Meet Coach John Nieuwenburg

Award-winning professional business coach, TEDx speaker and nice guy

Hi, I'm John.

I believe that for coaching to work, there needs to be a really good fit between the coach and the client.

You probably have some questions about who I am, my background and what I'm like to work with.

On this page, I'll share the following information (you can click the links to jump to the parts you're interested in):


My qualifications and experience

I've been a professional business coach since 2004.

During that time, I’ve worked with over 250 clients, taking them through a systematic process that helps them feel organized, confident and in control of their businesses.

Although I was trained and certified by an international certification body, I don’t believe that certification is the best way to determine the quality of a coach. Results are.

My clients report increased profit, smoother day-to-day operations and the ability to take well-earned vacations without worrying that everything will fall apart while they’re away from the office.

Many of their stories appear on my testimonials page and on my LinkedIn profile. I invite you to call any one of them and ask about their experiences.

In 2019, MacKay CEO Forums awarded me with Canada’s CEO Trusted Advisor Award in the Small Business category.

This program recognizes the significant contribution that CEO Trusted Advisors make, in the leadership field, to the success of the Canadian business community. Learn more here: Trusted Advisor Award

Before I became a business coach, I held executive positions with Tip Top Tailors and BC Liquor Stores.

My titles read Area Director and General Manager – yet much of my work boiled down to business coaching.

I worked with individual store managers to help improve business performance. Although each store operated under the umbrella of a larger organization, they were in actual fact individual small businesses. A good store manager would act as the “owner” of that store and take responsibility for their results.

On a personal note, I believe I was born to coach

As the oldest of 8 children, I used to ride my bicycle to the library every 2 weeks to get books for my siblings. I would carefully select 3 books for each of my brothers and sisters based on their age and interests.

In about 2004 just after I started my coaching practice, I had an epiphany: I was born to coach.

I've been coaching all my life. Until that moment I hadn't been able to label it. Now I had crystal clear insight.

I now understood what Steve Jobs meant in this quote: That only after you're there, can you then connect the dots.

“You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.

So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.

You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever."

~ Steve Jobs

Here's what I believe about small business

I believe in "teaching a man to fish"

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

The origin of this quote is debatable. Many people think it comes from the Bible, others say it is a Chinese proverb. Brainy Quotes attributes the quote to the Jewish cleric Maimonides.

This is the primary difference between coaching and consulting. Consultants provide solutions based on their expertise, often leaving their clients reliant on them. (Here’s a fish.)

As your coach, I will teach you what you need to know so that you will know what to do the next time. (Here’s how you fish.)

I believe in the Socratic Method of teaching and coaching

I won’t tell you what you “should” do.

It’s your business and you get to decide what to do.

I’ll provide feedback, perspective and ask questions to help you explore your options.

I follow the “Socratic method” of teaching – asking instead of telling.

The principle underlying the Socratic Method is that people learn through the use of critical thinking, reasoning, and logic, finding holes in their own theories and then patching them up.

My role as a coach is to help you figure out the answer that is right for YOU. Since it is your answer and not mine you are much more likely to embrace and act on those ideas.

And when you do, you’ll get results!

I believe that selling can be a service to society

Many of my clients struggle in business because they associate sales with “Herb Tarlick” or the pushy used car dealer. The truth is, we are all sales people. (Ever try to get a 3 year old to do anything? Or ask someone out on a date? That’s sales!)

I’ve been studying selling as an art since the ‘70s – and I’ve learned that you can use the exact same techniques to be either manipulative or helpful. It all depends on who you intend to serve: yourself or your client.

What is John like to work with?

I'll let my clients answer this one!

John listens closely and attentively: I feel heard

He listens closely and attentively: I feel heard, and at the same time, I’m conscious of what I’m saying – I’m listening to myself as well. He asks insightful questions and issues helpful challenges and homework.

John is straight and to-the-point. Not a lot of sugar-coating.

He doesn’t have a hard edge, but he knows what he’s doing, so he’s giving the proper advice. He likes the facts. He’s not intimidating - he’s very personable - but the job at hand is what he gets taken care of.

John helps me sort out what to do, so it's not just a big blur.

He breaks things down into the steps that need to be taken, and then suggests people and other resources to help to get there.

Then we get started and follow up with our progress the next week. He keeps me accountable and on track.

He’s not afraid to keep you accountable

He'll tell you that you didn’t do what you said you would do. There have been times where I felt sheepish about not doing the homework!

He has advice, answers and resources

It seems like he can instantly pull up an article or a book for me to read or something that references what I'm going through.

He's not afraid to tell me what he thinks

If I'm not doing something I should be doing, he's gonna tell me and he's not gonna worry about offending me. I see great value in that. He wants to fix any problems that he sees.

He’s outcome and results driven, and very sharp.

I like that when I get on a call with him, he holds my feet to the fire in terms of how I want to make the most of the money I'm spending on him.

Sometimes I'll just jump in and want to have a chat and he asks: “What are you expecting from today?”

He ties me back to what my bigger goals are when I'm distracted. He provides the bigger picture and holds me accountable to what I want.

John is efficient, intelligent, level-headed, flexible and a very good listener.

He’s very insightful. He has advice and recommendations can make a big difference to profitability and operations.

One small idea can revolutionize the way you approach something or do something.

He’s easy to chat with and we make good use of our time together.

I really like John's professionalism and system for our regular meetings.

Goals, timelines and follow up are written down and tracked. With previous coaches I worked with, it was just a long conversation with no follow up and it was up to me to figure out what to do.

He offers outside insight and perspective, without telling you what to do.

He is really good at identifying what needs to be worked on, even if you haven’t noticed or thought about it already.

He gets you thinking about other options, but he makes you figure out your own answers, rather than telling you what to do.

John provides structure

I’m not a supremely structured person - I’m more on the creative and ideas side of things.

He has an agenda for our meetings, I have a spreadsheet to update with my goals, tasks, the things I want to work on and my wins. (It’s also nice to share those with somebody!)

He also has a sense of humor!

It’s great not to take things too seriously.

I'm an advocate for destigmatizing depression and suicide

I believe that leadership requires us to stand up for what we believe is right and good - even if it means taking a personal risk.

In recent years, I have become an advocate for positive social change around destigmatizing depression and suicide – especially in men.

Entrepreneurs and company founders are often isolated, under a lot of stress and prone to depression.

Because depression is often seen as a character flaw in our culture, many of them don’t seek help and some turn to suicide as an answer.

I am intimately acquainted with this subject. In 2011, I suffered from depression and attempted to take my own life. I told my personal story in my 2015 TEDx talk on destigmatizing depression and suicide.

I’ve since been interviewed for and appeared in a TV commercial to promote, an online resource for men who struggle with depression.

Doing this changed how I interact in the world and in my business. I learned that vulnerability is something to be embraced – a sign of strength, not weakness – and it is how I endeavour to show up every day.

“The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision.”

This is a great quote from Maimonides.

Seems you read to the bottom of this page, you're probably wondering if it’s a good idea to connect with me, you might want to consider the quote...then call me! 😉