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Introducing Rural Coach

Rural Coach (formerly Coach Approach Rural) was established in 2009 by Simon Gibson and Matthew Pickering who as rural bankers could see the need for the service for Rural New Zealanders, particularly for farming families who were struggling with succession planning and the 'what next' for themselves and their farm.  

Since then we have grown to be New Zealand's leading specialist coaching/ advisory service for rural New Zealand families and businesses, with our growth driven by word of mouth referral, and occurring almost unabated, as more and more baby boomer farmers look to hand-on or exit their farm with surety and with family unity intact. 

Aligned with this objective, we have evolved to coach and enable rural New Zealanders to have conversations that matter across all facets of their lives, whether this be for succession planning, business & strategic planning or for people and culture leadership or team development.      

Ours is a unique skill set and one that we have refined over time to suit the New Zealand rural sector.  Experience has shown that it helps hugely that we are farming and rural people too - in fact, some of our own team have joined Rural Coach because of the positive contribution we made to their family conversations when future planning was required. 

So how do we work?

For succession and strategic planning, we start with what is called a 'discovery phase' whereby we seek feedback from all family or team members who will be impacted by the planning process. This ensures that everyone has input from the outset, and it also helps to inform the coaching process thereafter.

Following the discovery phase, we help you and your family or business to move forward by supporting you to implement identified short term actions to achieve your ultimate long-term goals.

Accountability for agreed actions is key, meaning that everything we do is done 'with you' and 'by you', but never 'for you'. It just works better that way!

Alongside succession and strategic planning, we coach leadership and team development for individuals, farms and businesses. This coaching rounds out our offer of service, and means that people can work on their own development to assist them to articulate their thoughts and act in  alignment with their values. This creates a win/win for improving a person's contribution to leadership conversations that matter, and to the overall team and family culture too.

To your business and family we bring:


Our team has years of practical first-hand experience working alongside farming families and rural businesses, guiding meaningful and future-focused conversations in a safe and inclusive manner.


Free from any conflict of interest, our independent facilitation helps cut through roadblocks, clarifies misunderstandings, connects the dots and delivers pragmatic guidance.

Rural Backgrounds

We are rural people, just like you. We understand the relationships that are key for success and we know what works, and what doesn't. We've found that it's our understanding and empathy that is most critical to our success. 

Country TV Interview with Matthew Pickering on Farm Succession Planning

Matthew discusses all facets of farm succession planning, from where to start, right through to identifying development plans to grow successors and family who are to be involved in the business.


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