Rick Knights Executive Coaching Q&A
Why did you consider executive coaching?
Executive coaching was offered to me by ReThink so I took it.
What were your expectations?
My expectation was that it would be based more on theories rather than the actual practice of improving myself. I thought I would learn more about theories and that sort of stuff.
Were there any surprises?
Yeah there were, just in how in depth it was and how perceptive Jaqui as an individual is and how knowledgeable she is around the subject.
What have been the personal benefits for you?
There have been quite a few, but probably my biggest one is learning to take myself away from situations and look at things strategically rather than being ingrained in the detail all the time. So changing the way I would view problems and come to solutions.
And what have you noticed to be the greatest impact from having executive coaching?
Just my way of thinking. How I’ve developed the way I deal and combat problems, and the knowledge bank that I’ve got to pull from. So some of it is based around theory, and some of it is based around the practicalities. Being able to be less one-dimensional. Instead of just leading and managing in one style, I’ve probably now got four or five different styles that I can pick from.
How have you measured your development and success?
Partly on where I’ve got up to in my personal plans. I now put personal plans in place and measure where I am against that, something that I didn’t really do before. And then partly where I am in the company as well. I’ve been promoted, got pay rises off the back of what I have done with Jaqui.
Would you recommend coaching to other people?
Do you think it has helped with your own personal sense of wellbeing?
Yeah even some of the things we’ve talked about in the coaching sessions I’ve put into practice in my personal life. I wouldn’t say I live and die by these rules but they are kind of part of my make up now and part of what I look at now.
And what did you like most about executive coaching?
It’s probably being able to look at things from a different perspective, to have the ability to not just jump into things head first and get on with it, rather actually being able to assess things and look at things differently.
Is there anything that you think is necessary to ensure you have a good coaching relationship?
Yeah, I think trust. You have to trust the person coaching you and likewise you have to be honest and have integrity when you speak to them, if you don’t have that then I think you are onto a loser.
Did you find any part of the process difficult?
I think right at the start, Jaqui goes right into your past and delves quite deep into your psyche and what you are made of really and I think the first couple of sessions I found quite tough and quite heavy-going.
And how frequently would you recommend having coaching sessions?
Generally speaking, I’ve had them once every two or three months. There are times when I think that three months is too long, but then there are times when I think three months is fine if you’re on the right track and there are no major blips. For me, it has always been a check-in, to bring me back to what I’m doing so if I lose my way a little bit having a coaching session puts me back on track.
How long do you reckon each session should last?
Most the sessions I have had have been around three hours, and I think anymore than that you will start to go a bit hazy because they are quite intense. So I would say around three hours.
What makes a good coach?
Someone who is very perceptive and considered in their approach, and isn’t afraid to challenge what you say. I think Jaqui is really good at that. She is able to challenge you in the right way, so not in a confrontational way, but by being able to say ‘do you think that is the best way to go?’ etc. I think that combined with perceptiveness draws things out of you that you didn’t know or didn’t even consider.
Do you think that providing executive coaching helps to retain staff and keep them more committed to the job?
Yeah, I would definitely say that, even people who are sceptical at the start of coaching quickly buy into it when they realise the benefits and what it does for them.
When would you recommend a person to have coaching?
I think you need to have managed people before, you need to have experience so you can look into it in the coaching session. People who aren’t managers or leaders of a business don’t have the life experience to say ‘right in that scenario I could have looked at it in this way, or differently’ and it would become hypothetical, so I would say you need to have managed and led people.
Do you think it is important that your coach is qualified and part of a coaching federation?
No, I think practical experience and what they can do for you is more important. Having said that if you were selecting an exec coach from scratch you would probably look for someone who is qualified.
Do you think it is important to have actions to complete after every session?
Yes, whether they get done or not is another question. But I think it is important to have actions and to have follow-up and things to take away from the session and work on.
Finally, do you have any specific comments about Jaqui as your coach?
Jaqui is fantastic.