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Remember the days of the old schoolyard?           Leadership development is never done

Remember the days of the old schoolyard? Leadership development is never done

by Moyra Mackie on January 29, 2013

Do you remember your first day at school? The fear of the unknown? The big, unfamiliar building? Worrying if you would fit in? The fretting about wearing the right clothes? The anxiety about whether the teachers would like you and you would like them?

I remember those emotions, oh so well. But I probably have an advantage over you. My first day of school was in December 2012.

No, I haven’t aged prematurely. I’m what’s called, in polite circles, a mature student. And on December 17, I started my Masters in Executive Coaching at Ashridge Business School.

As a trainer, consultant and executive coach with years of experience standing up in front of large groups of strangers, I probably shouldn’t have had those first-day-of-school jitters. But there’s nothing like standing outside a building that shouts “seat of learning excellence”, to bring those deep-rooted emotions flooding back.

Yes, there was something vaguely familiar about the institutional feel of the accommodation. And the bathroom decor (unshared this time, fortunately) instantly transported me back to the eighties. But that’s where the comparisons with my university days end.

Ashridge is a beautiful building, its grandeur only eclipsed by the warmth of the welcome and the quality of the teaching. I immediately felt I had made a good investment.

Some people have questioned my judgment

“Why do you want a coaching qualification?” they ask.

“You already have a successful executive coaching business. You don’t need the kudos of a few more letters after your name, do you?”

They’re right, of course. I don’t need the extra letters after my name. But, for me, that rather misses the point about coaching.

Coaching is about improvement

Being coached is about accepting that you don’t have all the answers and seeking a different perspective. I certainly don’t believe I know it all. And, though they have the edge on me, I’m pretty certain the coaches at Ashridge wouldn’t claim to know everything either.

To tell the truth, a coach who claims to know it all probably isn’t a very good coach. A coach who isn’t willing to make the effort to look for ways of becoming better isn’t really all that committed to coaching principles.

You probably know that if a shark stops swimming it dies. In the same way, I reckon a coach who stops learning pretty soon stops being able to add real value.

I owe it to my clients, my business and myself to keep learning and keep swimming. And, after all, Ashridge does have a rather nice pool.

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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