We sat down with Joe Lyons-Rising – an Insights Leader with more than 15 years’ experience in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry who decided to start his own insights coaching and analytics consulting company with a special social purpose. Read below to find out about his motivations, social commitment and his mantra for being a successful coach!
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’ve been working in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry for about 16 years in this unique space of business intelligence. Now, it’s commonly referred to as consumer insights, category management or data analytics. Last August, I decided to launch my own social enterprise called Data Gives Back doing insights coaching and analytic consulting.
What made you decide to launch your business after working in the CPG industry for almost 16 years?
I have always had this entrepreneurial bug. As soon as I got out of university, I actually launched a small business with two other partners. This drive helped me throughout my corporate career, but the pandemic actually motivated me to pursue my dream that I thought would take at least another decade. A huge silver lining about having my own business is the flexible work environment. This allows me to spend more time with my family!
Another aspect is the social enterprise part of it. I have always been involved with charities and the Seasons Centre for Grieving Children just spoke to me. When I was telling my wife about starting this business, in the same breath I said that I am going to do it the way I have always wanted to – I’m going to give 25% back to the charity. I wanted to have a deeper cause to my business and serve the community on a regular basis. This is where the name comes from – Data Gives Back!
How did you get involved with the Seasons Centre and what’s your role in it?
So what’s interesting is that I’m actually a retired a DJ! I was DJing at a friend’s party and he was on the Board of Directors at the Season Centre. After talking to him, I saw how Seasons Centre was helping grieving children and teens and it spoke to exactly what I went through growing up. Seasons runs peer to peer groups for children who are grieving and provide a safe community for them. I lost my parents in the 80s and before Seasons Centre was founded. But it is exactly what my siblings and I needed.
In November 2020, I became the executive ambassador to Seasons and the work I do with them is something so special and meaningful that it doesn’t compare to anything else in my career. On top of that, I also help with fund raising events and provide support either financially or by just donating my time through volunteering. In the coming months, I am also providing some pro bono insights coaching for them.
How have you adapted to the virtual environment?
I was fortunate that I had experience in doing online coaching sessions prior to the pandemic. Previously, my associate and I ran a training school internally and about 30% of the people we trained were from different parts of the country. So I was quite used to the virtual environment. Moreover, in an in person world, it would not have been possible to get the sheer number of interactions, meetings and coaching sessions that we get now! I am not going to lie, it can be a little hard to make the content engaging for the trainees, but it is up to me to keep it engaging. In the future, I plan on doing in person sessions in tandem with the virtual sessions.
What do you think makes a successful coach?
Listening! I do one on one coaching but most of the coaching is in groups. In a group, every single person has different experiences and has different needs in terms of both the level and style of coaching. Thus, you have to be a flexible listener to identify where people might be struggling.
Accepting Feedback! It’s extremely important to let go of your ego and take critical and constructive criticism – that is the best feedback you will ever get. Then take action! It will really propel you to a different level of coaching.
Following up! I constantly ask people if they understand the material. If I notice that I haven’t heard from someone in a while, I call on them or I reach out to them after the session – I want to make sure that at the end of the day, everyone is comfortable with what they have learnt.
The momentum has been amazing so far and has exceeded all my expectations. I have a number of exciting things lined up. I am running my 2nd 8 week bootcamp for category management and running a training program for Analysts and Managers in the fall. Recently, I coached an individual who was trying to move to Canada, and they just got their first job here! This is honestly a different level of intrinsic reward for coaching. So I am also figuring out a way to support more individuals who are immigrating to Canada during covid times with a tight job market.
Interested in volunteering with the Seasons Centre? You can find more details here