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Anish Kapoor will never forget the coach’s brutal honesty which changed his leadership style.

Kapoor has been at the helm of Manchester-based AccessPay for 10 years and its technology is now used in more than 200 million transactions a year.

After three years of hockey stick grown the business had plateaued a bit before enjoying rapid growth again.

Despite the outward success something wasn’t quite right and it needed someone from the outside to see what it was.

The CEO told TechBlast’s latest Going 4 Growth roundtable: “I got an advisor on board about 18 months ago. He was an experienced non exec and he really helped. He changed my thinking about how I approached things.

“He really pushed me to get a personal coach and that’s been the single most transformative thing for me as an individual and for the business.

“What the coach said to me was ‘the single biggest limiting factor for your business is you, the founder and CEO. If you are not investing in yourself, if you’re not the best you, how can you have the best business?’”

It might not have been what he wanted to hear but Kapoor took the advice on board and the results have been remarkable.

Staff numbers have trebled in a year from 60 to 180 and are about to reach 200.

“It’s no accident that we have had this great 12-18 months and it’s coincided with doing the work with the coach, thinking a lot harder about the way I do things, the way I interact with people and the way I build the team,” he says.

HealthTech pioneer wins TechBlast’s Star of the Week

“As the founder / CEO / business leader you go through your own ups and downs. You have to get to a point where you reconcile yourself to a number of key questions. Why am I putting all this effort in? What am I getting out of it? How does what I’m doing on a day-to-day make me happy and fulfilled?”

The result is Kapoor is a completely different CEO from the one two years ago.

“My role in the business now is to coach, grow and improve the team that reports to me,” he explains. “It’s all about people. The reality is we are a tech business but we need people to build and operate the tech.

“That was my big nirvana moment. My job is to empower people. That’s all I need to do as a leader.”

  • Anish Kapoor has been chosen as TechBlast’s latest Star of the Week.  Executive editor Chris Maguire explains: “AccessPay has trebled in size and Anish has overseen that. However his leadership extends beyond the financial performance of the company.  By listening to a coach he started to invest in himself to become a better CEO and the results have been outstanding.”