My employers, Dairy Holdings Limited, are big advocates for Rural Coach’s services, having utilised their People 360 programme for many years as a key part of their development of people, practices and career progression. They are also keen to see managers and key staff with leadership potential go onto the Ignite course to improve leadership outcomes.
For me, my opportunity for Ignite came when I won the Grazing Block Manager of the Year award at our Annual Conference (with Ignite being the prize).
My course was held locally in Ashburton. The first thing I appreciated when I arrived for the course, was that every person was from a rural background … and what’s more, from all different levels in an organisation. Managers, supervisors and 2ICs about to step up to herd management or team leader positions. That alone meant that I got to hear first-hand how others see the same issue, but from a different angle. Back at work, that has helped me hugely in terms of listening carefully to people above and below me, and seeing things from different points of view.
The other great thing about it being “all rural”, meant that it wasn’t intimidating in any way. We all understood one another from the get-go, we all spoke the same language and we could all talk about the same issues on farm. It bonded us as a group and meant we had empathy for each other’s stories from the outset.
In terms of the course content and its delivery, the Rural Coach team are amazing. They are passionate about what they are doing, and they 100% believe in their material. Over and above that, they actually believe in you. They make sure that the content gets down to your level, and they really want you to be the best that you can be.
I also liked that relevant rural examples were used throughout, with great insights that were so simple, but so clever at the same time. It was mind blowing how they showed us that simple conversations, done well, could completely change a team. Man it sticks in your mind – and the things you learn definitely make you a better coach, and an all-round better person too.
If someone asked me about whether or not to go on the course, I would back it 100% - even if you only take 25% out of it, you’ve improved yourself by 50%!
And not only do you benefit, but those around you benefit too. I know that I am a far better manager and coach as a result of Ignite. I am much better at seeing people’s true potential now, and it’s all because of the skills and insights I got from the course. I find that instead of micro-managing, and answering everyone’s questions for them, I actually ask my team to come up with the answers, and I support them in that process.
Ignite has taken a monumental amount of stress off my shoulders, it’s made me a better manager and it’s meant that DHL benefits too, which is a huge win/win for everyone - particularly in the current labour market where it’s the little things that can make a huge difference for job satisfaction and staff retention.