Lesley Calland has spent much of her life proving people wrong.

“When I separated from my husband I had no money and no support to my name and a young son to bring up,” she recalls. “People told me ‘you’ll never manage’ but I’m still here. Never tell a woman they can’t do something!”

With her son now grown up and having clocked up 10 years as a successful business coach, the budding entrepreneur is determined to prove her doubters wrong again with the launch of her business Myonlinecoach at the age of 56.

“I think it will become the Uber of coaching,” she says. “It will make coaching much more accessible. It’s an idea I’ve had for seven years and I realised if I didn’t launch it now I never would.

“By the time you reach this age, you have probably experienced, seen or heard most things that life can throw at you.

“This means that deep down you most likely have the answer to any problem or know someone who can help you when you get stuck.

“Tapping into that level of understanding about yourself can give you a whole new edge of confidence and a ‘no fear’ attitude.

“I am finding that creating a legacy on the back of everything  I have learnt in life is the best way I can give back, but learning new things at this stage is helping me retain my freshness and relevancy as a businesswoman too.”

The platform connects professional career coaches with individuals, businesses and organisations looking for coaching.

Impact of COVID

Speaking at TechBlast’s latest Going 4 Growth roundtable she says COVID-19 highlighted the importance of online coaching.

“I remember I had one day in particular when I coached 16 different people,” she recalls. “I can only physically coach two people an hour so I thought ‘how do I get to the point where  I’ve got 1,000 people being coached at the same time?’ That’s where Myonlinecoach comes in.”

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The Lancashire-based entrepreneur only launched the business in January but has already got more than 200 coaches waiting to be onboarded.

All the coaches are professionally accredited and bring with them years of industry experience.

“It works on so many different levels,” she says. “If someone is panicking about a job interview the following day they can go on the website and find a coach who specialises in interview techniques and book a session and hopefully get the job the next day. That’s the dream.

“Some people would like to speak to a coach in the evening. I have a lot of coaches who hold down full time jobs and only coach in the evening and at weekends. It’s about being flexible.

“I had so many people reach out to me during COVID that I realised how big the need was for Myonlinecoach.

“Four weeks in and it’s going well. We have a high volume of quality coaches being onboarded, some great connections being formed, our first customers have joined us and moreover a huge amount of support that what we creating is without doubt needed.”

Calland has worked with thestartupfactory.tech on building the technology, which allows individuals to view, select and book a coach and session at a time that works for them.

The other key element to Myonlinecoach is its signature programme, The Edge, which is specifically aimed at technical teams and is believed the first career development programme of its type in the UK specifically for technical teams.