Kate Adams (London), is a Director at the Forward Institute, a Board member at ParalympicsGB and also offers coaching to sustainability professionals to support their important work for current and future generations.
Familiar with sports coaching and mentoring, it wasn’t until the last 18 months that she really became familiar with coaching through her coach training and practice. A good friend recommended Coach Advancement’s Science and Art of Coaching programme for her coach training. She says, “I really enjoyed it and it really helped me have the space to think about what it means to be a coach. … [The programme] gave us the space to practice, gave us the safe environment to make mistakes, and gave us the opportunity to watch other people do well, do less well and support them with feedback.”
She mentions feeling nervous about not having the right answers – especially coming from a consulting background where it’s about having the answers for your clients. But coaching is actually about having the questions. Kate credits Tracy’s brilliant facilitation for shifting her thinking.
Professionally, following a career in lots of different aspects of social impact, she now works specifically with leaders across Business, Government and charity sectors on the role they’re playing in society. The sense of people, potential and progress is what drives her passion for leadership and coaching.
Kate shares, “We are extraordinary as people. We’re good and bad. We’re all hypocrites whether we like it or not, but there is that sense that we can do extraordinary things — sometimes we just need somebody to help us see that. Coaching plays such a critical role in that — to help people believe that they have the permission to do what they need to do, the skills to do what they need to do and the answers within them. It’s just really encouraging them and helping them find the energy and opportunity to do that.”
Kate acknowledges that there are still a lot of untrained coaches in the marketplace and recognizes the importance of proper training. She says her training has, “definitely shifted something in my ability to be a coach. Also acknowledging I’ve still got lots more practice to do.”
She loves incorporating her coaching skills into her day job at the Forward Institute. “We, as coaches, offer some formal coaching sessions, but I think in just the way we work with organizations and partner with individuals within them, informal coaching is such a fundamental way of building a stronger relationship.” She hopes to continue using her coaching skills in her full-time role and continue to do independent work with sustainability leaders. At the Forward Institute, she works with senior leaders in the UK who are committed to taking responsibility for the role they’re playing in wider society. “These are people that have the ability in their very senior roles to affect society and others beyond just their organization,” Kate explains. She works with these leaders using individual, group coaching and other tools to help evoke awareness and build resilience in Leaders as they navigate increasing volumes of unprecedented challenges. The coach training has helped her to hold space for these leaders. “The ability to have some super precious time with them to allow them to think and to reflect is so valuable. It’s an utter privilege to be able to hold that space with these leaders that are genuinely trying to pioneer a different society for us,” she reflects.
But the learning doesn’t only apply to her work, Kate has also seen these skills translate into her role as a parent. “Just the listening and playing questions back and being more curious and leaning into why the kids feel like they feel,” she says. She hopes the coaching skills she’s gained will help her raise her kids to feel more listened to and able to shape their thinking and decision making.
“I think coaching really teaches you to be in the present. And so often, whether it’s parenting or work, we’re onto the next thing already. I think the coaching skills around just stopping and saying, so how really are you? Or what did that mean to you? Or you just used a specific word a couple of times. What does that word mean to you? And just trying to unpack and understand what’s happening…” Kate explains.
Eventually, Kate hopes to fulfil her dream of living by the beach and taking her coaching skillset with her to, “earn money, to help people, to drive passion, to learn and be curious.”
“I think that’s what I love about the coaching skillset is that it never stops. You never stop using it.”
Learn more about our Science and Art of Coaching programme! It’s part of both our Level 1 and Level 2 Coaching Education programmes.