After nearly 20 years at the coalface in boardrooms as a strategist and trusted advisor to CEOs, I was interested to get behind the reasons why the people and organisations I helped were in the situations they were, and apply my expertise to the mindset of the board.
One way to discover this was through the psychology of cognition and behaviour, which points to why we do what we do. Then what is the most evidenced and proven way to effect a shift in another person? I’ve always known training rarely works, and mentoring is good but can be very limited. I had however heard of the immense effectiveness of coaching.
I sat in the audience of a live public coaching session, by Jon Stokes, a leading psychologist formerly of the pioneering Tavistock Clinic. I watched the extraordinary transition of his client from their starting position of frozen indecision, confusion, and stress to realisation, solid thinking, relief and a plan to make it all happen.
This was the power of coaching in action. I went on to train as a coach with Jon and I also trained as a psychologist. I continue to work closely on, and carry out academic research in, leadership decision-making and boardroom behaviour. Having been asked to turn my approach to other individuals and groups, I also coach those within other challenging contexts in my practice.