As a qualified Company Secretary (“CoSec”) in London who recently qualified as a Life Coach (“Coach”), I was keen to explore what qualities these two professions share.
What does a CoSec and a Coach have in common, other than 3 out of 5 letters?
I’ve been a Fellow member of the Chartered Governance Institute (“ICSA” – https://www.icsa.org.uk/ ) for over 10 year and I have 15+ years of work experience as CoSec. In 2017, I enriched my professional and personal development with a life coaching qualification, certified by the Association for Coaching (“AC” – https://www.associationforcoaching.com/? ).
That same year, I also did something a little crazier. I resigned from a successful, long-spanning corporate role as Head of Company Secretariat within a large multinational organisation to quench a thirst for exploring my freedom and its meaning outside of office walls.
In a nutshell, that freedom quest led me to volunteering, travelling, adventuring, solo vanlife-ing, writing, public speaking and setting up my own life coaching business.
THE ROLE OF COSEC AND LIFE COACH
What is Life Coaching?
The AC defines coaching as: “A collaborative solution-focused, results-orientated and systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of work performance, life experience, self-directed learning and personal growth of the coachee.”
The coaching guru Tony Robbins refers to life coaching as: “…a unique service designed to help ambitious achievers meet the outcomes that will bring them success and fulfillment”.
What is the role of CoSec?
The ICSA describes the Company Secretary as: “A strategic position of considerable influence at the heart of governance operations within an organisation.”
The CoSec role requires a wide-ranging skill set in areas of corporate law, finance, governance, strategy and corporate secretarial practice, to advise company’s boards and committees, support the Chair and Directors and act as a lynch pin with key company officers and departments.
Can CoSec and Life Coaching complement one another?
Coaching can be so powerful. It is a non-advisory process that helps identify and break unwanted patterns, clarify and achieve personal and professional goals, create step by step plans, improve communication and other skills. It can also motivate people and unlock their full potential, and so much more.
My coaching is designed to also help recover inner freedom, boost self-love and rediscover the zest for life!
With these many benefits, you can see how coaching can really complement the CoSec professionals and environment well. Vice-versa, the multi-faceted CoSec career proved invaluable for managing coaching clients and the many aspects of a coaching business.
My CoSec skills were of huge value in coaching, and without even knowing it I had already practiced some coaching in my corporate job.
COSEC AND LIFE COACH: THE 6 QUALITIES IN COMMON
Reflecting on both my CoSec and life coaching roles, here are some of the key common qualities I found (the list is non-exhaustive):
1. Clarity of Intentions
Each CoSec duty, big and small, is given due care and consideration with the big picture in mind: the company values and good governance. Equally, a Coach is driven to explore clients’ deeper values and beliefs to focus on their ultimate desires. These often hide well below the surface. In both cases, every step is taken with clarity of intentions.
2. Move Forward with Action
The CoSec is a multi-tasker who approaches each action with the same attention to detail, ensuring the company moves safely forward to their desired outcomes by supporting the governing bodies and promoting compliance. As a Coach, you work with clients in a similar way to understand their goals, put a suitable action plan in place and support their navigation through that plan.
3. Effective Listening
Great communication skills are vital in the CoSec role. In particular listening actively when co-working with the Chair, Boards and Committees, in meetings and liaising with all other functions involved. The Coach attentive listening and questioning are just as crucial to lead clients to insights and positive change. Listening not just with the ears, but eyes and intuition as well.
4. Knowledge and Confidentiality
In the same way a CoSec gains access to extensive and sensitive knowledge of the organisation, the Coach gains profound insight into clients’ personal aspects of life. Both professions know how to apply sound judgement, with high regards to integrity and confidentiality.
CoSecs and Coaches equally commit to support and develop their teams and clients with leadership qualities. Clear values, commitment, inspiration, transparency, problem-solving and authentic belief in their potentials. As leaders, they both look to create positive collaborations and synergies in their respective environments.
6. Human Factors
Last but not least, the human elements. Good people-skills such as empathy, understanding, and kindness are valuable qualities of a great CoSec and a top Coach. I would add also joy and passion! Of course, these qualities are not limited to the coaching and governance worlds. I believe it is crucial to value who we are as human beings in all professions and workplaces.
The CoSec and Coach roles are much more in harmony than one may first expect. My shift from a fulltime CoSec role to incorporate life coaching in my career journey was certainly buffered by many common qualities I could transfer across. Similarly, many professions that require leadership can very much benefit from developing coaching skills.
When changing or shifting career, you never really start from scratch. Two different professions can offer the same opportunities to apply existing skill-sets or expand existing knowledge and experience.
The skills I like to encourage corporate teams and coaching clients to grow are those soft human factors. We are accustomed to say we ARE our professional role. I am a CoSec, I am a Coach. But we are above everything humans.
Why not start Board and Shareholders’ meetings in similar ways of Coaching sessions. Noting how everyone is feeling, taking deep breaths to become fully present and setting positive intentions at the beginning of the agendas.
I recently listened to Russell Brand’s interview of Brené Brown (https://brenebrown.com/ ) as part of his podcast series called Under The Skin (Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SM1ckkGwqZI ). Brené said something that resonated with me.
Brené questioned how company systems that do not value human spirituality can work when they are designed to serve people [as stakeholders] who are inherently spiritual beings. She refers to de-humanisation, and ignoring the core of who we are, in a corporate system as dangerous.
Her statement supports the view that valuing, as opposed to objectifying, human elements in the workplace should be a natural practice. I believe this would certainly contribute to the promotion of the success of the company, its environment and stakeholders.
If you’d like to comment or connect to discuss the content of this post or any other post (blogs: coaching category) I’d love to hear from you. You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or message me via the Website: http://www.gr8fool.com