Luke Bayley is Executive Manager for the West Region (WA) at Bush Heritage, Australia. Here Luke discusses engaging Clark Scarff as his business coach.
Engaging Clark As A Coach
Clark is very open. He's a good listener. There's a good workflow structure that he uses to understand what's happening within my executive team, and also my broader staff group. He uses a process of focused conversations.
We might discuss team dynamics, my behaviour or my interaction with the team as a leader. I find it easy to relate to Clark. He is knowledgeable. He uses simple and useful resources that you can take home with you to capture some of the key learnings.
I've become more effective in the management of myself in a professional environment. I've become more aware of my strengths and how to use them more effectively. In areas like planning and detail, I needed to put more time into working on those. Clark has allowed me to reflect on those parts of my work and focus on ways to improve. I've learnt to be more balanced in how I look after the team and how I respond to their needs. I'm a better leader.
I have learnt to better plan for conversations. I generally enjoy people and conversation. I enjoy seeing where things land. I don't need to be bound by a particular structure or plan. Through my work with Clark, I realised that there is a time for this approach however effective planning for certain meetings always leads to better outcomes.
I came to realise there was an element of laziness there. Now I think about each meeting and plan for it. That preparation process has become easier for me. Whether I'm meeting with people I manage or with stakeholders or partners, I prepare for the meeting on paper first.
I send notes to the people I'm meeting with about what I want to get out of the meeting. I let them know some of the things I'd like to focus to be. They come prepared. Simple things like that have made a big difference, particularly to my staff who don't want surprises or who have a different way of thinking and communicating. The changes I've made mean they are a lot happier at work.
I am now careful about preparing for conversations that I want to have, thinking more deeply about them, making sure people that I am having these conversations with are well prepared and in a comfortable space.
New Productivity Tools
Clark has helped me how to develop a habit where I take stock at the end of the day. He's given me tools to evaluate what has been achieved and plan ahead. I am a lot more productive using those tools.
A Coach For Regional Australia
I like that Clark is in regional Australia. That's handy for me because a lot of executive coaches are in capital cities. The fact that he lives and works in a regional locality and understands regional business needs and dynamics is a great strength. It also represents a commitment to regional Australia which is something that people like myself, who work and live in regional Australia, value.
Practical, Pragmatic & Accessible
In regards to his actual coaching style, I think he's got a relaxed approach. There's no pompousness around it or over the top theories. I didn't want to go too broad, too deep or get too complicated. I just wanted some practical approaches to help me become a better manager. Clark is pragmatic. He is accessible. His office is in a lovely environment that made me feel comfortable and relaxed.
Talk Without Judgement
There was a valuable element of being able to talk freely with somebody who wasn't going to be judgemental about things. I could talk about issues that were going on in my work that I couldn't talk to anybody else about. Clark is independent. He just listens and offers a fresh perspective. He's not constrained by industry or office politics.
There When You Need Him
I think working with an executive coach at certain points in your career is important. The coaching is something I can pick up and leave and pick up again as I need to. Clark allows that flexibility. He doesn't push you into regular visits or contracts. He's just there when you need him. I'd recommend Clark whether you are in the private sector, small businesses in Geraldton, or other Regional towns. I think he'd be an effective coach for managers in non-government and government sectors alike.
A Depth of Knowledge
Clark is a very straight forward, uncomplicated, open, and accessible coach who's got a depth of knowledge in the field. He's done a lot of study in various forms of coaching as well as how the mind works and how people behave. I think that all comes together in a nice package between some of the technical and the personal skills that all need to come together. Executive coaching, or working with people, is a mixture of art and science, I think Clark presents that well.