Q&A with Rachel Birchmore from AreBe

31st July 2019

Rachel Birchmore talks to us about AreBe and supporting the built environment sector to become more resilient and successful.

Tell us the background to AreBe – how and why it started?

I started AreBe in 2013 to provide coaching, strategic advice and marketing support to small and medium sized organisations across the built environment.  My work, mainly with architects and engineers, aims to make businesses more resilient and successful through strategies to create more of the right work and by supporting the development of people (particularly leaders and future leaders).  My approach is strategic – activities need to be joined up and done for a reason.

Why is it called AreBe?

Well… in addition to reminding me of my initials, AreBe is so called to reflect the theme of change which runs through my work – the movement from where you are to where you want to be. Whether I am supporting an individual in their transition to a more senior leadership role, working with the principals to formulate a marketing or business development strategy, or supporting a leadership team on their journey to greater effectiveness, I believe we all achieve more when we know, at least roughly, where we want to be.

What are you currently working on?

Right now, I am delivering (with fellow coach Louise Rodgers) leadership coaching for a senior management team within an architects’ practice and a similar programme for an engineering consultancy.  I also have three architectural and two engineering clients for whom I provide ongoing business development and marketing advice, three smaller practices where I provide business coaching and a number of 1:1 coaching clients. I am just completing an assignment (alongside regular collaborator, Emma Keyte) involving an external perception study, identity and business development advice for an architects’ practice who are becoming an EOT.

What has been your most exciting project to date?

My work with Barbara Weiss and Henley Halebrown were my first commissions, so these will always be special and I’m proud to say both practices are still clients.  Launching Step Up, a new coaching programme, last year was also a highlight. However, all of my work is exciting, I enjoy other people’s businesses like some people like looking round houses – they’re all so different and those differences mean a whole variety of approaches to growth, development and work winning.

What is the best thing about basing your business at Build Studios?

The location by Waterloo is handy for me but the best thing is the flexibility – the space and community is there when I want to tap into it, but I’m not tied to it – I like to use different workspaces every day.

What do you think is the most significant challenge facing today’s built environment sector?

Getting through a day without mentioning the ‘B- word’.