Women, saying yes to your mission will help to change the world
The Czech and Slovak Leaders were privileged to get the exclusive interview with Angelique Rewers, one of the leading female US coaches, on the occasion of the International Coach Federation Converge 2019 Congress that was held in Prague. Angelique left the corporate world to start her own company The Corporate Agent. She started as a consultant, however the demands from her customers quickly helped her company to focus on coaching, training and mentoring as well . For more than a decade, Angelique and her team have provided business training and advice to thousands of small businesses across 72 countries worldwide on how to secure 5, 6 and 7-figure corporate contracts.
When she started her consultancy business in 2007, she witnessed another colleague who had to explain what the profession of a coach meant in a business environment at a big conference. Who would guess that only a few years later, coaching would turn into a 12.7 bn USD industry, increasing steadily in all parts of the globe?
Angelique served as Uber’s first-ever official Uber mentor, and has worked with USAID, National Geographic and The Smithsonian to speak to technology innovators and start-ups from across Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Her passion is to support particularly women business owners, as she sees how tough it can be for women to shake off the gender bias after effect when starting a business. That’s why shifting this mindset became an important part of the work Angelique does to help women business owners reach their greatest potential.
We met in the lobby of Prague Corinthia Hotel. Despite the fact that Angelique claimed being jetlagged, I could see her radiating with energy, focus on the here and now, prior to delivering her presentation speech to a large audience. I admired her inner calm and total presence, and again, I believed that it was no coincidence, but synchronicity that I could meet yet another powerful woman supporting other women. Hope you will enjoy the interview as much as we enjoyed our encounter. 84
Angelique, I know that this is your first time in Prague, in the Czech Republic. How do you like it?
I love Prague, I love Europe in general and I come to Europe often. I tend to think that everything is better, the coffee tastes better, the wine, the food. Except the service (laughing, as we were trying to catch the attention of any waiter for a rather long time). Although, the first morning, when I woke up and I was looking forward to a great downtown view from my room on the 22nd floor, all I could see were clouds. For someone like me, coming from sunny Florida, used to the sun, blue skies and palm trees all year round, this came as a big surprise and definitely a step out of my comfort zone. As a coach, I often encourage my clients to get out of their comfort zone, as this is when the learning happens.
Besides the morning milky fog, I appreciate that the weather is warm and so I get to truly feel the spirit of the city. I like to walk outside, to be able to feel the atmosphere in the streets, I like to sit in cafés and watch people, just by being present. I much prefer this to running from one monument to another or from a painting to a painting inside the museums.
Being present brings us to another great skill that coaching helps to develop. In the age of constant connection to social media, not many people do know how to be fully present.
I agree. People ask me all the time how I manage. I am known as a superfast person. What they do not see is that I pause very often. I came to the lobby and while waiting for the interview, I just sat, observed, drank and savored my cup of coffee. I had my journal with me, so I could do some journaling. I love to be present and this skill allows me to be crazy busy in between.
What do you think of the ICF conference? Having close to 1000 participants from 70 countries, it makes this event the premier coaching event of 2019 in the Czech Republic.
About 35% of my clients are coaches themselves. I have spoken for ICF in the US before and this is the first time I got to speak at one of ICF’s international events. They received over 500 applications for about 25 speaking slots. I applied to speak for the ICF conference three times, twice I got rejected. I often say to my clients:“Do not give up.”Everything does not happen according to plan. Carrie Fisher known for her Princess Leia character, said: “Instant gratification takes too long”. Third time’s the charm, as speaking in Prague is actually much more exciting to me than speaking at the conference in the US, where the event was held previously.
You spoke about communication, focused on marketing and sales conversations.
When I reapplied, I also changed my topic. I got more specific which made the trick. You have to try different messages when reaching out to companies, media, industries or associations. Not only make it personal, but make sure the message resonates. People nowadays are overwhelmed and they do not want to be bored. As to the presentation itself, as I am a fast talker, I need to slow down. I am used to having clients from many countries. I learned to listen and to ask questions. Last night, thanks to my conversations, I learned about coaching and its rapid growth, particularly in the Middle East.
You started in the corporate environment but left due to a burnout and frustration not getting enough career opportunities as a young woman. You established a consultancy company, however eventually you ended up as a coach, and about 70 percent of your clients are women .
Instead of listening to my messages on marketing and PR, I was constantly asked questions how I was getting the corporate clients. My clients literally chased me. It took me a year to figure it out and then to transform my business from corporate consultancy to training, mentoring and coaching small business owners. We have celebrated a decade in January 2019. I love working with women – although some of that has been by default. Because I’ve been invited to speak at many women’s conferences, our clients have tended to be more women. When they find their zone, they do sales in a very natural way and they simply take off. Women entrepreneurs tend to play by rules that do not serve them. I challenge them. Is there a rule why you cannot charge more? Is there a rule why you cannot contact a big company? From a young age, we are taught to be people-pleasers. This does not serve us. Even nowadays, in some corporations during leadership skills trainings, women are taught some ridiculous rules that do not serve us, like “wait your turn to speak” or “ don’t be too bold or too direct ”. It’s a big reason as to why women leave corporations to start their own business. However, they often tend to take the invisible baggage of stereotypes with them. Women need to learn to trust themselves as business owners and act accordingly. Therefore, I want women to have their own clear view in a particular industry. Not the one of an association, or competitors. Simply their own view. Once we have it, we go out and passionately share it. It is a muscle that all women need to develop.
Let us discuss the failures that come with learning and being out of the comfort zone. Can you share your biggest one?
Like most successful entrepreneurs, it is absolutely true that I had more failures than successes. For example, in 2013, I decided to organize a big conference in Washington D.C. in a luxury hotel. I signed a huge contract. I bit off way more than I could chew. I was in big trouble. 60 days from conference, I had about 11% tickets sold. The expenses and the debts emerging were just horrendous. At that time, I sent a message to my mentor at 3 am in the morning. On top of that, my husband had no idea. The next morning my mentor started shouting at me: What the hell are you doing? For the next 45 days, I did only sales calls for 16 hours a day. There were days when I stayed in my pajamas, I was eating delivery food all the time. I ended up with 435 people, maximum room size but I felt I was very close to falling from the cliff. It was a painful and stressful lesson. I got so distracted that I did not concentrate on the one thing that mattered. And for too long, I did not ask for help. It was a stressful time but also turning point. It made melearnandgrow.
What is the professional aspiration of The Corporate Agent founder? What are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to the next stage of developing my business which will take me from having to manage the day-to-day operations so I can focus almost entirely on strategy and sharing my message. I am fond of Richard Branson and his entire model of putting the right team in, in order to be able to concentrate on the strategic development.
Imagination is another important part of coaching. Let us play a “what if” exercise. If you had a magic wand, what would you do?
For me, I would like to have my own jet, in order not to spend so much time at the airport. Of course, it would be a solar powered, environmentally friendly jet.
For women business owners, I would use the magic wand to stop their fears of consequences, failure and most importantly judgment from others. I wish I could wave the wand and create 30 days when women owners would say yes to big challenges, get out from behind their computers and out to the wider world. If women did it for a month, they would see that there is no monster and they would believe that all they want is out there. Just start saying yes to your mission, yes to your purpose and yes to your visibility. If women just dare to share the message they have, the world would be a much better place.
If you would like to know more about Angelique and her activities, you can find information on her website https://thecorporateagent.com.
By Linda Štucbartová