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One to many: team coaching

Sandlea coaches at many levels within NEWTEC

Pat Edwards - CEO  NEWTEC


Background

Newtec is a charity offering a range of child-centric services around Newham and east London. Its services include professional courses in early years and child care, four nurseries and a childcare staffing agency. Pat is a passionate advocate for continuous professional development (CPD). In 2010 he decided to take his own advice and enrol on a strategic leadership and management course.


What was the issue?

‘I was attracted not only to the course content but also to the fact there would be a range of commercial business leaders there,’ he says. ‘NEWTEC is a charity and I am keen to move it towards the social enterprise model and grow it on a more commercial footing. I also wanted benchmark myself with other CEOs.’


‘It was one of the best courses I have ever been on,’ he continues. ‘The course leader, Ian Banister, did some tremendous visioning work but also demonstrated the importance of attention to detail – it was big picture/little picture work. Over the five-day course (during a period of five months) there was a brilliant mix of people which added a deep richness to the experience. Each one had a passion for what they do, which was invigorating.’

So impressed was Pat with Ian’s course that he enrolled his heads of department on it. ‘I wanted them, too, to look externally – to benchmark our organisation with commercial enterprises and compare themselves with their peers. They’re a talented bunch but I was glad to see it bolstered their confidence when they found they could match up to senior managers in commercial organisations.’

What did Ian do to help?

The next stage was to invite Ian into NEWTEC to sit on the monthly senior management team meetings. ‘Ian’s a bit like The Hotel Inspector,’ jokes Pat. ‘No, seriously, he attends our meetings and points out, clearly and simply, what we need to do. He’s tremendous. I’ve never known anyone as able as he is to come up with questions no-one else has thought of. You think you have your business planning covered and then he comes up with another challenge – but in a very, very positive way. He’s an incredibly supportive person. The team don’t hold back at all. They really welcome his input.’


‘Ian provides me with a written report within 72 hours of each meeting,’ Pat continues. ‘He has amazing insight and manages to distil clear recommendations and the necessary actions onto a single side of A4.’


What was the outcome?

What do the senior managers themselves think of Ian’s training and coaching? Caroline Grant, NEWTEC’s head of customer services, is delighted. ‘I found the five-day course really informative’, she offers, ‘and a very good use of my time, especially the marketing elements. Ian is always very clear, both verbally and in his written materials. He now attends our management team meetings, at which he’s very constructive and his feedback is always positive.’


Colleague Jennifer Marshall, head of learning services, adds: ‘Ian asks good questions in our meetings. I wouldn’t say he takes a large role, but he’s certainly not afraid to challenge where he sees it necessary, and asks some good questions. I’ve also had one-to-one coaching with Ian. He’s very good at listening and understanding a situation and again, good at asking the right questions. I am very confident in his abilities as both a trainer and a coach.’

NEWTEC have invited Ian to facilitate the  senior management team away-days. He took along a professional drama therapist to the first one to help illustrate key points, an approach well received by everyone. ‘At our away-days he’s still asking questions no-one else has thought about!’ says Pat. ‘He brings really useful tools to the events and helps us shape our critical thinking. Again, he clarifies things at every step of the way, never leaving anyone wondering or unsure.’


 ‘He attends our meetings and points out, clearly and simply, what we need to do. He’s tremendous. I’ve never known anyone as able as he is to come up with questions no-one else has thought of.’

Pat Edwards, CEO, NEWTEC