“Going down the iceberg a bit” is a phrase used by Gai Foskett, MCC New Zealand, to describe her method for working one-on-one with her corporate coaching clients; and more recently, with her pro bono clients in the education setting.

Applying corporate leadership strategies to coaching education leaders has become an effective approach for Foskett when she began volunteering for the Springboard Education Trust in New Zealand.  “Springboard uses the 360 Survey tool to provide ratings and feedback for their leaders,” Foskett said. The survey provides results for the participant on Strategic and Visionary Leadership; Nurturing and Developing People; Positive and Supportive Climate; Connectedness; and Reflective Leadership.

“We begin the one-on-one coaching by debriefing on the 360 report, and having the coachee identify 1 or 2 areas they want to strengthen,” She explains.

The holistic method Foskett uses focuses on the behaviors that people have observed in the leaders as reported in the survey.  “Going down the iceberg a bit—we notice how they communicate; their personal values; their beliefs about the people they are leading or working with; and how that’s playing out, and how and what they are thinking” she said. “I know from experience that’s where people make transformational change—looking at themselves , and others, in a deeper way. Understanding that sometimes their intention does not match their impact. And, being courageous enough to do something about that.”

Foskett also discovered that in this educational setting for some participants, there was a lack of familiarity with some of the leadership principles, ideas, and tools: the four stages of learning; basic leadership tools; and communication frameworks.

Doing this pro bono work for Springboard is an essential part of Foskett’s personal values.  “It gives my work meaning” she said. “I see it as—‘I throw a coaching stone, and it ripples out.”

Foskett sees the work of educators as “one of the most important jobs in the world—to help children be mindful of their behaviors and how to think.  The teachers have huge workloads, and my job is to support teachers in their own thinking and responses; so that they can help the children with how to think.”

Continuing to build pro bono work into her schedule is a priority for Foskett.  “It’s about making a difference and inspiring others. As I see it, my work is never done because as human beings, we are never ‘done’. We are constantly learning and growing as challenges and rewards come our way.  I have some clients who have been with me off and on for over 16 years.  As they push through to other work levels, other positions, they return.  And as coaches, we are never done.  We need to be open to our own challenges so that we can be the best coaches for our coachees. Every client, every coachee, teaches me something .”

Professionalism, flair and focus to achieve are just a few words many clients have used to describe Gai’s coaching and training. Gai works mainly with senior leaders and managers, business owners, professionals and entrepreneurs in NZ, Australia, Asia, UK and Canada. Gai brings to the coaching table a deep understanding of business and corporate life. Her intuition, knowledge and skills make a difference to coaching clients and trainees alike.  Gai has delivered over 5,500 hours of coaching. She holds the Master Certified Coach Credential with International Coach Federation, the Master of Business Administration Macquarie University, Sydney; Diploma in Business (Marketing) Victoria University, Wellington; and is a Master NLP Practitioner.

NOTE:  For information about how ICF Foundation helps to equip coaches and connect them to pro bono opportunities, visit our website Home Page at:  https://foundationoficf.org/

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