Executive Coaching
Civil Service & Public Sector

Executive coaching is a powerful form of leadership development embedded in the Irish Civil Service and Public Sector. High-profile programmes such as the SPS Executive Leadership Programme (Roffey Park) have validated the importance of supporting those in leadership roles. These programmes help individuals to consider what it is they are doing and how they need to lead in a highly complex political, legal and technical environment.

Coaching Experience in the Civil Service and Public Sector

Rachel is a coach on the general SPS Coaching Programme for Secretary Generals, Assistant Secretaries, Directors and Chief Executives of non-commercial State Bodies. She is an experienced coach on the SPS Executive Leadership Development Programmes working with Assistant Secretaries, Directors and Principal Officers. She is also a coach on multiple in-house coaching programmes run directly by Government Departments and State Bodies.

In working with clients in the civil service, Rachel is able to draw on a considerable breadth of experience working in Departments such as Housing, Local Government and Heritage; Enterprise Trade & Employment; Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth; Environment, Climate and Communication; Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht Sports and Media; Defence; Education; Social Protection; Transport; Taoiseach and the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Other organisations where individuals choose to work with Rachel to achieve their coaching objectives include a number of Local Authorities, Universities and Hospitals; Commercial State Bodies such as Enterprise Ireland and Fáilte Ireland; Non-Commercial State bodies such The HEA, Inland Fisheries Ireland, the CSO a number of State Regulators and bodies responsible for the legal infrastructure and protection of the state.

Every session felt tailored to my needs and offered real value and fresh insights. I credit Rachel’s perceptiveness, thoughtfulness and level of commitment with being the key to this outcome. It was also apparent that she had really prepared for each session and also reflected afterwards and passed on very valuable follow up materials and resources.
Newly appointed Assistant Secretary

Themes in Coaching

Now more than ever, civil and public servants are being asked to lead in national and international crises, drive institutional reform, implement change in minority governments, motivate and retain staff and be flexible and resilient. As a result, themes such as those below often feature in coaching:

Being an Authentic and Effective Leader

Executive coaching at this level is often focused on embracing the business of strategic and complex change, influencing stakeholders and systems so that their teams can do their best work, thereby developing an inspirational and resilient leadership approach.

What does doing the right thing look like?

For many individuals, their perception of doing the right thing is intrinsically linked with ‘being good’, keeping others happy, never failing or making mistakes, maintaining control, compromising personal time and energy. The irony is that these behaviours are unsustainable and the environment uncontainable in leadership roles, leading to overwork, exhaustion and feeling undervalued.

Executive coaching allows the space for the individual to consider and articulate their strengths, accept uncertainty, boost resilience and do the right thing by deploying different behaviours to achieve more successful outcomes.

Crisis Leadership (Temporary or Permanent?)

Today’s mix of urgency, high stakes and uncertainty (Brexit, Covid-19, Housing crisis, etc.) will continue as the norm even after the immediate crisis may pass.

Executive coaching provides the space where leaders have time to gain true moments of clarity so that they can find the energy and resilience to lead on major national policy and economic and technical programmes Executive coaching liberates leaders to draw on their own thinking and resources to meet the challenge of working in an environment of sustained or even permanent crisis.

Career Progression

The increasing recognition of the value of breadth in career experience means that executive coaching can provide an opportunity to prepare for and achieve career goals.

Understanding how to act up or ‘be in role’ before a promotion is critical. Coaching supports individuals in articulating the quality of their thinking and develop the skills and style needed to excel in a new role. This has been an important theme in the SPS Executive Leadership Programme.

I chose Rachel because of the emphasis she placed on remaining highly effective while achieving work/ life balance. For me, this topic was a key immediate concern and something I wished to explore as part of the leadership programme.
Principal Officer successfully promoted to Assistant Secretary
Having someone to listen and help direct my thoughts, concerns, ambitions etc. I really (unexpectedly) got value out of the three way meeting with my manager. I found Rachel professional, understanding, experienced, excellent and 'gets it’.
Manager, Commercial State Body

Use of Psychometrics

Psychometrics, 360° feedback and line manager feedback are valuable in enhancing self-awareness for the individual. They provide direction for development and help prioritise issues to be addressed during coaching. Rachel is experienced in integrating a range of relevant personality, motivation, emotional intelligence and 360° instruments. The choice and use of these tools are discussed as part of the initial coaching engagement.

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