Our guest today latches on the core essence of this platform to tell his story and that of many, who daily struggle with personal challenges. With experiences as a successful accountant, business consultant and Life Coach, Mr. Ayo Benson’s story offers problem-solving nuggets and leaves many lessons to be drawn. The UK-based Nigerian holds an MBA from Oxford University, UK.
I am a business consultant and a Life Coach for businesses, individuals, and business leaders. I just thought I need to be I need to reach many people that is why I came up with the book, Gold Mind of Your Mind, I also have a few businesses in Nigeria. I have procurement and a logistic company. We help businesses by things from the UK and we help them bring the goods to Nigeria. We have an office in Ikeja.
In the Uk, I have a company called MBC Consult. That is the vehicle for my consultancy business. The Life Coach part is like a passion for me. When I help people solve business problems, and in the course of my discussion with them, they tell me about their personal problems and when I help them solve the problems, they will tell others.
On problem-solving nuggets
I thought I should write a book in order to reach so many people. That was how I sat down to write the book. I know that the mind is more important than anything else because in life, whether you do something or you don’t do it, everything depends on your belief-system.
We have been conditioned to believe that human beings have certain limitations. I started thinking about how to reach so many people with the knowledge I gathered over the years.
I found out that since I speak to people on a one-one-one basis and solve their problems, it will be a good thing to reach a larger audience so I can solve many problems. Writing it was not easy because of businesses. But I believe it will impact so many people.
Did your growing up influence how and what you are today?
Absolutely! When I do coaching I spend the first one-hour exploring people’s childhood because belief-system, the way we learned to walk, the way we learned to talk also shaped made us who we are today. We copy things around us and internalize them. That is why I am always concerned about digging out the childhood narrative of my clients.
For instance, there was a Nigerian client I had who had done a lot of businesses without success. He jumped from one thing to the other without success.
When I was digging about his childhood, I found out that the man hated his mother. He said his mother killed his father.
In fact, he made a lot of accusations against the mother. When I asked if he would ever forgive her, he said never, adding that he would rather die than forgive her. I told him that forgiveness is not for the mother but for him.
I told him that anyone, who harbours grudges by not forgiving, is harming himself. Mandela said he forgave those, who wronged him because of himself. At that point, I told him all he was going through were spiritual problems and asked him to go and forgive his mother first before I could attend to him again.
After four weeks he called that he wanted to see me, I gave him an appointment. He told me that he had forgiven his mother and since then he began experiencing business turn-around.
He did that and things radically changed for him. There are things in life that we cannot see but that does not mean they do not exist.
Are saying that the act of forgiving was key to who you are today?
I learned about forgiveness from Wendall 15 years ago. His father abandoned him and he was taken to a foster home. At the home, he was moved from one foster parent to the other. So, his father never showed up and he never met him until the man died.
His life was all about drinking and doing drugs. He was a Professor but he was not happy doing anything. He went back to his father’s grave, knelt down and cried. He said he had forgiven his father and things turned around for him.
His first book after that, sold in millions. I told the man the story as well and it helped in encouraging him to forgive his mother.I have a seminar coming up on May 7, 2017 at Reliance Hotel, Ikeja.
I want people to come and experience instantaneous change. I will start by helping people to get their mind right because most people are aware of the steps to take but they lack the internal will to do so. And if you don’t fix internal problems, if you work 18 hours daily, you will never get it right.
People need to be taught how to get their mind right and activate that part of their mind that can put them on autopilot which they are not even aware of.
There are patterns that people are not even aware of. In families, for instance, you will see a mother who got pregnant at 15, gave birth at 15 and the daughter will do the same thing. And if they don’t fix it, it will continue in that family.
It is also so for some individuals, who have business failures consistently. It is not the business that fails but the individual. There are also people, who touch anything and it becomes successful. So, if we can get people to get their minds right so that the pattern running in their subconsciousness will run the right kind of pattern.
If that is fixed, business ideas and ventures will work out for the individual. But if you try to fix a business problem without fixing the person behind it, it will be a fruitfulness effort.
You are a man of many parts and seem to be on top of your game, what inspires you?
I know I have gifts, but so many people have gifts also. But it is all about developing them. Most people say I am a business consultant, accountant, an author and a Life Coach. And they often ask if I am not doing too much.
However, I remember an author that said: ‘’don’t let the music die in you.’’ So, I want to make use of all my gifts to help many people. Since I came back to Nigeria, I have done three seminars and those, who attended went back home with springs on their legs. I am not done yet with my pursuits.
People view achievements in material terms but I view it from the standpoint of how many lives I have touched.
It is also important to ask how many people I have inspired. I am motivated by the fact that people don’t just look at me but copy what I have done. I see that as the biggest compliment.
What is it about coaching that people are taking to it? What is actually the attraction?
The simplest term to describe it is that coaching is miraculous. If you experienced coaching at the deepest part of it, you will understand the benefits.
There are so many people who are in it without the capabilities. I do it because I genuinely believe that I can help people out of their problems. I do it because I have insight into people. I can diagnose people and find out things stopping them from achieving their goals.
For instance, the CEO of Google said the first time his mentor told him he needed to get a coach 15 years ago, he asked what he needed a coach for. He said he is one of the best CEOs in the world that he did not need a coach. Eventually, he was convinced to get a coach.
Today, he is encouraging people to get a coach based on his belief that no matter how brilliant and successful one is, the person still has blind spots.
I am talking about the blind spot in self-awareness which is about individuals knowing themselves.
On psychometric tests
There are so many software and psychometric tests out there which I recommend for people who have certain problems to solve and those who want improvement in their careers. People that are absolutely brilliant and successful still have blind spots. For instance, an individual knows his strengths and weaknesses but those observing the individual may see things differently and they may see the strengths and weaknesses differently. What the psychometric test does is to assess an individual with questions and it takes about 15 minutes to do that.
When I carry out such test, the people concerned always feel as if I have been spying on them since they were born. The reason coaching works very well is that a good coach will be able to analyse every kind of problem and produce a result.
I try to separate my business consulting from coaching which is much personal. As a coach, I don’t need any knowledge of someone’s business, all I am interested in is the challenge that individual is encountering at a particular time. In coaching, the entry bar is very low but the success bar is very high.
For someone to say that he is a successful coach, he should be able to mention his clients. I think client themselves should be able to determine who is a good coach and who is not.
If a client with a specific problem to solve and booked me for three months, if the problem is not solved, the client will probably not hire me again. I don’t have a lot of clients because when you solve problems for people you need to focus on the people to see how they are doing.
Despite the popularity that coaching is gaining in Nigeria, the country is still a hotbed of the kind of problems that coaching seeks to solve. What do you make of that?
I had a client who retired at the age of 60 and all the children are grown up and she paid off her mortgages. She was depressed and one of my clients referred her to me saying the woman had been on Prosac (the drug used to treat depression) yet she was not happy. The number one challenge was that she had been doing something for about 40 years and suddenly the thing was taken away, she needed a transition. And such transition is usually very difficult for individuals when they do not understand what they need to do at that time.
Anyone, who does not have a good plan will find it very difficult to readjust into that new system. If such transition is not well managed, individuals would find themselves depressed. When the woman called me, I booked her for three sessions. I found out that her children were grown and she was just lonely. I then asked her about her passion and she started crying at a point.
When I inquired she said nobody had asked her about that before. It was at that point that she told me she loved working with children and when I asked why she did not do that. She said all through her career she thought about doing it but the fear of failure prevented her. That reminded me of my belief that education often times hold some people, hostage because they fear they have much to lose. That prevents them from making bold moves. That is why some people, who dropped out of school have ruthlessness in them that makes them succeed.
It is because they have something to proof. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Kanye West among others dropped out of school and they are doing well today because they had the desire to proof people wrong. The woman could not leave her job because she was afraid. But I encouraged her and we designed a plan. In about three months, she raised three hundred thousand pounds and in six months, the depression disappeared. She was not actually doing it for money but she made a turnover of five hundred thousand pounds. Two problems were solved because she pursued her passion and money came in.
Without coaching, she could still have been depressed. But people are very ignorant especially in this part of the world. You will be amazed at the ignorance of people about learning. I have friends, who are top managing directors of banks and other leading institutions, whose views about learning will scare you. I have even given some of them copies of my book but they will tell me that they have not read it. Mark Twain said that a man, who does not read, has no advantage over a man who cannot read. That is why I preach life-long learning in Nigeria. People are ignorant and they set big goals for themselves and become overwhelmed. It is because they don’t know how to get there. That is where a coach is very important. You don’t need to know how to start because the moment you start, you will begin to find better tools along the line as you pursue that goal. An example is when John .F. Kenedy announced that the US was going to the moon.
They did not know how to go about it, he only called a scientist and said what do we need to get there and the man said the will to do it. That is the challenge for us in Nigeria, people don’t have the will to do anything, everybody is just fighting for himself. It is for that reason that you find Nigerians running abroad all the time, but somebody built the abroad they are running to. Making it is about cooperation and the desire to support other people to reach their dream.
Andrew Carnegie made about five hundred million pounds and when he died, a note was found in his drawer where he said he spent half of his life accumulating wealth and he spent half giving it away. When he died about 100 years ago, about $30 million dollars was found in his account and it was given to charity. Even Bill Gates said he will not give all his money to his children. He said he would give his children enough to do what they want to do but not enough for them to do nothing because it will destroy them.