Denise Chilton is an Executive Business and Life coach, accomplished author, speaker and entrepreneur. She worked in corporate banking for more than 15 years before launching her own coaching business in 2010. She has built a business working with women who want to make a change in their lives, empowering them to experience life to the fullest. In 2017, Chilton published her first book Suddenly Single: How to overcome heartbreak and find your way to a new Happy Ever After. Suddenly Single is a guide written partially from personal experience to help women heal healthily after a significant relationship comes to an unexpected end.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I had a successful 15 year management career in financial services with some pretty large corporate organizations including Royal Sun Alliance and Bank of America. Lots of experience within HR, Call Centre, Procurement and Facilities. I loved it! I specialized in turning around underperforming teams and was crowned ‘Manager of the Year’. Whilst sitting as a participant on a leadership program, I had a eureka moment and realized I was on the wrong path and something had to change. I decided to do something more about my passion for helping people unlock their potential and get the life they want for themselves. So, I qualified as an executive, business and life coach.
Tell us about your business.
I am an executive, business and life coach. My purpose is to help other women find their purpose. My coaching creates a safe space for women to explore who they are, identify what holds them back and then support them into the action that is right for them – a space to express emotions and vulnerabilities without judgement. I get to hold the safety net when they step outside their comfort zone to try something new or scary, safe in the knowledge that someone has their back. Whether that be leaving a secure job to start their own business or having a tricky conversation with someone they love. Coaching is my calling and is core to who I am. Sometimes it means choosing courage over what is comfortable or easy. It can be lonely and challenging, but it is always real. I live my purpose so other women can live theirs.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Not currently, however I have recently published a book called Suddenly Single: Your guide to overcoming heartbreak and finding your way to a new Happy Ever After. I have written it for all the women who have been left, at some point, by their husband or partner and left to figure out how to live in this new single world, where all the rules have changed.
It is a straightforward guide which helps women understand what is happening to them and their broken heart. It is not a book for women who want to be a victim of their circumstances – it is for women who want to take back control and feel empowered. In Suddenly Single, I share my own experience of heartbreak, as well as real stories from other women. Each chapter is in three parts.
- The first part is ‘Relationship Reflection’ where a courageous woman shares her suddenly single story.
- The second part is ‘Behind the Scenes’ which helps women make sense of their situation.
- Lastly, in ‘The Rehearsal Space’ I invite women to practice some techniques, intended to help them heal.
My book is available on Amazon and Kindle.
- Mentor of the Year – Northern Power Women
- Professional Certified Coach, ICF
- ILM 5 Coaching in Clean Language
- Organizational and Relationship Coaching Fundamentals
- Certified Professional Co-Active Coach
- Accredited Coach, ICF
- CTI Core Curriculum Coaching Program
- ITOL Accredited Accelerated Learning Trainer
- Mental Health First Aider
- Corporate and Professional Stress Management Diploma
Where is your business based?
I live in a beautiful Cheshire Village (England), however I coach all over the world. The wonders of technology mean I can engage women in business who live as far away as America or Africa. In the last seven years, my clients have left jobs, found new ones, started a business, expanded their business, ended relationships that weren’t working, found new relationships that do work, felt happier in the relationship they are in, got promoted, survived after redundancy, improved their relationship with their manager and those they manage, become more skilled at working strategically than operationally, improved their profile within the organization they work, reduced their stress levels and have a better work-life balance, set goals and achieved them and generally felt more confident, content and happy with themselves and the life that they have.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Fourteen years ago, I resigned from the “proper job” and set up my first business. I bought a coffee cart franchise and did shows and events at shopping centers for two years. In 2003, I won a Cheshire Small Business Award and then sold the business and returned to procurement consultancy for a few years.
Ten years ago, I started my second business. I founded Barceidillo Ltd., where I designed and delivered health and well-being programs focused on managing stress and helping leaders build their resilience in the workplace. I worked with some lovely clients, including the international shopping channel QVC! It was a great achievement when the Health and Safety Executive used my work with QVC as a case study.
Seven years ago, I decided to do something more about my passion for helping people unlock their potential and get the life they wanted for themselves. I trained with The Coaches Training Institute and qualified as a Certified Professional Co-active Coach (CPCC) with the International Coach Federation.
I set up a coaching arm to Barceidillo Ltd. and was able to offer individuals career, business and life coaching. It was during this time that I really developed a niche for those I love to work with: women in business, emerging leaders in the workplace, start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, young people and coaches.
There were times that I almost gave up. My ex-partner left me for another woman and money was tight. However, a wise woman once said, “So many people give up when they are on the edge of success”. It inspired me to continue.
Today, I have over 1000 hours of coaching and accredited as a PCC (Professional Certified Coach) with the ICF (International Coaches Federation) in February 2014. I am also a published author.
Early in 2017, I was awarded ‘Mentor of the Year’ by the Northern Power Women, I know what is important to me, why I am here and live my life on purpose. I can help other women do the same.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Word of mouth is key. Many women who have had coaching with me refer their loved ones. Nevertheless, in the past nine months I have invested in marketing and social media. I was looking for an individual who I could trust to not only manage all my social media and marketing, but also be very proactive and make recommendations as to what would best fit with my brand. In the nine months we have been working together, Sheilagh from The Loft has exceeded all expectations going over and above to consistently deliver on my brand. Her particular gift has been an ability to take on my voice in writing blog posts and messaging that is aligned with me. In addition, Sheilagh took on the project of marketing the launch of my book, accessing the right channels to find my readers. Enthusiastic, respectful, high levels of productivity and a delight to work with. Everyone needs a Sheilagh! I would definitely recommend it – I have been able to reach more women who need my help.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Two years in, I made some business decisions that did not work out the way I hoped. I was pretty close to burn out and was one phone call away from asking my Dad to lend me some money.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I tried to find some inspiration or help because I knew inside that coaching was definitely what I was supposed to be doing. I went to a networking evening, and there were four successful women business owners on the panel who were all sharing their business stories. I asked them, “How many of you have nearly given up?” All of them were able to share a specific moment when it had all gotten too much and they wanted to run away and hide. As I mentioned above, one of the women said, “So many people give up when they are just one step away from success”.
I realized that all I had to do was come up with a more robust business model. That event was the knock on the head that I needed. Within three months, I had a steady flow of clients, and I have never looked back.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I always ensure that I take time for myself. After my ‘suddenly single’ experience, I realized that the most important relationship we have is the one we have with ourselves. So, I always make sure I look after myself, as well as my clients. I am just back from a blissful yoga retreat in Portugal and will be returning in October.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
It may sound cliché but I am just ‘me’. I don’t try to compete. I attract the women who share similar values and beliefs, but who feel stuck and don’t know what their next step is. One thing I think I do offer that other coaches don’t is the “how”. Coaches might help people understand “why” they feel the way they do, but they can’t help with the “how to overcome it” part.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Celebrate your successes, especially the small ones.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
What a great question! Don’t wait until your late 30’s before you step outside your comfort zone. Trust your instincts and take responsibility for creating the life you want – not the life that everyone else wants for you. There is no such thing as “can’t” only “have a go and do your best”.
Never be afraid to say “I failed”. Embrace it and take the learning. Be vulnerable: it gives permission for others to have the courage to do the same. Ask for help no matter how much it makes you feel uncomfortable – people like to help!
Learn to let go of people in your life that no longer serve you. You must truly learn to love and value yourself first, and then love from anyone else becomes a bonus!
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
The ‘Wheel of Life’ is a great exercise and tool used by coaches to help people visualize how ‘balanced’ their life is across eight different ideas. It is a great foundation exercise when goal-setting for success.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
A book which has helped me to grow as a person as well as a coach is The Chimp Paradox.
The Chimp Paradox is written by consultant psychiatrist Professor Steve. It so eloquently explains the way in which our minds work and how we can use this understanding to manage our thoughts and emotions to live a more successful and confident life. It has to be one of the most useful books I have ever read. It sits proudly on my bookshelf and, unlike a lot of the books on there, it is well-thumbed!
I was lucky enough to hear him speak at a conference. Listening to him speak reasserted to me how it really is possible to achieve happiness across all areas of our life, even if it isn’t all at once. I won’t give the game away – get the book, you won’t regret it. But I would like to share something he touched on that resonated with me and made me think about relationships:
When we meet someone and fall in love, we tend to see all of the characteristics that charm us first and irritations don’t appear until much later. When we have committed, the relationship is based on a daily decision to continue. Nobody ties our hands behind our back and forces us to stay in it. Yet, as time goes on, we forget this…
I often meet people who come for coaching because they are very unhappy in their relationships.
Sometimes it’s just that life has gotten in the way of them spending quality time with their other half, and their relationship just needs a re-focus. However, sometimes the relationship has run its course. The individuals don’t have anything in common anymore and when their children leave the nest, there is a big feeling of emptiness and the question to stay or leave raises its ugly head again.
A few weeks ago, I met a 58-year-old woman who left her relationship of 30 years after her children left home. Although it took her 10 years to work up the courage to end the relationship, she is now running her own business, discovering who she is and what she was capable of.
Often, despite their unhappiness, people find that leaving their comfort zone is just too big a step to take. It is much easier to stay within the zone and settle for the empty feeling inside. My advice? Do not let fear paralyze you. Life begins at the end of our comfort zone. It is where magic really can happen…
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Alongside coaching women in business, I am looking to continue to build my brand and secure a coaching role in a big business like the NHS or police. In the next few months, I’ll be undergoing a brand refresh to help me get to where I want to be. I want to speak to groups and I would also love to write a second book!
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