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Spotlight: We shine the light this week on Roy Scott


The days of training for training's sake are nearly over, says Roy Scott, as he talks to about the highs of the '80s and the high-tech future that he predicts lays ahead.

Name: Roy Scott

Age: 59

Job title: Director of Profile Consulting Ltd.

Apart from running my own company which specialises in performance improvement services, I spend my time split between one to one coaching of senior members of organisations, mentoring senior managers and running training workshops geared towards helping managers at all levels to improve their performance as managers.

1. Why did you become a coach and trainer?

I was fortunate enough to be selected to run a sales training operation in a large, international computer company some years ago. I inherited a suite of programmes that were old-fashioned, originated in the USA and were pretty much chalk and talk. I set about re-designing the modules to make them, exciting, fun, 'sticky' (people remembered them) and relevant to the business needs. It worked and more to the point the delegates went away with new skills, knowledge and the motivation to implement it all. And I loved every minute of it!

Some years afterwards, I discovered that all my students were earning lots more than I was – doing the things I'd trained them to do. I decided I'd try it for myself and moved into sales management, putting into practise the theories I'd espoused. I became very successful and that really proved the point to me that training courses are all very good but you've got to implement what you learn for it to make a difference.

Along the way I went on a couple of coaching training workshops. I was bowled over by the power of coaching and started doing it straight away with my teams. I found that I could delegate far more, have a much more responsible and motivated team and focus on more strategic issues.

At times, I had to discipline myself to put my teams first. Coping with the pressures of running large operations with tough targets, demanding customers and bosses as well as managing the day-to-day issues made it tough sometimes for me to do that. What I did find was that if I didn't, then somehow I had more and more 'crises' to deal with and a team that felt I was ignoring them. It was a tough lesson but one I took to heart; tend your people or they wither and die like a flower.

Some years later I had the opportunity to have a career change and I decided that helping others learn the theory and, more importantly, put it into practise was what I really wanted to do. It had worked so well for me and I really wanted to try to make the difference for other people in my position.

I find that providing training and coaching as either separate or linked services helps my clients to realise that there are other ways to address challenges, gives them time to reflect on what it is that they really want and discover more about their own drivers.

Like me, they find that the result is a much more potent set of motivators and a more flexible and focused individual. The big plus is that their direct reports also benefit from a greater insight into the importance of the team in making the manager successful.

2. What do you love best about your job?

Helping my clients discover through training and/or coaching the way forward to overcoming their challenges and feeling their commitment to fix the problem.

3. What do you find most challenging?
Knowing when to stop telling and start facilitating and vice versa, also keeping myself up-to-date with all the latest developments in this field.

4. What's the best advice that you would give to someone new to coaching and training?

First get some training in yourself – get qualified and if possible accredited.

Secondly, decide where you will be adding most value and then try to get some real experience of putting the theory into practise. It also helps to build a network of contacts that could become future clients or referrers.

Thirdly, find someone who can mentor and coach you, use their experience and skills to bridge the gaps in your own.

Fourth, be realistic about what role you want to play. Is it trainer/coach/mentor or any combination? Do you want to have someone else generate the contracts or do you? Can you sell? Do you want to? Do you want to run a business or be an associate?

Fifth, can you find a way to fund the time it will take to build up either your business or get enough work in as an associate?

Finally, network as much as you can but be aware that many people who attend these networking events are going there for the same reason as you – looking for clients.

5. What's the best advice that's been given to you that has helped you in your career?

Believe in yourself! As an independent consultant, I need to have other people believe in me. The more I can believe in myself (and deliver the goods) the more others will believe in me.

6. How do you see training and coaching developing over the next few years?

I was lucky enough to be a senior manager during the '80s when training was at the height of its popularity and there for all to have. Now, with budgets tighter, targets higher and business scarcer, I believe that being able to really demonstrate value for money plus good, solid, bottom-line impact is what clients want. The days of training for training's sake are nearly over. People do not want to take long periods off to just listen to management and leadership theories expounded by people who have never known the operational challenges and overcome them. They want pragmatic advice, help, direction and ideas that they can quickly assimilate and put into action, sustain in an ever-changing environment and take them up to the next level of performance.

I think the delivery methods for these performance improvement interventions will include the obvious - face to face and telephone – but I would see web-based, iPod, text, video, computer-based and virtual reality becoming used more often to enable delegates to be able to 'attend' in their own time and without the need for costly travel and accommodation.

7. What's the best career help book that you've ever read?

Difficult choice but I would go for The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. I think it contains so much insight and advice that is really common sense but powerful all the same.

8. What's the best event within the training community that you've ever attended?

I was lucky enough to be sponsored by my employer to attend the International Management Development programme at Lausanne. This was an annual event lasting between two and four weeks and covered so much from business to finance, to politics to marketing.

9. Who do you think is the most inspirational member of the training community and have you ever met them?

For me it's got to be Edward de Bono, who has introduced and sustained the whole principle of effective and creative thinking over many decades. His principles have changed the lives of so many people – and that is what I believe training aspires to do. I have not met him unfortunately.

10. What else would you like to share with our readers?

I have found that the more I find out about myself and how I 'see the world', the more I see ways to relate to and help my clients. I've been very lucky working with and for some inspiring people who have helped me understand that it's the differences in people that make them so interesting rather than similarities.

Read the last Spotlight, on Olivia Stefanino


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