Updated: Feb 11, 2019
Welcome to our first blog post
- a personal introduction of THINK:BUILD - a coaching and consulting practice for architects and designers - its history, its services and myself, its founder.
Special thanks to the lovely Larissa Scotting and her intriguing questions that helped me tell THINK:BUILD's story. I hope you enjoy the insight into our work.
What inspired you to found THINK:BUILD, a consultancy that specialises in coaching architects and designers?
The idea is rooted in my 25 years’ experience as an architect. THINK:BUILD grew from this background combined with my work as an accredited professional coach specialising in career and business development.
Architecture is an unique profession that is close to my heart - where the various strands of creativity, science, problem solving, leadership and project delivery are brought together under one roof. The possibilities are vast.
However, often the reality for a lot of architects and designers is a feeling of unrealised potential. “Here I am, after 20 years of practice and it’s not really where I wanted to get to.” With senior and mid-career architects, there’s often a sense of “Where is my career going?” or “Where is the business going?” Coaching addresses these issues by helping practice owners with their strategic thinking and planning.
How do you define “Coaching”?
The earliest definition of coaching described the act of transporting someone from one place to another. This aligns with THINK:BUILD’s approach very well: we help people and businesses move forward and create change.
Coaching in itself is just a conversation, put simply. However, there’s a very defined process to that conversation: it is structured in a way that helps people dig deep, do their best thinking, and effectively unleash their capabilities in order to achieve their goals.
There’s a really excellent quote by Nancy Kline: “The quality of everything we do depends on the quality of the thinking we do first.” That’s what coaching does - it provides a dedicated thinking space for you to do your best thinking.
What defines your practice as a coach?
I get a lot of interesting reactions when I tell people I’m a coach. “Oh, you’re a personal trainer.” “So you’re the person cracking the whip!” “Like a life coach?”
To all these things, I’d say yes and no. The reason you take on a personal trainer is because although you could train by yourself, you know that with a personal trainer you’ll get there faster and more effectively. Although I can’t help clients train for the London Marathon, I will help them reach their business and career goals faster and more effectively!
While it’s not my style to crack the whip, people who work with me find that getting things done is an automatic byproduct of our regular coaching sessions because there’s a sense of accountability.
Finally, I’m not a life coach, but my approach to coaching is always holistic. I look at the person behind the business because I recognise that they bring their own personal experiences and values to their work.
What unique experiences do you bring to the table that sets you apart from other business coaches?
Firstly, my architecture background is a big differentiator because I bring real understanding and empathy for my clients’ issues, while also sharing their love of creativity and design.
Secondly, I’ve worked in three different countries, in large international companies and very small firms, in practices and doing my own private work, and I’ve seen that the issues faced by architects and their businesses are universal. Every role and every setup had its challenges - from working in a small practice, to being a junior architect, to being an associate, to running my own coaching practice. I bring that knowledge and those experiences to my work.
Finally, my holistic approach to business coaching means I appreciate the heart and soul of a practice, beyond the figures, profit, and turnover. A business is successful if it’s clear about its purpose and values, which then informs how employees get engaged. Often architects set up their own practice because they’re tired of their jobs and want to do their own work, but they forget to think about the core purpose and direction behind their practice.
Do you have a personal motto that underpins your work ethic?
I am quite optimistic - glass half full. I see the opportunity in any challenge and that attitude informs my work with clients.
What is THINK:BUILD’s core purpose?
To help architects and designers realise their full potential - by facilitating a space where clients can take time to do their best strategic thinking and providing extra support and accountability to help them follow through with a sense of clarity and focus.
What that potential might look like comes in all different shapes and sizes - it could be growing their business with a purpose, or working with ideal clients, or reaching certain financial success, or doing projects that are in line with their talents. I want to help guide clients from the “If I only had…”, “If I only could…” thoughts to actually achieving those goals.
What sets THINK:BUILD apart from other consultancies?
It’s a combination of coaching and consulting. I offer four different strains and there’s a purpose and reason behind each of these strands.
CREATE helps clients take time out to work on their business and create and design the practice they want with a bigger picture in mind.
GROW is executive coaching designed for practice owners and senior partners, which recognises that it can be quite lonely at the top and you do benefit from a strategic thinking partner and sounding board with whom you can bounce off ideas.
DEVELOP is workplace coaching for teams, to support the employees - their technical skills might be great but they need support developing soft skills.
Finally, STRUCTURE helps practices structure themselves, looking at the various systems and processes that define their practice and thinking about how these can be refined to meet the needs of the business.
You can move from one strand to another. Start with looking at the bigger picture of your practice. Then, as a practice leader, you get additional support running your practice. Then you get additional support guiding your team. Finally, you bring those components together and look at how you structure your practice as a whole.
What can clients expect from working with THINK:BUILD?
Focus. Accountability. Inspiration. Lightness and Humour.
And it’s a partnership - everything I do with clients is attuned to what the client is looking for. The most important thing is that the client gets the most out of our work together.
Why would you encourage an architect or designer to reach out today?
Anyone who feels in one way or another that they are stuck and looking for direction, or someone who has an idea about what they want to change but not clear on how to get there or how to get there faster - working with THINK:BUILD can be the catalyst for guiding them in the right direction with tangible outcomes.
What is the purpose of your blog and what can we expect from it moving forward?
The purpose is to complement my work as a coach. It should be a pool of inspiration and resources for practice owners and their teams. I want to share in-depth articles about certain aspects of business, such as strategy, leadership, or employee engagement. I think it’s useful to share resources from other professions as well, which could inform architects and designers and their work. I also plan to interview other consultants, so they can share their expertise.
For more information about our coaching + consultation services for architects and designers, or to have an initial conversation about how we can work together, please get in touch here.
And if you need help with your digital marketing efforts - whether it's your website, social media, blog, newsletter - I highly recommend to get in touch with Larissa Scotting: www.larissascotting.com .