Linda Spencer is an Executive Coach, ICF-certified PCC, and holds an M.A. in Coaching and Mentoring. Linda will also be the co-lead of our new coaching programme “Inspire the Human Within: Professional Coaching“, launching later this year. In this interview, Linda shares why she retrained as a coach following a successful career in automatives, what qualities to look for when hiring a coach, and what she believes are the most important skills required to enable people and their organisations to thrive.
How did you first start coaching and what is it about coaching that you love?
As a manager, I found leading people endlessly fascinating and loved working with them on their puzzles and challenges. So, when I had the chance of a sabbatical, I retrained as a coach to find the science behind the leadership style that I felt I was developing haphazardly. Coaching feeds my curiosity about the human condition and how we can all make positive moves towards moving confidently through the world.
What’s an interesting trend you have recently observed within the coaching world?
I find that clients are better informed these days about psychological and mental health issues. They often turn up knowing about things like imposter syndrome, burnout or influence. That means we can more quickly get down to what does it mean for me? And what can I do?
What advice would you give someone getting into coaching for the first time?
Get used to leaving space for your client to do the work. You have to hold your knowledge in reserve. The main part of the magic happens inside the client or in the space between you. It’s not about you!
What are the most important skills needed to enable people and their organisations thrive today?
Getting outside your own head and looking at people and situations from different perspectives.
Having the courage to try something new.
What can you tell me about the impact that coaching has on teams and leaders?
Coaching gives people the time and skills to step back from the do, do, do mentality of business. Getting beyond the tasks to see the underlying needs that people and systems have, ironically, unleashes the possibility of getting more done, better
What are the most important traits to look for when hiring a coach?
A style that works for you is the gold standard. But caution, that may not be someone who is just like you. Working with someone who has a different worldview or leadership style preference might be amazing for helping you see things differently. Above all though, it has to be someone you feel you can be honest and vulnerable with.
Who do you look to for inspiration or mentorship?
There are some great business writers out there now with a lot to say about the world of work. Particular favourites of mine are Malcolm Gladwell, Nicholas Taleb and Daniel Kahneman. But I might just as well bring a song lyric or movie quote into my work!
You are the program co-creator and co-lead for “Inspire the Human Within: Professional Coaching” program. What can you tell me about why you created this program?
David Lowe and I wanted to develop a coach training programme that was especially tailored to professional contexts. Although the learning can be applied to all kinds of contexts – watch out partners and friends! – we wanted to especially focus on the challenges and opportunities for coaching that we find at work.
What three books can you recommend on coaching?
- Jenny Rogers, Coaching Skills
- Elaine Cox, Tatiana Bachkirova and David Clutterbuck, The complete handbook of coaching
- Jonathon Haidt, The happiness hypothesis
What does it mean to you to make a difference in the world?
Work can be such a great source of learning and achievement, but there can be a lot of heartache on the way. Helping others transcend their struggles, feel stronger and more confident is a great way to promote happiness and progress in the world.
The Inspire the Human Within: Professional Coaching programme, which will be launched soon, is an exciting new professional coaching programme for anyone who uses coaching within organisations. Confirm your interest here.