Coaching Q&A with the HR Director of Ardmore Construction
One of Starboard’s recent Coachees, Magdalena Torba, talks about her expectations of coaching and the end-result of delivering the challenging projects required by her business. Magda is HR Director at Ardmore, one of the largest privately owned design & build contractors in the UK, and a business undergoing growth and change in its sector.
Interviewer: Why did you decide to embark on a Coaching programme?
Magda: As a business, we had embarked on a period of transformation, and I was appointed to lead the process. I felt I needed support and guidance to make sure we were on the right path. Within our business at the time, we did not have the internal capability to provide support for this project; it was undiscovered territory for us. And actually, we saw that there were some clear benefits to having an external perspective.
Interviewer: How did you select a coach to work with?
Magda: I had attended an HR Task Force session, which was led by Tim Pointer. At the time I was not in a position to select a coach, but I thought during the session that I would love to work with this individual in the future. When we came to the point as a business that we could allocate a budget to this, I already had Tim in mind because I liked his delivery style, his sense of confidence and experience. A key thing about Tim is his ability to relate to people, which I experienced in the meetings and the subsequent coaching sessions we had.”
Interviewer: What has the Coaching programme enabled you to do?
Magda: When I talk about transforming the business, I meant it! We are a relatively successful business, but successful without purpose or vision. It’s a huge task to define the vision, purpose and the underlying principles for success when you’re starting from scratch. I found it difficult to pinpoint the best starting point. Working with Tim has enabled us to make the first steps, and given us shape and direction to manage the ongoing project, as opposed to being spoon-fed all the tasks.
Interviewer: What has been the benefit to you in going through this programme?
Magda: For me, it was unlocking the potential I didn’t know I had. It was a lot about giving me the courage and confidence to do the things I needed to do in order to to deliver a successful, impactful project.
Interviewer: What is different in the business now, as a result of the work you have done?
Magda: We have clearly defined and implemented a year-long project that has involved everyone in the business, and everyone can understand and appreciate what we have been doing. It has been a collective and collaborative effort rather than being driven from the top, and this has been one of the most important aspects. There is a sense of vibrancy, enthusiasm and togetherness that excites us all, and engages everyone with the business’s purpose and ambitions.
Interviewer: What is in place in the business that wasn’t in place before?
Magda: What we have achieved is the definition of what we are, what we stand for, what we want to achieve, what makes us successful and what we need to do to make sure those success factors are promoted, noted and rewarded.
Interviewer: What are your reflections on working with Starboard and going through this program?
Magda: Tim is very personable and creates an environment where you feel comfortable and open. I have felt guided rather than having things imposed on me. During the coaching sessions, I have discovered the way forward together with Tim and this has made me feel a strong ownership of the project. He has made sure that our discussions are very much framed by what makes sense for our business, and has quickly grasped the main drivers of the business and our industry.
Interviewer: What would be your advice to anyone starting a Coaching relationship?
Magda: I think you need to start with yourself, and not what you want to achieve. Don’t rely on the coach to tell you where you want to go and how you need to get there. Make sure that you have a good rapport with the coach on a personal level, which will enable you to be open and trusting. I believe that these are the two most important factors in determining the success of the relationship and of the process.