Harry Caswell, now at Capital Hospitals, was working at Interserve as a senior commercial manager for the University College Hospital project when he received coaching from Kentish and Co. Here he discusses how he benefited from the programme.
Why did you embark on coaching with Kentish and Co?
I was one of about 10 people from across the account that was identified as having ‘talent’ and we were all put forward for the programme to help with our development.
Did you have any personal goals for the coaching?
I had some negative perceptions of myself, and I wanted to see if other people held them about me too. I also wanted to understand, through the coaching, if those things bothered me or not and what I could do to change them.
One was my age. I wanted to see if people were bothered by the fact I was younger than most of the team – and as a result, did I have less of a voice? I’m also very playful and like to have fun. I wanted to know if people viewed me as the guy who’s just having fun and chatting, or did they realise what I was doing work-wise as well?
I knew that 360 degrees feedback was part of the package, so I was looking forward to that output.
What surprised you about the coaching?
The playful, social side of me – everyone mentioned it as a positive and no-one viewed it as negative. I don’t want to sit in an office where no-one shares anything, and I think other people think that way as well and when I’m there I help stimulate that environment. I like that I bring that to the team.
Is that part of your work persona now?
Very much so. It’s given me the confidence to say that this is who I am and I don’t have to curb myself at work. I thought it was going to be a real negative, but actually it’s far from that.
So what did you put into action?
Liz talked about the concept of being a ‘social butterfly’, putting people together and almost doing my own version of coaching. It made me realise that is what I do, it’s more than just chatting to people, it’s stimulating ideas and getting things going. So one of the things that she was pushing me on was that I can be a kind of conduit for other people.
Sometimes now within our team, when a problem comes up and I know who can help with it, I can be the guy who gets those people together, rather than let it fester and email each other. That’s something that I like doing, so why not help the team and get that going?
There are also times where I could get over-passionate so there were certain things that I talked to Liz about where she asked questions like ‘does it matter as much?’ And because she asked me those questions I took a step back and thought ‘am I making more of this than I need to?’
So that’s one of the things that I do think about a lot more, I cycle to work every day and think about those things in my head, asking myself the questions that Liz would’ve asked me. When it comes to issues that stress me out, I ask, ‘do I need to look at it a different way?’ That calms me down.
Would you say Liz’s coaching has become an internal voice for you?
Yes, when things come up I think about how she would’ve approached it. It’s a really methodical way that she asks questions, so I kind of filter that through in my head now.
What was the lasting benefit to you?
I think it’s just to be me, and to be comfortable with who I am. Why curb myself to fit, because then I won’t be working on 100%.
What do you feel are the benefits of coaching?
I know I’m a lot more confident, not just me but the other people who went through the programme too. We’d have chats during or after work and there was a real buzz. It gave people a chance to think about things differently and work out some of the issues they had, and think about what they could do to solve them.
There were a lot of promotions after the coaching, some people have moved on and are progressing in their careers. Coaching gave people confidence to do that.
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