By Steve Dwan, Managing Director at People Capability Partners
After two decades within the Coca Cola system, Steve Dwan launched his next chapter as Managing Director of his consultancy People Capability Partners.
I had worked in the human resources sector in Australia and abroad for about three decades, including many years working with executive teams, when my focus turned towards using that experience as a consultant. As I prepared to launch my own business advising top executives around the world, I wanted to ensure my approach to organisational leadership coaching was firmly bedded with a strong and practical model. I wanted to bring some key skills and capabilities to the forefront to make sure my toolbox was strong and I was ready.
This is when I came to Executive Central’s Coaching Academy. The program was formative in how I now approach my role. I can now confidently call on structured tools and skills to coach, educate, mentor and facilitate the development of other senior leaders in the organisations I work with.
The first project I undertook after starting People Capability Partners in July 2018, was with a multi-national based in Canada that’s going through some significant organisational change. I’m working with the senior leadership team on how to understand that change and to enable them to approach it in the right way. I’m using all of the concepts that I’ve learnt in the Coaching Academy program. Previously, I’d have gone into the organisation not fully understanding how I should approach their particular needs; whereas now I’m able to go in with a structured approach, direction, and real focus on what we’re trying to achieve. So those skills and new tools have been very practical and beneficial.
Having been through people and leadership development programs throughout my career, I can say the overarching difference of Coaching Academy is its flexibility. If you go into a coaching program with most other organisations, they focus on questioning and the concept of reframing and redirecting and getting the participant to think about themselves and what they are saying. That’s well and good and Coaching Academy does that too, but it has more. It adds being a mentor as well, an educator, and a facilitator. It enables you and gives you the skills and capabilities to do more than just question, but to also provide advice, facilitate development, to mentor, to do all those things that are required to enable the leader to maximise their capabilities.
Coaching Academy brings it all together so you can be the coach, the mentor the facilitator, and it enables you to be able to think about what is the best approach to use in each scenario and not to be afraid to do it.
As a senior HR director in businesses, I’ve always understood the importance of working with my senior leadership colleagues but what Coaching Academy highlighted for me was the need to be a coach to them: to coach and mentor and develop that leadership group. A big change for my leadership style since going through Coaching Academy is: where I saw myself primarily as a working colleague to senior leaders — and I still do — I also now see that my role as the HR lead in a business is also to be an ‘executive coach’ to the entire leadership group regularly.
If I came across a business that wanted to focus more on developing its people to drive a competitive advantage I would recommend it create a ‘coaching culture’. If all your leaders were equipped with the skills to truly coach, advise, development and mentor their people, the organisation would be much better equipped to deal with challenges. By utilizing the Coaching Academy, you could create an in-house internal coaching culture that gives you that competitive advantage