Get The Answers: Targeted coaching can help Christchurch businesses

By Gill South, Yvonne McLean

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Yvonne McLean, co-president of the International Coach Federation Australasia Northern region. Photo / Supplied
Yvonne McLean, co-president of the International Coach Federation Australasia Northern region. Photo / Supplied

The people of Christchurch and its business community still have plenty to do to get back to some kind of normality. Some well placed coaching will be part of what businesses need to help them approach the year under new working and living conditions.

What sorts of challenges do Christchurch businesses have in the wake of last year's earthquake which other NZ businesses do not have?

The challenges people are facing have changed enormously over the past 12 months.

One Christchurch contact of the International Coach Federation commented that, with the anniversary of the February 2011 earthquake this week, many would stop to remember and then be looking to move forward.

Of course, initially, the challenges were about where to locate, how to get access to files and data locked in the CBD, etc. Some businesses collapsed and there was no demand for others, so they closed.

For businesses in areas doing more work, for example, the building industry, it was about recruiting people. Twelve months on, if they haven't addressed the original problems they're either no longer in business or they are in the midst of sorting out their challenges.

Logistically, day-to-day life can be harder than before the earthquakes, in that it is more difficult to get around the city than it was.

People also have frustrations around dealing with insurance companies and what is happening to them personally.

The overriding sentiment is that there is quite a positive atmosphere in terms of people asking how they can capitalise on the opportunities in the new economy or, on a personal level, people are asking the big questions about their life and careers - all perfect considerations for someone to bring to coaching.

In what areas will these businesses need specific coaching? What are they most commonly requesting help with?

Twelve months on, many of the immediate problems have gone. People are feeling positive. According to our contacts in Christchurch, businesses that weren't going to survive have gone, and the ones that have survived are working out how to thrive and capitalise on the opportunities.

They are planning for growth and working out how to take advantage of the new economy. They are looking for innovative approaches in the spirit of working together that came out of the the earthquakes' immediate aftermath.

People are asking: How do we find new markets? How do we diversify our business? How can we leverage/make the most of the opportunities that are now presenting themselves? How do I make my business more robust?

What are Westpac and ICF doing for Christchurch businesses?

New Zealand-based members of ICF will offer three coaching sessions free of charge to business people in Christchurch. They do not have to be business owners. They can be anyone involved in business.

Locally based Canterbury coaches will be available to coach face-to-face and/or by phone. Most of the other coaching will take place by telephone, bringing coaching services from throughout New Zealand into Christchurch. Coaching provides a personalised developmental forum where the emphasis is on enhancing performance, realising potential and facilitating transitions.

Westpac, meanwhile, is offering coaches and potential coaching clients the use of its Westpac Business and Community Hub in Christchurch, set up in September 2011 to provide practical assistance to local quake-impacted businesses. It is allowing the ICF to promote the initiative to users of its Business and Community hub.

Westpac will be promoting this offer from ICF to its customers but stresses it's available to all business owners in Christchurch.

Yvonne McLean is co-president of the International Coach Federation (ICF) Australasia Northern region.

- NZ Herald

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