With the help of SIT2LRN, former international cricketer Shayne O’Connor is developing a new career as a professional life and business coach.
The 46-year-old father of four played 19 tests and 38 One Day Internationals for New Zealand before retiring from the game and going into business in Central Otago.
After running a small orchard and gourmet fruit product manufacturing business, and then a successful 13-year stint with Trail Journeys, the original cycle tour operator on the Otago Central Rail Trail, Shayne decided to change gears in 2017.
“To go from cricket to real life was a massive decision. Not really knowing what I was going to do was frightening,” he said.
“Then, having done 15 years in business and just cutting myself off from a regular income and a successful business which would have sustained me for the rest of my life, into something that was a bit of an unknown – that was really frightening.”
Shayne’s latest pursuit – Perspective Personal Solutions – is designed to help people gain perspective and get the best out of themselves and their teams.
His journey to starting this venture included completing a Diploma in Professional Coaching through SIT2LRN over 18 months, initially studying part-time while managing Trail Journeys, and then full-time from home, while his wife ran another business and he looked after the couple’s children.
“The first thing I went looking for when I wanted to take on a coaching course, was one that would be credible. I didn’t go looking based on the cost, or the short timeframe of a course. I wanted my clients to feel safe in the knowledge that I’d taken on a genuine diploma where I’ve had to work hard for a long time.”
Going back to school was initially not a comfortable experience, Shayne admitted.
“Especially when you weren’t that good at it the first time you went through it at school. I’ve always had a bit of a phobia about academia.
“I was terrified, but I was genuinely interested in what I was studying.”
Shayne has been interested in helping people for a long time.
“I remember a cricket tour in India in 1999 when I bought my first self-help book, thinking I needed to work on myself and be able to control my own thoughts better.
“I thought what I was doing was psychology, so I went and did a few psychology papers, but when that path started getting into mental illness I realised that it wasn’t for me.
“What I love about coaching is the fact I am working with motivated people who just feel like they have got stuck fighting fires all the time. They are focused on the next job that lands in front of them, instead of what they had planned, or what their ambitions were.
“If I can work with people so they can actually enjoy a bit more of what they want to be doing; whether that’s their business goals, or getting home to the family, or whatever it is, that would be really fulfilling for me.”