Being in a leadership role is challenging and comes with significant pressures and responsibilities. You’re constantly spinning plates – making important decisions, motivating your team, and dealing with external challenges like Covid-19 – while you try to do your job effectively to a high standard. Finance Director at AO.com Andy Johnson knows all about these challenges…
In this frank interview with us, Andy explains how having a performance coach has helped him learn to take responsibility, created positive team dynamics, and improved relationships with the important people in his life at work and at home.
Tell us a bit about your career before you met Matt.
I’ve worked in finance for a number of years, qualifying in practice as a Chartered Accountant before moving into a finance role in industry. I had always been ambitious and wanted to be the best at what I did, in sport, career, life. As I progressed through my career, I set myself the goal of becoming a Finance Director or CFO. For me, that represented being top of my game in the profession I qualified in.
What did you want Matt’s help with?
I needed a mix. Mostly professional stuff around me and my team, but also home life and health too.
After a great initial chat with Matt I asked him to help me develop my relationship with my team. My problem was that though I was clear about my own goals, I sometimes couldn’t understand why colleagues didn’t share them, or behave in the same way as me.
This process was eye-opening and gave me meaningful insights into the things I’d simply taken for granted. Working with Matt, we developed tools and techniques I use to hold myself accountable for my actions, and to stop blaming others
I needed Matt’s help in developing self-awareness across my team too, to create trust and a collective understanding of each other. This led to better productivity and overall performance.
I also worked on developing stronger relationships with my friends and family. I’ve learnt I can’t be everything to everyone, and I’m more comfortable with how I choose to spend my time and with decisions I make. You could call this maturing, I guess!
Top things Matt’s helped you with
- Self-awareness. Thanks to Matt I’m much more conscious of how I’m feeling and behaving now. And I’m more honest with myself when I critique my own performance. This awareness helps me plan for important meetings, experiences, and environments, when I need to be at my best.
Like most people, I used to think I could perform well, even when under-prepared, or after a bad night’s sleep. But I’ve learned there are no shortcuts, and to be the inspiring leader I want to be, I have to look after myself, and prepare!
- Failing. Matt has taught me to be okay with failing; a big ask! We say FAIL stands for ‘First Attempt In Learning’. This change of mindset has been a huge turning point for me; I used to hate and fear failure. Now I overcome failings – I treat them as learning experiences for improvement. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still competitive and self-critical, but I’ve got coping mechanisms and react more constructively to failure now.
- Team dynamics. My role is to help create the right environment for others to be their best. Matt’s taught me to respect different perspectives, and to be inclusive and supportive. I love challenging my team to think differently, and we are more aligned to our collective goal of continuous improvement. It’s not about being perfect, but making consistent, marginal gains.
- Relationships. Coaching has massively improved my relationships with the really important people in my life. How I speak and behave with my children, my wife, parents and friends. I hold myself accountable for things I’m not doing, rather than blame them as I used to. And I have a toolkit I turn to which helps me compartmentalise and not feel too overwhelmed by stress. These new skills have helped us all as a family, especially when we have had to overcome big challenges together.
Getting the most out of a coach like Matt means being really honest about your challenges, and being open and vulnerable. How did you find this?
My team and I found trusting Matt easy. Matt helped create confidence between us all, and the sense we were all in the process together, in a safe environment. We felt empowered and really motivated.
What’s Matt like to work with?
Matt instills the belief that I can achieve what I want. He then holds me to account. Having a performance coach I am answerable to really motivates me to aim high and push myself. And Matt is so credible – he teaches me the science behind the tools and techniques I now use on a daily basis. To me, Matt is a coach, a mentor, and a trusted friend.
What would you say to someone considering Matt as a performance coach?Matt introduces you to a new way of thinking and skillsets that are not just for your career, but for life. Coaching has opened my mind to new ways of thinking, to a level I couldn’t have achieved going it alone. I’d say give it a try and see what you think!
And in summary?
Matt is an energetic, knowledgeable coach who brings a wealth of experience, tools and techniques to help you be the best version of yourself. He does this with an authenticity which makes it real and not just out of a textbook. The best investment I’ve made in myself for a long time!
Want a chat with Matt?
Take the next step to becoming a better and happier leader, and call Matt today for a chat, on 07527 802 686. Or if you prefer email him at firstname.lastname@example.org