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Inspirational Female Founder Spotlight: Kim Morgan

Kim Morgan is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, accredited ICF Master Certified Coach, best-selling author, research fellow in coaching at the University of Chester and the Founder and Chairperson of Barefoot Coaching. With over 35 years of experience in helping individuals and organisations achieve their goals, Kim has established herself as one of the select band of coaches accredited by the ICF as a Master Certified Coach. In 2001, Kim designed and launched the Barefoot Flagship Course, which has since become one of the most trusted and respected providers of coach training worldwide. Her passion for spreading the word about coaching has resulted in two best-selling books, ‘The Coach’s Casebook’ (2015) and ‘The Coach’s Survival Guide (2019), as well as a monthly coaching column in Psychologies Magazine. Under Kim’s leadership, Barefoot Coaching, based in Castle Donington since March 2020 has trained over 5,000 coaches from 28 different countries.

Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?

Way back in the 1990s, I was a personal development/women’s development trainer, a tutor in adult education, a hypnotherapist, and a trained psychotherapist. I worked mostly in the social, healthcare and charity sector. 

One day I was invited to deliver a workshop in a large corporate organisation and for the first time I realised that the skills I taught: the psychology of change and human behaviour and listening and questioning skills were a revelation to people working in organisations. (Remember this was a long time ago before the personal development revolution!) This gave me an idea…

How did the idea come to you for the company?

I knew that a fresh new approach to personal and professional development – called ‘coaching’ – was emerging from the US. I decided that I would write a programme to train people to become coaches. I wanted it to be credible, so I worked with a university to have the programme awarded a Postgraduate qualification and I launched the first-ever PG Cert in Business and Personal Coaching at the start of the millennium. I had about four paying delegates and the rest of the first cohort were friends and family. That was the beginning of over 5,500 Barefoot Trained Coaches in the world today. Since then, the business has grown almost exclusively by word-of-mouth recommendations.

How have you been able to gain funding and grow?

I haven’t had any funding! I have grown the business organically, reinvesting the profits into the business to achieve steady and consistent growth. I don’t even think I knew that funding was a possibility when I started the business and, in a way, not knowing that made me very self-reliant and self-motivated.

What are the key successes?

The biggest success for me is the fact that everyone we have trained to be a coach has gone on to coach hundreds or thousands of individuals and organisations around the world and my ambition to ‘make the world a brighter place through exceptional coaching’ is being achieved. 

What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?

The biggest challenges have come from me. A cocktail of people-pleasing and impostor syndrome has sometimes undermined my confidence and my credibility and made it difficult for me to take some of the tough decisions required when you are running an organisation. I’ve overcome them by having regular coaching and therapy and learning from my mistakes – there is no substitute to learning from experience!

Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?

  • Build a support team around you. Include mentors or people who have already done what you are striving to do, people who are well-connected and will introduce you to their network, and people who will tell you some hard truths when you need to hear them.
  • Keep learning and honing your professional skills. Keep current and relevant. Get really interested in the business of running a business. Review your business every year and check that it is going in the direction of travel you want.
  • Create an ‘evidence wall’ of all the reasons you should be doing what you do. Include: your skills, your experiences, the feedback you have received, and your qualifications. Keep adding to it and look at it in difficult times to remind you why you are doing what you do!
  • Use every opportunity to enthuse about your business and what it offers.
  • Be generous, honest, and kind.  Not everyone will want to buy what you are selling but if you make a positive lasting impression on them, they will tell others about your business, who might want what you are selling.
  • Get a business coach!

What are your favourite inspirational/motivational quotes?

  • You don’t have to be great to start but you do have to start to be great! – Zig Ziglar.
  • The best marketing of all is happy clients – Susan Stripling.
  • I learned to always take on the things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do NOT coexist – Ginni Rometty (Former CEO of IBM).
  • I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives – R. J. Palacio.

What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?

Website: https://barefootcoaching.co.uk/

Barefoot’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/school/barefoot-coaching/?viewAsMember=true

Barefoot’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/barefootcoachingltd/

Barefoot’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barefootcoachinglimited/?locale=en_GB

Kim’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mdkimmorgan/