Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in leadership development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ton de Graaf, Founder and Owner of Quest Coaching International, located in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I offer world-class Executive Coaching for the next generation of global corporate leaders. I help them from doing ok to doing exceptionally well. Pragmatic, results-oriented, and inspirational. I help them raise their game to become the best leader they can be. My focus is on vice presidents and the levels above up to and including C-level executives. I also publish e-courses, books, and magazines for coaching professionals.
Tell us about yourself
I started my career in the military, where I learned about leadership while serving with the Royal Dutch Military Police as a Platoon Leader and later as a Captain with the Royal Dutch Air Force. I continued my career in the corporate world as a change manager, interim manager, program manager, HRD manager, and general manager in various industries, such as banking, construction, consulting, and insurance. My effective leadership style got noticed by other senior leaders who asked me to coach them on their leadership style. For me, that was so rewarding and fun to do that I started my own executive coaching firm in 2004.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is to have a thriving coaching practice with clients all over the world. I studied organizational psychology and several professional development courses over time. I was awarded the Certified Master Business Coach and Chartered Business Coach certification by the Professional Development Foundation and Middlesex University in the UK. The International Coach Academy in Australia asked me to become an Executive, Business, and Life Coach trainer due to my highly successful results-oriented approach. I have authored 13 books on the coaching profession and was the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Worldwide Coaching Magazine.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Most business owners start their business out of a passion for a product or service they provide. But that is not enough; you have to be an entrepreneur as well, attracting clients, setting up your own brand, and finding a way to make it easy for your clients to reach you. It takes time to build a successful business; just never give up!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Automate your business as much as possible, and have processes in place to make your life easier.
- Focus on the value you add to your clients, and be a solution-finder to their problems. Don't sell your service or product, but focus on the needs of your clients.
- Try to make your business scalable.
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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