Third in our short series in which our CatalystHE partners share how they became a coach.
Our partners share their career backgrounds and what brought them to coaching.
This week, Dr Andrew George describes how coaching is an integration of his professional life.
As an academic, my proudest achievements were the students that I helped. I keep on my bookshelves the theses of all my PhD and MSc students, and often I look at them and remember the individuals, the difficult patches in their studies, the highs that we experienced and the change that happened to them. For me, helping people achieve their ambitions has always been key to my professional life.
Over time I moved to having more management and leadership responsibilities. That changed the dynamic and I found (and continue to find) great satisfaction in ensuring that institutions and systems are successful at developing students and staff. But I also found satisfaction in helping individuals, both in terms of having and implementing their ideas and in getting on in life.
I left full time academic employment in 2018 and decided to offer myself as a coach. I looked for a training course, and with my background in science and education I wanted to have an education that did more than just train me to be a competent practitioner but which also gave me the intellectual underpinning to the subject. I therefore decided to do the MSc at Henley Business School.
Since that time I have coached many different clients from a wide range of areas, including universities, NHS, business and the charitable sector. It has been an immense privilege to work with leaders and help them develop their purpose and how best to achieve it. The course at Henley is different from some in providing training in an eclectic range of different approaches and techniques, rather than a fixed approach. This has given me a large tool bag that I can bring to my sessions with clients.
Coaching is only part of my professional life. I continue to do research, to hold leadership roles in Higher and Further Education, the NHS and medical charities. This is important for me, as I find that they enrich my coaching and ground my conversations in the reality of strategic and operational delivery.
I have also developed through my MSc a research interest in professional and personal development and have published in this area. In particular I have been working to understand how an understanding of moral purpose and character than help professionals reflect on what they do. This research informs, and is informed by, my practice as a coach and a leader.
So for me coaching is a rich part of my life, that is integrated in my background as a researcher, academic, leader and someone who wants people to be the best that they can be.
Next time, Steve Ludlow talks about his journey to coaching.