Why did you consider executive coaching and why did you recommend it for your staff?
Ours is an industry where you start off as a sales person. If you are any good they turn you into a manager, and then if you are really good they make you into a senior manager, and then, if you’re really really good, they make you into a director.
All of this is self-taught. You go on a journey that is given to you, and I think it is the industry standard that this is how you get promoted in the recruitment world. Nobody ever stops to give you some real feedback to say “well done you have done a great job”, or coaches and mentors you. I know this is a huge crime for us, so, I wanted someone to fill those gaps. I just knew that the company would benefit from it.
What were your expectations?
I had loads of expectations. More self-awareness for people, the ability to stop and think and understand the effects of people’s actions.
Typically, our industry is full of show-offs and big heads. It’s egotistical and ego-driven, and you need someone with a check and balance. My expectations were that we would address that.
Were there any surprises?
Yeah. So Jacqui and I have an arrangement where she won’t tell me the exact subject matter for the team, but will give me some relative feedback. I guess the biggest surprise is people taking executive coaching and turning it into lifestyle coaching. And, lots of the guys she has coached have confessed to me privately that the coaching has sometimes brought them to tears, that was really surprising.
What have been the benefits for you and your staff/business?
I’ll start with a personal view, I know I am a fairly difficult character to work with. I know I am. Like most people, I have a way of doing things, and I know that people have found me a little intimidating. What Jaqui has been able to do for the team is to say “he’s not intimidating, he just thinks like this…”
The result is an improved communication style that for me presses all the right buttons. So personally, it has helped galvanize our team.
From a business perspective, I don’t know if it has made us any more money, but I do know that everybody who has had executive coaching sees it as a real perk when it comes to working with our organisation. It is something that is very intangible, but a real business benefit. And, on top of that, the feedback from the staff has been so good.
What have you noticed to be the greatest impact from having executive coaching?
I guess I use Jaqui as a way of having a review with our staff, without it being from me. I know that people can be guarded as I am the boss, so they don’t like to share how they’re feeling, or whether they are unhappy or fed up or things just aren’t working out for them. I think it has created a more open workforce.
Would you recommend it to other people?
Is there anything you think is essential to ensure you have a good coaching relationship?
I have a really poor attention span, so it has helped to have an agreement with Jaqui that once a month we will sit down and discuss how things are going, or at the very least have a Skype conversation. Making sure there is diarised feedback rather than just ad hoc has been essential for me.
How frequently would you recommend having coaching for your staff?
I would say as a minimum every 12 weeks. I have the kind of relationship with Jaqui where I say “you manage your own time with my people.” If they are flying, and they’re just checking in to say they are, that should be done every quarter. If, however, they are needy, and Jaqui has become a sort of crutch for them, they should use it whenever they want. I know when people are going through a tough patch, or they are changing jobs internally that she will see them, monthly or even fortnightly.
What in your words makes a good coach?
To be a good coach you have to be a great listener. Which Jaqui is. She also isn’t afraid of saying it like it is. She is very honest and direct with her feedback, and this helps when a lot of people in an organisation are strong willed.
Do you think that providing executive coaching helps to retain staff and make them more committed to the job and the business?
Undoubtedly. I think that 100% of the people in this organisation have never had any form of coaching before, and they have all kind of shared the same story. Cynical at first, they all think it is a waste of time, that it is nosy, prying and very intrusive. However, then they discover that this intrusiveness brings something out of them they didn’t know existed and that they want to talk more. And so, my staff who have been through the coaching journey have gone on to see it as a real plus for this organisation. They tell their colleagues really proudly that it is something their company provides.
When would suggest one of your staff members to have coaching?
Generally, I would say that there isn’t a wrong time. That you can pick any moment in a person’s career to start. But, for specifics, we have been on a big change programme here at work. We have reorganised the company, different people have now got different reporting minds and different bosses, and change brings nervousness. I think change means people need a person with who they can say they are feeling nervous or uncomfortable and not be judged. And explore why they have these feelings. So, I think I’d suggest it to any businesses that are going through a period of change.
Is it important that your coach is qualified and part of a coaching federation?
No, actually it wasn’t. I found Jaqui through Linkedin.