Interview by Marija Butkovic @MarijaButkovic
Nicole Soames is CEO of Diadem Performance, a leading commercial skills training and coaching company, and author of ‘The Influence Book’ and ‘The Negotiation Book’. For more information about Nicole, visit www.diademperformance.com follow her on twitter @nicoleSAuthor, @diademperform or visit www.nicolesoamesbooks.com. ‘The Influence Book – Practical Steps to becoming a Strong Influencer’ by Nicole Soames is available to buy at WHSmith, on www.amazon.co.uk, at www.lidpublising.com and at most good book shops.
Nicole, when did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
My Eureka moment came when I first met clinical psychologist and emotional intelligence (EQ) expert Dr Martyn Newman and recognized that combining EQ principles with commercial skills training could result in a seismic improvement to people’s performance. Since then, my mission in life has been to set people up for success by helping them develop their emotional intelligence so they can achieve the extraordinary. Writing has enabled me to go beyond the classroom and inspire a wider audience to be the very best that they can be. There is something deeply enduring about books which I love – people share them with others and have them on hand whenever they need to refer to them.
Tell us a bit more about you and your projects so far.
I’m a highly qualified coach, EQ practitioner and author with extensive commercial experience gained from 12 years leveraging large sales teams for Unilever and United Biscuits, followed by 15 years developing and delivering training programmes across the world. In 2009 I took the plunge and set up Diadem, now a leading commercial skills training and coaching company. We now have over 85 clients in more than 15 different countries and deliver EQ based training and coaching in negotiation, selling & influencing, marketing, presenting and leadership & management.
How long did it take you to write ‘The Influence Book’?
From starting to write page one of the first chapter to the book launch itself, it takes me about nine months – so it really does feel like having a baby!
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
As CEO of Diadem, I have a very busy diary, so the only way I’ve found time to write is to be extremely disciplined and focused. I plan out how long each chapter will take and fix the time in my diary. I’m religious about it – so if I have to cancel my writing session for a meeting or work commitment, I make sure I reschedule the time within five working days so that I stay on track. As I often say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
A lot of my inspiration comes from the people I work with or train. As a trainer and coach I’m in the privileged position to hear lots of different people’s stories – this means that I constantly feel as though I am learning and growing. I then combine this with my commercial and EQ expertise and together this forms the content of my books.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I dedicate my time to finding and then training and coaching people to be the very best they can be, as well as constantly stretching myself and my team to develop and learn new skills. I also try to stay fit and love spending time with my husband, two daughters, two dogs, my wonderful team and wide social network!
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your books?
That it is so important to practice what you preach. Given the busy pace of life, it can be tempting to take shortcuts, so I always remind myself of the importance of carving out time for yourself and others.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
I don’t have favourites – I love all my books the same! I have already published two books, “The Negotiation Book” and “The Influence Book” and my third – “The Coaching Book – Practical Step to Becoming a Confident Coach” will be released in October this year.
Do you have any suggestions to help our readers become a better writer? If so, what are they?
I’m a big believer that you need to start with the end in mind so take the time to brainstorm the content of your book. Then apply the storyboarding technique to help you structure your book effectively. This will help you order you thoughts and break the book down into manageable chunks. These can be your chapter headings. I also recommend having someone you trust to bounce your ideas off – by discussing the content out loud you can double check that it strikes the right note with your reader.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I’ve had lots of wonderful feedback from my readers who have expressed how accessible they have found my books and how applicable they are to daily life. I’m all about making the difficult seem easy which is why I have included so many handy tools and techniques to help you put the theory into practice.
Is #WomenInBusiness movement important to you and if yes, why?
As a business woman and mumpreneur, I’m passionate about supporting other women so they can achieve their full potential. In my experience, women are more likely than their male counterparts to struggle with imposter syndrome because they tend to doubt their own abilities. I always tell women that they need to believe in themselves so they can be on the front-foot and have the confidence and ambition to negotiate their own true worth.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to all female entrepreneurs and women in business out there?
Be brave and keep pushing yourself to move into your stretch zone where you grow and develop. Face your fears and ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen? And above all follow your passion – after all, happiness is loving what you do and who you do it with.
Who are your 3 inspirational women in business?
Brene Brown – Her TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability (is one of the top ten most viewed TED talks in the world and is a powerful reminder of the importance of staying in touch with your vulnerable side.
Michelle Obama – I’ve just finished reading her autobiography “Becoming” and as a coach who is passionate about personal development, the words that really resonated with me was when she said, “Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done”.
Jo Malone - Despite growing up with severe dyslexia and leaving school without any qualifications, she had the ambition and drive to overcome obstacles and create her own hugely successful business.
For more info about Nicole, check her website.
Purchase Nicole’s book ‘The Influence Book’ via LID Publishing website here.
Join us for our March meetup - Balancing Motherhood and Business - and you can win Nicole’s book!
This interview was conducted by Marija Butkovic, Digital Marketing and PR strategist, founder and CEO of Women of Wearables and co-founder of Kisha Smart Umbrella. She regularly writes and speaks on topics of wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT, entrepreneurship and diversity. Visit marijabutkovic.co.uk or follow Marija on Twitter @MarijaButkovic @Women_Wearables @GetKisha.