Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in leadership development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Carolyn Coughlin, Co-Founder of Cultivating Leadership, located in Hightstown, NJ, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

At Cultivating Leadership, we help individuals and organizations intentionally evolve themselves, using what we know about leaders as whole humans with minds and hearts and bodies, humans that fall into Mindtraps and need new Simple Habits to support them to grow.

We help organizations create new structures and practices that support the continual development of their people so that these organizations are thoughtfully developing the workforce they need for the future. We serve very large, global, for-profit companies all the way to small businesses, non-profits, and government agencies in countries in North America and, the Caribbean, Europe. Asia, New Zealand, Australia, and the Middle East.

Tell us about yourself

I started my career in management consulting back in the 80s and spent time in that industry as well as in corporate environments. And what I noticed was that the quality of leadership was crucial to whether or not individuals had a good experience and could really bring their whole selves to work.

So after about ten years and a graduate degree in business, I decided I wanted to focus on the people side of the business to see if I could be part of creating the conditions for making work a better experience for individuals and, in the process, make workplaces more productive and happy. And I had some really great mentors early on —Joan Wofford and Barry Jentz—who inspired and supported me to make the transition to coaching and leadership development. What motivates me? Seeing people thrive.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Cultivating Leadership was born out of a friendship between four people—two Americans and two Kiwis—living in New Zealand, who believed that workplaces could be places where humanity thrives, and leadership didn't have to be so hard. That was in 2012. Ten years later, we are a global firm of about 85 people living and working in dozens of countries around the world, really making a difference in the lives of people and organizations. And we've done it through a very unusual business structure in which we are experimenting and modeling the sorts of values and ways of working that we believe support human and organizational thriving. We truly live our values.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Honestly, nothing. I have great partners and a really supportive network. I love being a business owner.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Do what you love.
  2. Do it in good company. (i.e., choose your partners well)
  3. Keep growing yourself so you can grow with your business and your clients.

Where can people find you and your business?



If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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