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Case Study / Business & Strategy - Understanding values, defining a vision and creating pathways to success

Rural Coach allowed us to get out of our own silo and to be the best that we can be.


I first heard of Rural Coach in 2014 when I was at a deer conference and listening to one of their directors John Redpath speak about what they do and what they offer farmers.

The year prior, I had lost my Dad in a tragic farming accident, and although my wife Sally and I had purchased the family farm in 2009 (and we were completely independent in that regard), I was really struggling without my Dad’s presence as my best mate, confidante and unofficial farm advisor.

Perhaps that is why John’s presentation resonated the way it did. Because here was an opportunity to connect with a mentor, and to bounce ideas around and create a pathway with clarity. 

After our first meeting with local Hawke’s Bay coach Dick Kingston, Sally and I decided to fully commit to the process. Although it might sound a bit airy fairy, we really enjoyed the chance to work through multi-choice and long answer questions which got to the heart of our values, and what made us tick individually, as a couple, and a family.

In the early stages, we got to see how our values either aligned, or complemented one another, and then we used those to create a vision for our family that was underpinned by those values.  That part of the process was characterised by Dick really pushing us (in a good way) to be bold and authentic with our goals, and to write down what we really wanted, and not to be influenced by what we thought were the ‘right’ answers to satisfy others.

Once we had our vision, the next question from Dick was ‘well, what’s stopping you?’.  This saw us working with him to develop a focused workplan, identifying what we were prepared to put in place to make our goals achievable.

I have to say that this one piece of paper became very powerful! 

It was really astonishing for us, but one by one, things started to happen. So much so, that after three years, many of our goals were ticked off, and so we could reset again - but with the added confidence that we had the skills to achieve our goals, all the while staying true to the personal values we had previously identified.

On reflection, having a Rural Coach has allowed us to get out of our own silo and to be the best that we can be.

Personally, I have always believed that no one individual is an expert in all things, and I’ve always run the farming business like that.  Having a Coach meant we could bring that approach into our personal wellbeing and family life too – and while there are no silver bullet answers - it’s been so good to identify our values and to align these to a vision and a pathway based on goal setting. 

It goes without saying that Rural Coach has definitely worked for us.  We have got so much out of it, and we’ve preached about it to others.  Even now, we will proactively reach out to Rural Coach to initiate conversations and seek their counsel.  While our Coach doesn’t give us the answers, he lets us fully explore the options or the thoughts in our heads, and then we’ll revisit our values, vision and goals and we’ll reach the conclusion that’s right for us.  While our answer might not be the right answer for anyone else, it’s right for us and it’s firmly anchored in the initial values and vision work we did.

“I feel like we’re living a more authentic life, staying true to our values and we’re focused on a longer game. I don’t think we would be saying that if we didn’t have Rural Coach in the picture.” 


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