Celebrating Catrine: HR Senior Leader Development Finance and Impact Investment (London)

My company had gone through an enormous amount of growth (25% year on year!) I was often in a situation where I had to take on more work and responsibility. My life was extremely frantic! I was overwhelmed physically and mentally. I now have tools to deal with my busy life. Understanding what’s going on in the brain is extremely helpful. I am much more focused. I have grown enormously.

Catrine

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

Hi, welcome to High Definition You, it’s Gitanjali here and this week I am joined by the magnificent Catrine. Hi Catrine

Catrine

Hello.

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

Can you tell us a little bit about who you are in the world?

Catrine

Yes. So I, am a recruiter, and recruitment manager. But now, I have been in this industry for a good 20 plus years by now working in multiple countries, and multiple industries, but my main focus has always been the financial services industry, and I now lead a team in an investment company.

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

And when we met, I mean, we’ve known each other for quite some time anyway. Talking about coaching, what were you struggling with? What did life look like? What did it feel like professionally and personally at that time?

Catrine

Yes, so multiple things. So first of all, I’ve gone through a good six years of contracting, which had had a huge influence, and I probably didn’t realise how huge but I’d had a huge and it has a huge influence on my mindset, in terms of what I was allowed to do. And it would mean stopping me not my business, in terms of, you know, saying, ‘no’ to things, and my level of influencing.

And so that was one thing, we’d also in my current company, where I’ve been for three years as a permanent employee. And we’d also gone through an enormous amount of growth, both in my team and in the company, itself.

But it had just meant that to me personally, oftentimes, I ended up in a situation where I was double-hatting, or, you know, having to take on more responsibility, or certainly more work than just my normal day job.

And, and that meant that you know, for three years, life has been extremely frantic. And, you know, in some cases, even three jobs, or certainly having to think for three people, not necessarily doing all the work, but certainly, you know, having that extra mindset, and just before we started this call, this week has been a good example of, I have a team of two and both have been off sick.

So and that was one week, and that’s manageable. But when you’ve got certain multiple weeks, and it’s sort of consistently recurring, that sort of just, you know, drains on you. And to me, historically, they’ve been situations of not always having the remit to do what I needed to do, but needing to do it anyway. And that was kind of where we started.

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

Yeah, there was quite a lot of overwhelmed going on, wasn’t there, as he said, mindset piece and the overwhelm and the kind of leadership

Catrine

Mentally. Yes. And as I say, in an organisation where we’ve done 25%, growth year on year for, you know, the last eight years

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

Yeah, huge. And you decided to join the group programme, which is the possibility programme, what when you would say making that decision?

What if any resistance showed up for you, you know, sometimes it’s about how much time you’d have how much money to invest? Was there any resistance that stopped you from saying yes, straightaway?

Catrine

Well, first of all, it was just the pure fact that you and I have known each other for 14 years, and our friends and I, you know, thinking how is that going to work? Is that too intimate? And secondly, I was also going through management training calls in my, in my company, and I was worried about the conflict that might arise from, you know, what’s going on over here, what’s going on over there.

And thirdly, as you rightly mentioned, time was going to have time for theirs as going to show its value quickly enough to actually warrant the time because I was doing this on my own dime. So I wasn’t too worried about the money. So much as this was something I was going to do during office hours. So was it going to manifest itself as valuable enough that I could argue to do this?

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

And then so you have that conversation in your head and obviously answered Yes, let’s. So what was the value at the end? How is life different now professionally, personally, three months in the programme, you’re in the inner circle now as well, what is different as a result of our…

Catrine

Yeah, I mean, what wasn’t, you know, expecting when I said yes was that very soon into the programme, I was landed in another situation of double heading.

So I was literally having to utilise everything we learned in the programme in real-time when my first BPO’s best possible outcome was that if I ever had to do something like that, again, I had the tools to do it and then slam in within a couple of weeks, I was literally, doing it again.

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

And how did that differ? You mentioned, that one of the decision points was around you were doing the management or leadership training as well, how did it differ in terms of that live example that came up around what you were using from our programme versus what Yeah,

Catrine

And that’s where literally, within one or two sessions, I saw how valuable this programme is because I could feel myself living it, I could see myself, Oh, this is something I’ve learned in a programme, I’m actively using this, it’s giving me tools to do this.

And it was everything from a little lovely cube when I felt myself getting all frantic, and you know, jumping from, from task to task and actually not getting anything done. Or having to carry on a conversation with someone and suddenly realising, oh, I am actually controlling this conversation, not the other person or saying no to a meeting when I was being bombarded.

And, you know, at one point, I was literally in eight to 10 meetings a day. And, and not feeling stressed about it, but just bunkering down, but also feeling confident enough to say, look, this is not important. This task, I don’t need to do this email, I don’t need to respond to or I can wait till tomorrow, or, you know, I hear your pain.

But I need to come back to you at a different time. Because I don’t have time to deal with that today. And, you know, feeling confident that this was okay. Whereas the old me would, would have been extremely stressed about that.

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

So the situation doesn’t change. I think that’s key, isn’t it? Like the pressures and growth of the company and the resource challenges? Don’t go away? You know, as much as I say, I have a magic wand, you know, there are certain limits to my powers. Yeah, our powers here at High Definition You. But actually, it’s the way that you were there.

Catrine

And similar this, you know, the first couple of weeks during this year, again, where we would have some resource challenges, and we’ve had new team members join us well, who replaced people who’ve left? So it’s been challenging from that point of view as well. And again, you know, I’ve had situations where I felt the pressure is mounting, but then I’ve had the tools to go down again, it’s a no, you know, compartmentalise or, and, you know, this is what you need to focus on.

You know, we’ve had a headcount release, right. Okay, this is, this is what I need to focus on. Now, these other emails will have to wait till tomorrow or, you know, things like that, rather than getting all riled up about I have 50 emails I haven’t read. So things like that, you know.

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

So what was it about the way that we work together with the that really allowed you to get those results?

Catrine

So it’s part of the intensity of the programme. Partly the fact that you know, we were a group of people who came from very different backgrounds, very different industries. But we were all sort of experiencing the same things. And that gives you that allows you to realise that, okay, what I’m feeling is normal.

I, you know, maybe I’m feeling something now that someone felt a month ago or two years ago, but it’s all part of the cycles all human, you don’t need to bottle it up. You know, we’re all going through it. Whether we’ve got 20 years experience of 30 years or whether we’re managing now or used to be a manager or whatever, you know, we’re all feeling it, so it’s okay. So that alone was really comforting. And we could all help each other Through that because we’d all had, we have, as you say, we’re still, you know, we’d all had little experiences that could help each other.

But also, because it’s based on neuroscience, it’s not just, this is what you need to do. It’s also understanding this is what’s going on in your brain when you’re doing that. And that, for me, certainly has been extremely helpful. And it’s everything from, you know, when we talk about procrastination, which, you know, we’ve all had various tendencies to do, you know, trying to hunker down and understanding like, okay, why are you procrastinating? What’s going on with you specifically?

Okay, this is your way out of that. Or, I mean, I remember that long conversation we had about emails and me jumping from task to task and understanding, okay, what is going on in my brain when I’m doing that, and that just that conversation stopped me from doing that, and making me much more focused because I now stopped myself when I started doing that, I catch myself, and I stopped having email alert that very day, and I still haven’t done it, and you know, what, six months in?

And it’s just those little tools where you get to understand what’s going on behind your reactions and your behaviours, rather than someone just saying, oh, you need to stop doing that, or you need to talk or you need to stop talking like that, or, you know, whatever else you sometimes get, get told in management training.

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

I love that. What, if any aha moments, you’ve given some great examples of ways that it’s played out? But what’s an example of an aha moment that you had during the programme?

Catrine

Yeah, I think my first one was a really, really difficult conversation I needed to have with someone after a, team conflict, where I mean, that that is not something I enjoy whatsoever. And, and knowing, you know, realising halfway through that, I was still controlling the conversation.

And being able to go back to the moment, instead of being led off on a tangent, that that was the first time I thought if at all, I’m using the tools that we’d learn from those sort of that part of the training. And it was just so, so focused specifically on some of the tools we literally talked about, I think, one or two sessions before, around, you know, controlling your reaction.

And it was just such an aha moment. And it’s one of the things that I’ve used again, and again, and again, talking about, you know, you control your reaction to something, you know, doesn’t matter what the other person does, or it doesn’t matter.

You know, what happens around you, you control how you react, you can take that moment to pause, you can walk away from an email, you can walk away from the moment and think through how you want to respond. And so, so yeah, it’s, it’s, that in itself was very powerful.

Just thinking, oh, yeah, I, you know, I am actually learning something. It’s working. And it’s not just learning something, but I’m actually able to carry it out.

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

Yeah, exactly. And I think that sometimes things are not necessarily the same. Exactly. And I mean, you and I have been in the financial services industry for many, many, many moons. And there is a lot of that sort of doing this, don’t do that. But without the understanding as you serve the neuroscience, but actually also without the application, you know, the QA and saying, oh, that was interesting and useful, but actually, how do I apply it?

Yeah, you know, sometimes people coaching can be a bit of a nebulous thing and a nebulous process. Thank you for all of the examples of how it’s played out. But what’s one thing that might have surprised you about it or delighted you about the coaching journey?

Catrine

How much I’ve enjoyed it. To be honest, I was not expecting to get as much out of it. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it so much. I definitely feel that I have grown enormously through this, this process and I wouldn’t say it’s like a comfort blanket. But I do feel that this, this group is just such a supportive group.

And it’s been such a joy. You know, I look forward to my Thursday mornings, with the group, and you know, whenever there’s something that goes on, that means I can’t be there for the full time, or potentially not at all. I’m gutted you know that it’s the last thing, I cancel in my diary, if I can avoid it whatsoever.

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

I love that commitment. Yeah, feeling of support, you know, you’re amazing, all of you, the way that you celebrate each other’s wins and support each other through the inevitable challenges that you’re going to face and continue to face, I adore the richness of that relationship and those communities, that community that’s really thriving as a result.

Catrine

And I think also to that point, you know, it’s so easy, and especially in this environment, where it’s so easy to get sucked into, everything is horrible at the moment.

And this group has really helped me certainly, and I think a lot of us see the joy in even small celebrations. And even if it is sometimes Oh, I bake a cake, or I read a good book, or I saw a great TV programme, if that is really what’s getting you through this week, then let’s celebrate.

Because we were so conditioned to think about, we have to think of the big things that the next promotion or you know, the next big job or a new house, or whatever it is that we’re aiming for that we forget to stop and think about the little joys and the small things. And I mean, you know, at one point, I stopped to say, look, this, this is not even about that this is about me enjoying my work. That’s what I want to aim for now, rather than something, you know, into the future. And that was a mind shift, a mindset shift for me.

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

We talk a lot about possibilities. And you know, I’m on a mission to have a billion possibilities, and you are definitely one of them. When you think about it now, what is possible that seemed impossible, before we worked together?

Catrine

Putting me first. Yeah, I mean, it’s as simple as that. It’s, it’s me being able to say, I need to do this because it’s important for me, I was very much and this becomes a little bit martyr esque.

But, you know, I was the kind of person who would, you know, give up my work from the home day when, you know, in the old days when we actually were in the office, and because someone else decided to change, and that they needed to work from home, or cancel a holiday, because suddenly there was no coverage in the team or not go to the doctor because you know, I was too busy.

Or, you know, that kind of thing. And you know, and I realise now that I can’t keep doing this, I need to do what, what I need to do, whether it’s seen the dentist or go to the doctor or pursue my career opportunities, and not think about Oh, someone’s resigned, or, you know, someone’s on holiday.

Like I went to the dentist last week, even though I was really busy because I did need to, you know, I’m having a crown done. So that was important. And, you know, things like that. And old me would have, you know, definitely very strongly considered needing to move that appointment. So, things like that, and I know sound a little bit silly and minute but for me, that was a really big shift of not doing things like that.

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

Not minute at all. And, you know, common to so many of our clients is that bit about actually that feels so wrong to put yourself first like that, as you said that that mindset shift that occurs as a process of our work together, where it’s where you’re able to say, actually that’s not only just okay, it’s necessary.

And now I know how I’m going to do that. I wonder, actually, you know, because it’s fairly multicultural. We work across the globe at High Definition You I wonder if your background is Danish. You’ve lived in London for a long time. But I wonder culturally what are the approaches around coaching So that might have influenced you, you know, to say yes or no all through this process.

Catrine

Yeah, it’s interesting because I used to work for a big company in Denmark, that was all about HR consultancy. But coaching when I was when I worked in Denmark wasn’t really something that was talked about all that much. And then moving to London, again, it wasn’t something that was really talked about in the companies that I worked for.

And then I went into contracting for many years. And as a contractor, you just not really thought about someone to develop. So I worked about, I worked on developing myself in terms of my career, and I moved specifically from one job to another in terms of a career trajectory in terms of my technical skills. But that sort of whole. The softer side. Yeah. And it wasn’t even, I didn’t think deliberate from my own point of view, it just wasn’t something that was ever really thought about.

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

And I’m glad you thought about it. And I’m glad you said yes,

Catrine

I’m glad you asked.

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

I’m glad we’ve been on this journey together. If you could choose one adjective to describe where you were at the beginning. And where you were at the end of the programme, what would they be?

Catrine

So I would say either apprehensive or cautious. And, and there’s a little bit of wording to go with that. As in, I would oftentimes stop myself from doing things or saying things rather than what you know, anything from asking a question to you know, putting my, my two cents in, not technically, not anything to do with my job. But when it came to things that had to do with me personally, or where I felt, you know, things had overstepped that I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t put my hand up there and say, Look, can we have a conversation?

And now, definitely more courageous. I feel like I’m still on a journey.

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

We’re always on a journey. I love that from cautious to courageous, very inspiring. And if people are watching this cartoon, and they are being inspired by your story, and they’re thinking about coaching, and maybe some of that resistance is coming out for them around time or money, what would you advise them?

Catrine

Go for it? Best money. I’ve spent a long time.

Gitanjali – High Definition You Coach

Well, I am very glad you said yes, as I said, and to have been on this journey with you and it continues to this day, which is very rewarding for me. So, thank you so much for sharing your story and I’ll see you Thursday morning. Definitely. Thanks, Catrine