I had been with Prepress Projects for only a few months when I volunteered to be coached. The company was embarking on a new initiative to develop a ‘coaching culture’ and, having had some previous experience of coaching and mentoring, I was more than happy to be part of this positive development.

Joining Prepress as a project editor was a mid-life career change for me. No crisis involved, but certainly a measure of apprehension. Prior to applying for the post, I had been impressed by information on the company’s website emphasising the priority given to the development of staff. Certainly, I was quickly enrolled on the first of several (excellent) training courses with Publishing Scotland when I joined. In addition, I found myself surrounded by a swathe of experienced and approachable colleagues who were generous in finding time to respond to my many questions.

Although the purpose of coaching is quite different from training, I have wondered why I found my coaching to be so useful; I already had experience of many different workplaces and, in Prepress, I was surrounded by helpful people and was being offered an abundance of training.  A large part of the reason is that I was paired with an excellent coach.

Carl Rogers’ person-centred therapy identified three qualities in a good client–coach relationship: realness (genuineness), trust and empathetic understanding. I feel fortunate that I can readily identify these elements in my coaching relationship. 

Every workplace has a different culture and, in addition to ‘learning the job’, understanding ‘the way things work’ can be a challenge. In a busy, pressurised working environment where library conditions prevail, opportunities for such conversations can be limited. My coaching sessions were a welcome opportunity for an open and honest discussion about any issue of my choice. 

I hope that the coaching culture continues to flourish at Prepress and, on a personal level, I’d like to say, ‘Thank you, coach’.