My journey with Oxford Professional Consulting started when I had an idea for a significant professional change and wanted to gain clarity on it. The programme (of 1:1 video conference calls on Skype with Alison Haill) lasted 3 months, but already in 8 weeks I had created my business consultancy firm, Expect Ltd, registered it with the authorities and had my first offers ready for clients.
As a Corporate Executive in France with a multinational group for 10 years, I had the experience of working with several international business coaches in different countries. Yet, with Alison the pace at which I developed my changes, decision making and actions was surprisingly fast – and I believe they are sustainable too. This was achieved also because of Alison Haill’s unique abilities: she helped me draw on the strengths and successes I had enjoyed in my previous corporate career, while at the same time developing my creativity so I could design my own business vision as an entrepreneur with ease.
Working with Alison was serious but fun too. She kept me focused on my goals and enabled me to envisage alternative routes when I encountered obstacles. The journey has been an incomparable learning process for me and I will continue to build on it while developing my company and my future.
GG | Founder and CEO, France
I’ve used the coaching sessions to look at things I need to do or would like to do, projects and improvements I want to consider in my work and problems to solve. Among the key insights for me is the fact that it’s enabled me to condense thoughts which might have taken several weeks so as (sic) to arrive at a way of proceeding.
It’s very useful to be asked the right questions and to be challenged – I don’t get this from others. The awkward questioning makes me think more radically and question my assumptions – sometimes they are what I need to start me thinking in a different way. Although we have only worked together for 6 hours, the process has enabled me to start to make sustainable change in how I deal with things. The coach’s neutral position has been useful and that she doesn’t let me get away with a vague answer, asks questions that are not always easy or ones that I ask myself. The process of making it clear to someone else makes it clear to me so the coaching is a catalyst for thought and identifying issues. I’ve thought through strategies I can use in habitually difficult situations and seen ways that I can do things differently with my team to improve morale and consequently results.
Allon Walsh | Director, Gosforth Academy, UK
I started the coaching programme because I wanted to address some specific aspects of my communication style and I have developed in a number of important ways as a result of the insights, techniques and feedback I have gained from it. I have developed specific communication techniques concerning voice and expression, energy, body language and subtle ways to structure content differently. Linked closely to this and equally or more important was the opportunity to examine my leadership style and where I want to go with it. Having the space to discuss aspects of my job and leadership, in confidence, was extremely valuable. And the depth of reflection that was possible is due to the mix of questioning and feedback from my coach. Without Alison’s commitment, engagement and the process itself – not a superficial process, it was demanding even exhausting – it would not have been so useful. She realised that for me going deeper and addressing the underlying stuff would engage me more and result in more insights and change. I did not want a sticking plaster approach and I didn’t get one. In the process I have re-examined my leadership principles and beliefs, and have become a better leader, more in control, more sure of my beliefs and principles and aware of how I can continue to develop and improve. As a result I have made and will make changes that will last, in my leadership and in my communication.
On the practical side I valued the fact that Alison integrated training input and practice, alongside the deeper coaching process. To minimise air travel we had only a handful of face-to-face sessions over the programme, so I was pleased that we could work together over Skype across time-zones. She also brought in other specialists to work with me on specifics and to give other viewpoints.
CEO | Global internet services company, USA
I have so many things in my head all the time. Being able to speak it out loud I can make it more meaningful. It’s the fact you are a “third party” with no vested interest. I had written lots of stuff down before our call but I hadn’t nailed it. It is much clearer now.”
Name withheld | Global HR Director, Australia
I was struggling with confidence when pitching for new business on the phone and in person into a male-dominated IT world. Using your tool and excellent coaching, I moved into a position of confidence which by the way has not gone away. I now say “OK gentlemen we are in agreement then” in a way that allows me to feel natural and not sidelined or overruled. I left the session with strategies and tools, such as changing tone and volume of my voice, proposing agreements differently and using new phrases that work for me.
Jenny Plaister | Managing Director, Ten Consulting, UK
The half-day session was incredibly beneficial. I especially liked the balance of both being coached and learning how to coach others myself. The double focus was great. It meant I could experience the benefits of being coached, the opportunity to examine my leadership style and create solutions to my own business challenges with an experienced coach, then discuss how to use some of the same techniques at work to develop my team. So I came away with solutions and new management techniques to use. My meeting with my own team the next day was definitely different as a result: I feel I’ve laid the ground for a new way forward.
Emma Righton | Managing Director, Righton Group Ltd, UK
DISC Profiling For Teams
When I booked the DISC Profiling Programme from OPC for my Leadership Team, I did not have any reservations as I had worked with Alison Haill previously on a Leadership development programme in Advanced Performance Coaching within Coutts last year and I’d also had a recommendation about the ‘DISC For Teams’ process from one of my colleagues.
The experience of working with Alison on DISC was insightful and flexible. I liked the fact that there is a full written Report for each person which can be used to build a development plan that is linked to the individual but with the Team in mind to support collaboration. What was also beneficial is the way that Alison was able to tailor the DISC workshop to the needs of my business: it felt like whatever anybody wanted to probe more into could be included and adapted.
Our main two objectives were met and exceeded and one of these were delivering something to the team that provided a different lens of feedback that supported their future development for 2014.
I specially liked the application of DISC to a diverse group like mine. It helps me understand individual motivators and differences in style. Inevitably there are tensions within a newly structured team due to differences in style of communication and personality – it helps us all understand each other perspectives a bit more and how to approach certain topics.
I would highly recommend this activity. The way Alison did the pre-work, spending time to really know what we wanted to achieve, our context and our objectives, made it very tailored and relevant.
Rebecca Froud | Managing Director, Coutts Client Banking Operations UK
With regards to the profiling session I enjoyed finding out my strengths/weaknesses and ability to adjust to other people’s way of working (hopefully :-)). Every part was interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed all of it.
Millie Lafford | Clarendon Business Centres Manager, UK
The DISC session has made a difference. I’ve changed a lot. I used to worry and hesitate. Now when the deadline is close, I just decide and apologise after. It makes me much more efficient.
Maud | Top Selection Office Manager, UK
I’ve been impressed. The results have exceeded my expectations. Frankly I didn’t realise you would be able to achieve such good results in 6 months.
You are expensive but this is a very high quality service and we have received very good value for money. This 1:1 programme cost no more than one person attending a week’s residential management programme, yet it gave us 6 months of tailored skills teaching with results that are well embedded.
I would recommend Oxford Professional Consulting wholeheartedly for the combination of individual tailored programme, extremely professional service, and results which exceeded our expectations.
Jonathan Firnberg | Global Sales Manager, Norbar, UK
The Communication Skills Audit was very useful. It got everything clear and all objectives flushed out. The fact it included a training session meant his improvement started at once and he got a sample of training style too, and the specialist analysis showed us precisely where he was starting from. As his line manager I know what I’m paying for, how long it’s likely to take and a road-map. We know who and what we are dealing with – in this case a very professional organization.
GMAC | Strategic Planning Vice President
Working with you made a fantastic difference to my personal communication style and to my global career.
GMAC | European Operations Regional Vice President
I am very pleased with her programme and the difference it has made. We will certainly use you again for this kind of problem (accent reduction)
Unipart Logistics | Corporate Services Director, UK
I think Coaching is more effective than a course. A 2-day course is interesting but when I get back in the office I easily go back to many of my old ways. I worked with my coach over six months so I have changed my processes and habits in many ways – how I structure my planning, how I manage stress and problem situations, how I approach new projects and how I cooperate with my colleagues.
UN, Conoco Phillips, Norway | Senior Manager
(Before) it was very frustrating for me and unproductive for the bank. I worked with Alison and changed my communication style. The result: I get full engagement from others and implementation follows.
I’m glad I did the coaching and I wanted to thank you. I work better. I’m more confident. I get a lot of thanks from colleagues at work, and today my boss was really satisfied with a presentation I did which was synthetic and clear. At home also things are better. I keep on doing the exercises that maintains the success.
LB, Engineer, France