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Peta Simey graduated from the AoEC's Practitioner Diploma in Executive Coaching in 2019. We caught up with her to find out about her time on the programme and how she is using coaching in her role as head of marketing operations at Smart Energy GB and her work with external clients.
You have an impressive background of working in high level marketing comms with former positions at the Central Office of Information (COI) and your current role as head of marketing operations at Smart Energy GB. What introduced you to coaching and led to you signing up for the Practitioner Diploma course?
I was first introduced to the principles of coaching when at COI as part of our leadership training there. It opened my eyes to the fact that the best way to motivate someone is to get them to see their full potential. When I took on responsibility for the learning and development of the whole marketing team at Smart Energy GB, I wanted coaching to be integral part of our offering. I signed up for the Practitioner Diploma so I could commission coaches more effectively, and also coach internally where appropriate.
What were some of the positives and challenges you experienced while doing the diploma?
A huge positive was having such a supportive cohort to go through the diploma with – we still support each other now, and we’re having a shared learning session this week! The fact that the diploma is highly experiential is both a big positive and a challenge. You learn more by taking this approach, but it is inevitably challenging stepping outside your comfort zone and stretching yourself.
What would be your top piece of advice for anyone thinking about doing a professional coach training programme?
A professional coach training programme is an incredible journey of personal discovery and professional learning – go into it with an open mind, be prepared to be vulnerable, make mistakes, and learn from them. You won’t regret it.
What personal qualities and values do you bring to your coaching work?
Authenticity and honesty. My career choices to date have always focused on working somewhere with a clear purpose. I couldn’t work somewhere where I didn’t believe in the cause. Likewise, I wouldn’t feel comfortable coaching someone who isn’t willing to participate fully, as they aren’t being truly honest with themselves.
Can you tell us more about your personal coaching model and how has this evolved since completing the diploma?
My personal coaching model took inspiration from the two models that resonated with me most - co-active and solutions focused. Both models believe that people are resourceful at their core. That faith in people’s resourcefulness remains a central component of my coaching model. My approach has evolved as I spend more time with clients exploring their discomfort zone. It wasn’t something that I found comfortable when I began. But I soon noticed that when I didn’t shy away from exploring a difficult issue, it was more effective in helping clients achieve their goals.
Alongside your marketing day job at Smart Energy, you also work as an internal coach and are developing your own external coaching practice. Can you tell us more about your two different hats of internal and external coach and about who you are typically working with?
As an internal coach, I know the organisational context in greater depth, so can calibrate my coaching accordingly. With those I coach internally, I am typically working with middle managers around individual performance development, whereas those I coach externally tend to be at a more senior level, with discussions typically being around business challenges my clients are trying to navigate. I enjoy the blend of both.
What kind of impact is coaching having on the individuals you are working with?
COVID-19 is having major impact on people’s workplace behaviour, in unexpected ways. Coaching is helping the individuals I work with navigate these challenges, and feel more resilient to adapting to the times we are in.
Whilst respecting confidentiality, can you tell us about a coaching situation that had an impact on you?
This year I took part in the Climate Coaching Action Day. Exploring with others what changes they wanted to make to live a more sustainable lifestyle also had an impact on me. It made me reflect on my own behaviour, and what changes I want to personally make to respond to the climate emergency.
What has coaching taught you about yourself and other people?
That we all have the resources within ourselves to be who we want to be and thrive no matter what challenges are thrown at us. Yet frequently we just can’t see it. Coaching has taught me that you have to believe in yourself and see your own value.
What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about your work as a coach?
Unpicking the real issue that needs to be addressed can be a challenge, especially when a client isn’t willing to acknowledge what is getting in their way. It is most rewarding when you manage to breakthrough those barriers and help a client achieve their key goal.
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