About Us. The Story So Far.
In 2005 the founder of Citizen, Martin Hogg had one big idea- how could he set up a business that enable people to lead better lives.
Martin strived to make it easier to access counselling and coaching by:
- Enabling quick access to services
- Providing low-cost and free services
- Eliminating jargon
- Helping people track their own progression
- Providing easy access to programmes that work
Nine years later, he’s built an entire social enterprise around this philosophy, which has diversified and grown during the height of recession and is headed for big things in 2017 and beyond.
A counselling and psychotherapy practice with a choice of thirty trained practitioners who work with people experiencing difficulties and distress in their lives to bring about effective change or enhance their wellbeing.
A digital marketing service ‘making digital media that little bit easier’ for businesses and charities through social media training, web design and video production.
A package of ‘train the practitioner’ anger management workshops, weekly classes, online training, DVDs, CDs and books for counsellors looking to expand the range of services offered to clients.
Getting off the hamster wheel
Feeling unfulfilled working for a large corporate, Martin set up Citizen Coaching in 2005, with an ambition to enable better relationships at home and work through coaching and counselling techniques. “I liken it now to being on a hamster wheel, I had a staff of 530 and a turnover of £27 million, targets were always on the increase and people were becoming an afterthought in a business where profit was becoming everything. I was very unfulfilled and I noticed my stress levels growing.”
“I saw an advert for a volunteering opportunity working with young people as a coach. After a month I was hooked and started working on an exit strategy to leave my job and complete my counselling training.”
“The idea behind Citizen was to earn an income from training, counselling and coaching work so that I could spend two days a week on local community projects. I had no idea what a social enterprise was back in those days!”
Based at the Custard Factory, Citizen Coaching became a community interest company in 2010. Ninety percent of its income comes from selling counselling, coaching and digital marketing services to a diverse customer base of individuals, third sector organisations, private business and statutory bodies.
“Earlier this year we realised the story and key messages about Citizen Coaching and what we do were getting lost. We’d diversified in so many areas, picking up new contracts – from coaching ex-offenders to delivering social media for UK conferences – and were struggling to get across the full extent of our services and how they inter-relate.”
This was brought into focus when Martin was selected for a new national programme of social enterprise leaders looking to grow their businesses and increase social impact.
“To move forward and grow, I realised that we needed to consolidate and build our core services and communicate these to our customers in a straightforward way. Over the past few months we’ve focused on grouping together activities under three trading brands. Each has been given its own brand identity, so that we can better connect with target markets for each service.”
“Everything we do is about translating the complicated into the real world. Services are designed from the customer perspective so that we’re easy to work with and many of our services carry a 100% ‘eat my hat’ money back guarantee – even our one-day anger management courses! We do this because we have complete confidence in our offer. You have to have the systems and processes in place to deliver to a standard that you’d be happy with receiving yourself.”