America has been called a nation of entrepreneurs. From Ben Franklin, to Henry Ford, to Steve Jobs, the U.S. has long been known for its pioneering business spirit, with numerous business leaders who have a dream and work to bring it to reality.
The Chamber's executive director, Mark Guenther, describes entrepreneurs as ''the most amazing people who are really extraordinary at two things. First is their all-out passion for their particular concept. The second is their moxie to risk it all and launch a business.''
Providing everything from massage therapy to telecommunications, LGBT entrepreneurs can meet almost any requirement the community as a whole may have. But many entrepreneurs need guidance in achieving their personal and professional goals. The field of corporate coaching has emerged to help budding entrepreneurs navigate the sometimes rocky landscapes of business creativity.
''To expect that entrepreneurs will excel in every single area of business is unrealistic,'' says Guenther. ''This is where a good coach is essential. A coach will teach business owners how to apply some of their incredible passion to a focus that pushes them through their weaknesses.''
Scott Sullivan, director of coaching and curriculum at Velocity, a D.C. coaching and professional-development firm, is an example of a corporate coach who works with his clients one-on-one to enhance both personal and professional achievement. Sullivan, who will be facilitating The Chamber's SmartNetworking 2.0 event Tuesday, May 28, coaches his clients on how to find success through goal attainment that enhances balance and well-being.
''From what I have seen and from all the people I have talked to,'' says Guenther, ''solving this situation and changing the success paradigm is one of Scott's strengths.''
Sullivan, whose company motto is, ''inspiring people to be amazing since 2010,'' began his career as an educator at universities in New England and Europe. ''Several of my students noted that I seemed more interested in helping them succeed in attaining their academic and career goals than in simply teaching the subject matter,'' he says. ''At that moment a light went on and I realized that my mission was to help people not just achieve their potential in their chosen professional field, but also to live to their fullest potential in life.''
Sullivan says that many business executives are uncertain about when they should hire a coach. Sullivan's guidelines are that coaching should seriously be considered if:
Co-workers are argumentative and resistant to change; management focuses only on the bottom line and has unrealistic expectations; communication and collaboration among co-workers is not clear and consistent; individual workers find family life and/or health is suffering due to overwork; or you are ready to move your business to the next level of achievement and need support.
Sullivan says the greatest challenge he's encountered when coaching his clients is the difficulty in striking the right balance between one's professional and personal lives.
''Many people find themselves on the fast track professionally, but running into a ditch in their personal relationships,'' says Sullivan. ''I help them to get back on course again and thrive.''
Winner of the 2012 NGLCC Chamber of the Year Award and ranked No. 18 for Local Chambers of Commerce in the Washington Business Journal's ''Book of Lists,'' the Chamber means Business. For more information, visit caglcc.org.
John F. Stanton, a CAGLCC member, is the president of SRP & Associates Inc., a strategic marketing and public relations firm in Northern Virginia.