Kate Pearce, Director Personified applies her background in business improvement and operations, allied with her coaching qualifications to drive effective communication across large scale projects to ensure that performance targets are met.
As a project performance specialist, Kate focuses on identifying and resolving relationship and communication challenges before they start to impact project performance. This is invaluable in a global setting where project complexity is ever increasing, meaning communication interfaces are multiplied, and often cross cultural boundaries.
Alongside 15 years leadership experience, Kate has a Double Major in Psychology from The University of Queensland, an Executive Graduate Certificate in Business – Leadership through Coaching, and is currently completing an Executive MBA. She is committed to delivering evidence-based coaching, and volunteers on the Queensland leadership team of Association for Coaching, which partners with the Institute of Coaching, Mclean/Harvard Medical School.
What are the benefits of establishing a coaching culture in your organisation?
While the term ‘coaching’ tends to be associated with formal one-on-one conversations, a coaching culture refers to the practice of coaching behaviours and mindset at an organisational level. As organisations now face unprecedented levels of change and complexity, a growing number of workplaces are leveraging a coaching approach to support their employees to more confidently navigate this.
An important step towards establishing a coaching culture is considering how this type of approach will support the organisation to achieve its strategic objectives. As workplace cultures are complex, a coaching culture is not a singular solution and benefits are more likely to be achieved when considered in combination with other workforce influences. These benefits can include positive outcomes on financial performance, increased productivity and employee satisfaction.
What draws me most to the notion of a coaching culture, is that it supports people to feel less overwhelmed by change and complexity and this is so important considering change is a constant in our lives. It empowers people to find opportunities and fun in the shifts, rather than becoming overwhelmed when things don’t go to plan.
As a project performance specialist, how does coaching work across large-scale projects and what is the impact?
We humans love a plan, but in reality, projects seldom follow a neat one. Projects continue to grow in size and complexity and performance now crosses teams, global boundaries and business structures.
Our services are designed to take a connected approach to areas that have traditionally been addressed independently – people and the business. When considering performance, organisations tend to focus solely on people capability without considering how other aspects such as structures, operations and culture may also be impeding or supporting performance. We partner with the project to consider how these may concurrently be influencing outcomes and then continue to adapt our services to the ‘real-time’ needs of the project, recognising that change is a continual process.
We primarily use a coaching approach to enable speed and flexibility which also mitigates costly delays in response time. Coaching is a highly effective way of surfacing relationship challenges and nuances that may otherwise go undetected by only prioritising project execution.
You are involved with Association for Coaching, who partner with Institute of Coaching, Mclean/Harvard Medical School. What lessons have you learnt through networking with this international community?
I volunteer on the Queensland leadership team of Association for Coaching and feel very fortunate to have found a professional tribe of likeminded people, who at the same time, are delightfully diverse. The association has membership from over 80 countries so being able to draw from this global body of knowledge ensures I bring progressive, evidence-based information to organisations and am constantly learning something new.
Networking with an international community provokes an important reminder that there’s a large professional world outside of your own little one. It broadens my ideas and my energy about what is possible.
What was the catalyst to undertake further study, with your Executive MBA through QUT?
It doesn’t take much to pique my interest in studying something new, however QUT’s EMBA was something that I took the time to deeply consider before commencing.
I have only recently completed QUT’s Executive Graduate Certificate in Business – Leadership through Coaching and this course had such a transformational impact on my thinking that it provided the catalyst to keep going. I see the EMBA as the next step in exploring how I continue to leverage my leadership strengths to create business impact and am particularly looking forward to the opportunity to undertake an overseas study tour to pursue my interest in international leadership (COVID pending!).
The privilege of having the opportunity to learn with such a diverse cohort of peers and lecturers is certainly not lost on me and I’m very excited to see where the EMBA journey takes everyone.
Most proud of?
I am most proud of consistently asking myself as many questions as I ask of others. I think it’s really important to balance seeking advice with your own intuition and this can take a lot of courage.
One of the privileges of coaching is being witness to the moment someone realises they established their own answer and that actually, it was already there – they just hadn’t noticed it yet.
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