Coaching from both sides of the table
The Smart Savvy Academy recently hosted its first cohort of Coaching for Leaders Essentials – Level 1 where participants complete an experiential, immersive, three-day training program. The is their first step in becoming a certified coach, and it’s a hand-on, heart-in workshop instilling coaching and leadership skills that can be immediately applied in the workplace (and personal lives).
The cohort included seasoned executives, consultants and aspiring leaders alike, with varying levels of experience with coaching. To get an idea of the impact of the program, Smart Savvy reached out to two of our workshop participants who have spent significant time being coached within their own career journeys.
Penelope is a strategic business leader and consultant with past work experience at the Pembina Institute, the Canadian Business for Social Responsibility, and PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd. Her first encounter with coaching was at a time of career transition, and a friend who was an Olympic athlete who’d had success initiating her own transition through coaching encouraged this vehicle to support the shift.
One of the first “a-ha’s” during Penelope’s coaching experience was during the comparison of personal values with the demands of her career (at that time), and the stark realization of the mismatch. Her initial worries about getting caught up in a therapy-time situation were quickly resolved with coaching’s focus as a process rather than examination of emotions, as Penelope puts it “a strategic planning process for myself.”
Through the Coaching for Leaders Essentials program, Penelope was surprised by the strong occurrence of others using coaching not just for professional transitions, but also for personal issues. The fact that coaching is goal-focused really does lend itself to applying the process to more parts of your life than limiting it to getting unstuck in one’s career:
“I have a greater appreciation for the art of coaching, and learned that choosing the right coach isn’t just about the best style for your personality – it’s very much about considering what approach you need for each situation, whether it’s a strong push to move forward, support to work through hidden options, or reinforcement of what you might already know.”
Penelope has been integrating much of her learning into everyday situations, supported by the knowledge that entering into a coaching conversation isn’t taking responsibility for someone else’s solution. She says of strength-based coaching: “It’s a process that lets you live the life you want to live.”
Tyrone currently leads strategic partnerships at Unbounce, and prior to this role led strategic development and leaderships of retail, partnerships, and community programming for shoes.com. His initial foray into coaching came with the intent of a discovery process, where he could recognize and develop more of his career potential.
His first session was, as he says, “mildly uncomfortable” with the ultimate recognition that there’s no easy or straightforward path to tackling life’s bigger challenges, and that it often comes down to “you vs. you.” Tyrone’s coach was instrumental in getting him to look inside himself for the answers through the framing and reframing of questions to get to blind spots, or truths that are often ignored. Working with his coach got him to embrace bringing his own style to leadership roles, and to lead from a more personal approach.
Moving from Day 1 through to Day 3 of the Coaching for Leaders Essential workshop took Tyrone on a journey of increased confidence in the coaching process, and a resulting willingness to try a coach approach in his leadership tool box. Investing in people through the coaching process is a worthwhile investment, whether through a formal coaching program or through employing a coach approach in leadership.
“During the workshop, I witnessed the ability to get to root cause, or scratch well below the surface even in five minutes. This was a real eye-opener in the value of taking the time to coach. You never know when someone will have a breakthrough, whether in a personal situation or a work environment.”
Tyrone recognizes using a coach approach is a long-term investment that needs to be supported by leadership and the organization. With buy-in from the top down, the benefits of ability to align the organization’s values with team members improved ability to do their best work every day is a worthwhile win-win.
Start on your own journey of becoming a certified coach or using a coach approach as a leader. Join the January cohort of the Coaching for Leaders Essentials – Level 1 program, to be held next February 20-22, 2019.
Smart, Savvy + Associates finds high-calibre marketing, communications, creative and sales professionals with proven track records and in-demand skills for companies who need them, across the Pacific Northwest and in Toronto. And now, our Smart Savvy Academy provides leadership and training development programs for workplace programs, corporate retreats and individual growth opportunities. Contact Founder + CEO, Peter Reek, to discuss your organization's training needs.