Coaching people gives me a huge buzz and I feel privileged to be part of an individual’s journey of transformation. Witnessing change is an amazing life experience. Over the past 13 years I have been a performance coach, it is my personal reward to watch people realise their uniqueness or ‘remarkability’ and become who they were born to be. This is why I absolutely love what I do.– Gail Gibson, Gaisha Consultancy Ltd
Gail Gibson, Founder/CEO of Gaisha Consultancy Ltd, launched her company in 2014, delivering award-winning executive performance coaching programs and inspirational presentations worldwide. She was born and raised on the sunny shores of Perth, Western Australia. In 1994 Gail moved to the UK, where she lived and worked for 24 years, establishing and growing two successful businesses. In 2018, she relocated to Johor Bahru, Malaysia, with her husband of 26 years. Gail’s simple, yet incredibly effective coaching techniques, have led to life-changing transformations in mindset, performance, and wellbeing for her numerous clients. Her mantra in life is Think BOLD. Act BRAVE. BELIEVE in You.
SMEQuest had an opportunity to interview her to know more about her journey into entrepreneurship and how other women can find their path into leadership.
SMEQuest: Gail, when did you realize that you wanted to become an entrepreneur? And what has been the journey like, since then?
Gail Gibson: In 2005, I felt at crossroads in my corporate career, so I decided to take a leap of faith from my ‘unhealthy’ management role. It was my time to build a working lifestyle driven by my own goals and dreams, not someone else’s. From the beginning up until today, it has been an exciting yet challenging journey of self-discovery. I have met many inspiring and supportive people throughout my journey, and I have built an extensive toolkit of personal and professional skills. I am grateful for the experiences which have shaped who I have become and how I continue to thrive and deliver my business.
SMEQuest: How would you say, other women should prepare themselves before starting their company?
Gail Gibson: Know your purpose! Knowing really “WHY” you want to do your business is very vital because its helps us stand out from others and stay focused, be at our productive best to achieve what we want to achieve. Another thing is to be prepared to step out of your comfort zone, a bit like the leap of faith like I took, it helps to challenge yourself, and build confidence and resilience. It’s also important for women to have a financial cushion to cover the first 6 to 12 months of business because there is a lot of unforeseen costs that come along. And you will find yourself invest in programs and people who will take you to next stage. But I think one of the most important aspect is Networking, getting out there and meeting people. Networking plays an important role in marketing strategy, opening new opportunities, growing your confidence and business. But the thing to remember is to prioritize wellbeing, take care of yourself, and deliver your personal best.
SMEQuest: Talking about Networking, you have even published a book on – How to Network Effectively to Build Better Business Relationships. Can you tell us more about it, and what are some ways to build our network?
Gail Gibson: Thank you! The most important thing about networking is to not to be afraid of it. Networking is an everyday interaction. It’s when we have conversations with people, we talk and interact with family, friends, colleagues, and clients daily; it’s about learning how to ask questions, listening and how to help others achieve success. When you network, you connect with other individuals, build your group of trusted advisors, associate with like-minded people, extend your thought processes, and develop and build relationships with people who will celebrate your success and support you when you are facing challenges.
One of the tips I can share is to find a place where you are comfortable where you can be your best. Look around and try out some different networking events, women only, mixed ones or even online. Just go and test the waters. Personally, Networking built my confidence. It provided challenges, support, encouragement, and friendship. It was through Networking that I was introduced to a unique group of independent, self-leading, innovative individuals, people who continue to inspire and motivate my work. Another thing is. in today’s world particularly with the crisis we are going through, develop an online presence. LinkedIn is a fantastic tool. Connect with people you know already, colleagues, clients, and people who inspire you. Brainstorm and build your ideal networking circle – your current role/boss, previous roles/bosses, personal pursuits (gym, coffee shop, running or cycling group, book club, etc.). Be consistent with your conversations – connect, nurture, and grow.
Also Read: https://smequest.com/become-a-champion-networker/
SMEQuest: You also mentioned wellbeing. So, how can women maintain their mental wellbeing on a daily basis?
Gail Gibson:First and foremost thing is to block time in your diary and protect it from stepping away from the noise and stepping into silence. As women, we often overthink and feel like we can multi-task. We clutter our minds, which frequently leads to a lack of focus and clarity, low productivity, and emotional burnout. The act of stepping away gifts us quiet time to reflect on our thoughts, go inwards and calm our minds. When you come out of that time for yourself, you will emerge feeling recharged and ready for whatever comes your way.
SMEQuest: Were there any noteworthy changes you had to make during your journey?
Gail Gibson: The most important change I made was to adopt a healthy mindset. Prior to switching corporate life for entrepreneurship, I had an unhealthy lifestyle and I was an overweight smoker. But when I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey, I decided it wasn’t only my life dreams and goals to work towards but also I had to put myself as a priority. I gave up smoking, changed my eating habits, and started running. Fifteen years later, with wellbeing as my priority, I continue to run and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and I am a proud and happy non-smoker.
SMEQuest: That’s amazing! You are an inspiration for people. Now, Gail, you are known as the Can Do coach. What exactly is this technique? Are there any examples you can share of women leaders, who had a breakthrough after this coaching?
Gail Gibson: The development of a Can Do, or growth mindset is at the heart of my performance coaching. The term growth mindset was penned by an American psychologist Carol Dweck. The Can Do approach or Growth mindset to life, business and career is about facing challenges, what is the opportunity, what can I learn and building resilience. It is vital for leaders to develop this type of mindset to enable change, improve the way they learn, master behaviors and skills, and achieve peak personal performance.
One example that I want to share is of Sammy Ryan, CEO of Strictly Organised Ltd, a professional organizing consultancy in the UK. The Can-Do approach enabled her to recognize and accept that to succeed in business, she must take inventory of herself, what are her values and if they aligned with the person she was and wanted to become. She needed to have the courage to face weaknesses, enjoy the process of making improvements and prioritize self-care. It provided different techniques and tools to help her perform at her best by taking responsibility, stepping beyond her comfort zone, and being accountable for her own actions. Coaching was Sammy’s source of stability during bad times, and it provided her with numerous opportunities to stretch her wings and soar. Sammy has successfully built an extensive team, diversified her business into various sectors, and continues to prioritise and focus on self-development.
SMEQuest: So you were to Sammy what Wendy Rhoades was to Bobby Axelrod!
Gail Gibson: (Laughs) Not quite, but she certainly made a personal commitment to focus on a strong Can Do or growth mindset, to win through her challenges, be accountable, be more productive and ultimately achieve great results….the right way (laughs)!
SMEQuest: There is a lot of discussion on women’s struggle to reach the C-Suite. Be it the glass ceiling phenomenon or issues with gender stereotypes. What, according to you, should women do to find their path?
Gail Gibson: The key area I like to focus on for the C-suite leaders, is to know their strengths and upskill their level to mastery. They must continue to develop and refine soft leadership skills such as empathy, assertiveness, confidence, and communication. Particularly for women, I always emphasize the importance of seeking and investing in a mentor or coach to help you master those leadership skills and share your personal journey of discovery. And finally building a supportive and collaborative network of peers and helping each other succeed.
SMEQuest: But do you think women leaders especially those who are assertive, confident and have a strong communication style, come across as less likable compared to men?
Gail Gibson: Historically women who have these tendencies may have been viewed as being bossy and overbearing. But I think with the work we do today with leadership, we are trying to remove that gender bias. So it is possible to be confident and liable and have their own voice. When I look back at my experience, I am grateful to have been led by strong, empathetic, confident, and competent women leaders. But I believe there is a lot of room for learning and coaching that needs to be developed to win that situation moving forward.
SMEQuest: Achieving anything in life is never easy. Often we fail. And while some of us are able to recover from it, many completely give up. Has failure ever stopped you from trying again?
Gail Gibson: Failure has never stopped me. In fact it gave me a chance to reflect and inspire me to give it another go, using a different approach. As a strong advocate of the growth mindset, I view failure or setbacks as learning opportunities. On one occasion I had a very serious financial set back caused by another person. But I did not allow it to cloud me. I knew it was tough to come back but I got back up on the horse and decided to ride into my future. I just don’t let failure stop me from achieving what I want. We all make mistakes; however, your choice of perspective will determine what you do next. So as a Can Do coach, I enable leaders to Step Up, Shake It Off and Shine.