Blog articles

My career is going really well, why do I need a Coach?

I meet Governance Professionals daily as part of my work and I know what a confident, knowledgeable and together bunch of people you are.  You regularly hold your own in the boardroom; meet the daily challenges of the role without batting an eyelid; lead a successful team; garner respect and ooze authority and follow a well-planned career plan.  Many of you wouldn’t dream of thinking that you ‘needed’ a coach.  After all coaching is for more junior people who haven’t got this stuff right?  Or for people who are failing?

Wrong – if that was the case why do so many Executives have coaches?  Coaching is for high performers, at any stage of their career, to help them become even more of a high performer.

Think about the analogy of running a marathon.  Most people can enter a marathon, download a training plan, follow it and finish a marathon.  But if you employed a running coach maybe you would do it much faster and more efficiently. You would probably protect yourself from injury, eat the right food and develop habits that you would benefit from long after the marathon was complete?  Not only could a running coach help to get the best out of yourself, they could also provide support and motivation when things were getting tough.

Employing a coach during your career, even when you have reached the top is the same and can have a transformative effect.

  • Coaching can help you understand your values and your motivations and check that you are getting the most out of your work life (and balancing your home life). If something just doesn’t quite feel right a coach will help you to work out why and make adjustments.  You spend thousands of hours at work in a lifetime so wouldn’t it be better if you enjoyed it?
  • Coaching can help you to reach your full potential by understanding your strengths and how you can use them to achieve outstanding performance. Maybe you have some blind spots that might be holding you back.  A coach will help you to really understand yourself and to use this knowledge to achieve what you want to.
  • Coaching can help if you want to make a change or have a dream you want to reach, but you have always been too busy to make it happen. Or maybe it feels too daunting to start.  Coaching will support you to be clear about what you want to achieve and to develop and follow a plan to achieve it.  Your coach will hold you to account for the actions you decide to take so you will achieve what you really want and far earlier than you ever imagined.
  • Coaching can help you to take time out simply to think about what you are doing and how you are doing it. Sometimes we all need to take a step back to review and reset.

Coaches help you increase your self-awareness, your confidence, your courage, your communication – whatever you need to reach your full potential.

When I was a company secretary I used a coach three times to help me step up to a new role, manage significant change and start a new career and each time achieved far more than I ever imagined I would.

Many of my coaching clients have said that at first they did not know what to expect from Coaching, or how it would translate into positive outcomes at work. After we have worked together they understand and are very positive about the benefits, but it can be difficult to explain to someone who has never had the experience.   I am therefore pleased that my accrediting body, the International Coaching Federation have produced this 2 minute video which I hope will help. It provides an introduction to professional coaching, and explains the benefits of partnering with a coach to achieve goals:- https://vimeo.com/136645385

Contact me if you want to learn more about how I can help you to thrive and excel in your career: lesley@lesleyward.co.uk

Setting deadlines for board papers that work

Last week I blogged about negotiating deadline extensions if you are unable to meet deadlines set by other people.  But one issue that comes up time and time again during mentoring and coaching sessions is “how do I ensure that the Board pack goes out on time without a late night in the office?”.  A key element of this is of course setting deadlines that your executive team respect and meet.  On this one I admit I do not have a magic solution, but click here for a few suggestions.

LinkedIn article 25/1/19

Negotiating Deadline Extensions

Sometimes, despite having my time management strategies in place and having tackled my procrastination, I still find myself unable to meet a deadline.  At times there just are not enough hours in the day.  When this happens I need to be able to negotiate an extension in a way that does not negatively impact on my work reputation.  As a Governance Professional I think this is crucial – how can I expect others to take my deadlines seriously if I do not treat theirs with respect?  Click here for more information.

LinkedIn article 18/1/19

What if there is so much to do I just don’t know what to do first?

I think I am not unusual in sometimes finding myself paralysed with the sheer volume of things to do.  That feeling of when you can’t settle to one job, but keep jumping from one to another and end up finishing nothing.  I have a few tricks I use when this happens.  Click here to find out more.

LinkedIn article 11/1/19

Help – there are not enough hours in my day!

Most of us are familiar with this scenario.  You get into the office on a Monday morning.  You know what you need to achieve in the coming week (it’s board paper week) but by the time you’ve walked from your desk to the kitchen to make your first cup of coffee and back to your desk you’ve already had 4 new verbal requests.  Then you check your email – the Chair has been busy over the weekend and suddenly there are lots of other things to do.

How do you ensure that you can achieve them all and still get your board pack out in time?  Time management skills are crucial if you want to be an effective governance professional.  Click here to read about what worked for me.

Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ)

What is it, and how relevant is it in our role as Governance Professionals? (read more)

The Company Secretary – the HR Director’s best ally?

Being an HR Director can sometimes be a lonely business.  You are responsible for the people aspects of the organisations strategy, but in certain circumstances, such as the transformation of the Executive Team or senior talent management and succession planning, you may have to do this in a vacuum from your team.  Have you ever considered that the Company Secretary is in a similar position and building a good relationship with them could help you both to achieve your goals? (read more)

Can I fast track the development of soft skills required of a governance professional?

A series of blogs outlining how you can fast track the development of your soft skills required of you as a governance professional (read more)

A guiding hand
ICSA’s mentoring scheme offers bespoke, confidential support to help governance professionals fulfil their potential (read my article)
(article originally published in Governance and Compliance Magazine, www.govcompmag.com)

The Role of the Company Secretary – Reflections on the 2017 ICSA Conference (read more)
Having had time to reflect on the ICSA 2017 Conference a clear theme emerges for me – the Company Secretary role is much more than the glorified clerical role it can sometimes be seen as.  This statement will not be a surprise to any of my fellow Company Secretaries, but as we know, the role is still not widely understood and is often overlooked.

To illustrate this point here are some of the things the ICSA Conference speakers this year challenged Company Secretaries to do…

Free Mentoring via the ICSA (read more)
Being a Company Secretary can be both a rewarding and challenging experience and sometimes it can be helpful to speak confidentially to an independent third party to help you think things through.

Could company secretaries benefit from coaching? (read more)
In the following article I suggest that coaching is the ideal way of helping Company Secretaries build the skills required to realise their full potential, particularly in smaller organisations where there may only be one or two such roles.

Where was the company secretary? (read more)
It feels like every week there is a new corporate scandal, whether in the public, private or third sector. And every time a new one emerges, the first thing I think is: where was the company secretary?