Entrepreneur on the NEF programme (New Entrepreneurs Foundation), https://centreforentrepreneurs.org/
Clare was a fantastic mentor during our sessions as part of the NEF programme. She provided detailed advice and watch-outs for my food business which led to a better strategy and the ability to validate the idea properly before delving into mass manufacturing. Clare also has an extensive network and knowledge within the food industry which proved extremely useful during our sessions.
HSQE Manager – a waste management Company
I approached Clare after watching her speak at a CPD conference; she seemed to be the sort of person who could help make sense of the issues I faced.
I had become disillusioned and was losing my self-confidence, my dream job I had worked so hard for close to home, had turned into a nightmare. That said, I wasn’t in a strong enough place to even contemplate escape. Spending time with Clare and with her quiet consideration analysing the issues that I had, has made me face my fears, prioritise those concerns and redevelop the skills I thought I had lost. In a short time, this has made a difference to the emotional energy that my job had been taking up and has helped me return to a position of control and confidence. The job hasn’t changed, my approach to the job has.
I have realised you cannot change everything around you and neither should you need to try but you can alter the effect that these external influences have on you. If you are in any doubt that simple and small changes can give significant differences, give this a try. THANK YOU.
Fund manager, London
Prior to meeting Clare, I had no idea what working with a coach meant or would entail. All I knew was that I was feeling quite overwhelmed trying to balance work and family, and needed some help with getting things straight in my head and prioritising. However, in the 6 months that we worked together, life has taken me in a totally different direction, and Clare adapted our sessions beautifully, all the time applying her same calm, confident approach. She really helped me find clarity in my own thinking, identify my core values and come up with ways to incorporate those into my life, both from a big picture perspective and with day-to-day tools. I have thoroughly enjoyed our sessions and would recommend her services to anyone thinking about engaging with an expert coach.
Zoe Ibrahim, Category Director, DCM Media
I have seen various coaches in my career however I have never connected so well with one as I did with Clare. She puts you at ease as soon as you enter the room and has a wonderful way of truly working with you to find solutions to problems. She is completely natural with her approach and offered me guidance and ideas that I hadn’t considered before which meant between sessions I was able to reflect and really see the difference our sessions were making. I couldn’t recommend her enough for anyone looking for a coach who is dedicated, kind and patient.
DCM Media – (monthly Coach Pop-up days, up to six one hour sessions per day)
Coaching Pop-Up Days have given all levels of the business access to the advice and support of a professional executive coach (something that in most organisations is the preserve of the very senior people). We are seeing tangible upsides as a result of these days and the feedback from the team has been excellent!
Key positive results include:
Ed Haddon Chairman Adventure Experience Ltd (delivering a marketing strategy planning day with the Board)
Clare did a fantastic job of understanding what we needed from the day. She created the perfect agenda, provided excellent materials and insights, and helped us reach some important conclusions and decisions. Her experience and process helped us understand some important aspects of our brand and marketing, and led to much increased clarity on the right direction. Most importantly she made sure we left with clear action steps and a great feeling of optimism and positive thinking.
Lynn Ladbrook, Breast Cancer UK (delivered a team development day focused on MBTI, vision, values and behaviours)
Group MBTI with Clare was a real insight – doing MBTI as a group has some advantages. As a team we went on a journey of mutual discovery. There were light bulb moments throughout the session that made it not only a great learning opportunity, but also great fun to do as a team. Doing the session together opened up opportunities to discuss issues, projects and problems from quite a different perspective. I can honestly say the whole team found the session useful as we learnt things about each other and ourselves – that have helped us to understand, engage and interact with each other more effectively as a team.
Kate Horlock, previously a barrister now identifying her next steps both in career and broader life (following experiencing an intensive one-to-one Finding Focus day)
The Finding Focus day was transformational for me! Clare expertly guided me through a series of intensive, and often challenging, exercises – to enable me to identify my goals and understand the obstacles that held
me back. I came away with a renewed self-awareness and a real sense of purpose. For Clare to have found this in me, is a testament to her skill as a coach. Clare has great listening skills; she is empathetic and challenging when needed. Clare grasped a good understanding of me in a short space of time.
The day worked well for me in terms of structure and delivery. I found it to be transformational in terms of my thinking around further focus and goals. I thought that Clare struck a perfect balance of positive
feedback, encouragement, listening, interpreting and directing me through all of the tasks. When needed, Clare was sensitive and supportive, but also able to move things along when necessary.
Leadership team, The Conduit (members club in Mayfair, London – opened August 2018)
We had an amazing leadership team experience over two days, during which Clare facilitated some really useful exercises and discussions. Clare’s approach and guidance helped us to explore important business decisions that we would develop further on our return to the office. Every one of us came back with a greater sense of collaboration, a clearer vision, and more energy to hit our overall goal. A truly fantastic experience that has become the foundation for a strong and inspiring team.
Karen, Owner of Educational Training Business for Teachers (following MBTI feedback)
The MBTI assessment of preferences gave me a great deal of ‘food for thought’ and I’ve been able to use what I learned to reflect in a far more structured and constructive way than previously.
I feel I’m at the beginning of being able to evaluate what my strengths are and areas I’d like to focus upon and improve. Seeing my profile helped me understand myself better and why I both enjoy and battle with elements of running a business alone.
I am making a conscious effort to focus upon the benefits of my preferences rather than just the limitations of those I’ve yet to develop more fully. I wish everyone had a coach. I think our mental health, well-being and productivity would be greatly heightened if this were the norm in every workplace.
Sarah, Owner of Children’s Nursery (following MBTI feedback)
It enabled me to self-reflect on my style and how this may come across to others. It helped me to understand the internal feelings that we have when others have different styles of expressing information or dealing with information received that is not in line with our own. It has enabled me to reflect on why I think the way I do, why I feel the way I do when others don’t react in the same way and how I can be more self-aware in my management style. I have made changes at work that will allow me time away to consider how I want my business to move forwards into the future without being swamped by the day to day mundane.
Clare is a skilled listener and ensures that you feel relaxed and open during the feedback session. Clare questioned without making you feel that she was making judgments and allowed me the time to self-reflect and come to conclusions with her guidance. She approaches the task in a professional manner without making you feel it is stuffy and clinical. She is an open person that is a skilled listener, she can apply theory to situations and allows you to open-up whilst not feeling judged.
Alex, Financial Director
Clare is a reliable, approachable and skilled coach. She is also flexible in her approach to the sessions, which permits complete freedom of discussion on any given subject. This allowed us not only to cover the fundamental area of guiding me towards starting my own business, but also to touch on related subjects across other areas of my professional and personal lives. This helped to unravel the blockages that were preventing me from being decisive and making progress. I would highly recommend Clare as a professional coach.
David F, Commercial Director
Clare has enjoyed a career working within the food and drink industry and building her own successful business. By using this experience, coupled with great listening skills, further enhanced by her executive coaching qualifications; Clare is uniquely placed to offer support and guidance to people like myself who have reached a mid-career crossroads.
Through one-to-one sessions, she has helped me through the ‘remain in employment v. go my own way’ debate. I am now 100% confident in my decision – with much greater clarity on the direction of how I want to take my business forward. It is also reassuring to know that I will still have access to Clare for coaching/ mentoring throughout the journey – I expect her reality checks to help enormously!
I strongly recommend Clare Downes to anybody at a similar career crossroads.
Charlotte, Founder of food and drink events business
My sessions with Clare proved to be valuable and helped me to really focus. Clare created the space for me to consider the direction that I wanted to take for my business. Her prompting questions challenged my thought pattern and enabled me to visualise where I saw myself and my business. My sessions with Clare have shown me the importance of time planning; creating monthly schedules to calmly execute ideas and make sure that I progress; making the ideas become reality and achieving the goals which had been circling in my mind! She was always at the end of the phone or email when I had questions; her logical advice was gold dust. I’d recommend Clare to anyone looking for a clear thinking, straight talking coach mentor.
Tara Mei, Kitchen Table Projects, Bread & Butter/ Bread and Jam – advice, support, workshops and conference for food and drink start-ups
Clare supported me and the growth of my business when I was just starting out. Without her, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today and I owe much of my progress to her hard work and dedication.
Lisa Morgan, Lisa’s Larder – lamb producer and farm shop
From the moment I spoke to Clare I felt I had found a person who would understand me and my business, she patiently listened and then helped me to break down the areas I needed to think about in to manageable amounts. I have made more decisions in six weeks than in the previous two years. I have been able to make a plan and communicate this to others with renewed confidence. Clare’s wealth of experience and contacts have been more than I could of hoped for when I first picked up the phone. I am looking forward to continue to work with Clare and for her to keep me on track!
I approached Clare and a series of coaching sessions with quite a challenge! I had an idea for a new enterprise but little notion as to how to put it into action. It was a fortuitous moment when Clare got in touch in August 2016 to let me know that she was setting up a coaching arm of her business. Six sessions and six months later I have a clear vision for what I want to achieve, a developing network of support, and a business plan for a new charity! Clare’s expert coaching has taken me on a journey which began with refining all my big ideas about leading something new and adventurous into a project plan that has a strategy, clear purpose and achievable steps. Clare is astute, always quickly ascertaining what will enable progression towards the end goal. Each coaching session has moved me on in my thinking with the result of being able to clearly articulate the means to get to the next stage.
The sessions are always challenging (in a good way!), pacey and developmental. Without Clare, my big ideas would have just continued to be an intangible dream! Thank you Clare.
Ed Moelwyn-Jones, Claremont Accounting
I have worked with Clare on both a personal and a group basis. Clare has great listening skills and quickly identifies the themes and issues to further explore within the development programme. She facilitated our group meetings very effectively ensuring that we got maximum benefit from each session. Clare uses some very innovative and inclusive techniques to ensure all members of the team can make a contribution. We have already implemented many of the suggestions that came out of our group discussions, and we are already seeing the benefits from these within our business. I would recommend Clare to anyone who needs some coaching or development within their business.
Davina Barker, DCM
I think that Clare has a great coaching style and I really value the time that we spend together, it gives me time to think and assess my priorities. I really like the fact that Clare really tailors her coaching specifically to my requirements. I feel that Clare considers her approach and adapts to my needs. After five sessions, we took some time out to review and realise how much we had worked on – and the progress that we had made in lots of areas. I don’t think that I would have done a lot of these things, had I not worked with Clare. I now have another five to look forward to…
Suzannah Goodale, Pillar Property
Thank you so very much for giving us your precious time and wise words. We both hugely appreciated the opportunity to talk with an open ear about all of our ‘pillars’, plans and concerns. Sometimes it can be hard to see clearly, with so many balls in the air. Being able to talk openly and honestly about it, with the addition of clear and considered input from you – has really helped to direct a clear pathway forward.
Caroline De La Lane and Louise Cummins, Garden Makers
We have a thriving garden design partnership, and after 13 years, it is easy to continue with the constant day to day flow of work without pausing to review the business overall. Meeting Clare through personal recommendation was very timely. Her expertise, energy and enthusiasm have helped us with a 360 examination of our working practices and lifestyle balance.
Clare readily shares practical ideas and suggestions for ongoing business development and marketing. We have been inspired to turn our discussions with Clare into actions. We are looking forward to collaborating more with her in the next exciting phase of our business.
Harriet Critchley, FBC Manby Bowdler
Clare has really helped me to take a more proactive approach to my own career progression. She has encouraged me to think positively about developing my career in new and exciting areas. I have found her assistance in increasing my confidence particularly valuable.
Sarah Legge – Law
I have been working with Clare for about nine months. She has been coaching me on a change of career. Clare has helped me identify the various options for my future and to realise a clear way forward.
She has enabled me decide what I want from an alternative career and how to achieve my goals, with clear direction as to the steps I needed to take. Without her help my ideas would have remained simply ideas! Clare’s approach has struck the right balance of enabling me to feel enthusiastic about my new business whilst making me realistic about what is required to achieve my goals. It has been a partnership that has been both empowering and instructive. I am excited about working with her in the future.
Liz, Design Director – Annoushka Jewellery (worked to develop skills as a director to enable fill board contribution and team management)
I met Clare when embarking on the search for the right business coach. Clare’s gentle authority, intelligence and empathy gave me the confidence that she was the right person to coach me. Clare has guided me to clearer understanding of myself and my aspirations, empowering me to go on a journey of self-awareness and achievement. She is mindful to guide without direct instruction, ensuring that I was well prepared, enlightened and able to take ownership of my actions and decisions. Throughout the coaching, Clare was readily available, ensuring that I was supported as needed. Clare has never rushed me, yet I feel I have moved at a surprising pace on this journey. Thanks to Clare’s guidance and careful insight. I feel well-equipped and enabled with a greater sense of clarity and purpose.
Trish Thurley, Owner – Sims 4 Training – VR, AI and classroom training for business (crisis management, project management, managing stakeholders)
It’s been a great pleasure to work with Clare, on my Sales and Marketing Strategy. She’s extremely insightful and asks great questions, to help you think deeper and with more structure. She also has a great network of professionals to help you with specific marketing projects. Clare came highly recommended from one of my network. It’s really helpful to be able to work with a skilled and trustworthy person who provides such great support. When we met, my business was at a delicate fledgling stage, where my confidence was not high and my direction was a little unclear. Clare has helped me to clarify the direction and forge ahead with practical steps. As a result, I feel we’ve turned an important corner and have a clear road ahead. I look forward to further help from Clare, to help me grow from strength to strength – thanks Clare!
Thea Roberts – VP Sales & Marketing in FMCG
Clare has been a pivotal support in my decision-making journey, as I have explored a career change from the Corporate FMCG World. Clare is incredibly approachable and exudes energy / positivity in all her interactions. She is astute, experienced in business and a world-class networker. She supported me with appropriate challenges/excellent questioning skills, connecting me to a variety of inspirational members of her vast network and insights, on areas of employment that I was considering. Through her support, I have become clearer on my career direction and it has lead to a confident decision to start up my own business in 2019.
Anastasia Brand – Head of Events & Activations
Being someone who is lucky enough to have as wide range of strong influencers and sounding boards in my life, I hadn’t ever considered coaching as something I required. However, after a long stint at my current company, the desire to grow internally increasing, and an opportunity on the cards which could see quite a significant promotion and move of department, it was suggested that a coach could help me to grow personally and professionally, and contribute towards driving myself and my future on to exciting new projects. And so I met Clare, and instantly bonded. I knew that her calm, honest and direct approach was what I required in a coach, and we began our sessions. The sessions we spend together are invaluable to me. They have helped to grow me as a person and as a manager, and give me confidence in myself, my work, and with next steps in my career. I don’t think you are ever ‘finished’ with a coach, or with wanting to better yourself, and I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity by my company to have someone who is on hand and dedicated (because Clare really is there whenever I need help and advice) to supporting me.