Zentano’s story

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Zentano’s story

What gets us out of bed in the morning?

Three years ago, Dave and Rich (our two directors) merged their businesses under the Zentano brand. Together they embarked on a pioneering journey to change the face of leadership in the UK.

Since the merger, Zentano has continued to grow, gain traction and expand. We have worked by the side of businesses both locally and nationally and we have lots of exciting plans for the new year including a new partnership and additional services.

When agreeing a partnership one of the important questions that was asked by Dave and Rich was “Why do you do what you do?”. So, what’s the story behind Zentano? Why did Rich and Dave join forces? And why are they trying to change the face of leadership in the UK?

There are only two people who can answer those questions. So, this week we quizzed Rich and Dave to gain their insight and stories about “Why they do what they do?”.


Dave’s story

My “WHY” boils down to the person who inspires me most – “Ronald Collette”.

Ron was born in 1916, into a life of poverty, uncertainty and danger. Whilst his (single) mum did the best she could for Ron, it wasn’t until he reached adulthood that he decided to make something of his life. He forged himself a distinguished career with Rolls Royce where he rose from the shop floor into a senior management role. Ron had a life-long curiosity and thirst for learning which saw him achieve multiple qualifications.  He was offered a bursary to study at Oxford University, something he decided not to pursue as he had a young family at the time.

On his 96th birthday Ron requested a book on quantum physics, just because he thought it would be interesting to learn about!

Given Ron’s journey in life, he was in the perfect position to understand my needs as a child growing up. By the age of 10, my biological father had long gone, and my stepfather had sadly passed away (from an aggressive brain tumour that was untreatable).

This had a huge impact on me as a young boy. I struggled to deal with emotions and lacked self-confidence. Ron, my grandfather, became a strong paternal force in my life. He became a guide, mentor and coach to me. He encouraged me to have an inquisitive nature and provided a combination of loving support and developmental challenges.

Looking back on the range of things we did together; nature walks, artistic drawing, lateral thinking puzzles, card games and most importantly instilling in me a love of stories and storytelling, I have come to realise what a massive positive impact Ron had on me.

His legacy has been to instil in me a passion for helping people become more self-aware, to assist them to acquire new knowledge and skills, to achieve goals they aspire to and to be more happy, confident and fulfilled. His guidance helped me gain all these things and more for myself. I want to be the guide, coach and mentor that my grandfather was to me, to serve as many people as I can.

In my tennis club, I’ve seen what Andy Murray’s achievements and success have done for our junior players. His hard work, perseverance and resilience are shining through and inspiring the next generation. But sometimes people need role models closer to home, to their reality – a friend, a co-worker, a coach, a grandfather. The world in 2019 seems to be full of people who are more concerned about what they can gain rather than what they can give – have you ever stopped to think who you can inspire?

In telling this story I am hoping you reflect and ask yourself the question “What can I do for others to help them be the best they can be?”. The benefits can be so much more than increased productivity and efficiency – you may well leave a legacy more valuable than anything money can buy, just like Ronald Collette has done!


Rich’s story

Curiosity has nearly killed our cat – many times! He loves to chew Christmas lights, make daring leaps from ledges and eat unknown substances. But you’ll be glad to know he’s alive and well and just as mad as ever. Just like my cat, curiosity has always been an important and recurring theme for me, particularly in my career. Curiosity is WHY I’m here today helping to write a blog about Zentano.

People are often surprised to hear that before I became a coach, I had a successful career in IT. It seems a bit of a left-field move from a very tech-focused profession, to one that is almost entirely people-focused. At heart, I am still quite geeky, it’s just that I’ve transitioned from being a techy geek to a people geek! My curiosity was also matched by a desire to support and help people gain insight and achieve their potential. This is the story of how curiosity has served me well throughout my career and why everyone should be a little more curious.

I have always been fascinated by what makes people tick as well as by what makes computers tick. At age 17, I started my career in Gloucestershire County Council when PCs first started to appear in organisations.

My boss discovered I knew how to programme them and the rest, as they say, is history. As my IT career progressed, I gradually realised that although I enjoyed the techy stuff and was reasonably good at it, it was not my passion.

As a teenager who was into IT (and prog rock)! I was stereotypically nerdy and introvert. But as my career progressed and I grew in confidence, I started to realise that my curiosity helped me develop a rapport with people. They would feel listened to and not judged. I could talk the language of the people with technical and non-technical understanding and help bridge the gap between the two. So, I started to make a virtue of this. Some of my teams even joked that I should leave the techy stuff to them and they would leave the people stuff to me!

Then about 10 years ago somebody asked me if I would like to be their “coaching guinea pig”. It was free so I said yes! The coaching piqued my curiosity even further. I was so struck by it that it became a key turning point in my life. I was so taken with the potential of coaching that I decided that this was what I wanted to do instead of IT.

I set myself a goal to train to become a coach and set up my own coaching company. My curiosity helped me to look for and take opportunities and to track very different development paths to what had gone before. I got my Masters in Coaching and Mentoring, I spent several years operating as an internal coach and facilitator until 5 years ago I took the plunge, left and set up my own coaching company. Then three years ago Dave and I merged our companies under the name Zentano and here we are today!

I still love my techy stuff (currently obsessed by my Apple watch) but it’s helping and supporting people that drives what I do. I believe that good coaching is curiosity-led. It creates a relationship where people can explore their issues in a supportive and challenging environment. Coaching also helps managers and leaders develop their curiosity and their ability to learn how to be more effective.

We would love to hear stories about what or who inspired you. Also, if your curiosity has been piqued or you feel you need some inspiration and want someone to guide you, we would be more than happy to set up a time to talk.

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