CASE STUDY: Kathryn reflects on the ILM 7 Certificate in Executive Coaching and Mentoring

“I was just reflecting on how different life feels than it did two years ago, and although it has taken me a while, I finally feel like celebrating what I have achieved and how far I have come.”Kathryn Robb 

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Kathryn took part in the ILM 7 Certificate in Executive Coaching and Mentoring in 2019, just before lockdown took hold.

As a director in the housing sector, Kathryn had already been coaching and mentoring in an unofficial capacity for the previous 5 or 6 years. She knew she wanted to do more coaching when she left the corporate world.

Kathryn had already completed her ILM Level 3 and set up her own business, focusing on coaching and consultancy. However, unaware of the pandemic that was about to unfold, Kathryn decided to step back from her consultancy contracts in 2020 to concentrate on coaching.

“I wanted to create the space to do more coaching, as that’s where my heart is and where I wanted to increase my impact.”

Kathryn travelled from Worcester to attend an Open Course in Shrewsbury and was part of a group of 15, of which NHS England commissioned 11 places. A real mix of delegates, including senior managers, HR Directors, and specialists’ roles such as anaesthetists.

“It reinforced my confidence in my ability and what I was already doing, which was a massive tick.”

Sally Strazzanti, ILM Tutor added:

“A lot of people come on these programmes, and they don’t appreciate all the skills and talents and experience that they’ve got. A big part of our role is to ground some of that and then refine it and add to it. Sometimes it is about refinement; other times it’s about a step change for people.”

Kathryn explains that the programme gave her the language to better articulate what she had been doing instinctively for quite a long time.

“When you better understand what it is you do, you understand your value and how you’re making that impact for people. So that was great.”

Completing ILM 7 has helped Kathryn define her niche as a coach and realise the positive impact she can have on the world.

“Everybody talks about finding their niche, and that only comes with working with clients; the first year was just about that, finding my niche.”

“I could see this pattern for so many clients and underpinning a lot of their challenges was a lack of self-belief. We all do it to a certain degree, but many would dismiss or not even see their talents, their skills and their strengths.”

Kathryn has since developed a confidence programme with a former colleague, to help women to realise their potential.  Last year they were commissioned by a large construction consultancy to deliver that programme for 24 of their employees to help them to achieve their ambitions. 

On International Women’s Day, Kathryn also offered free one-off virtual coaching sessions on LinkedIn, which she describes as a test of her ability to establish rapport and facilitate insight in the space of a short laser-focused session. 

“When you’ve never met the person before, and you’ve got an hour to meet them where they are at, achieve some transformation for them, and see if you can help take them somewhere else. That was powerful for me.”

In the future, Kathryn wants to target work with organisations in the housing sector, as she considers increasing access to safe and secure affordable housing as one of her fundamentals and a key part of her purpose.

“I want to be working with heads of service, directors, first-time leaders and to help them step away from the comfort of their operational tasks and step into their strategic leadership roles. I want to help organisations unlock the strategic capacity of all their leaders because it makes such a difference to what they will achieve for their customers and communities.”

Kathryn concludes with her advice to anyone considering a coaching qualification or in a leadership or management position.

“What that qualification gives you… It just opens a new door to your role and your capacity as a leader. It changes how you do your job and how you view the people around you.”


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