Distillery provides coaching support to individuals and teams with an appetite for growth.

Distillery’s coaching practice is grounded in the schools of Gestalt and Transactional Analysis.

A successful coaching engagement invites the client to look beneath the surface of presenting issues, and to consider their own role in situations without needing to explain or justify. In our experience, the degree of curiosity with which a client can look at their own behaviour is a better predictor of coaching success than any other factor.

A typical engagement involves the use of a 360 degree survey as well as reflective profiling tools such as the Emotional Maturity Inventory, Enneagram, and Kolb Learning Styles.

Coaching is about growth. While the field is relatively young, people have been seeking help to better navigate life’s challenges since the dawn of time. The power of coaching lies in having a thought partner unattached to any outcome other than the client’s learning. Focusing on the client – rather than the issue they’re dealing with – facilitates deeper awareness of the personal and systemic issues at play and empowers the individual or team to construct their own authentic, creative responses to situations.

We offer coaching in the following areas

Role and career transitions

Transitioning into new roles – vertically or horizontally – is a natural progression in any person’s career, yet significant moves are daunting. Understandably so; there’s a lot on the line especially for those further into their careers, but overblown fear of ‘new’ often makes these transitions more intimidating than they need to be.

As with everything in nature, human beings are constantly evolving; our tastes, thoughts, interests, and priorities shift over time, so it’s entirely natural to expect an evolution in our careers. The task is to take a balanced, candid look at where one is now, then at where one would like to be (often less obvious than it seems), then at the factors influencing the journey to the desired future.

Fear – always present in times of change – muddies the waters of frank assessment; it downplays the cost of staying put, and overplays the risk of changing. The coaching environment provides space to put all cards on the table, including the fear, and examine each from a variety of perspectives. The work is complete when the choice is a simple one.

Establishing founding partnerships

Founding an organisation is exhilarating; it’s part  sprint, part marathon, fuelled by a vision and caffeine. Given the extraordinary demands of strategising, developing and adapting to shifting environmental conditions, it’s common to give attention to everything bar the one thing that sits at the centre of the enterprise: the partnership.

Sometimes this is inadvertent – competing demands are simply too intense – but in our experience it’s more often because focusing on the relationship is difficult. The conversations can be uncomfortable and there’s always the possibility of unearthing inconvenient differences. On the other side of these conversations, however, lies the gold.

Those with the foresight and courage to work on their partnership develop a strength at the core of the organisation. This is the glue that holds things together during the difficult periods that inevitably lie ahead.

Our data points to the strength of the relationship between the partners as one of the key predictors of organisational resilience and longevity. When the connection is good it’s also a lot more fun.

Developing team effectiveness

A team (as opposed to a group of individuals) is the engine room of an organisation; it’s the place where the work is done and when they’re working well they become the mechanism by which individuals thrive. All too often though, teams operate sub-optimally,  stifling creativity, harming organisational performance and discouraging top performers.

The leader’s task is to balance individual needs (learning, support, development) with organisation priorities (delivery, standards, timelines). They must pay attention to the individual members of the team while simultaneously attending to the health of the team as a whole. They have to encourage enough difference to strengthen the team’s solutions, and enough similarity to keep everyone’s energy focused in the same direction. These are the dilemmas that effective teams must constantly manage.

Coaching teams is about raising the collective awareness in how they function and creating the right conditions to experiment with new ways of working. The work is often about learning to appreciate, and leverage, difference, and navigating the inevitable trade offs that are a feature of collective effort.

Creative coaching

At Distillery we’re great believers in the power of the  creative process to unlock stubborn problems in our client work. We utilise artists, musicians and writers to stimulate our own learning as well as to support client engagements. The creative coaching offering grew out of these engagements, once we began in turn to support our creative partners with their own projects.

Michael works with creatives on the process of creating, rather than the outputs. The task of the creative is a daunting one; to bring together one’s experience and skills and dreams and allow these to mingle with the source of one’s inspiration long enough for something new to form, then to encourage it onto the page or stage or canvass, all the while desperately hoping for authenticity.

The coaching task is to deepen awareness of, and appreciation for, this process, and then to overcome the forces that seem hell bent on preventing one’s work from seeing the light of day. The creative seeks flow. Coaching invites the client to bring creativity to their stuckness.

As part of our social responsibility efforts, every 6 months Distillery offers 2 creatives the opportunity to participate in a pro-bono coaching programme. Sign up to our mailing list to be alerted when the next window opens.

I have worked with Michael over the last few years. He is an effective coach, and has helped me see countless new possibilities in the situations that I face. Somehow he manages to be both candid and empowering at the same time and I have always found myself leaving his sessions feeling much more focused and energised.

Ready to realise your potential?