Women in the spotlight: Janet

At PwC, we foster an inclusive culture. And we believe the best way to show that commitment is by letting our own people share their stories. Caroline, Rebecca, Isabel, Janet and Elrene are just a few who inspire us every day.

Janet's story: The power of coaching

I joined PwC in the UK in October 2008 as a senior manager in the public sector advisory team, working across Central Government, Local Government and the National Health Service. Having previously worked in the public sector, where the opportunity to be coached, or indeed to coach someone else, is limited, it was a pleasant surprise that PwC strongly encourages formal and informal coaching and mentoring. I met my “formal” coach on my second day with the firm and he really helped me adapt to the nuances of working in a “Big 4” organisation. Coaching shouldn’t be confused with teaching. A good coach is someone who listens to your hopes, dreams, ambitions and fears and allows you to find your own path by providing a safe environment for you to test out your ideas, not someone who simply tells you their version of the solution!

I now have two internal coaches, one my formal “People Manager” who tracks my progress against my objectives, and utilisation targets etc. The other is a partner from another part of the firm, who I meet with more informally to discuss my direction, career progression and my personal development. I also regularly use an external coach, who is an ex-boss that I admire greatly. She helps me to explore my personal goals and how I can turn them into reality – this can be anything from getting a better work-life balance to how I can fit guitar practice into an already manic schedule. Oh and whether I should pursue an opportunity to go on a long term secondment to PwC Bermuda which is where I am now! With all of my coaches, I know I will get an honest and unbiased viewpoint and we have developed relationships built on mutual trust. Trust is the critical aspect of any coach/coachee relationship.

In the UK, I am coach to three graduates through the Foundation for the Future programme. I spend around an hour a month with each one and find it extremely satisfying when they tell me how they put our last discussion into action and what they achieved from it.

My best piece of advice on coaching? You can never have too many coaches! Go and find someone you trust and ask them to give you an hour a month. You will learn something every session about yourself, the firm and your career. And for those budding coaches out there – do it! You will find it rewarding, and you will learn a lot too!