Featured Tenant – Sarah Carlsen, Carlsen Coaching & Consulting

By March 1, 2017 September 12th, 2017 Feature Friday, Tenants

Tell us about how your business was started. How did you get involved in the industry?

I had my first professional development coach in 2000.  At the time, I worked for a 1000 person law firm based in Seattle.  My boss had promoted me, along with four others, to newly defined management positions within the Information Technology department.  She understood that the change was significant, and that we each needed new skills and capacities if we were going to be successful.  The firm didn’t offer management training, so my boss offered each of us the opportunity to work with a coach.  I was moving from managing large scale IT software projects to managing a team of 8 and being responsible for the daily IT operations.  My coach was instrumental in helping me develop new skills, and my work with her accelerated my career trajectory at the firm.

We moved back to Minnesota in 2005.  With 3 kids under 6 and my husband commuting to Minneapolis, I decided to forego full-time employment and began consulting with law firms.  Consulting gave me a great deal of flexibility, and provided interesting work. At the same time, I didn’t feel like I could have the same impact on an organization from the outside that I’d had being an internal member of the team.  In 2010 I reached out to my former coach.   I knew I loved the independence and flexibility of being self-employed, but I wanted to be more intentional about the work itself.  After a single conversation with her I realized I wanted to do what she was doing – coach highly talented people who needed stronger leadership skills to have the kind of impact they wanted. 

I became a certified coach and completed a 10 month leadership program in 2011, and then pivoted fully to coaching.  While I have coached individuals at many levels in many industries, my primary focus in on small business owners who are at a critical point of change.  

What kind of services does your business offer?

Coaching is always about building the capacity in the individual or team to be more effective, so I do that work in a number of ways:

  • For business owners, I offer a six month custom leadership program that closes the gap between where they are and where they want to be
  • For business partners, I offer partnership coaching that is focused on helping the partners build their ability to:
    • Stay in alignment even in the midst of significant change
    • Create a culture in their partnership and company that encourages innovation by building strong trust and conflict skills
    • For leaders within organizations, I offer the Leadership Circle Profile 360 assessment.  This assessment 
  • For clients in big life transitions, whether starting a business, changing careers, or transitioning out of full-time work into the next chapter, I use the enneagram system
  • For small business owners who want to benefit from the wisdom and support of other business owners, I offer in-person and visual mastermind groups

Why is your business in Northfield? Why did you choose to become a member of Blue Inc.? 

Since most of my 1:1 work can be done virtually, and my team and group work is done at the client site, working out of my home office worked fine for a long time. I thought of my company as a virtual business that didn’t need a “location.”  One of my core values is creating strong communities, so I realized that coaching local business owners was a great way to honor that value.  After connecting with a group of women in Northfield who own businesses, I realized how much I missed having colleagues right next door.  I attended the Blue, Inc open house, and got to know the other business owners there.  I started to think of renting office space as an opportunity to deepen and expand my local network rather than as just an “expense.”  I started renting here in October of 2016.

What about Blue Inc. benefits your business?

The biggest benefit for me as a business owner has been the expansion of my local network and the resulting higher profile.  Additional benefits include:

  • Access to conference room space so I can run mastermind groups and stand-alone workshops
  • Clear boundaries between work and home
  • Quiet and varied space that allow me to design new content more easily
  • Insights from other business owners that expand my thinking and approach to building my business continually

What advice do you have for other business owners looking for a space?

Renting space is absolutely an expense, but it is also an investment in marketing, your network and your business development.  Your space affects the client experience and your own experience.  The Blue, Inc space is modern, light-filled, flexible and professional – all characteristics that support the work I do with my clients.

If people want to use your services, how should they get in contact with you?

I’m highly responsive to email, my website and my FB business page.  Sarah@carlsencc.com, www.carlsen.comhttps://www.facebook.com/carlsencc/

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