An entrepreneur from Penarth benefits from a volunteer business mentor to develop and grow her coaching business.


Claire Baker Coaching was set up by life coach Claire Baker to help HR professionals prevent, overcome and recover from professional or personal burnout. Claire worked with a volunteer business mentor, as part of the Welsh Government’s Business Wales Mentoring programme, to develop her brand, products and services, and has successfully moved to online delivery during lockdown.

Introduction to business

A resilience and wellbeing coach, Claire Baker started Claire Baker Coaching and HRforHR to provide burnout prevention and recovery coaching, programmes and workshops, dedicated to the HR profession.

Why did you decide to set up your own business?

I had worked in the corporate world for more than 20 years, predominantly within the HR sector. Anyone who works within a people-based profession will know it can be really rewarding but also incredibly challenging, complex and emotionally draining. I hit a brick wall in 2017 and had burnout; I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.

The impact of this forced me to reprioritise my life. Given how much of my life was consumed with my work, my job and my career, it was clear I had to make some big changes.

Becoming self-employed gave me a new chapter, huge learning curve and a focus on me and my family rather than the businesses I had worked for. It meant I could create a business with my values, having far more choice and flexibility of what I wanted to do or not do.

How has the Business Wales Mentoring service helped you overcome challenges and grow?

Starting a business from scratch naturally brings with it lots of challenges, lots of unknowns, lots of questions, lots of uncertainties. Business Wales really helped me to keep grounded, to use the knowledge, expertise and services available to allow me to build solid foundations.

The mentoring team are wonderful; they really understand who to match you with to get the greatest benefit and value for you and your business. I’ve been able to say where I think I need support and guidance by topic or challenge subjects, and then receive the guidance from the team to match me with the right mentor. The mentoring process is personal, professional and hugely beneficial; it has helped me grow in confidence, with more clarity and understanding of who I am and what my business is.

What would you say about your mentor Gareth?

Gareth uses his wealth of experience and knowledge to challenge and explore different perspectives and unpack ideas. He uses his own style, personality and energy to get to know you and your needs without judgement.

Gareth has been an amazing sounding board, he is so encouraging and has shown me how to use my personal style and approach to create brand, products and services with authenticity, which is proving to be the perfect strategy not only for me, but for my customers, too.

I genuinely look forward to our conversations, as I know that the mind-set work we do, will increase my creativity and leave me feeling motivated, in action with the momentum to improve my business going forward.

Future plans and ambitions

This year so far, I have launched The HR FOR HR Club and have 121 and group coaching programmes created. Increasing engagement and visibility for these products is a big part of my plan for the rest of the year.

Subject to Covid-19 restrictions across the UK, I am planning that by the end of the year, I will have completed a UK wide HR FOR HR Roadshow, and led at least 6 coaching VIP Days/Weekends.

In terms of ambitions, I have just one, which is to become a published author. I have at least 2 books bursting out of me but it’s a balance of prioritising my time and energy at the moment to recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

Business Wales Mentoring

With over 15 years e-learning, training and NLP coaching experience, Gareth Harris runs his own e-learning business, e-Development, specialising in custom-made e-learning solutions for companies, trainers and consultants, including the design and creation of bespoke online modules and blended learning courses.

When asked about his mentoring relationship with Claire, Gareth said: “I had met Claire though networking but had not spent any time discussing her company or products. At the time of our first session, all her work was face-to-face and had stopped due to the lockdown.

Many of the conversations with Claire were about the content of the online product. Claire has a great deal of skills, knowledge and experience. She is very passionate about HR and helping the people working in the industry. We needed to harness this and work out what could be developed to work online/remotely and what to approach first.

Claire had a number of courses she could have worked on and by talking it through and trialling different options, she was able to put together a number of innovative HR-based training and support products.
It has been fantastic to be a part of this process and watch Claire move from a person with little online/remote training experience to someone launching and selling her courses.

It has been quite a journey and some of the calls were more motivational than content specific but the call we had when she sold her first course was brilliant. Claire was so excited, and I am really proud of all her achievements.”

If you want to read more success stories of how Business Wales has helped other people like you to start or grow their businesses, visit or follow @_businesswales / @_busnescymru on Twitter.

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