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“Almost immediately, I felt like I was born to coach”

“Almost immediately, I felt like I was born to coach”

Simon Ellson has lived in Tring with his family since 1999 and, after over 30 years of growing his own and other people’s businesses, he decided to join ActionCOACH

Simon’s work took him from start-ups to SMEs and all the way to large corporations. In total, he has started five businesses and worked so many hours that he would of course take his laptop on family holidays.

“My businesses were successful but the pay-off was a shocking work-life balance – my wife, Viv, had the patience of a saint. My friend Rob Pickering introduced me to ActionCOACH about nine years ago when he was looking to join the franchise. He had disappeared off to Las Vegas for initial training and when he came back he was raving about this business coaching franchise, telling me I needed to join too. But I was busy managing the entire retail sales for Symantec in Northern Europe.

“I had a very challenging start to 2018, with personal loss and a close family member being ill. So, I decided to do something different, just for me, that would benefit my family and my community and I reached out to ActionCOACH again.”

A new journey

“I went to ActionCOACH University training in May and launched the business in June. The initial training was excellent and we were lucky to have an experienced franchise partner, Andrew Kureishy, leading the training with his pragmatic, down-to-earth style. I warmed to him immediately and, whilst I had brain ache when I walked out of there on Friday evening, by Monday night, I had my first seminar booked with 14 attendees in a local rugby club! The bar was open, as you would expect in a venue like that, and I signed my first one-to-one weekly coaching client – an events business.

“Almost immediately, I felt like I was born to coach and I can honestly say it’s the best thing work-wise I’ve ever done in my life. It brought out a philanthropic streak in me – it’s the most rewarding work you can do. Even though it’s handsomely paid, for me, it’s about helping clients get rid of those problems I regularly saw as a manager and business owner.”

Building momentum

“To help you grow your own business and give advice on client challenges, ActionCOACH gives you access to a master coach as part of your ongoing support. I had one in my initial business start-up phase and then Rachel Woods became my personal coach, providing shots of brutal honesty as well as sound advice.

“The early help they give you in getting your business up and running quickly and efficiently means that within just a short amount of time, you’re ready to begin expanding and scaling up. This is exactly what I’ve been able to do; our clientele grew by 60 per cent in 2021 and, with our current trajectory, I’m feeling so positive about the future. It’s honestly incredible what you’re able to achieve when you’re given the right support and guidance, something ActionCOACH ensures you get.”

After an initial schedule of seminars and networking to bring clients in, Simon decided to invest in a second territory in 2021. With his original ActionCOACH business in West Hertfordshire, he added West Dorset – where Viv wants to retire to – with the intention of bringing in a general manager.

“Including me, I’m up to eight staff, more than doubling where the team was just over a year ago. The past 12 months have felt like a step up for the business. Once you gain a reputation for yourself, things become easier. Now 100 per cent of my coaching clients come from referrals. James and Lorna also are ActionCOACHes and whilst they still acquire their new clients through networking and marketing, it’s made easier because they have the support of a marketing executive and a business development executive.

“Our firm just hit personal bests four months in a row. James, Lorna and I all hit two consecutive personal best months for both revenue and number of clients. It’s a clear signal of our direction, and with another coach about to go through training, I can’t wait for what this year has in store.

“If you’d have told me 10 years ago I would buy a franchise, I would have told you to stop being ridiculous! But the ongoing support, advice, and resources are categorically the best support of any business I’ve come across – you just don’t get that in a corporate environment. Plus, all the franchise partners and employee coaches are great – they embody ActionCOACH’s culture of abundance.

“When I started with ActionCOACH, I committed to a vision to support over 500 local businesses to grow over five years. Even with the complications of COVID-19, we’ve assisted just over 250 people and businesses so far in the last three years.”

A rewarding destination

“My main goal for 2021 was to have four days in Hertfordshire and then three days in Dorset where we could spend more time house hunting and exploring the county. By scheduling all my coaching within the first three days of the week, I’ve been able to achieve that goal. I also wanted to ensure the business is in a position where it has forward momentum even when I’m not there. Viv and I just went away to Edinburgh for four days and the entire time I didn’t get a single email or phone call.

“My work-life balance is better than it’s ever been in my entire life. I’m earning well and in the last four years I’ve picked up six grandchildren, so I’m really enjoying being the fun grandad. It’s great, I regularly send them back to their parents exhausted and covered in mud!

“I have a fabulous relationship with my children, of course, I was always away travelling the world and working hard when they were young. I’m happy that I can now be there for their children. I even cook the Sunday lunches which I haven’t done since before we got married over 30 years ago!”

At a glance

Year established:

1993 in Australia, 2001 in the UK

Number of franchised outlets:

200-plus in the UK

Location of units:


Investment range:


Minimum required capital:


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