Having spent 15 years pursuing a successful career in the Retail IT industry and after completion of my MBA in 2004, I had reached a point where I was at a cross roads in terms of the professional direction I wanted to pursue.
The day to day pressures of a very challenging role meant that I did not have the time to stop and focus on where my career stood today, what my future goals were and how to put an action plan in place to achieve them.
During my first coaching session with Paul, we took a very proactive approach to defining what the objectives of the sessions would be and consistently throughout the sessions Paul ensured that we reviewed and stayed on track with these objectives whilst also providing a flexible framework to explore other areas that I felt were important to my development plan. This approach enabled a focused set of deliverables to be achieved for my development plan but also provided the flexibility to enable a more tactical environment to resolve some immediate career issues.
What was particularly useful at the end of the mentoring process was Paul reviewing what we had covered and I was surprised how consistent my end action plan was in line with my original goals.
The main benefits I derived from Paul’s mentoring session were;
a) Paul’s approach was designed not to provide answers but to prompt my own internal strategic thought process. This was very different to my usual reactive problem resolution style and often, ideas and solution would occur to me many days after the session but prompted by our discussions. I was impressed with his ability to identify my own preferred communication style at the beginning of the course and flex his own accordingly.
b) His style of coaching supported a holistic approach to my development. I was particularly impressed that the mentoring process evolved into both professional and personal goal orientated issues, which were both considered with equal importance.
c) The process was very much a personal journey, where Paul effectively opened up ideas for me to consider but as a mentor ensured that the ideas and solutions were mine rather than his. I would not estimate the skill as a mentor of being able to effectively listen but also know when to guide the conversation if it is becoming unfocused.
d) I found the independent view of my day to day and strategic challenges invaluable. Whilst Paul had an understanding of the industry I worked, his impartiality provided a real bonus in objectively assessing situations and how to deal with them.
In conclusion, I would recommend this coaching course to any executive who is in the process of formulating a next steps action plan for their career and who requires a trusted and experienced coach who can guide you in a personal journey for long term success.