Lisa Quinn

Lisa Quinn is an Executive Coach. She is obsessed with helping clients connect to their own brilliance and learn to trust themselves so that they can thrive in their careers. 

She tells us that, “We spend a lot of our time at work. I help my clients learn to navigate their career in a way that is fulfilling and sustainable over the short, medium and long term. I help my clients understand their Values – the things that make them tick, and use a combination of coaching and mindfulness techniques to help them perform better, feel more confident and overcome feelings of Imposterism. Mum, Wife, Sister, Friend, Daughter. Never happier than swimming in the sea. I’m a lover of books, dogs, work and exercise.”

What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative. 

I come from a working class background. I was the first in my family to go to University, and I’ve worked since I was 14. My Mum is very fond of telling everyone that we are a family of grafters – and that’s true. My sisters and I all work very hard. I’ve always read voraciously and I’ve always wanted to progress – whatever I was doing. Books were a huge escape for me. I’d get 11 books a week from the library and race through them. My Mum never believed I actually read them but I did!

Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.

Working from a young age. I had Saturday jobs and after school jobs since I was 14, and I worked all the way through University. Those jobs taught me so much. How to navigate worlds very different to the one I had come from. I had a brilliant job working in a bookshop on the Kings Road in Chelsea, and that job taught me how to deal with celebrities and influential people and that has come in useful throughout my career. My confidence grew with each job I did, which was helpful when I was interviewing for roles in the PR Industry once I’d graduated. (which is where my career started).

Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say “YES, go for it!”

I think it was the growing realisation that coaching was both something that I loved, and something that I was good at. I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t go for it. I started my training as a side interest. I was coaching clients alongside my role as a Communications Director, and I fell in love with coaching. I still feel that way about it. It’s the best move I’ve ever made. I’m studying for a Master Coach qualification at the moment, and it’s hard as it’s so rigorous. But I am loving the rigour, and the precision of what’s required. I could talk about coaching, read about coaching, learn about coaching all day, every day!

Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?

My perfectionist inner critic! I want to be excellent at everything I do, and my inner critic is very impatient and sets high standards, and this means I was hard on myself at the beginning. It was hard to go from a career where I had so much experience, to one where I knew nothing, and was starting from scratch. Looking back, I wish I’d trusted myself more, and eased up on myself a bit.

While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?

Professionally the pandemic led to a real growth period for my business. I’d been coaching via Zoom for several years, and so I felt very comfortable moving to coaching online full time. 2020 was the year my business went truly global. Personally, it was very, very difficult. My daughter became very ill during lockdown – she developed the eating disorder anorexia – and it was incredibly hard to get her the support she needed because the specialist services in the UK were so overwhelmed. It was very lonely at times. Work was my respite during this period. I cut my hours right back, but being able to support my clients in a positive way felt particularly rewarding when my home life was so difficult.

Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?

Changing career at 46 was not easy. It meant starting right back at the beginning again. Going from being a relative expert at something (after a 22 year career in Communications) to being a complete beginner. It was really hard! But I just kept reminding myself, if you practice and practice and practice, and behave with honesty, kindness and integrity, you won’t go wrong.

Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?

There are so many that it would be a huge list if I listed them all, but to pick three: I’d like society and the world in general to be fairer and more meritocratic. And for people of colour to have the same opportunities as white people. And please can we also stop the terrible things we’re doing to the planet.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?

That we have to take care of our own careers. No one else is going to do it for us. We have to carve out the time (and that can be hard with all the other demands in our lives), to think about what we really, REALLY want, and not what we think we SHOULD want, or what our immediate boss wants for us. And to think long term as well as medium term. Think about where you want to end up. What’s your end goal?

Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?

There aren’t enough of them! And there definitely aren’t enough women of colour in leadership positions. There are cracks, and those cracks are a very good thing, but we need more men to get involved to support and champion female leaders so that they can force those cracks wider, faster.

With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?

Get to know your radiators and your drains. We all know those people – and those activities at work – that make us feel amazing and energised. And we also know those that don’t – the ones that drain us. We can’t always avoid all the drains in our lives, but it helps to become aware of them (human or task related) and to limit our exposure to them as much as possible. And try to learn self compassion. We’re so hard on ourselves, and it’s not helpful in my experience.