Occasionally the power of feedback can, literally, be life changing. Some years ago I was working in a financial services company in their marketing department. My client had singled out a colleague of his whom he valued highly, but whose day-to-day performance needed reinforcing.
Finding the creative energy
When we met for the first time she was delighted to have been chosen for this work, and helpfully had been reassured by her boss that there was nothing remedial in the intervention we were discussing: it was very much about helping Louise to raise her game still further.
After an initial conversation Louise took one of the psychometric questionnaires we use prior to initiating a coaching dialogue.
The creative energy I had detected in our first meeting shone out in the results and on her profile.
you helped me make sense of myself, really know myself and eradicated the self doubt instilled by certain colleagues.
I'm going to show this to my mum
I presented the results to Louise in a room without much decoration and looking out on the bleak campus which surrounded the building. Her face took on a different complexion. It was as though a weight had been lifted from her shoulders, one which it transpired had its origins from her schooldays.
“I always told my mother I was artistic” she said. “I had wanted to do Art at A level but was put off by my parents telling me I would struggle to get a decent job with that qualification. This proves what I thought (as she pointed to the highest scoring element of the graph) I am creative, yet this job doesn’t tap any of that aspect of my personality. I’m going to ring her tonight and tell her about this. You’ve changed my life!”
It was a few years before Louise was able to bring about all the changes she hoped for. From that point however, building on her heightened self-awareness, there was a greater confidence in her work which brought about stronger levels of delivery in her role.
Reflecting on the conversation recently she said: “you helped me make sense of myself, really know myself and eradicated the self doubt instilled by certain colleagues. I changed my environment, was able to eventually obtain redundancy and began a new career far removed from the marketing of financial services. I couldn’t be happier.”
Colonel Lucy Giles, first female College Commander, Sandhurst
Having been the beneficiary of mentoring myself, and as a practitioner on the mentoring programme, I know first hand the benefits of collaborating with other sectors. Ian and Hilary Wigston expose us to an external perspective in leadership development, highlighting the organisational advantage gained through diversity of thought.
David Laws, Schools Minister 2012-2015
Thought provoking and based on a wealth of personal experience. Great insights on raising our sights for professional development in the world of education.
Trudy Hall, formerly Principal Emma Willard School
Ian Wigston artfully and provocatively blends the right questions with a gentle yet productive prod. He has that rare ability to adjust his style as needed, no cookie cutter strategies, no formulaic protocol. Each session is what you need it be; your energy drives; his energy offers a roadmap through uncertain terrain.
Julie Taylor, CEO Thomas Deacon Education Trust
I was attracted to your work initially because of the EQ measure. I felt it had a credibility as a model for beginning to understand why some people were more effective as leaders when you stripped away all the common skills and qualifications.