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At Charter Hall, we’ve worked hard to attract and retain the best talent in the property industry across all parts of our business, from acquisitions to accounting to compliance – the list goes on. But we recognise that a truly great organisation goes beyond recruiting talented people, it fosters a culture of growth and development, and cultivates future industry leaders. And that’s where our Career Coaching Program comes in.
Designed to support employees in developing and articulating their career plans and aspirations, we match senior leaders (coaches) with individuals outside of their direct line of management (coachees). These coachees are in the middle stage of their career, are strong performers and looking for career development and acceleration. The benefits have proven plentiful: increased personal confidence, enhanced clarity around career goals and plans, and the development of a professional network and cross-divisional relationships.
But it works both ways. Coaches consistently report that they find the experience immensely valuable. That being invited to support someone with whom they can have an open and unfiltered conversation provides them with perspectives and insights they don’t hear from their own team members. This in turn enhances their coaching skills, which they can more readily apply with their direct reports in their day to day management conversations.
We spoke to two of our 2021 Career Coaching Program participants, coachee Gemma Seabourne, National General Manager – Property Management and coach Adrian Harrington, Head of Capital & Product Development, on how they have found the experience so far.
Why did you want to take part in the Career Coaching Program
Gemma: Ultimately to build my skills as a leader, focusing on my ability to influence and have a positive effect on the direction and results achieved by my team and Charter Hall. The opportunity to learn from a skilled and experienced leader in the business, like Adrian, is a significant benefit. Networking is another clear driver for me. Being relatively new to the organisation the opportunity to meet and work with colleagues from other parts of the business was a real drawcard.
With life and work being very active I struggle to find opportunities to focus on aspirational thinking, so time to focus on things like career mapping, my strengths, and opportunities to grow is invaluable. This program is wonderfully selfish!
Adrian: When I started out as a researcher at the Property Council of Australia in 1991, I never thought I would be where I am today. I have been fortunate to have access to a range of senior leaders throughout my career, who have been gracious with their time in providing advice. I think it’s important to give back and help others in the industry to meet their full potential.
Over my 30 years in the industry I have seen great people with the best technical skills reach plateaus in their careers because they haven’t had mentors to guide them and they have lacked the leadership skills to go from being on the tools into more senior management roles. Yes, property skills are important but it’s the business and leadership skills that bring it all together.
What benefits does the Career Coaching Program offer?
Gemma: Charter Hall is nurturing and growing a significant number of future leaders, who will be the drivers of change, they have strong leadership skills, are resilient and focused. As any successful business we need to invest in our people and provide opportunities for them to grow and develop new skills. Personally, the benefits are of course many, particularly working with Adrian who has already been exceedingly helpful providing insights and guidance.
Adrian: For me, it is the satisfaction of giving back and seeing people in Charter Hall reach their full potential. For Gemma, I hope it gives her the confidence to continue to grow as a person and leader. And for Charter Hall, it’s a great way to ensure we continue to foster a culture of personal development, strengthen our depth of leadership, and allow our staff to enhance their leadership skills.
What has been the highlight of the Career Coaching Program so far?
Gemma: A highlight so far was a joint workshop involving all the coaches and coachees, having so much expertise from Charter Hall in one place was incredible!
Adrian: It’s early days, but the highlight for me was meeting Gemma for the first time and working with her as she moves into a new role within the Office team. Her passion for her work and tenant customers is wonderful, and she is eager to continue to grow as a leader. It makes my role as a coach a lot easier.
What has been your biggest learning from the Career Coaching Program?
Gemma: To date the key takeaway has been preparing my leadership goals. Really understanding the skills that I’m going to need to grow and develop to become a better leader.
Adrian: Charter Hall is becoming a large organisation, so it’s hard to get to know all the people across the business. But meeting Gemma confirms to me we have great talent and some wonderful women who will be the leaders of the future.
Learn more about what it's like to work at Charter Hall here.