We are Karen McGowan and Louise Thomas. Five years ago, we set up Amaze Training. It’s a training company that offers bespoke coaching and training solutions specialising in Customer Service and Leadership skills. Our passion is working with organisations to develop and coach their leaders through innovative and engaging delivery methods. We work in partnership with our clients and spend time in businesses to ensure we understand their needs and organisational values. We design our own material and adapt it to reflect the brand and culture of the businesses we work with. We strongly believe that a training course is just the start of a journey and work with companies to ensure the learning is embedded through a culture of coaching and personal development. Where appropriate, we work with existing training teams to give them the skills and knowledge to continue with the journey we start. Our business values are inspiring, engaging and value adding. We believe that these are achieved by leaders’ role modelling personal development and coaching throughout organisations. We have a portfolio of clients from many different industries. All our work comes through personal recommendation. We are extremely proud of the results we have achieved and the brilliant feedback we receive. Louise and I have different styles and strengths that complement each other perfectly and make our business successful.
LS: What do you nail in leadership?
K&L: We help people to differentiate between leadership and management and bring leadership models to life, making them relevant to the roles people do.
LS: How did you get started?
K&L: A redundancy opportunity allowed us to set up our own training consultancy. Our background working for the customer and people centric bank first direct fuelled our quest to work with other like-minded organisations to help them develop amazing customer service and leadership skills.
LS: What advice would you give someone who wanted to start their own business?
LS: How do you work with/create a work life balance (or does it exist)?
K&L: We will ask our families next time we see them, in a couple of weeks!! It can exist, it’s about choices. We are very lucky as we have the freedom to choose when we want to work.
LS: What are you noticing in business right now?
LS: When times are ‘not so good’ how do you lead? What do you put in place? What the processes?
K&L: We have a philosophy that you ‘choose your mood.’ No-one can make you feel not so good without your consent!
LS: What gets you through the day?
K&L: An appreciation of how everything we have, work and our families. We remind ourselves how lucky we are to do a job we love which and the sense of pride we feel when we receive feedback to say we have inspired and motivated others to make changes and try new things We learn from every group we work with. Recently we have the opportunity to work in Dubai and meet some amazing people from all over the world with such amazing and interesting life stories. We are a partnership and have each other to bounce off. Sweets, music and laughter also help!
LS: Best person you have ever worked with?
K&L: Kirsty Mac ( not being paid for this !) without hesitation, her passion, energy and enthusiasm is inspiring and infectious.
LS: What gives you courage?
K&L: Courageous people and an inner belief that we can touch people and inspire them to be the best they can be.
LS: How do you motivate and inspire people?
K&L: Make them laugh, laugh at yourself, have fun when learning, practice what you preach. We remind people that if you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be. We also love to tell stories!
LS: What is your greatest frustration?
KM: People who do not embrace change and people who see their development as the responsibility of others.
LT: Turning down work!
LS: What is your saving grace as a leader?
KM: Patience, understanding, embracing difference and a sense of humour.
LT: Passion, belief and great coaching skills.
LS: What brings out your dark side?
KM: A full moon! However, ‘Stars cannot shine without darkness!!!
LT: VAT returns.
LS: What are you certain about?
KM: It’s ok not to be perfect, learn from mistakes.
LT: We live up to our brand.
LS: What is your greatest fear?
KM: The road-works on the M1 will never be finished.
LT: Roller Coasters.
LS: How do you stay calm?
KM: Listen to music.
LT: Drink Sauvignon Blanc.
LS: How do you inspire people
K&L: Using positive language, a ‘can do’ attitude. Showing respect for everyone. Everyone is different and special. Listen to people, it is amazing what they have to say.
LS: What do you dream about?
K&L: If we are honest it is usually David Beckham’s bum!
LS: Would you employ you?
K&L: Absolutely, we are amazing!
LS: How do you keep fit for business?
K&L: You should see how much stuff we carry when we are training. We have lots of props, games, exercises that keep us fit.
LS: What is taking up your thinking space right now?
K&L: Our exciting new work projects and new ideas for our business. We have a brilliant portfolio of stories, analogies, games, energisers, video clips that make our training innovative and different.
LS: Favourite book on leadership?
KM: Richard Branson’s autobiography, Dr Seuss – Oh the Thinks you can Think!
LT: Tony Hsieh - Delivering Happiness.
Massive huge thankyou to Karen and Louise for taking the time to speak to us, to tell us all about their journey, where they have come from and where they are now. It is incredible to see the greatness that they have achieved and we wish them every success into the future.
Keep in touch monthly (or even more frequently with us*).
* We promise not to virtually stalk you, it will be (at max) weekly round ups and elements that it would be rude not to tell you about...