Maria Coulter is the Founder of Construction Coach, helping clients to grow stronger, more profitable and happier businesses. She launched The Construction Revolution to get away from the ‘race to the bottom’ on cost, and is also a Non-Executive Director at the Construction Industry Council and Chair of their Diversity and Inclusion Panel. Maria is passionate about bringing change to the industry she loves – and we have a lot in common!
Becoming a Coach in the Construction Industry
After being rejected for an apprenticeship at the organ factory, Maria decided to pursue a career in construction, becoming a quantity surveyor. After several years of working in the field, she decided to become a coach after witnessing the culture that the recession brought out.
“There’s got to be a different way of doing things” she explains. “I started to have this thing bubbling up in my head about wanting to make a difference in the construction industry, I felt like I was meant to do something to bring change, and that’s what led me to train to become a coach. I made the decision to throw caution to the wind and jump off a massive cliff, leave my job and start my coaching business.”
The Construction Revolution
Maria started her business in 2014, which has since grown and evolved quite a bit. The construction revolution she is advocating resulted from working with small businesses. She is also very passionate about diversity and inclusion.
“Working with small businesses in the industry has opened my eyes, seeing how tough it is for them. It’s very stressful for them, the cash flow problems that they have. So the construction revolution was about enough is enough, we can’t go on like this. People deserve to be paid what they’re worth, but they also need to demonstrate what they’re worth.”
“I want to create an environment where people can be themselves,” she continues. “For the Supply Chain Sustainability School I deliver training on fairness, inclusion and respect training, to get people to think about the difference that diversity and inclusion can bring to their organisations and their work.”
The Return on Investment in Coaching
As she explains, marketing and putting her business out there was quite difficult for her for a long time.
“Once I had the experience and the clarity about what I’m advocating for, what I do and who I help, I started to feel a lot more confident. I felt better about putting myself out there and letting people know that there is a different way of doing things.”
“The cash flow is such a struggle,” she says, “that investing in coaching can be seen as a massive investment. But the amount of money you actually save, the return on investment, that’s what I get across to my clients. The difference that it makes to a business can be massive. It’s a Catch 22 situation. If they just put aside some time to work with me, I can help them see where they can outsource and bring in different ways of working and processes. But they’ve got to give themselves that time to do it, which is a big challenge.”
The Journey to Visibility
Maria continues talking about her journey to visibility and how challenging this can sometimes be.
“Having my own business has given me a lot more confidence because I’m proud of what I’m doing. When you’re doing something that you feel passionate about, you make yourself more vocal and more visible. That passion is what propels you forward. My mum passed away at the end of February. And I did go through that stage where I didn’t want to show up, and didn’t care about being on social media. What helped me was reconnecting with who I am. If anybody is struggling, tapping into who you are and what you’re about will remind you of why you’re doing what you’re doing and why it’s so important.”
Long-Term Goals for Construction Coach
Maria concludes by explaining why it is important to look ahead and make long-term goals for yourself and your business.
“It’s about giving yourself a sense of purpose. A lot of my clients want to get into property development, so I’m encouraging them to get some financial planning in place. How much money do you need to put aside? I’m getting them to think about the lifestyle that they want to lead. It can be difficult, but I feel part of my role is getting that expansive thinking and helping them think that there is more to life and career,” she concludes.
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