From Intent to Impact: The Power of Coaching
“And that’s the difference between intent and impact.” — Gretchen Driscoll (at least once a day)
Gretchen Driscoll, ThinkArgus’ Head of People, sees herself as “a conduit for people’s change:” supporting individuals personally and professionally to achieve their goals and define and create their own success at ThinkArgus, while supporting and contributing to the success of the company.
Gretchen serves a unique role for a company our size, but one that has proven exceptionally valuable: a success coach for all employees, a recruiter, head of HR, and an integral part of the ThinkArgus ecosystem.
“As we grew, it became clear we needed support to also stay grounded in where we began and why we exist as a company,” says Caitlin Dodge (ThinkArgus CEO) — “if we lost that, we’d lose the magic of ThinkArgus.”
Her leadership has contributed to the company tripling in size, while maintaining a strong culture.
Gretchen began officially contracting for ThinkArgus in 2020 both as a recruiter and a coach for the leadership team; helping them navigate personal and professional development within a rapidly growing company, during what turned out to be the first year of a global pandemic.
Her insights into how humans work was felt immediately, lifting the leadership team by focusing on self-awareness while supporting their drive to grow; hiring people whose values align with ThinkArgus’ and who have deep knowledge, but also common sense, and are sure, at the outset, that they want to join a growing company and all the opportunities and bumps that come along with that environment.
Here are four ways internal success coaching has impacted ThinkArgus, and how it may help your organization:
It brings new meaning to your equity initiatives. Company-wide success coaching is, in Gretchen’s words, “equity in and of itself,” because it’s fundamentally about having different but equal access to the opportunity of being supported through our own creation of success. While coaching may be common for executives, to offer it for everybody is radical, and important.
It eases growing pains. Gretchen works with each employee to find a pace and a path that helps them keep up with the high levels of growth that ThinkArgus is experiencing. When we are faced with a lot of change, especially in a professional setting, it can make us feel topsy turvy and unstable but coaching provides stability, continuity and reassurance from a functional place.
It boosts individual and agency-wide efficiency. Learning how to succeed at your job means learning how to be yourself in your job, express your strengths and communicate your questions, and challenge yourself to have the difficult conversations. These are all skills that we have to learn in life and practice effectively in the workplace — and identifying and talking them through with a coach is a great place to start.
It changes the narrative around emotions. It’s time to bust the myth that having emotions is unprofessional. It’s a common misconception that if you bring emotions into the workplace, people will go sideways but, according to Gretchen, “quite the opposite is true.” Emotions at work can be powerful. They allow coworkers to connect on a personal level and see each other as humans first. From there, challenges are easier to work through.
Ultimately, success is defined differently for everybody, and Gretchen’s job is to learn what’s important to each employee and how she can best move them down their specific path to success. That’s how she meets people where they’re at — just like we do with our clients and our target audiences.
…and why ‘Head of People’, you ask?
“Whether it’s through recruiting or coaching or conversations with people externally and internally; it’s all about relationships. I also take care of the human resources responsibilities, but I am really not the head of process; I’m about the people. And under that fall recruiting, development, and helping to create effective leaders in growing the company.”