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UWE graduate develops his international network

Toby Bartholomew, who graduated from UWE in 2016 and writes about his internship in Finland.  “At the end of my time with the Team Entrepreneurship course I had the difficult task of deciding which path I wanted to take for the next chapter of my life. Using the connections I had created over the 3 years, I opened up discussions with various leads in coaching, consulting and creativity. One particular opportunity stuck out to me, an Erasmus program which funded young entrepreneurs to travel to a different country within the EU. After seeing this I got in contact with Senior Team Coach and creator of Play4Ever, Mikael Hirvi and after a few months of planning out my work I was on my way to Finland to work with him.

Since arriving in Finland I have developed a large international network by speaking and working with people from areas all over Finland as well as visiting Germany and Austria to develop some projects there. I have learnt new ways of team coaching and sales by working with Mikael and his colleagues and I have experienced a completely new climate in which I work where there are temperatures of -25 degrees and only 5 hours of daylight.

-25 C and only 5 hours of daylight

-25 C and only 5 hours of daylight

This first step has been enlightening and full of opportunities to learn about the coaching industry, different cultures and how different industries can use the team academy methodologies and tools to improve. Whilst being in Finland I have been doing Post-Motorola’s to self-reflect on how I am progressing and what I need to improve. Very quickly I recognised that sales is something that I would like to improve so, after discussing it with Mikael we made my main task to look into whether Play4Ever would be a good fit in the UK market and if so generate leads to follow this through. This has certainly developed my patience as I did not realize what a long process this would turn out to be. The research initially was fascinating and fairly quick. However, the next stage of cold calling prospective academies took a bit more time. Luckily for me I have experience in cold calling through multiple projects whilst on the Team Entrepreneurship course and the calls produced some very interested leads on the other end.

We have just had our meetings with the leads generated from my work with the cold calls and prospects are looking good. Our aim to provide the young athletes with the entrepreneurial skills they need if they choose to take another path away from playing professional sports has taken a step closer to reality!

I have also just had my first coaching session with a team from a large organisation and where I was able to see that the effect of team coaching and team learning is not limited to those in universities but is eye-opening for those who are beginning, in the middle of and ending their careers. My role within this intensive 3 day coaching programme (the first of a set of 5) was to provide my insights from my journey as a team entrepreneur and to support a team through the process of team learning and this meant that I was able to experience the coachee’s feelings of chaos, relief, frustration and celebration as they went through the process of team learning.

I still have another 2 months left with the Erasmus programme and I am planning to make the most of my time, developing myself as much as I can and planning the next step. I am already seeing new opportunities appear and I am excited to see where the next path takes me.”

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