BFP: What do you do?
HK: I work on a 1-1 basis with people, either in person or over the phone, and we look at where they are today, where they want to be in the future, and we work together to create an actionable plan for getting them there.
For example, in the course of a week, I may work with a stressed-out entrepreneur to identify what changes could be made in their work-life balance so that they feel more energised and become more effective in growing and running their business, I could also work with a corporate employee who wants to land a promotion and through identifying their limiting beliefs, they are able to dramatically improve their communication skills which then enables them to land the promotion, and I could also work with an intrapreneur who feels like they are at their wits end and are ready to quit and yet since that isn’t really what they want, we work on how they can build their resilience so that the next time the overwhelming desire to quit comes they know exactly what they need to do to sail straight through the experience.
My specialty, based on my years of work experience prior to becoming a coach, is working with innovators – social intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, and sustainability professionals. I also keep busy by acting as an advisor to the League of Intrapreneurs, and speak about intrapreneurship and personal development at events like the Intrapreneurship Conference. Over the past 6 years, I’ve honed my niche skillset, and deepened my passion for personal development and corporate social innovation through working closely with many leading thinkers, brands, intrapreneurs and change agents, including: Virgin Unite, Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic, The League of Intrapreneurs, Shell, BP, Imaginals, and The International Exchange.
I’ve earned a MSc from University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, a BBA (distinction) from York University’s Schulich School of Business in Toronto, Canada, and a Certificate in Professional Coaching Skills from the highly regarded Coaching Development, in London, UK. I’m a member of the International Coach Federation.
BFP: What is the best part about your job?
HK: The best part is I’ve finally got a career, and not a job. What I do is incredibly matched to my talents, nature, passion, and the impact I’d like to have. It was only through receiving coaching myself that I was able to gain this clarity. I’ve been through a lot of exhausting and stressful career change – entrepreneur, advertising executive, 3 foundations, innovation consultancy… None of them ever felt truly right for me. I wasn’t doing what I felt I was meant to be doing.
And now I do. It makes a world of difference to my everyday sense of fulfillment and happiness! Plus it is brilliant to witness real changes taking place in people that I know will lead them to the same sense of fulfillment and happiness!
BFP: What have been your greatest challenges?
HK: The biggest challenge is helping people understand the type of ‘coaching’ I practice. I provide zero advice to my clients. This often surprises people as there are so many different definitions of coaching floating about.
I believe each of us receive enough advice from everyone else in our lives. To gain clarity we need to really start to listen to ourselves. That is the role that I play. I essentially mirror back to a person their best self as they’ve defined it. This enables them to think deeper, broader and different to usual. It allows them to understand themselves in new ways, which leads to a much clearer understanding of what they need to do in order to get what they want – be it a new job, better work-life balance, healthier and more productive relationships, enhanced leadership skills, etc.
BFP: How have you overcome these challenges? / What advice would you give to others / What is the secret to your success?
HK: I’ve had the privilege earlier this year of sharing my thoughts about this challenge with the Board of Directors of the International Coach Federation as this is a topic that should be addressed at their international level.
In the meantime, I’ve learned to start with the other person. I understand that coaching is a hard to understand process until you’ve experienced it. I share the benefits the person can experience without mentioning ‘coaching’. I use storytelling as well. I only later mention how I do that I do, ie coaching. This allows a conversation to unfold rather than be stopped right at the start by having to clarify what I mean by ‘coaching’.
BFP: If someone wants to do what you do, where should they start?
HK: I started with Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why. Understanding ‘why’ you do what you do is a great place to start. You can fast track and watch his Ted Talk here.
I test drove coaching by taking a short weekend course. This was incredibly useful to me. Another way is to hire a coach. Experiencing coaching from a trained professional allows you to really understand how it is different from mentoring, advising, consulting, counseling, and conversations with friends and family. You’ll be able to experience the value of coaching first-hand, and start to determine if the profession is a good match for you.
BFP: What do you hope to get out of being part of the BFP community?
HK: It is inspiring to see so many committed and talented individuals, from around the world, working in their own unique ways to make a real difference. This helps keep me motivated. I also really value the new relationships I’ve formed thanks to the network, the insights I’ve learned from the blogs I’ve read, and the opportunity to share my tips around resilience and intrapreneurship with a much wider group of people through the blog I write.
Thank you to Heidi Kikoler for taking the time to do this interview.
Read previous Member of the Week interviews here.