When you think of coaching, you may picture a sports coach standing on the sidelines intensely focused on the game taking place before them. They are the ones who call the plays, who train the players and who are devoted to the game. Well.... you will find coaches at PwC too however they aren’t fighting with the refs, or teaching people how to play defence. They are however providing guidance, direction and are focused on helping their own coachees succeed while working at PwC.
At PwC from day one, all employees are given a coach. Your coach is typically a manager within the department you work for. They become your go to person. At a big firm such as PwC it is important to have someone that you can talk to and confide in when you need help. Some people do not lean on their coaches much while others do, it is all up to the individual person and what you are trying to achieve. If someone were to ask me what PwC attribute sets this firm apart from other firms, coaching would be at the top of my list.
I have some real life examples on how my coach has helped me to further my professional and personal goals.
- I started at PwC 2 years ago. I was promoted early to Senior Associate typically it takes two years to be promoted, however I was promoted after one year. How did I manage this? One contributing factor was I put it in my goals. I stated it up front, I knew what I wanted and I went for it! Employees at PwC are required to make annual goals and these goals are developed between the employee and their coach. Without the support from people like my coach, I would have never felt the confidence or thought I had the ability to meet that goal, and thus would have never included it in my annual summary.
- A common example where coaches can be very helpful is when it comes to scheduling. I had scheduling complications during this busy season, and I brought those issues to my coach. This was the formal way for me to express how I felt due to the situation at hand. My coach brought forward the issue to the staffing coordinator and upper management who tried to address the issue as best they could.
- I expressed the interest to work outside of my home office for an extended period of time (on a secondment) to my coach. I wanted the chance to work on different clients and to see different industries. My coach and I discussed the opportunity to do something like this at PwC. When I had to make final decisions about whether I would apply or not, when to apply and where to apply, I reached out to my coach. My coach at the time was out of the office but it didn’t matter, he was still available to pick up the phone and listen to my rant! With this help, I made the decision to formally apply for secondment and I am anxiously waiting to hear back to see if I was accepted into the program!
These are just a few ways that coaches can really make a difference at PwC. Your coach gets to know you as they participate in helping to make your annual goals. Throughout the year you get performance feedback on the jobs you work on, which your coach then discusses this feedback with you so they get see how you are progressing throughout the year. Also depending on the size of the office and type of client you work on, you may work for your coach! This happens in my office many times. This is great because you already know them, they know your ability and you start off on the same page. If you have a specific project, job or industry you want to be a part of, your coach is the one to talk to. They will help you however they can to try and make your preference/goal happen. I think most coaches have an open door policy where you can drop in if you have a question, or call them if you want to talk; they might take you out to lunch, or for a coffee as it is meant to be an informal, relaxed setting for open discussion!