Director, large international management consulting firm
What prompted you to try coaching?
I was changing jobs and taking a significantly new direction, and I had concerns about particular aspects of that. I thought maybe coaching would help deal with those challenges.
Before you began, what was your main hesitation?
I am broadly in the sceptical camp, but I was open to giving it a go. My understanding is that coaching relies a lot on the motivation of the person, so my principal hesitation was whether I would have enough motivation to get the best out of the process.
What would you say to others with this concern?
The key with coaching is that you get out of it what you put in, so you should only do it if you are prepared to make the time to actually prepare and follow through.
What were the key issues or themes that you worked on with Janet?
I had a few concerns about aspects of this new job that from my past experience I was sure were going to be big challenges. So it was those adaptations and changes that we worked on. And over the time of the coaching we focused in on specific issues or experiences I’d had, or specific things where we could say, ‘Okay, this happened that I would have preferred to have gone differently, and what can we do next time to make sure it does go differently.’
Did you find the coaching helpful?
Yes, I did. A lot of it is about you getting to your own understanding of what you need to change. So having the time and the focus on that and the guidance from Janet certainly helped. Of course you actually have to make the change, and that is where the big challenge comes in.
So it gives you permission to take that personal time and focus because you have made a commitment to work on it with someone?
Yes, that’s very true. Actually having a person whose focus is on you is pretty unusual.
Do you feel you have made progress during or since the coaching engagement?
Yes. If I look back, I have learnt a lot over the last year that I have been in this new job, and learned a lot about myself. Some things have changed – not everything, but I wasn’t expecting that. So yes, I have made progress.
Looking at the changes you made, do you think the coaching supported you to achieve them?
It did support me, because it was that independent point of view and independent perspective. So it wasn’t like speaking to a colleague or speaking to my boss or speaking to family. It was definitely helpful in that sense.
Regarding accountability, knowing the session time was coming up did force me also to do more in terms of preparation and thinking, which I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. So having that regular pace and timing certainly helped me give it some attention, because otherwise I think it would have just been swept up in the fact that I was having a very busy transitional time. So, yes, it was helpful.
What difference do you think it made to have Janet in particular as a coach?
I can’t compare it to any other coaching experience, but I have to say Janet was very encouraging. She was very kind, but not in some treacly meaningless way. She was able to point out positive things that were meaningful. So that was a good experience. Obviously, spending all this time talking about myself was a rather weird experience, so having someone who’s got the experience in terms of listening and helping you talk about those things was good.
Was there anything that surprised you or was unique to your experience? What was it like to have Janet as your coach?
I found her to be a very warm person with a genuine interest in people. There wasn’t a feeling that she was just doing it as part of the job. I think what actually impressed me the most was that I work in a field that is foreign to her and in an organisational structure that she hasn’t had direct experience with. She picked up a lot of the jargon and the specificities of my circumstances really, really quickly, which meant that she was able to discuss them more specifically. I felt that made the whole coaching experience more valuable. That was pretty impressive.
Was there anything uncomfortable in the coaching experience?
Not with Janet per se. We talked about some things that were – getting into these areas where you are talking about your limitations. Getting closer to those things can be a little bit uncomfortable, but certainly not due to anything Janet did.
If you would be comfortable recommending Janet’s services, to whom would you recommend them and why?
I wouldn’t have any hesitation in recommending Janet to anyone who was seeking to have a coaching experience. When you are looking for coaching, there are probably a few preconditions to make it work. In my past lives we had coaching available at work and we had employees who could undertake that coaching. And I really noticed a difference between the ones who were just expecting it to all come to them and for them not to actually do the work – they just wanted someone to provide the miracle solution – versus people who understood the process, that it was about them wanting to change and wanting help with that change.
Do you have anything to add?
Janet is a lovely person and I found it to be very pleasant dealing with her.