The machines haven’t taken over just yet at Design Bridge, so our key assets still wear shoes, or as I overheard one of the advertising executives say the other day, ‘All our assets go up and down in the lift each day.’ Whatever the metaphor, the key point is that people matter and no more so than in a creative business that is dealing with emotions on a daily basis, where people are expected to be either creative, instantly and continuously, or reassuring and inspiring.
I have just taken up the new position of group performance and development coach at Design Bridge (DW 21 October) because I believe it is critical to put in measures that better equip and support people to be even more successful in their jobs by reaching the peak performance that they and their employers know they are capable of achieving.
Moreover, in hard business terms, profit and growth are dependent upon the performance of employees, and a company that wishes to retain and develop its main asset must put more pioneering strategies in place to achieve this.
More than 33 years within the design industry has taught me a lot about how best to motivate people to believe in themselves and to be highly successful within their careers. Two years ago I decided that I had gone as far as I could in my role as group creative director of Design Bridge, so I handed over the mantle to Graham Shearsby to take on the vision of making Design Bridge the brand design consultancy of choice anywhere in the world. My efforts since then have concentrated on another vital element of success: retaining and developing the very best people in the industry.
I believe that coaching and mentoring begins at the heart of a company, rather than through outside development courses. Coaching differs from the general term ‘training’. Improving any aspect of your professional life can be as much about confronting personal demons and looking inside yourself, as it can be about addressing issues over technique and sharpening specific management skills. It is important to challenge people’s beliefs about themselves and the world around them, as it can be these very beliefs that hold them back from reaching their goals.
As a coach within Design Bridge I will help people understand their needs, uncover insights, make connections and inspire new thinking. I know the culture of the company, its history, its values, its marketplace and I am able to roam and converse at all levels of the structure in a unique way, giving support and guidance when and where needed.
No two people are ever the same and from the beginning openness, honesty, integrity and commitment are needed to allow creative thinking and inspiration to generate genuinely new directions. As a coach I can facilitate the process by listening and helping to create a plan which is tailored to individual need and learning strategy.
We all have a picture of the world we want and what we want to achieve. My role is to help people look at the whole picture; edit and focus down on what matters, create confidence to be bolder with interpreting the script, and challenge what can be realistically achieved within the time-frame set or within a current role.
A golfer will be aware of the bunkers to the left and the right but will only focus in on the hole ahead. Jonny Wilkinson wouldn’t have been able to make that winning drop kick goal at the Rugby World Cup if he hadn’t mastered his visualisation techniques over the years. Equally in our business I know the time and energy sometimes wasted in a pitch situation when people focus too much on worrying about what competitors are going to do and forget to play their own game.
We all have the power to answer every question, the job of a coach is to unleash that power by demonstrating strategies and techniques that can achieve this, helping people and companies to develop and win.
Why to coach
ï‚· if you believe your people matter then invest in coaching them
ï‚· coaching is not training
ï‚· coaching is much more about an individual’s personal makeup
ï‚· the key is to help people make connections and find their own insight
ï‚· it is about helping people to focus and narrow down what they do
ï‚· a coach simply demonstrates the way to win