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Columbia Inspired

A Business Coach for Blue-Collar Businesses

Sep 19, 2022 11:39AM ● By Angela Davids

Everyone can use a coach, whether they are a wrestler, a writer, or a welder. But blue-collar workers are often left behind when it comes to professional coaching, leadership training, and creating a positive workplace.

“The construction industry has the highest rate of suicide than any other industry,” said Mick Carbo, a Professional Certified Coach and owner of Carbo Coaching, along with his wife, Tara.

“There’s a toxic, kind of macho culture. If you get hurt, you better get back out there. If you’re dealing with anxiety or depression, you fear being looked down on or even fired. There’s a higher rate of alcoholism and addiction in the skilled trades, and you’re expected to deal with that on your own.”   

Carbo’s experiences before professional coaching shaped his perspective and partly led to his decision to focus his business on the skilled labor fields. Carbo joined his brother-in-law’s tile installation business straight out of high school, and then he and Tara launched a ceramic tile and marble business. Carbo saw the struggles of people who worked in the construction industry.

Later on, as a business owner who initially found success but then lost everything financially, Carbo also understood the stress and anxiety a business owner faces to provide for their families and futures.

After their tile business faltered in 2007, the Carbos began a business of buying and selling jewelry. They did well and wanted to keep the momentum going, so they hired a business coach. That experience helped them develop the company’s leaders and grow the business, but there was something more.

“As an owner, my primary responsibility was building, leading, and developing our sales team,” Carbo said. “Our coach told me I showed great coaching skills in my role, and perhaps I should think about becoming a business coach.”

The idea intrigued Carbo, and he began a year-long leadership development coaching program. His employees excelled as he applied these skills to their business, and the business grew.

“I didn’t expect that I would fall in love with this opportunity to make a positive difference in other people’s careers,” Carbo said.

Carbo began growing his coaching business part-time, starting in 2013, and when it became more and more successful, Tara started her training in 2016. Mick and Tara earned the designation of Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coach Federation and now have more than 3,300 hours of experience.

Their vision is “to bring infinite power and prosperity to every single person in the skilled labor workforce,” which they do with customized training, coaching, and programs. They take a top-down approach, working with anyone in a leadership role, such as business owners, C-suite employees, and mid-level managers. The methodology behind their coaching and techniques reflect what professional coaches for any industry would offer, but their blue-collar backgrounds allow for deeper relationships with their clients.

“I love when they say, ‘You’re one of us,’ because I know we’ve built a connection. We can make a difference in shaping their culture, which makes for a healthier environment and people who are cared for,” Carbo says. A positive atmosphere also improves productivity and loyalty and reduces healthcare costs with a less stressful work environment.

Building a healthy company culture is complicated, especially in the blue-collar fields, where it is seldom a priority, but there is one simple action any leader can take today, according to Carbo.

“One of the keys to engagement is for employees to know that the person they work for cares about them, their families, and their lives outside of work. Take one minute, once a week, to start a conversation. Show them that you care about them as a person. That goes farther than most people realize.”

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