One of our inspirational mentors, Graham Stuart of Imperative solutions, has 26 years’ worth of experience in running successful businesses both in the UK and abroad. He’s an established business growth coach and three of our mentees have learnt a lot from him.
Tell me about yourself.
“I have been involved in developing a number of ventures and businesses in the UK and abroad for over 26 years, including multi million pound operations. I have studied neurology, psychology and trained in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and cognitive behaviour change. Applying these skills and experience enables me to help people become more empowered so that they can reach their full potential. I am also a Personal Development and Executive Development Coach, certified NLP Coach, Stress Management Coach and Clinical Hypnotherapist. I run my own business coaching business; Imperative Solutions.
During the past 12 months I have mentored many individuals who own businesses ranging from start-ups to more established businesses.”
Why do you mentor?
“I never had a ‘mentor’ myself, and looking back I realise it would have been helpful to have someone with experience who could have helped me through some difficult times and provide guidance. This is why around 5 years ago I made a conscious commitment to share my own experiences, both good and bad, with others to help them make more informed decisions for themselves.”
How do you describe your mentoring style?
“I’m not passive; I like to really get involved. I’m a non-conventional thinker with a ‘think outside the box’ mentality; exploring alternatives and reframing situations to get mentees to make their own decisions. This is done by helping them to think differently, getting them out of their comfort zone and developing a better understanding of themselves. It’s not all about their business plans; it’s more about the person.”
What are some of the most common mistakes you see business owners make and how could they be avoided?
“I think business owners can often stick to the ‘status quo’ and for this reason their business doesn’t stand out as much as it could. I think entrepreneurs need to make more time to explore and embrace new ideas and think about alternative ways of operating, to keep their business fresh and interesting.”
How would you describe mentoring?
“Mentoring for me is providing a sounding board and feedback so that people can find their own ways forward. I’d like to think I’m helpful in suggesting new ways of operating, better self-awareness, knowledge and solutions to make change.”
Who inspires you?
“Jim Rohn, Michael Neill, Milton Erikson, Lloyd Pye, Wayne Dyer, Neale Donald Walsch and Google!”
What advice do you give to growing business owners?
“Keep an open mind and identify people with the attitude, skills and integrity that can help you to become more empowered and confident to grow.
Become the ‘cause’ and not the ‘effect’ of what you do. Look at ways to grow - moving away from where you are now to where you want to get to. Remember that overcoming obstacles can make you stronger.”
What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“Believe in yourself. If you don’t, who will”?
What advice would you give to new mentors or someone considering becoming a mentor?
“Look for synergy with your mentee and make sure that it is a good match. Most people need a firm hand to guide them and break their pattern of behaviour in order to update their way of doing things, and it is important to be considerate, fair and tough in equal proportion.”
If you're interested in becoming a mentor, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 237 4022. For more information about the mentoring programme in general, click here to look at the website.