Client Impact Report

Cutting Edge Kitchens – Ben Kalkman’s Growth and Confidence in His Business

Coaching Firms

There are Seventy-four business coaching firms in Idaho, more than four hundred thousand in the United States, and Seven hundred thousand worldwide. With so many choices, it can be hard to choose a partner. So, we ask you to consider the question, what about Deliberate Directions makes it the right choice for you?

Meet Ben Kalkman

Ben has owned and expanded Cutting Edge Kitchens for over a decade, and he considers himself a dreamer and big thinker with high expectations. He is a man of strong values and has a deep passion for his business. Although he has run his company successfully for years, there are some areas where a coach has been helpful, such as team management, hiring, and self-confidence.

Taking On Too Much

Ben has a tendency to take on too much work himself and fit projects in to meet quick deadlines, which may not always be the best decision for his team. He has struggled to find team members who share his drive, passion, and values for Cutting Edge Kitchens. Additionally, Ben struggles with being his own worst enemy, lacking confidence in making tough decisions, saying the right things, evaluating the next move correctly, negotiating with top-dollar partnerships, and so on.

Introduction to Coaching

Ben was first introduced to a business coaching firm within the first few years of starting his business. Although it was helpful at the time, Ben noticed that his coach did not practice what he preached. This eventually led to the end of their business relationship. Four years ago, Ben became frustrated with the recurring points of conflict in his business and felt unable to move forward. Recognizing the value of a business coach, he began to search again. 

Calling Deliberate Directions

After meeting Allison at a networking event and receiving multiple recommendations for Deliberate Directions from colleagues, he decided to make the move. This turned out to be the best decision Ben had made for his business.

Allison starts every coaching session with goal-setting and business planning, which she terms as a Blueprint. However, Ben found this overwhelming and exhausting initially. Nevertheless, with quarterly planning in place, Allison began her work.

Work Culture

One of the areas Allison helped Ben with was his work culture. He learned to be transparent and honest and run his business as a group. For example, he started using transparency when discussing the budget with his entire team during weekly shop meetings. This made the employees feel involved, important, and valued. Ben strongly believes that they have an equal impact on the business and atmosphere. Additionally, Ben adjusted how he takes on big projects and learned to communicate the expectations around a tough deadline while maintaining the team’s high morale. By keeping communication lines open, he also learned to hear his team members when they felt his expectations were too high.

Allison also helped Ben through value exercises and mission realignment. Ben was thrilled to see his team come up with their individual values and company values to focus on.

Ben's Other Challenge

Another area where Allison helped Ben was in recruitment. From Craigslist job postings to Indeed, Ben saw a significant difference in his employee retention. Instead of hiring the first applicant, they focused on building an ideal candidate profile and marketing to them, improving job postings, and implementing solid interviewing techniques. Ben realized that hiring smart was as important as it is and how much power it holds. He benefited from these techniques when he lost his Office Manager due to relocation and found the perfect candidate with Allison’s help.

As a result of working with Allison, Ben has built an awesome and reliable team.

Allison Dunn’s Coaching

Allison works to go beyond crunching numbers and staying within a budget. While these are important, she also focuses on the underlying issues that prevent growth in any business. As with Ben, it is seen that the internal issues being resolved and worked on ultimately yielded the most growth for Cutting Edge Kitchens.

Allison is skilled in breaking things down to be more digestible. She focuses on quarterly planning and goal setting rather than yearly. This allows room for real life to happen but still manage growth in a company.
“So many things happen during the workweek that steal your attention. It’s helpful to have goals to look back on and refocus.” – Ben Kalkman

I ask Ben to share three or more words to describe Allison. “Genuine, Encouraging, Caring, and Determined”. What makes her the best in the valley? Face-to-face coaching in a beautiful spacious, well-lit room? Well, that, but also ALLISON DUNN!

Overcoming Challenges

Ben has made such significant progress in his self-confidence through coaching with Allison. Learning how to trust his own abilities and decisions is an essential skill for any business owner. It’s also important that he is taking an active role in his strategy sessions and contributing fully to the discussion, which shows that he is fully engaged in the coaching process. By gaining confidence in himself and his company, Ben will be better equipped to make the tough decisions required for growth and success.

Straightforward & Objective

Allison has been instrumental in helping Ben and Cutting Edge Kitchens grow and improve in multiple areas, including work culture, recruitment, and self-confidence. By focusing on underlying issues and breaking things down into manageable chunks, Allison has been able to help Ben set and achieve realistic goals, leading to significant growth for the company. Ben describes Allison as genuine, encouraging, caring, and determined, and believes that her face-to-face coaching has been a key factor in his success.