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Leadership & Business Development Coaching

Standing on the shoulders of giants

Did you ever wonder how some people climb so high? Where did they get the courage, skills and how did they find the path? I’m pretty sure a lot of people have this thought every day. A sporting hero of mine, Andy Murray, I’m certain has had this thought every single day from when he first started playing tennis. He thought it of Roger Federer, he thought it of Rafael Nadal and he must have achingly thought it of Novak Djokovic having suffered defeat after crushing defeat.


Yet he reached down, found the courage and made sacrifices that others weren’t willing to make to further hone his skills and eventually, he found the path.


And eventually, they all ended up looking upwards, at Andy Murray - the world’s number one tennis player.


So what does that have to do with coaching? The answer is everything.


I am willing to place a bet with you, right this very second, that no-one who ever “made it”, did so on their own. It just doesn’t happen that way. There are always a group of people behind the figure of success. And in that group, there is almost always a coach.


Another leader in their field, Bill Gates, said, “Everybody needs a coach”.


There is virtually no-one in the world who would not benefit from coaching of some kind. And I guarantee that anyone who has done anything of interest or note (sport, business or any aspect of life) has had some form of coaching along the way - most likely a lot of coaching.


This is exactly the way things panned out for me. I, like everyone else, have certain talents and using these had brought me a certain amount of success. Or at least what I thought as success at that time.


But when it came time to take on a veterinary business by myself, I knew that in order to really thrive, I needed to get a lot better at being a leader, so decided to take the plunge and get a coach to help. The results were amazing. I was able to take a “burning bus” vet hospital with 4 employees, no profit and a whole lot of issues, and turned it into a two site, with 14 employees, bustling enterprise that had trebled its revenue. And after 3 years of operation, I was acquired and sold out of the business having made a massive difference in the life of my team and also my own financial well-being. I then spent the next 18 months building and leading my third assignment as a leader of a large veterinary team as the group Chief Veterinary Officer.


Could I have done this myself? Possibly, but I believe that it is more likely I would have made the same mistakes I had made in my early career and not enjoyed anywhere near the same level of success. Or I’d have burned out trying.


Let me turn to another sport I enjoy, swimming, to highlight exactly what a coach can do for you.


If you pay attention to the way people normally swim the front crawl stroke, it’s quite common to see a swimmer thrash their way up a pool and then stop at the end blowing hard and taking heaving gulps of air. (This is why you mostly see recreational swimmers doing breast stroke)


And it happens because of poor technique (churning water ineffectively while simultaneously creating a lot of drag).


The fixes for this are actually pretty simple, but only when you know about them. Trouble is, that unless someone else has guided you, then all you would think is that you need to train harder to go farther. Practice more, smash out more lengths and you’ll improve. And to a limited extent, this is true. But practicing a poor technique just makes you better at that poor technique. So there is an invisible, very low, performance ceiling that will block your further progress.


The truth is that a swimmer with good technique, can jump in a pool after months without training and swim faster than most, and further too. A swimmer with good technique could almost, in theory, just keep going such is the efficiency of the technique. (I never swim less than 1 km in a pool - regardless of how long it was since I last got in a pool).


A coach is a person who helps you discover those hidden skills and hop from one level, up onto the next, setting you free to learn how to play your chosen game at an entirely new level.


This is how Andy Murray levelled up. He got Ivan Lendl.

It’s certainly how I got where I am and I know for sure that I will never be without a coach. Where once it was a leap of faith to hire my first coach, now I happily spend thousands on an activity I see as a fundamental investment in my own future. Nothing, absolutely nothing, has brought me more success, better returns and greater ability to enjoy my life.

When should you consider coaching?

Anytime. Genuinely.


If you are starting up a business then having someone ride shotgun is a very cost effective way of sharpening your tools and getting some accountability into your regime fast.


If you are stagnating or getting frustrated, then a coach can help you identify the problems and help you shift gears and find a better place.

Pretty much anytime you want to drive yourself forward, a coach makes sense.

But how can I afford a coach?

This is one of the easiest questions to answer. I wasted years without a coach, simply because of two self-limiting beliefs. The first was that my boss wouldn’t see the value of investing that much money in me.  The second false belief (which worked very effectively in tandem with the first) was that I knew best and coaches were just out to take my money. Boy did I waste a lot of time.

When I first took the plunge to get a coach it was a very painful financial decision. I had no spare cash because I had just bought my first practice. One I hoped would go well, but was years from making any return.


But I knew deep down that I needed to make this work. So I bit the bullet and paid the £500/month fee. And my reward was to not only start hitting home runs which paid for the coaching, but (most importantly) to do so in a way that was sustainable for me and my team. I had found a new way of working and I was instantly hooked.

A coach can save you from heinous costly mistakes

My second coach helped me keep a several hundred thousand dollar deal on the table through some very challenging circumstances, one that could easily have gone in another direction entirely without the support of a coach.


The reality is that when you experience growth through coaching you can almost always find a way to pay. If you are a clinician and your goal through coaching is to develop new skills or promotion, then those skills you acquire create more value and you can, therefore, get paid more. If you are a practice owner looking to change your behaviours to improve moral then you can pay back the coaching fees in about 10 different ways! Like when staff turnover drops so you are not blowing money out of the window, client satisfaction improves… costs go down, revenue goes up… that type of thing.


Of the people I have worked in the last year, 75% have gained promotions to senior roles within six months (their raises represented a minimum of three times return on the money spent on coaching) and another has trebled her business revenue.

What can I help you with as your coach? (And just as importantly what can I not help you with?)

First up, what I can help you with…


Strategic Business Development - for those who want to achieve new heights in business. My clients typically see a 20% growth in their business revenue and a reduction in their personal workload within 12 weeks of starting a coaching program. I work with practice owners using a unique vet practice leadership system to systematically grow practices from anywhere north of  $500,000/year up to $15,000,000/year. 


Leadership Growth - for those who want to develop their team management skills. Your coaching will rapidly develop your leadership skills and help you achieve personal and team milestones. it is not unheard of for clients to receive promotions and kudos very quickly. 


Accountability and results - as the boss who keeps you on target? An external coach who "has your back" will help you stay focused on what matters and ignore what does not.

What I am not able to help you with...

Life Coaching - I do not coach on purely personal issues outside of your business - though I can recommend others who can.

Clinical Coaching - though I loved my vet career, there are better people out there to help you than me.

Mental Illnesses - while I am deeply concerned for the mental and physical well-being of all in veterinary medicine, I am not qualified to help with psychological illnesses like depression or worse. If this is you, then please seek the advice of your GP right away.


Quick fixes - though sometimes breakthroughs happen fast, more likely we’ll work together for 3-12 months. If you want one session and then expect a miracle you are going to be disappointed. Lasting change takes time, dedication and effort. 

So what’s your next move?

Well, as your coach you should get used to me asking you lots of searching questions. So here’s one to start with. What do you want your future to look like? Are you or is your practice where you want it to be right now? What needs to change in order for it to move towards this goal?


Now, while you work on the answers to these questions, here’s a suggestion for you.


If you are interested in breaking through to the next level and are willing to commit and invest time, energy and money into your own growth then let’s schedule a discovery call to see if we’re a good fit.


My promise to you is that if I think I cannot help you meet your objective, I’ll recommend someone who can. Also, each of my products or services comes with a guarantee. So you may take the first coaching session and if you feel like it was a waste of time, then I’ll happily refund any money paid. No quibbles or fuss. I want you to be happy and achieve results.

All that remains now is for you to complete the form below to schedule your call. I look forward to talking with you soon and helping you to create your own awesome reality.

Dr Dave Nicol

What people are saying

"Dave helped me by building on my nursing skills and by coaching me in leadership. The result was incredible. I became a nurse leader and learnt not only how to help people grow as I did, but also how to create the perfect work-life balance. I also I developed a sense of self-worth and pride."

Sandy McArdle

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