Renowned Bristol coach opens new company offering innovative business model
One of Bristol’s best-known coaches has set up on his own, after developing a business model based around understanding the impact of a leader’s life experiences on a company’s culture.
The son of a 1950s Windrush migrant from Dominica, Joe Constant has been a leadership coach for more than 20 years, working with a variety of organisations. In the meantime he’s also launched three successful businesses in the fields of training, property and education, having helped more than 800 children in Bristol through his Kick Start Enterprise social programme.
Now he has set up Joe Constant Coach, offering his newly-developed CAI business model to focus on the clarity, alignment and impact of a company’s values on growth and development.
Before coaching, Joe’s varied life experiences have seen him working as a dancer and backing singer in Germany with the likes of funk outfit Boney M in the 1980s and, later, as a taxi driver in north London. Regular viewers of Channel 4 show Come Dine With Me will have seen Joe appearing on the programme in February this year.
“I’ve had a colourful life,” says Joe. “And I’ve learned a lot about people and, professionally in particular, how businesses take on the characters of their founders and leaders. I believe that people’s businesses are a reflection of the individuals who lead them – the good, the bad and everything in between – so it’s essential for company owners and directors to understand the impact that their experiences have their teams’ culture and performance.
“For me personally, I faced challenges growing up as someone of Caribbean heritage in an all-white community in the 1960s and 70s. Those foundational experiences have led me to champion the idea that every individual, irrespective of their background, deserves recognition and respect.
“I’ve worked in a variety of industries, including police forces and in education, and I see the same issues across the piece. Leaders need help to understand themselves to be able to effect meaningful change within and outside of their organisations.”
Joe was born and raised in the Knowle West area of Bristol, after his father decided the Constant family needed to be immersed in the established culture of England rather than being segregated in an immigrant community.
The family faced abuse and intolerance during Joe’s childhood, a challenging experience not helped by Joe’s dyslexia and a tendency for bullying by his peers.
“It was tough,” says Joe. “We lived in a prefab in Knowle West but my father insisted that if you wanted to succeed in another person’s country, you had to understand their culture. So, we learned how to conduct and present ourselves, how to form a career in a foreign environment.
“Today I recognise that our ability to rise to a challenge depends on our understanding of our own experiences that have prepared us for our journey. Looking back, I’m extremely grateful to my father for what he did and I have enormous respect for the sacrifices both he and my mother made on our behalf and the challenges I and my siblings encountered.”
Joe’s life experiences are crystallised into a business model he has developed as his coaching methodology. Several years in the making and based on three key fundamentals – clarity, alignment and impact – the CAI model helps business owners understand exactly what they are looking to achieve, then discover how to drive that vision throughout an organisation and evaluate the change which has been implemented.
It’s a different method to traditional coaching, says Joe, and one which is designed specifically with growth-hungry SMEs and open-minded CEOs in mind.
“Following the pandemic, many businesses are looking at how they do things, and why they do it, in new ways,” he says. “These often involve change, which in turn needs clarity and alignment before it is put into practice. Yet most SMEs won’t want to invest in a coaching programme unless they can see and measure the return on their investment.
“So, I’ve put 25 years of coaching experience into a model which will help businesses on any stage of their journey, ideally those who are established and looking to move to a new level. My programme will help companies create clear milestones for change, to check in and evaluate impact, so they can be sure they’re money’s being well spent.”