An interview with Tricia Stewart, Executive Coach and Director of Peridot International

18 Oct 2016 by Sarah Leembruggen.

Executive coach and Director of Peridot International takes part in our guest interview this week, sharing her expert advice on how organisations and senior professionals can achieve their career goals.

Could you tell us about your career path to date?

After university I joined the RAF, where I learnt about leadership, in particular the accountability of leaders to those they lead. I then moved to Waitrose, proving to myself and others that my skills were transferable to the fast moving food retail world. Joining Scottish and Newcastle PLC gave me my first taste of working for a FTSE100 company.

At this stage I specialised in organisational development becoming the people expert on sales and acquisitions within the business and transformational restructuring. Following the sale of S&N I continued working with businesses challenged by the need for organisational transformation, working in both the financial and care sector. During this time I took the opportunity to become a non exec director for a not for profit organisation, taking particular responsibility for corporate governance and Board development.

Stepping down as HR Director of the largest residential care provider in Scotland, I challenged myself to follow the advice I had given to others and establish what I wanted to achieve with my career. Building on my skills and experience from mentoring and coaching colleagues and teams within businesses I took the plunge, retrained and have been working as an Executive Coach for the last two years.

How do you help senior professionals achieve their full performance potential?

As a coach my role is to help people clarify their goals, work with them to develop their implementation plans and hold them to account. Having worked in business for many years I know how easy it is to be overtaken by events and become reactive. As a coach I provide the space and challenge for people to reflect on what they are doing and how they are working towards their goals.

What obstacles do you most commonly come across when assisting organisations in reaching their goals?

The three most common discussion points are leadership, motivation and communication within the organisations. The sector and size of organisation really doesn’t matter, these are underpinning competencies that people need to get right before people and their organisation can excel.

What advice do you give to CEOs in working towards their performance goals?

Set measurable objective targets, focus and find a trusted advisor who can give independent feedback. As a CEO it can be difficult to find people prepared to recognise both your strengths and weaknesses and the perspective of others can be invaluable.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career so far?

The biggest challenge was deciding to walk away from a corporate career and the rewards that are associated with it to establish myself as an Executive coach.

What are the top 3 things you consider to be most important for a senior professional to be successful in achieving their career goals?

First establish your own goals not those set by others. All too often people follow other people’s expectations and not surprisingly end up dispirited.

Seek out people you trust to help and advise you and give you feedback. We all need support at some point so make it reciprocal.

Recognise that set backs are likely to occur so be open to what you can learn and incorporate that knowledge for the future. Those people who continue to learn and develop will continue to move forward in their career.

What advice would you give to PR and communications professionals aspiring to high-profile careers?

Your integrity and values can’t be replicated, these are your brand. Ensure that you manage and protect them. You can learn new skills and gain more experience but without integrity you won’t be trusted for the significant and influential roles.

Thank you Tricia for taking part in our interview.

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