NORWICH — Jane Coddington honed her leadership skills for 16 years as executive director of a local nonprofit. Now she’s putting those skills to different use by taking her Breakthrough! Consulting & Coaching business full time with a new office in Norwich.
Coddington actually began offering management consulting and executive coaching on a part-time basis in 2005, but it was the recent revamping of her business plan that made her realize she was more than ready to upgrade the business to a full-time venture.
She redid her business plan to meet a requirement of a microenterprise class offered by the Chenango County Chamber of Commerce, which also made her eligible to apply for a microenterprise grant through Development Chenango County. Coddington received a $15,000 grant that enabled her to open her offices in the Eaton Center at 19 Eaton Ave.
In return, “I’ll be putting on an assistant in the coming months,” Coddington says. As a condition of the grant, recipients are required to provide employment for low-income workers.
“It’s really a nice place to be,” she says of her two-room office suite in the Eaton Center. The facility is centrally located, has plenty of parking, and is home to a good mix of businesses. Previously, Coddington operated the business from her home, which worked well enough for a part-time venture, but didn’t give many options for meeting with clients, she says.
At the Eaton Center, Coddington has access to conference rooms, so she can meet with clients there or visit them at their place of business. She signed a 15-month lease with Who’s We, LLC for the space.
Prior to taking Breakthrough! full time, Coddington served as executive director of Catholic Charities of Chenango County from 1995 until leaving the post to open her office in October.
As executive director, Coddington had plenty of opportunity to put her leadership skills to work overseeing the agency’s nearly $5 million budget and staff of 100. She also helped the agency land more than $3 million in grants from foundations and government-funding sources and helped initiate and guide the Diocesan Collaboration Committee to increase communication and cooperation between the six Catholic Charities organizations in the diocese.
However, it was studying for her doctoral degree in industrial/organization psychology — which she received in 2007 from the Harold Abel School of Psychology at Capella University in Minneapolis, Minn. — that made Coddington realize her true calling.
“In the course of making that decision and starting those studies, I realized that what I really loved to do … was working with people and groups to achieve their full potential,” she says. So she formed Breakthrough! in 2005.
“It’s grown, and I’ve grown,” she says of the business and herself. Breakthrough!’s clients have covered a wide range of businesses from schools, government entities, churches, and nonprofits to manufacturing companies such as Agro Farma. She declined to release specific client numbers or revenue figures.
With her new office, Coddington hopes to expand her customer base to include more executive-coaching clients.
“I’m looking for businesses with people in leadership positions or middle management that they want to develop,” she says.
To help reach out to those businesses, Coddington will offer new training options in 2012, including lunch-and-learn training sessions she can conduct on-site at a client’s business.
She also started a monthly e-newsletter — the first issue went out in December — that covers a variety of topics pertinent to leadership and management, and is preparing packets of information to drop off at area businesses.
Coddington also hopes to make her website (www.breakthrough2thriving.com), which is still a work in progress, more interactive with webinars and other training options right on the site.
By the end of 2012, Coddington plans to bring on the required employee, who will most likely take over all the e-communication efforts to leave Coddington free to ramp up the coaching business. She hopes her lunch-and-learn sessions will turn into several half-day or even full-day training program options as well.
Over the next several years, Coddington hopes to utilize her own training and studies to develop more programs, such as experiential workshops for executives that will immerse them in the training.
“Ultimately what we provide will be unique, will be signature to our company, and will be based on research and our science,” Coddington says.
Along with a doctoral degree in psychology, Coddington holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from SUNY Cortland and Elmira College, respectively. Prior to serving as executive director of Catholic Charities, she worked for the Indian Hills Council, Inc. of the Girl Scouts, where she served as director of programs from 1985 to 1993 and assistant executive director from 1993 to 1995.