Growing up, I was taught to be in touch with my emotions and to always be mindful of body language and facial expressions when interacting with people. My mother is a psychologist, and she naturally imparted her passion of delving into the human psyche to me.
It was no surprise when I decided to pursue an MSc in Organisational Psychology where I was introduced to the world of consulting by my professor, who provided consultancy to organisations on maintaining employee wellbeing in times of change and uncertainty. I was going through a lot of changes in my life at that point, and the idea of putting my skillset to use to help others experiencing ambivalence really resonated with me.
I joined Capco almost 3 years ago. I started my career in customer testing where I designed and facilitated usability testing, focus groups and guerrilla testing in branches of the bank to test wireframes and propositions. This experience introduced me to the world of sprints and new ways of working, and shortly after, I decided to specialise in transformational coaching to combine agile and the psychology of change.
Fearing and resisting change is part of human nature. Not only that, but we genuinely believe what we have been doing and the way we have been doing it, is the best way. Developing and maintaining habits is a process almost as ancient as humans. Therefore, coming to terms with the fact that a habit is unproductive and replacing it with a new one is a challenging transition that can be made easier with the right coaching.
Since joining Capco, I have had the opportunity to work in investment banks, retail banks and global payment providers where I introduced agile ways of working and the cultural shift associated with this transition. My most memorable experience was working at a wealth and asset manager client to address a scalability challenge, by streamlining the ways of operating and embedding agile principles in their delivery approach. I worked alongside the delivery team and leadership to guide them through the journey of discovery and exploring where they fit in the new landscape. While working remotely, I used behavioural assessment tools to create a psychologically safe environment for the teams to form, storm and norm and share their concerns and lessons learnt to increase team cohesion, while supporting leadership to communicate a strong vision and clear outcomes to define success. Through coaching, the squad members learnt how to flex their behaviours to optimise communication with their colleagues, while the management team realised being a leader does not mean being flawless but finding the strength to openly admit the challenges you are experiencing and sharing the success stories to maintain a motivated and empowered team.
What I’ve learnt through my experience so far, is that coaching is not a set of tools or techniques, it’s about the uncrossed arms and the fluid hand gestures, the simple nod of the head and the eye contact that shows you really care. It’s about finding a common ground, building a genuine connection with the other person and seeing the world through their eyes. It’s about observing how they react to your jokes and how tense they get when challenged. Coaching is a continuous journey of self-discovery, which allows people to adapt their mindset to be successful and flexible in the ever-changing landscape of business agility.
If you want to know more about Agile transformational coaching and how we can help you with new ways of working transformations, reach out to Robert Ord (Head of Ways of Working).