client story: David Rosenbaum
I have had an extensive career in finance and management that extended over a 33+ year list of industries and sectors, constantly looking for that new challenge, that new opportunity, that new experience, that would either build on the previous experience, overcome shortcomings identified in each job or just satisfy whatever craving existed for renewal and refocus. Over time what I realised, through numerous roles in numerous organisations, was that being responsible entirely for what I did, whilst also being rewarded for what I did, was not necessarily a guaranteed outcome. And in this context, reward was not purely related to financial reward, but equally as important, and on occasion more so, the reward of recognition and the ability to identify, one-on-one with my own inputs and related outcomes.
I first met Jenn whilst I was employed in an organisation that was experiencing transformational change. As a member of the senior executive team, I was offered the opportunity of working with an executive coach, to at least provide me with the support that was potentially needed to effectively deal with the wide ranging challenges associated with the changes and difficulties being experienced at the time, both strategically and operationally. As key members of that organisation were highly political in the manner by which they operated, the challenges were very much power related, as distinct to being purely organisational related.
I worked with Jenn for a couple of years with regular meetings. The process became one of me highlighting issues, discussing my reaction to these, working through the full range of higher and lower level issues that tended to form part of the overall picture and generally relying on Jenn being the reality check to my thought processes. Whilst this proved valuable over time, the true value came from Jenn playing devil’s advocate and constantly challenging me to consider wider applications, wider implications and investigating avenues and issues that brought me to a higher level of understanding – importantly related to the issues, but even more importantly about myself. This is where the real value came into the picture.
The ongoing focus on me kicked in after a while, to the extent that the change challenges at the workplace became somewhat secondary whilst the personal and professional took over, and the realisation of the effective power that I had over much of the situation became evident. This appeared somewhat of the turning point in the coaching relationship – the ability to see the problem not from the organisational perspective but more importantly from the personal perspective and the context within which solutions became more tangible and real.
When I moved into management consulting as an independent consultant, I maintained this executive coaching relationship with Jenn for the first 12 months or so as I felt it would be beneficial to once again obtain independent and unbiased input into what I was trying to achieve as a result of my consulting activities. Here too I was seeking that reality check that I knew, as a result of my earlier involvement with Jenn, she could provide.
As I developed the solid foundations of my practice, and the client demand grew from a zero base over that period, Jenn’s constant interpretation of our discussions into diagrammatic depictions, enabled me to actively and purposefully reflect on all that I was doing, including those things that were not working and those that were. To this day, over 2 years later, I still refer to those diagrammatic depictions as part of an ongoing formal reflection process, where I set aside personal thinking time for my own strategic planning. I can still recall the specifics of each of our conversations from those diagrams.
My consulting activities reached a financially sustainable activity level much earlier than was anticipated, and given the sector that I focus on – nonprofits, the work is rewarding at levels that I was not able to fully achieve in my earlier incarnations. The balance is now right where I want it to be. The journey has been a rewarding one and the destination continues to satisfy.
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