Hayley Anderson-Richardson is the owner and Managing Director of Families In Sync; an original and inspiring independent company that offers a full range of support services across all elements of family life. At the end of 2016 Hayley was matched up with mentor Andrew Barrett, an Independent Assurance Lead at Lloyds Banking Group. This month we chatted to Hayley and Andy about their mentoring journey, and how contrasting skill sets can be the key to success.
In today’s climate, such things as one-on-one therapy or couples counselling are familiar concepts in the field of lifestyle coaching, but it is a unique, innovative, and inspirational idea to be offering support to the whole family dynamic, and Hayley Anderson-Richardson is making waves in the world of wellbeing with her family-focussed business.
Based in North Yorkshire, Hayley worked in health and social care for many years, but in 2014 she faced difficult challenges in her personal and professional life, which forced her to re-evaluate her work. Hayley says: “I had already set up Families In Sync as a side business, but I was in a very serious horse riding accident, which I have fully recovered from now, that changed everything. At the time I didn’t know if I was going to be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, and when the company I worked for changed a few months’ later, I took a redundancy package and decided it was the time to really go for it with Families In Sync. I had three young children at home and my accident had changed my perspective, and I wanted to create something that would work for myself and my children, but that would offer support to other families out there too.”
Families In Sync offers a range of coaching, training and packages to give the highest levels of care and support for families, including such things as helping new mums with feeding, children’s behavioural issues, and helping parents to find the right work-life balance, as well as training healthcare and childcare providers in a range of family-focused issues. Its most recent offering is The Wild Tribe; a monthly subscription tribe for Mummas across the world to support each other, enabling you to lead a calmer and more balanced mindful family lifestyle and improve your child’s learning – all inspired by nature.
A year and a half into the business, a friend advised Hayley about the benefits of mentoring, and Hayley was subsequently introduced to Andrew through the IOEE. Hayley says: “Having a mentor is fantastic, and Andy is sort of my ‘voice of reason’ – he keeps me focused when I’m getting distracted by lots of shiny objects! I’ll have a million ideas a minute and get really excited about everything I want to do, and would just try and throw myself into it all and get really carried away – but Andy makes me slow down and stop and consider everything properly. He’ll get me to think about why I want to do it, what will it take, what’s the desired outcome and the potential pitfalls. Sometimes the idea isn’t worth running with at the time, but if it is, Andy will help me to set goals and targets and create a timeline. It’s exactly what I need.
“Andy is from a completely different industry to me, but I think that enhances the mentoring experience, as he’s able to be objective about my business. He’s also a parent too, and it’s really helpful to get that second perspective when I’m bouncing ideas around.”
In helping other families, Hayley’s business has also enabled positive changes within her own family life, and she explains how she feels she’s finally found that elusive work-life balance: “Creating Families In Sync means that I’ve been able to take control of work and home, and I’m now there for family events 99% of the time; school assemblies, plays, meetings, and such things that you sometimes have to miss when you’re less in control of your own schedule. Having a mentor has helped me to create that balance.
“With Families In Sync I am essentially mentoring in a way – so even the mentors can do with mentors! Andy has played such a big part in keeping me focused, and I feel that everyone can benefit from that support – without it, I’d just keep being distracted by all the shiny things!”
As an Independent Assurance Lead at Lloyds Banking Group, Andrew works in a very different field to Hayley’s family-focused business, but he says that their contrasting skills are very complimentary: “I work at a bank and I’m used to framing things, using reference points, making a plan, setting targets and finding the right way to achieve them. Hayley and I are industries apart, but my experience enables me to offer her guidance in the elements of the business where she’s less experienced, and together that makes a strong team.
“Hayley’s a total ‘ideas person’. She’s got so much passion and energy for what she does and she always has something new that she wants to explore! What I do as a mentor is provoke thought, to get Hayley to think about the questions that she should be asking herself – why are you doing that, how will it work, what value will it bring? In my role at Lloyds it’s my job to answer questions and find solutions, but in my role as a mentor it’s important to guide the mentee to ask the questions and find the solution themselves. I add structure to the idea, and with that combination the idea can thrive.”
When Andy discovered Lloyds’ Mentoring Programme he was keen to explore the opportunity, not only to support mentees, but to enhance his own working life too. Andy says: “The main reason I went for it was because I wanted to offer support for those people trying to set up a business or take it to the next level, but I also wanted to expand my horizons too – to get a wider appreciation of what goes on outside of my day-to-day banking role.
What’s been especially interesting is the crossover of transferable skills. Aside from being a parent, I don’t have any experience in Hayley’s family-focused field, but that doesn’t matter in a mentoring relationship – there are many similarities in business, regardless of the area of industry.
“The bank is very supportive and we’re given time away from the business to dedicate to mentoring. Hayley and I talk regularly and meet in person every six to eight weeks, and we work together really well. Sometimes people don’t always know what a mentor is for, they think it’s business advice, but having a mentor isn’t free consultancy. It’s a mentor’s job to be a good listener and a sounding board and offer guidance and support. Hayley has evolved tremendously over the last year and a half, and I know she’s got even more ideas about where to go next!”