I often pretend that as a manager I don’t achieve anything apart from creating teams that perform. I say it jokingly but there is a lot of truth in it. My personal opinion is that a manager can only be as good as his team and can never outperform them. So the more expertise you have in your team and the more strategic the thinkers around you, the more you excel yourself. The feedback I get from the people around me, is that I delegate, entrust and empower. This doesn’t mean that my direct reports perform in isolation or that I don’t know where to go. On the contrary, but in essence : the one thing I can really add is to provide context, to guide the team and to create the environment where they can take full responsibility.

The reason I write the above paragraph is for you to understand how important people are in my professional, operating modus.

I also realized that continued learning is conditional to remain on track. Having finished multiple trainings I have become picky in what classes to take. I am no longer into the next new business model training, but really go for self development. Models are easy to implement; really understanding oneself and being open to learn about others is much harder work. This is why 18 months ago I decided to apply for the INSEAD Coaching Certificate and was lucky to be accepted.

The training consists of three modules of 4 days, with plenty of practice in between over a period of roughly 7 months. I considered various options before choosing INSEAD and spoke with many people around the topic of coaching. Having finished the certificate, I am ultimately very happy with the choice made.

INSEAD is a reputed business school and I feel attracted to an environment that takes both pure business performance leadership and authentic people management as an angle, seeking the crossover in between the two. The INSEAD ICC is part of the faculty of organizational behaviour. The program director Derek Deasy has a background in clinical psychology which definitely colors the training but which also makes it stand out from many other trainings.

No doubt to be a coach you need to control some tools, but controling the tools doesn’t mean you are a good coach. Your (personal) view on the world of which you are a part – the context, if you wish – is the driver. To quote Derek Deasy “The systems-psychodynamics approach takes into account how group tasks, organizational structures and cultures are affected by, and affect, individuals’ experience at and of work”. The relationship between coach and coachee is not pure transactional based on how you master the tools, but fully depends on who you are as a coach and on the values you bring into the conversation or take from that same conversation. Although as a coach you are there to serve the talent, you may take as much from that interaction yourself. It’s not easy to be honest about what you as a coach want to take from your coachee. What need (s)he satisfies in you.

Finally – why INSEAD ? – these 7 months near Fontainebleau gave me time to reflect. One of the major tasks – apart from the actual coaching practice – that is expected from the students, is to write a coaching philosophy. In a draft version first and then in a final version before you earn the certificate. But I concluded it is never finished. I keep reviewing it and I am convinced that it will never be done. And that is a gift : allowing yourself the space to reflect and to develop yourself.

Now people ask if I will be leaving my job and pursue a career as executive coach. But no … I love my job at EBU. I can practice (executive) coaching on the spot on a daily basis. And yes … I will be taking coaching jobs on the side to learn from each of the coachees that allow me to be their coach.