Case Study: Jon Higgins, Head of IT, Tesco.com
What prompted you to undertake personal development via executive coaching?
It was my manager’s decision that I should undertake the training with Rapporta but prior to that I had no previous knowledge of them. Many of my colleagues at Tesco have used Rapporta for individual coaching and the feedback from them was very positive.
What were your main objectives at the beginning of the coaching?
To improve my perception and image, in particular with the upper management within the company.
What were your expectations, if any, of what it would be like?
I did not really have any particular expectations about the training but thought there would possibly be lots of 1:1 coaching and videoing which there was and which was very good. I entered into the training with a very open mind.
How did you find the executive coaching experience with Mary-Louise?
The coaching experience was both enjoyable and challenging. I like being coached anyway as a person but did expect the videoing and assessment to be much less fun than it actually was. I think the videoing was very beneficial as it helps you see your own style and impact. You usually have an idea of how you come across to people but the videoing is a good way of highlighting the fact that in fact you often come across quite different to what you expect, so it’s useful to know how you’re being perceived.
I also found the open questioning part of the training very beneficial as it made me realise that I was not using this technique at all. The coaching with Rapporta has taught me to know when to use this and how to put it into practice.
You have obviously achieved your objectives, and others have noticed positive changes in terms of your positive impact and communication style. How did you ensure you were getting the most from the experience?
I have constantly reviewed the programme given to me by Rapporta to ensure I get the most out of it and it is obviously giving results as those around me have very quickly given positive feedback.
How and where have you applied your learning and insights and what have you noticed about outcomes you get, based on any changes you have made to your communication style, approach, and/or methods?
I have applied the learning everywhere, to my whole style and throughout my daily life. I would say I am noticeably more positive and that interactions are much easier. I feel more empowered in terms of getting a reaction – it has definitely made my life easier.
How has the development affected your planning, and your management and leadership approach?
Although I am a fairly well organized person anyway, I now plan my interactions much more carefully than before. With regards to, for example, my leadership approach, I did not realise how important things such as body language were in terms of projecting a confident self-image. Learning this has definitely helped and there has been an overall level of improvement.
What have you achieved and/or gained as a result of this experience?
I have been appointed to a Level 4 management position, and am now Head of Tesco.com IT. In the short-term I have already achieved my goal of a better relationship with the upward management within Tesco. I was also able to manage the reorganisation of the department, which was coincident with my additional responsibilities, with a far more effective approach and better outcomes.
Mary-Louise has been known to say that communication skills are not “soft”, in fact, that they are essential business skills. What is your opinion on this?
I totally agree with this and wish I had carried out training sooner. These are essential business skills which ought to be coached throughout companies.
Would you consider further executive coaching sessions in future, and if so, what would you expect to gain from this?
I certainly will – moving forward in my career I’m sure that there will be more challenges and this sort of coaching can address many different development areas and needs as they arise. At the higher levels image and influencing skills are a key competence, so I’ll also be looking to refresh these skills in the future.
You have said you would not hesitate to recommend executive coaching with Rapporta to other professionals – what would you tell them?
Executive coaching with Rapporta has taught me essential skills which everyone ought to have an awareness of.