Leader Spotlight, Mentoring, Tips & Tools | December 4, 2018
At Futurpreneur we don’t only support entrepreneurship, we live it as well. Devon Brooks joined the Futurpreneur Canada Board of Directors back in 2015. It’s been a while since we caught up with her so we sat down and asked her about her entrepreneurial journey, what she’s up to know and her latest venture, Sphere.
Growing up with entrepreneurs, it always came very naturally to me to conceive ideas, articulate them, and solve business problems. My mom, Judy, started her first company when she was a single mom. I had always wanted to build something with my mom. We started Blo Blow Dry Bar, a first of its kind salon offering blowouts, together in 2007. Born out of a university project, Blo now has over 90 locations across four countries.
As the company started to grow, I was catapulted into a leadership position where I was hiring and scaling teams who were mostly peers my same age and older. At the same time, I was going through two judicial court cases after being raped and, later, attacked in my own home.
I sought out guidance to continue to grow, not only as a business leader but in other aspects of my life. I look at things through a growth mindset.
Coaching and those high impact conversations with an unbiased, trained thinking partner, propelled me through that time; it asked me to challenge my sense of leadership, understand what authentic leadership looked like and what it was going to mean for me to bring the fullness of who I am to the workplace and integrate everything going on in my personal life into that experience.
Coaching, as a business tool, continues to gain legitimacy. I’ve felt its incredible power. It’s helped me become a better leader, and it’s also helped many other leaders I know.
It why for tor the past year-and-a-half I’ve been back in startup land, grinding it out, to get my latest venture, Sphere, off the ground. Because I really believe coaching has the power to shift thinking and support humanity. And I want more people to be able to access it.
One night, I was sitting awake in bed dreaming of building something that would make it easier for people to get the conversations they need to grow.
I’d been coaching professionally since my co-founders and I sold our business and I’d seen the industry booming with little to no innovations in consumer technologies. Yoga and meditation had so much beautiful, approachable tech powering and scaling their magic to reach the masses but coaching – a personal development tool that has been proven to support emotional and social intelligence – didn’t. People didn’t know where to go find the right coach for them; and coaches were wasting too much time, and money, on business development, maintenance and management.
Born from my own frustrations with a lack of accessibility and exceptional technology in the coaching space, my latest newest venture, Sphere, enhances the experience of personal coaching, by transforming and scaling the way guidance is accessed and delivered.
Sphere streamlines an intuitive matching algorithm that connects best-fit coaches and clients and handles everything on the spot from booking, to having sessions and tracking progress. On a mission to support and elevate the collective consciousness, Sphere makes getting personal coaching convenient, customized and approachable.
At Sphere, we are on a mission to help people grow. No matter who you are.
In our books, we believe coaching should be democratized; available to anyone and everyone regardless of their current situation, their goals, their role, their gender, their job title.
That being said, there is a really big sweet spot with entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and business owners.
When we had a small tester group using our app, a handful were entrepreneurs. They wanted that business coach to work with so they aren’t always making decisions in a vacuum and have that professional thinking-partner.
I’ve been a more formal Futurpreneur mentor for years. And I love it.
But there is a difference between mentorship and coaching.
A mentor passes down expertise earned from lived experiences. They share personal opinions, what they know to be true and act as an adviser.
A coach, on the other hand, comes in and asks questions and doesn’t hand out advice… because the best advice that creates lasting change is produced by you.
Growth is not about seeking answers; it’s about asking good questions — the answers change. A coach is that unbiased thinking partner that asks you those high-impact questions so you can create your own solutions and make long-lasting change. We talk more about it here.
Sphere just launched their iPhone beta app: Sign up at sphereishere.com.