Scottish Chambers of Commerce Case study

Cariss Moir & Bob McGowan

Interviews with successful entrepreneurs inform us that at some stage of their development, most have sought out a mentor. Mentoring is the process by which one person assists another to grow and learn in a safe and sympathetic relationship. When Cariss Moir contacted us she recognised that her business had huge potential but was not growing as fast as she would like. Moirs Cleaning had been in operation since 2005 and had built up a reputation for high quality and standards in both domestic and commercial cleaning. With 22 employees and a hectic workload, Cariss never seemed to have time to look at her business’ strategy. When she was introduced to her mentor Bob McGowan the first thing they did was sit down and establish expectations. Bob is owner of Fresh Enterprise Coaching and specialises in improving clients’ performance through providing innovative solutions. As an ex teacher, Bob is particularly passionate about developing the abilities of young people. Through establishing their expectations, the scene for their on-going relationship was set, and Cariss is delighted with what Bob has helped her achieve:

(Dorothy Henke, Business Development Executive, Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce.)

Why did you join mentoring?

“My business partner was moving on and I felt I needed someone to reflect with and to bounce ideas off. The business had been stable for four years and I felt it needed to expand, but moving to a sole owner position made me anxious making decisions on my own. The recession had dented confidence to expand but I was also aware that expansion would provide financial security in the long term. I felt that a business mentor may assist me in taking positive steps forward.”

How did the mentoring relationship work?

“Bob and I met on a monthly basis with meetings lasting 1 to 1.5 hours. The format operated as a framework to ensure coverage of key areas and began with re-engaging from the previous meeting, updating on current issues and then reflecting on previously assigned actions. We then moved on to agreement on actions to take over the forthcoming period and this covered issues of priority to the business and personal development.”

Was this framework effective?

“Yes – this has been most evident in planning. Writing things down has made it real and the external accountability has ensured commitment. This has given me self-belief and a positive mind-set in developing trust in others, improved communication and in delegation and empowering others in my business.”

What business and personal development issues did you work on?

“Bob and I worked on how I could show belief and confidence in employees and develop a positive risk-taking mind set. We also analysed profitable income streams and profiled the company needs including succession planning, employee retention and recruitment. Other areas discussed were long term business development, how to maximise employee performance and preparation for key developments of the business. Even after three or four weeks of having met with Bob there was a very positive impact.”

Did mentoring affect your business’ finances?

“Yes, we have increased our turnover over the last quarter, our client base has increased and we have increased our employee numbers. The process has definitely had an impact and more of what I do is now less trial and error and more application of knowing what works. The learning has been at the right time and the context and timing has added value to the business.”

“Engagement in the process has paralleled business expansion, we have had a 12% increase in clients, turnover increased by 16%, we’ve added 1 new vehicle and had a 13% increase in staff!”

Why did you think mentoring worked so well for you?

“I have delegated control and power to employees but with responsibility and accountability. This has freed me up to be more proactive in business development and less reactive in managing day to day issues. I also now have better awareness as a business leader and how my input can influence the team.”

Would you recommend Business Mentoring Scotland to other businesses?

“I would definitely recommend mentoring. Bob has helped increase my confidence in my decision-making and the plans I put in place as part of the mentoring process have been achieved. It has been a very positive experience.”


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Rewarding Improvement

Just attended a fascinating and inspirational lecture by Lord David Puttnam CBE, as part of The Edinburgh Lecture series, on Eric Liddell (Chariots of Fire) – All of Life is a Race.
Great insight on how the film was put together and on how some key cinematic moments were serendipitous!
The run along the beach opening sequence was a second take after a technical problem with the film the day before where the weather had been calm and sunny – we may have lost those highly atmospheric wind,cloud and overcast images if things had gone to plan!
Vangelis’ score, another highlight, was added after the film was complete and when he had contacted Puttnam with a revised version! Another key aspect almost lost!
Somethings are meant to happen!!
One part of the talk that is worth reflection – the idea that in addition to the three medal – gold, silver, bronze awards there should be a fourth for the athlete who has most improved their personal best!
in addition instead of medal tables – provide table of countries whose athletes have improved their personal bests the most. An interesting idea and one that reflects research in positive psychology and motivation (particularly for young people) of rewarding and recognising effort, commitment and improvement and not just winning.
Are there possibilities of applying this concept to other walks of life?
Worth consideration and reflection.

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Work and play?

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labour and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing.To himself, he alwys appears to be doing both.”.

– Francois Auguste Rene Chateaubriand.

Something to aspire to?



See this link.

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