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  • Writer's pictureSusan Rose

Second in our series on how CatalystHE partners came to coaching.

Our partners share their career backgrounds and what brought them to coaching.

This week, Dr Susan Rose reflects on the question "Why do I coach?" From a way of being to a leadership skill, Susan describes her growing interest in and use of coaching in the 2000s to her current passion for supporting women leaders.

Leadership and coaching books

Self-reflection is a useful and intriguing exercise. Something that coaching should trigger. So writing about how I got into coaching is an opportunity for a bit of my own personal reflection and insight. Why do I coach and how did it all get started?

I first became aware of coaching as a practice when working at Henley Business School in the early 2000s. It was a new and young discipline at that time, and I was fortunate enough to know and work with Dr Patricia Bossons who first introduced coaching at Henley. Alongside Patricia worked others in her team (notably the wonderful Alison Hardingham and Denis Sartain) and I noticed a few things about these people. First that they appeared to me to be very grounded, in control of their own feelings and responses and very effective communicators. They radiated serenity and were clearly comfortable in their own skins. There had to be something in this thing called coaching! I explored it more and in 2010 took the Henley Professional Certificate in Coaching course to learn and develop my knowledge and skills.

During my career at Henley I applied my coaching predominantly as a leadership skill while I held senior roles at the business school that required me to build and develop teams. Coaching is a process of working alongside someone, supporting that individual to progress and move forward and often make change happen. It is particularly helpful to individual performance development but also when building teams. During this time, I was responsible for leading a multi-cultural team overseas at a new university campus in Malaysia and was able to apply my coaching skills in what was a start-up situation. I used coaching in a number of ways – to support induction of new staff; performance development; dispute resolution; team building; as well as my interactions with other senior leaders.

By 2019 I was looking for a new focus in my life that would complement my work in business education and also leverage my coaching experience. I obtained my International Coaching Federation (ICF) accreditation and launched my own coaching practice with an objective to share my leadership experiences with others. I have a particular focus on coaching women in mid to senior level roles. This is because I have stood in their shoes and have personal experience of being a female leader. Now in 2022 I partner with my colleagues at CatalystHE to combine my coaching skills and senior HE leadership experience as a specialist offer.

I am a coach because I firmly believe in the effectiveness of coaching and the importance of supporting others. Coaching is now an accepted and much used developmental intervention that can be effective in both the corporate world, the professions such as academia, and in people’s personal lives. For leaders it provides the basis for self-reflection and personal insights that help us build our values and capabilities as we navigate change.


Andrew George will share his reflections on becoming a coach next time.


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