It's over three years now that I've known and worked with Toni as my coach - originally we met up for an initial few sessions but the rapport that I felt from the very start was enough for me to request HR to continue funding the coaching work.
I can't deny an initial trepidation - after all, I had to feel able to 'let go' with my coach and Toni certainly provided an environment where that could happen. I loved Toni's style from the outset. She's everything that a coach should be: open, interested and inquiring at the beginning, creating a situation which allowed me to open up and offload baggage which was barring me from making progress. She permitted this for a time before gently starting to steer me towards addressing not what I saw as problems but what I actually wanted from the relationship. I love her direct and straight-talking style. Too often I see and hear the coaches, particularly in the leadership/executive field, who pander to the coachee's own sense of self-importance...not Toni though! She knows how to bypass the boardroom jargon and self-aggrandisement to get to the nub of the issue! She's direct without being rude, and forceful without being over-bearing. This makes sure she moves the sessions onward to get to the decision-making point where I needed to be. Reflecting now, I know that I must have frustrated the hell out of her as I kept re-visiting the problem, enjoying a good wallow before trying to climb back out and look at my goals again, but she was infinitely patient and allowed me that time to look back, then re-adjust my view once again and turn back to the hard work of looking at what I could do next to move me to achieving the goals. My feeling on Toni's strength in this area is once again that she built such a strong rapport at the outset, she could get away with a sometimes forceful approach to ensure that the sessions stay on process and that I got what I want out of them. So whilst the relationship-building is definitely what struck me most about my work with Toni, it would be wrong of me not to talk about her huge knowledge in the field of psychology and how effectively she brought that to bear with me and my goals. I can only go with the cliched-but-accurate definition of her knowledge as 'encyclopaedic', and I am completely in awe of her ability to pick out the theories that might be effective in defining or tackling the issues that I brought to our sessions.
Senior Project Manager