Vinetta Archer-Dyer has enjoyed a 30+ year career in academia which has covered areas such as operational management, people and change management, leadership development, and coaching internally. She is now taking external clients. Vinetta gave us her view of the Advanced Practitioner Diploma in Executive Coaching programme and shared an insight into her work as a coach.
You have had a wide-ranging and varied career within academia with positions at the University of London and now Clare College in Cambridge. Who or what introduced you to coaching and led to you signing up for coach training with the AoEC?
My journey as a coach began long before signing up for coaching qualification with the AoEC.
I found asking questions to be a great tool for development so I have been exploring ways to ask better questions to create the space for answers for a while now. If I were to pinpoint an “official” start to my coaching career it would be 2005, when my style of management and leadership was described as coaching. At this point I was managing a team and was an informal mentor to new managers. The semi-formal training began in 2015 when I was invited to attend an internal Manger as Coach Workshop.
My relationship with the AoEC began in 2019 which was during my role at the University of London. I was invited by the head of organisational development to consider formalising my coaching as part of the intention to create a coaching culture within the university. We explored possible options for training and opted for the AoEC. She suggested the Advanced Practitioner Diploma, however, I have always been a nuts and bolt kinda gal, so I felt the best way to truly explore the formal route was to start at the beginning with the Coaching Skills Certificate, as for me this would ensure that the foundations being established came from a best practice perspective.
What were some of the positives and challenges you experienced while doing the Advanced Practitioner diploma?
There were lots of positives! The one that stands out for me was connecting with the group, there were so many opportunities to explore best practice and perspectives. I also got the opportunity to practice my craft in a safe space.
I started my coaching training during a very challenging time personally and professionally. Which meant for me exploring things like whether I had the motivation to undertake the programmes outlined in addition to my existing commitments.
Organisationally, we were in a state of unrest with further change on the horizon; these changes had the potential to impact my workload. There was also the impact on my personal life, which was also in flux. I decided that rather than being daunting, this journey might be a welcome change of focus. I remember thinking I was either deflecting or deluded. I also remember thinking that perhaps my intuition was taking me to where I needed to be. I was not sure I believed the latter, but I committed to the process. I feel that the decision was the right one for me.
What is your advice to others considering coach training?
Trust the process and “lean in”. Be open to feedback and take yourself on.
Looking back at doing your Advanced diploma, what has been its lasting impact on you as a person and you as a coach?
I trust my instincts and skills more. In a sense the process has helped me to make the implicit explicit. The journey showed me how to tap into my talents and formalise processes that would have previously felt like the natural next step. It was such a revelation that there were names and models for some of my thoughts! The programme also showed me that my journey had been a series of pit stops on my coaching highway. At each pit stop, I had the opportunity to deepen my awareness and understanding, upgrade my coaching vehicle or add to my toolkit.
Can you tell us more about your personal coaching model and how this has evolved since doing the Advanced Practitioner diploma?
My coaching model is like me, eclectic and always evolving. My client is always at the centre surrounded by values such as curiosity, relationship, service, space, presence, being in the moment, adaptability, feedback, and reflection. I remain open to the possibility of using any of the many models or tools in the moment depending on the needs of my client.
Accreditation is still on my to do list as my coaching has primarily been internal. Which meant that training and best practice were more of a focus than accreditation. However, the fact that the course was accredited by both was part of my decision-making process as the longer-term aim has always been to grow my external practice.
How are you using coaching in your role at Clare College and who are you working with within the organisation?
For me coaching is a mindset and way of being which means I use coaching a variety of ways. Taking the opportunity to create the space where solutions can emerge. To me this requires listening and asking quality questions then leaving the space for the answers. I have started to focus more on coaching externally and I am loving the change.
What are some of the issues you coach people around and how are you measuring the effectiveness of the coaching?
My clients’ issues are mainly around leadership, management, career progression, newly promoted managers or leaders, personal and professional development in existing roles. I measure the effectiveness of my engagement with awareness assessments before, during and after along with feedback during and after coaching engagements.
Whilst respecting confidentiality, can you tell us about a coaching situation that had an impact on you?
I feel that all my clients have an impact as I get to be present to their growth and aha moments. I love to watch the moment when there is a shift in perspective and belief. The light of recognition is always so visceral! It is very rewarding to see this happen.
What do you find most rewarding about your work as a coach?
Creating the space for clients to find their own answers and watching this unfold is one of the greatest gifts. I have the privilege of holding the space that allows clients to tap into their innate wisdom. It is an amazing feeling to accompany someone on this journey; after all there is only one expert in the room and that is your client, as for me, no one else can be an expert on you, but you!
Our deepest thanks to Vinetta for sharing her personal journey and experience of coach training at the AoEC.