What is your journey a coach?
Feeling decidedly unfulfilled in the late 1980’s I decided to push my career in a different direction, accepting a promotion to the “Training Department” in 1989. Little did I know at the time that this decision would reveal my true vocation to me! I fell in love instantly with the philosophy behind learning, development and growth and felt privileged to engage in work that helped my clients to work out where they were, where they wanted to be and what they might choose to do about the gap that usually appeared between the here and now and what might be possible in the future.
Having found my niche, I’ve been working successfully in formal leadership development roles for more than 30 years now. I still love helping to close the “gap” in the many different guises it reveals itself. Working with leadership teams for decades meant I became familiar with the work required to help teams evolve, mature and improve their performance but I started to question the validity of my approach. I’d developed a coach-approach style of facilitation but felt increasingly drawn to the idea of stepping away from being the one in control, the one with the tools and the models, the one selecting the exercises and the psychometrics we used. My transition away from something so familiar has been a challenging and at times a painful process. However it appears that I’ve fallen in love again, this time with the challenging work an emergent team coach can engage in to support teams who want to perform at the next level.
What is your sweet spot as a coach?
I’m often invited to be the “disrupter” by my clients and really enjoy the process of helping teams to explore, challenge and question the status quo. Although I enjoy this work, my real sweet spot is working with teams cross-culturally. For the majority of the 2000’s I’ve enjoyed being a British Expat. I’ve lived and studied in a number of different countries and the majority of my work is still based outside the UK. I’m drawn back to working in the Asia Pac region in particular. Paying more attention to the cultural dimension of team work in this region is vital. I’ve learned many important lessons and have begun to view culture differently as a team coach. I no longer see it as hazard or a risk that needs to be mitigated. I now view culture as an exciting new colour that can magically appear on a team coach’s palette. It doesn’t need to be managed, it’s just another facet of team coaching and I’m learning how it can be leveraged powerfully as an asset in the multicultural contexts many teams are now required to operate in.
What about you as a person?
I currently live in Germany with my wife Caroline. I’m often described as calm, relaxed, optimistic as well as a little irreverent from time to time! Food and cooking was a serious business in the house I grew up in so it’s little surprise that cooking and preparing food for the important people in my life has followed me into adulthood. Cooking and enjoying food has always been my way of relaxing and decompressing. My mother once suggested that you shouldn’t trust a thin chef and although I’d never describe myself as a chef, my waistline much like my approach to team coaching, has evolved appropriately!