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Small and medium-sized financial services businesses in Sussex are being offered dramatic discounts on business coaching. An innovative Business Fitness Coaching programme is to be run by the Financial Services Skills Council (FSSC), which launched last year to improve the skills base, raise productivity and improve business performance in the financial services sector.

Owner/managers of insurance brokers, financial advisers or other financial services providers with less than 200 staff may apply for a place on the Sussex programme, which is funded by Sussex Learning and Skills Council and begins with an introductory workshop on 1st March 2005 at Northbrook College Financial Services Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) in Worthing.

The Business Coaching Programme enables busy owner/managers to take time out from the business to accelerate their professional and personal growth. Whether their goals are to determine the vision of the company or to develop their leadership and management skills, the one-on-one coaching programme will be tailored to meet their individual needs and objectives and achieve measurable business outcomes "“ such as sales growth or efficiency savings.

Based on the same principles as personal fitness coaching, experienced business coaches will work closely with participants to review the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges facing their businesses in 2005 and to help them meet their objectives and targets. The introductory one day workshop will help participants to assess their current business position, set objectives and identify six month improvement milestones. This will be followed by four personal coaching sessions and two further workshops.

At the end of the six-month programme, the individual and coach will review achievements against the objectives set. The FSSC will award a Business Excellence prize to the individual who has made the most significant progress and produced substantial and sustainable results.

"We piloted the programme in Surrey last year and it was highly successful" says Isabelle Bearn-Fournier, FSSC Business Development Manager for South East England. "All the participants gained tangible benefits from the coaching "“ in fact one firm increased its profit margin by 25% in four months!"

The business coaching programme "“ which would cost participants up to £2,000 at market rates "“ is priced at just £150 (or £50 to members of the FSSC). For further information visit www.fssc.org.uk/businessfitnesscoaching

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