of Pixooma!"

In case you don't know him already, Mark runs a highly successful branding and graphic design business called Pixooma. I met him when he started networking whilst still employed as he carefully planned every move to starting his own business. In those early days, he was trying to identify his place in the noisy world of small marketing agencies.

He came to one of my half-day workshops to work out who his target market was. What type of clients did he wish to work with and would choose him above others? He chose a tough one, motor racing which was surprising as he had no background in the sport. He was not a wannabe racing driver nor was he an engineer and most definitely had his feet firmly on the ground rather than in the glamour and hype of Formula One.

Seven years ago Mark wrote a guest blog for me about his experience in tackling this market. Rather than paraphrase what he said I'll leave him to explain it in his own words.

"The greatest testimonial you can get is when the client comes back for more. And so it was with Mark!"

We continued to build a good business relationship in the same networking and support groups. A short while ago he asked me to help him with his business development and in particular to understand his own motivation to do the work he does.

This is what Simon Sinek calls your "Why" and Asentiv calls your "Emotionally Changed Connection". The underlying reason and sense of purpose that made you choose your particular way of earning a living. Engaging and sharing this deeper emotional link to your business is what makes you stand out from the rest.

Mark was not sure he could find that. As he put it, "I've got no memories of my childhood." Well, if nothing else, we discovered that Mark does have childhood memories and we were able to access one in particular which adds this missing piece from his business. Once again I'll leave it to Mark to take us through that in his own words.

"I 've been working with Jacky on her two-part coaching sessions for 'Finding your Why'. This has been a really interesting process and helps delve into my history and see what it is that truly motivates me, and what is subconsciously behind my decisions. This in turn is extremely valuable in being able to communicate that message in my marketing and refining my target market.

What I found most interesting about the process, was the way Jacky joined together the various stories I told in a way that I probably wouldn't have seen myself, creating an overall picture that was much clearer."

"Here's Mark's Story!"

"From a young age, I've always tried to find ways to do anything - especially mundane tasks - more efficiently. Some would call this 'working smarter not harder', but I like to think of it as practical laziness - why expend more energy than is needed to get the best result?

My earliest memory of this is when I was very young, perhaps about seven or eight years old. My dad and I were at his aunt's house where the patio had flooded. In the middle of trying to bail it out with buckets and bowls, I remember my dad turning to me and saying "you're good at this sort of thing, can you come up with a better way to do it?". It was one of those defining moments as I remember feeling proud that my dad was looking to me for help. He'd recognised something in me that I hadn't noticed before: I was a creative problem-solver.

I love solving all sorts of challenges for myself, but solving problems for others is even better. Because that's a win-win situation. They get a solution they love and I get all those feel-good chemicals for being able to help.

And it just so happens that problem-solving is a great skill to have in design. My degree was in Industrial Design - a discipline that mixes the creative with the technical - a perfect proving ground for Graphic design, because as I always say, it's not about making it look pretty, it's about making it work.

I spent many years honing my creative skills and of course, I could have continued to help solve graphic design problems as an employee. But ultimately I wanted more control, and I wanted to build a business based on my philosophy of being: transparent, balanced and fair. So, I started Pixooma.

I once met a print broker who proudly told me despite knowing nothing about websites he'd 'created' one for one of his clients, by buying a cheap WordPress theme without them knowing and then charging them 10x what it cost. I was appalled by this as it is the absolute opposite of how Pixooma operates: Every decision I make is based on trying to put myself in my client's shoes - would I be happy if the roles were reversed?

For example, during the first lockdown, one of my clients said she needed to pause her retainer. Which of course I did. However, when I reviewed her usage I found that most of my upfront costs had been covered and the projects were easier than I had expected.

So, when we started the Direct Debit again, I gave her a month completely free, and reduced her fee by 50%. Being able to make decisions like this is another win-win and endorphin boost for me, that I wouldn't get if I was working for someone else: I believe in establishing long-term relationships and you can't do that if you are looking at ripping people off for your short-term gain.

I still look at everyday situations and look for shortcuts, improvements and systems for everything I see. Because it still gives me that great feeling I had when stood in that flooded patio all those years ago, especially if I'm helping someone else whilst doing so."

Does that make you want to meet Mark's Dad? Perhaps more importantly Does that make you feel more confident in handing over your brand, your representation of your business into his capable hands.

Until next time ...



Would you like to know more?

If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like an external voice and a bit of a push in the direction that helps you, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 07970 638857. Let's have an initial chat over a coffee and see how I can help you.

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