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How I Used My Experience in Corporate America to Reclaim My Life

How I Used My Experience in Corporate America to Reclaim My Life


For more than 30 years, Ross Cox had worked in a corporate manufacturing setting. When the time came to choose between continuing on with a corporate position or pursuing a new career path, Ross made the leap into the unknown—and that led him directly to ActionCOACH.

“It was probably the best decision I’ve ever made,” Ross said. “I wish I had done it 20 years earlier. It just opened my eyes to what’s really out there in relation to the world of business and just life in general.”

The Greensboro, North Carolina-based ActionCOACH franchise owner had worked in the textile industry for more than three decades overseeing multiple manufacturing locations domestically, as well as managing operations and travelling internationally.

In fact, Ross lived abroad in Ireland for two years, and he later spent a year in the U.K. overseeing the reorganization of the manufacturing company’s European operations.

Stateside, he was exceptionally successful throughout the 1990s, serving as VP of operations for a subsidiary of his original corporate employer. However, the economic landscape for the textile industry began to change in the 2000s, and the company was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2003.

When the company emerged from Chapter 11 in 2004, the leadership team wanted to keep Ross on board, with the stipulation that he pick up his roots and move to another state.

Fortunately, Ross was introduced to business coaching by a fellow ActionCOACH franchisee, opening up a whole new world to him.

Fear of the Unknown

Ross was clearly intrigued by the ActionCOACH franchise opportunity, but he was initially hesitant.

“I had a lot of experience,” Ross said. “But I was 57, and I was worried that I had never owned a business before and was getting in the game too late.”

A franchise model was a great choice for Ross; it bridged the gap for him as a first-time business owner.

“My operations experience made me a good fit for ActionCOACH,” Ross noted. “I already understood the importance of having systems in place that allow the business to operate more efficiently.”

Ross began his ActionCOACH training in 2004 and over the past 14 years has fallen in love with the business.

Coaching for Growth

The most rewarding aspect of being an ActionCOACH business coach is seeing his clients’ businesses grow as a result of his coaching.

One of the most memorable clients Ross has worked with was a small, custom upholstery manufacturer from which he and his wife purchased a sofa. When the company’s name showed up in a business journal on Ross’s desk, he knew he wanted to get involved. Ross called the owner to talk about business coaching.

“I remembered the great experience we had with their company,” Ross said. “I knew that they were built for growth. When I began working with them, they were earning about $800,000 in sales per year, and 60 percent of their annual sales was from a single customer, so potential for expansion was significant.”

Ross coached this company for nine years focusing on growing sales by making simple, incremental changes to the business model and identifying a partner whose sole focus was on marketing and sales. His client’s customer base grew from 15 to over 100 customers. As a result, the company’s annual revenue has increased, reaching more than $2 million in sales this year.

Ross emphasized the fact that the impact of his coaching frequently extends beyond the scope of business. He’s had on numerous occasions the spouses of business owners he’s been coaching approach him to thank him for helping improve their livelihoods and relationships.

Personal Growth is Key

Experience in operations equipped Ross with a solid foundation for ActionCOACH. The franchise model is simple and systematized, so Ross is able to dedicate a good portion of his time to self-education. He has read extensively to develop his strengths and identify his limits, and he has taken opportunities to attend educational events.

Self-development, along with a structured and disciplined daily schedule, has propelled Ross to success with the ActionCOACH system. He now works mostly off referrals he’s developed through the quality of service he provides and the networks he’s built through local Chambers of Commerce, Merchant Associations, BNI events and working on local boards of directors.

“The ActionCOACH system is simple, and if you put time into yourself and following it, you’ll succeed in this business,” Ross said.

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The concept of business coaching, as it is widely known today, was pioneered in 1993 by founder of ActionCOACH Brad Sugars. More than two decades later, the company that started it all is still on top. In fact, no franchise in the “business coaching” category is 10% of our size in total revenues.

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