My desire to undertake an executive coaching qualification was born out of leaving my permanent role as Group Head of HR in the City and starting my own HR Consultancy business.
Having worked in HR for 20 years, I fully understood the importance of building a confidential, secure environment for clients to feel they can open up and discuss issues in a safe place, as well as establishing clear roles, responsibilities and boundaries. The plan was that the executive coaching would be ‘another tool in my HR toolkit’ and the hope was that both sides of the business, HR and coaching would work well together.
My HR experience gives me a good insight into some of the challenges the individual is facing, and within an organisational context. I believe coaching can have a transformational impact on developing leaders, and upon the culture and effectiveness of an organisation in the longer-term.
Due to the nature of the coaching that I do, and my HR experience, my coaching clients often ask for my help, support and opinion of a situation that they are in. I am very used to giving HR advice at a senior level and although happy to give clients this input, it is also important to let the individual explore their own ideas first, as very often they find the answers without my contribution.
Coaching is focused and directional and I feel I help to equip the client with the tools, knowledge and opportunities they need to fully develop themselves to be effective managers/leaders improving resilience and effectiveness, removing roadblocks to performance and enhancing creativity.
I would describe my personal coaching approach as supportive, intuitive, sincere, and challenging. I listen carefully to the issues being faced and try to understand in the first instance, before responding, which makes asking powerful, open questions easier.
I am a good listener and refer frequently back to previous comments made or past reflections, something that has been picked up many times by coaching clients in feedback sessions. It is important to me to write notes following the coaching sessions in order that I can personally reflect on what has been said. I have also received feedback suggesting that I am extremely easy to communicate with, putting the client as ease from the start of the session.
I have gained a lot of confidence as a coach since the start of my coach training. There will always be room for further improvement, expanding my knowledge, asking cleaner and more eloquent questions. However, I have learned that it’s most important to focus on the quality of my listening and trust in the coaching process – this has had the greatest impact on my coaching style.