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Sometimes, busy professionals need specialised one-on-one training to boost their businesses. That’s where the boutique coaching comes in. Boutique coaching is the art of discovering the best in people and getting them to utilise it. In Ivory Coast, Peggy Ballou is at the forefront of talent management and human capital. She is the founder of Social Achievers, a non-profit organization which aims to develop personal and professional skills in high school students in Ivory Coast.

Peggy spoke to SLA about young women creating vision in their career while sharing top tips on improving career skills.

What does it take to run a boutique coaching and human capital firm?

Running a boutique coaching and human capital firm in Ivory Coast is a challenging experience. Especially when only a few have basic knowledge of the services you offer.

A boutique firm is one of a small size and/or narrow line of service. In our case, we specialize in career coaching for professionals in their mid-career, on one hand. On the other end, we help SMEs strategically plan and manage their human resources.

Our ultimate goal is to provide advisory services on the strategic function of HR as opposed to the traditional view of staff and payroll administration most business owners have. Managing a business of this sort requires experience, innovation, perseverance and excellent communication skills.

I personally work from home and my team consists of a virtual assistant and a community manager. Sometimes, I work in a client’s office with other independent consultants.

The biggest challenge is to get the first clients, especially corporate ones. I spend most my time educating and nurturing the prospects on the importance of our services to improve the results and performance of their staff. I do this by networking, writing articles in HR Magazines and doing public speaking.

How have you sustained your business through the years?

I have been in business since September 2013. I started while I was still living in Canada. I was running it in parallel with my corporate job, at nights and during weekends. I a humble beginning, and in 2015, I took a leap of faith, quitting my job. I went back to school to obtain my coaching certification and started working on my business full-time.

I am still at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey and still have a lot to learn. However, I have personally grown considerably over the past few years and learnt a lot on the do’s and don’ts in the process.

For 2016, my main focus is to systematize and streamline my business in order to scale it and make it sustainable.

What is your model for human capital development?

I see the human capital (talent) management as a 360° integrated process as the image below:

talent management

Very often, organizations, especially SMEs, don’t strategically plan and align their staff with the business objectives. They place less emphasis on employees development.

We are here to help in different aspects of the human capital management from the workforce planning to the talent acquisition; from training and development to succession planning. Our vision is to make human capital the most important asset of organizations by maximizing the potential of each individual contribution in meeting the business objectives.

Why is human capital the heart of a business? How can young entrepreneurs leverage human capital?

Human capital is the set of knowledge, experience, and talent that people have and can benefit an organization. As entrepreneurs, we know how important it is to hire the best employees and put the right persons in the right position.

When starting out, entrepreneurs don’t have enough resources to invest in the human capital. But they could leverage human capital by identifying and selecting staff according to the potential and natural talents of each person. They don’t need to rely solely on just past experience.

To attract the best people, young entrepreneurs should think of career development and advancement opportunities in their companies. It’s also recommended to invest 1% of the revenues in staff training and development. That investment will improve the overall performance of the organization.

How can young women improve on their productivity at work?

For me,  productivity is the ability to produce the best result possible in the shortest amount of time. As young women, we often have to balance work with family duties. Hence, it’s important that we are organized and focused on productivity.

At work, it’s crucial to identify what are the main priorities and focus on what matters the most. It takes discipline and dedication.

Productivity also implies systematization. Whenever possible, young women should create systems in their work and personal life (checklists, templates, various spreadsheets, automated email responses, menus, pre-made grocery lists etc.) and establish routines.

Finally, it’s important to note that motivation is a driver of productivity so young women should find purpose. They should create a vision in their career and life to stay motivated and keep their productivity level at his best.

If you weren’t in your current profession, what would you be doing?

I would be a diplomat or an ambassador!

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