Soaring high after RAF career
Former RAF Chief Technician, Graham Orange, spent years researching possible routes to becoming a business owner in the run up to his retirement from HM Forces.
It wasn’t until January 2015, when working in the structures bay at RAF Marham, that Graham spotted an advertisement for ActionCOACH, the world’s number one business coaching franchise.
Graham, now 46 years old, went straight from school to working as a mechanic at a Volkswagen dealership and continued with the company in aftersales management until he was 20. He craved more adventure in his life and decided to join the RAF as an engineer. 25 years of service working on battlefield helicopters, fast jets and transport aircraft followed.
He certainly got the adventure he was looking for when he joined the global aircraft recovery team, heading off around the world after crashes of both UK military and civilian aircraft. Graham explains, “It was this which led to my interest in coaching. The teams I took out to recoveries had to deal with some shocking scenes and the Royal Marines developed a programme, Trauma Risk Management, to identify and help those who may have been affected by the work we had to do. I learned through this programme to deal with people, asking the right questions to understand their state of mind.”
After so many years with the RAF, Graham’s challenges were dwindling. He had passed a significant pension point and began searching for his next mission. “I picked up a resettlement magazine and saw ActionCOACH advertised. I contacted them and soon afterwards had a telephone interview with their UK Co-founder, Ian Christelow. I loved the idea of self development, I like to learn and facing new ideas throughout a journey with ActionCOACH really appealed to me. My wife, Liz, joined me on the discovery day at the UK support team office in March 2015. From that point, we both decided we wanted to be involved with this particular franchise.”
Making a break
The following month, Graham attended ActionCOACH’s annual Business Excellence Forum and began to apply to leave the RAF, negotiating to leave in time to begin his training in October. “Not only was this a huge step to leave the public sector and a secure job but we also had to move from married quarters back to the home we owned in South Wales.
“The initial training was brilliant. In particular, the sales and psychology of how people buy was really interesting having not worked in sales before. After the training, we prepared ourselves to launch the business in January 2016.
“I began marketing my new business using the ActionCOACH 6 Steps Seminar and our exclusive lead generation centre because, at that point, I didn’t really know what networking was. At the end of month one, I had secured my first one-to-one coaching client. As my confidence built, I began ‘bold calling’ where I would walk into businesses to pitch to be their growth coach and used one of the ActionCOACH strategic alliance partners, Avalanche, to foster new client relationships via LinkedIn.
“I now have five one-to-one coaching clients, group coaching clients and have recently added the employee engagement programme, Engage & Grow. It’s trebled my income compared to what I earned in the RAF and, by December I aim to reach a monthly income of £18,000.”
By becoming an Action Coach, you’ll be invited to a world of knowledge, experience and guaranteed returns on investment. You receive world class training, an intensive 10-day induction training and 4-day UK MasterCLASS. You have access to a library of resources and the ongoing support of their global and national ActionCOACH teams through group coaching webinars, individual coaching calls, quarterly conferences, quarterly team meetings and training days, and an extensive global intranet system – in fact, there are around 70 days a year of professional development opportunities for its franchise owners.
In November 2016, Graham scooped a national award for his successful transition from the services to civvy street. He was presented with the Nationwide Resettlement Award for Service Leaver Franchisee of the Year, at a glittering black-tie event held in Manchester, by journalist and TV presenter Bill Turnbull.
Sponsored by Nationwide, the awards recognise the achievements of service leavers who have successfully progressed to life as a civilian. Graham was thrilled by the award win, “The previous year’s winner, Steve Gaskell, (also an Action Coach) suggested I enter the awards and, not having done so previously, I was a little nervous. Once I had completed the application form, with some fantastic help from Liz, I felt it was definitely the right thing to do and my family, friends and the franchise deserved recognition for their support.
“I felt honoured to be nominated as a finalist and felt very excited about attending the dinner to celebrate the winners’ accomplishments. Little did I know I would be walking away with the trophy and the biggest smile ever!”
ActionCOACH UK only currently has two franchise owners who have joined directly from the armed forces, so to scoop first prize for Military Resettlement of the Year twice is a fantastic endorsement of how well suited ex-military officers are to the UK’s Best Mid-Priced Franchise.
A satisfying career
In the last year, Graham has faced the unknown but he loves his new career and lifestyle. Being self-employed through ActionCOACH brings him great job satisfaction.
“Whilst this is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done because it was a complete change, the support has been fantastic and I couldn’t have asked for more. I’ve had my Coaches’ Coach to turn to during weekly calls – how could I not have a coach myself when I expect my clients to trust and invest in me?
“One of the major changes has been in my work-life balance. Back when my children, Danny and Rosie, were born and during their early years, I was sent on detachments to Iraq, Afghanistan and the USA. Running my ActionCOACH business means I am around a lot more for important family occasions and that feels great.”
ActionCOACH’s franchise owners come from all walks of life from soldiers to teachers. To join this rapidly growing team of over 150 business growth coaches in the UK, you’ll need to raise a personal contribution to your investment of at least £10k (banks can lend up to £30k unsecured) and impress the ActionCOACH directors with your past successes, desire to help others and appetite for learning and growth. The basic entry level investment for an ActionCOACH franchise is £21k and some of the UK coaches have already achieved revenues in excess of half a million pounds a year.