Construction’s Competitive Edge
ActionCOACH of Madison helps businesses grow
ActionCOACH of Madison proudly shows business owners time-tested strategies and introduces them to practical systems to take their businesses from good to great. Though the coaching firm’s collective expertise serves owners in any industry, the Wisconsin-based franchise has a dedicated team member for construction, as nearly a third of clients are in the building industry or associated trades.
“We are big enough to have someone focused 100% on the construction market,” explains Mike McKay, who owns ActionCOACH of Madison along with Susan Thomson. “Business Development Coordinator Emily Bissen spends all of her time learning that market, so we are sure that the things we target are their biggest challenges.”
What sets the company apart from other business-coaching firms is that it builds community among like-minded members of professional industries. Those in construction are assembled regularly to celebrate each other’s successes and learn from one another, widening ActionCOACH of Madison’s sphere of impact.
“It’s a community of people who think big and do bigger through business,” Thomson says, “so we can all lead great lives. It’s a community of people to associate yourself with, be pushed by, do business with and connect with…a community which gets that and wants to really make a difference in the world.”
In this way, says McKay, ActionCOACH of Madison leverages its efforts to ensure that clients begin growing their sales almost immediately.
“Other types of business coaches are individuals with limited capacity and who work with a fewer number of clients,” McKay says. “Here, it’s an abundance mindset for customers. We have clients who can do business together.”
The results are in the numbers.
Since 2016, licensed coaches McKay and Thomson have helped clients in construction, architecture, engineering and other fields achieve $10.5 million in total revenue growth and $4.1 million in additional profit.
Witnessing such outcomes sparks a contagious enthusiasm. The strong team of ActionCOACH of Madison is infused with its mission: growing a community of entrepreneurial leaders who think big and do big.
“People on this team believe so passionately in what we’re doing. They will tell you that they never thought they could impact people’s lives this way,” Thomson says. “They’re in, we’re in.”
Making Their Mark
Founded in Brisbane, Australia, by Brad Sugars in 1993, ActionCOACH possesses offices and business coaches in over 70 different countries.
The company has earned much recognition, including 2019 Stevie Awards from The American Business Awards for Company of the Year and Most Innovative Company of the Year.
In Wisconsin, Thomson and McKay are sharing ActionCOACH’s systematic method of success for companies looking to grow and thrive. Both were ActionCOACH franchise owners when they joined forces in 2014 to create their company together.
They have attracted recognition for excellence as well.
McKay was the ActionCOACH Global Executive Coach of the Year in both 2016 and 2017. Thomson and McKay have each won the company’s Regional Firm Owner of the Year award, and together they’ve earned the In Business Executive Choice Award in Greater Madison for four years straight.
Their reputation for excellence and effective practices is backed by a proven, multilayered system of interconnectivity. ActionCOACH of Madison is part of a network that goes beyond even its own expertise and that of its clients. It serves as a valuable connection between business owners and resources due to strong relationships with experts outside of its purview.
“We connect clients with access to people who can help with financing, financial planning and wealth resources, even if they’re not a member,” Thomson says.
“We know partners skilled at working with tradespeople and those in the building industry,” McKay adds, “such as a bank that speaks the same language. The same with accounting and legal.”
How It Works
The team at ActionCOACH of Madison begins new relationships by getting to know clients and understand their goals, helping them break down those goals into actionable tasks.
For example, a construction-related business might want to improve its hiring practices. Sometimes a business owner’s actions could be more effective to achieve a goal, says McKay, and redirection is needed.
Once goals are clarified, a client’s multiyear plan is broken down into weekly, quarterly and yearly tasks, McKay and Thomson explain. But ActionCOACH of Madison doesn’t take the dominant lead. Rather, it puts the client in the driver’s seat on the road to the company’s destiny. The system works because clients own their goals and commit to doing what it will take to accomplish them.
“I tell clients that they are going to be assigning themselves tasks,” McKay says. If those tasks fall by the wayside and business owners get distracted from completing tasks, he asks why they are avoiding improving their businesses.
“That distraction mentality is a big part of why they are in the situation they are in,” Thomson says. “There is a temptation when they get busy to say, ‘I need to go make hay while the sun shines,’ and fall short in working toward bigger milestones.”
A goal of coaching, then, says Thomson, is getting business owners accustomed to continuing to market, sell and work on operations—week by week—in a consistent manner. “It’s awesome when it happens,” she says, “when business owners can eliminate distractions and complete these tasks. After a while, the tasks take less time.”
ActionCOACH of Madison also creates custom coaching solutions. Many companies combine their ActionCLUB offering—learning best business practices in a group setting—with other services, such as ActionCOACH’s one-on-one business coaching solution. Additionally, ActionCOACH of Madison offers business valuations so companies can estimate not only how much they are worth, but also how much the coaching service is worth. Trainings in things like customer service and conflict management round out the firm’s offerings.
McKay and Thomson are keenly aware of the issues affecting today’s building and construction markets.
“For example, hiring can take a bit of effort as trades have a 10-year gap from the last recession,” Thomson says. “During that gap, younger people weren’t entering the trades; older, more experienced workers have likely progressed to a place in their careers where they are not doing as much of the hands-on labor.”
McKay says that ActionCOACH of Madison also helps many business owners who are looking to sell their companies.
“Baby boomers are retiring,” he says. “Trades are getting ready to get their next generation of owners in place. There’s a lot of neglect in training of up-and-coming leaders; we’re seeing some companies go under. He adds that some owners “who have sunk a lifetime of work into a business” aren’t prepared for transition. “They see the company as an asset more than a business,” he continues. “It can take three to five years to do a good transition. They can be in a bind if they wait too long.”
Hiring employees and transitioning leadership are two of the many areas where ActionCOACH of Madison guides construction and building clients.
ActionCOACH of Madison creates a bridge whereby its client businesses automatically give back to important causes via their coaching relationship with the company. The company contributes to the Buy1Give1 (B1G1) initiative, which supports over 50 high-impact projects around the globe. The program provides regular updates on specific units of progress, assuring accountability.
ActionCOACH of Madison’s involvement with Buy1Give1 is very worthwhile, says Thomson, who along with McKay finds this philanthropic opportunity to be “rewarding in a different way.” In the highly impactful construction industry, their goal is to help construction professionals learn, execute and succeed in their daily tasks. The Buy1Give1 platform is another unique way for the ActionCOACH of Madison team to be of service to their clientele.
“We have a goal of working with 9,000 to 10,000 companies in our 10-year business plan,” she says. “Each of us comes at that with a little bit of a different perspective.” But for McKay and Thomson, impacting thousands of employees also means influencing thousands of families. Thomson concludes, “That’s super exciting to me.”