Pekka Tölli and Maria Krajewska-Olkkonen attended the Certified Business Coach program in English. Both were drawn to coaching when looking for practical methods for helping and motivating people. “The program far exceeded my expectations.”
“I was being coached a few years ago and that experience made me realize how effective tool coaching is”, says Pekka Tölli. “When planning my future direction, I decided to learn to coach properly.”
“To me it felt important to know the best practices and to get a certification, because I want to be able to do this also professionally,” Tölli explains. He has a strong background in the financial sector and as a management consultant. Now he is reshaping his career via psychology and coaching. “Earlier I used to solve problems with processes. Gradually I realized that I would rather help people individually, it feels more meaningful to me.”
Maria Krajewska-Olkkonen wanted to find tools for leading people better and was curious about business coaching. “When you lead performance in your teams, it’s important to have a personal approach. I somehow thought that coaching would be a natural way to support my leadership work. And I was so right in this.”
Originally from Poland Krajewska-Olkkonen has lived in Finland already for 15 years. She has studied political science and business administration and has been mostly working in the event industry. At the moment she is COO and the head of sales in the Nordic Business Forum.
Coaching in practice was an eye-opener
Pekka Tölli did close exploration on business coaching schools and talked to people who know about the topic. For him BCI stood out as the most credible organizer. He chose the English speaking group partly for schedule-related reasons and partly for the possibility to meet people from different backgrounds.
“Certified Business Coach program was quite much what I thought it would be, and I had high hopes for it. The most useful part was the intense coaching practice and the observing we did in the group”, Tölli says. “Coaching and being coached in front of others was both exciting and very eye-opening at the same time. Discussing our experiences afterwards with an experienced mentor made it all come together. I feel I learned massively in those moments, it’s something you can’t adopt from books.”
Attending the CBC program made Maria Krajewska-Olkkonen realize how holistic process coaching really is. “What surprised me is that I actually learned so much more than I thought I would. The course far exceeded my expectations. I liked the fact that we had many different teachers and the content was very professional. I learned to apply coaching with other people but also with myself.”
”For me it was a wonderful insight to understand that there’s not one way to be a coach, but we all must find our own style and use our personality”, Pekka Tölli says. “Another essential thing for me was to learn to orientate towards the client. It’s enough to have the process and the experience in the background and then you just fully focus on the person with you.”
“Also I got to understand that coaching is not about me as a coach but about the other person”, Maria adds. “When you ask good questions and the person starts to believe they really have the answer, you can actually see them reaching their potential. That is huge.”
Coaching is needed in organizations
Maria Krajewska-Olkkonen has used coaching approach a lot with her teams. “A year ago everyone came to me for answers, but now I’m the one asking the questions. And people come up with these great plans, something beyond my thinking. Coaching skills have made my job as a leader so much easier.”
Pekka Tölli has used coaching alongside his studies as well. “I have noticed that people would benefit from coaching more than they realize. There’s a lot of need for it in organizations. People don’t usually recognize the need for coaching, but when they get it, they are often surprised.”
“Business coaching mainly helps people to clarify their objectives. Oftentimes the problem is that people are uncertain about their roles and their direction, and that makes it difficult to reach the goals”, Pekka explains.
Krajewska-Olkkonen believes that coaching is the way to lead in the future. “You can’t be a leader nowadays without having coaching skills. Often people think that the leader should have the best ideas, but it’s not so. Leader should support the employees to show their vision. This is how people also feel appreciated”, says Maria.
“I practice coaching in my daily work, it helps me so much. We actually implemented coaching approach in the whole leadership team”, Krajewska-Olkkonen says. “People are much more committed and motivated when they can use their own ideas. I would definitely recommend business coaching skills to anyone, and especially to those who lead teams.”
Text: Mirkka Niskanen