Create the change you want by changing the way you think

Penny Wolff of Wolff Coffee Roasters

If there’s one thing 2020 has demonstrated, we are living in ever increasingly volatile, complex, uncertain and ambiguous (VUCA) environments, where demand for leadership coaching is continuing as managers and leaders are using coaching skills to improve an organisation’s culture, and support wellbeing in their teams.

Building upon this, within our online 12 month Leadership Coaching Executive Graduate Certificate (LCAM), a coaching approach in leadership includes elements such as collaboration, empowerment, mindfulness, reflective practice, systems thinking, and compassion – all elements that have been a highlight of discussions throughout 2020 as a result of COVID-19.

As we head towards the end of this challenging year, our Leadership Coaching journey continues to cascade and impact organisations in a positive way with our Class of 2020 LCAM Cohort finalising their High Impact Projects. The focus of the individual 12 month, High Impact Project is to embed a coaching culture within a chosen organisation. The major emerging trend that we developed our 12 month Leadership Coaching Program around, was the growth of coaching within organisations, as a function of effective leadership.

One of our 2019 graduates, Penny Wolff has reflected upon the ongoing impact this has made for her organisation, Wolff Coffee Roasters and shares her insights here:

Who or what influenced or inspired you to apply?
I can recall the very moment that inspired me. It was a regular Monday at Wolff Coffee Roasters, it was back in August 2017, the day started as usual with the aroma of freshly roasted beans filling the roastery.
Beautifully prepared coffees were being poured as baristas busily worked, customers buzzed through the door and the hum of the team chatted at their desks, but what happened next I did not see coming. A resignation rolled in from one of our valued Managers, not long after another long term, Senior Team Member resigned and then within half an hour, in rolled the third resignation from our Operations Manager. All unexpected, all with different reasoning, and all with only a couple of weeks notice.
This was the tipping point that inspired me to find a new way, a better way to understand our workplace culture, I enrolled in LCAM course in 2018 and it marked the beginning of our organisational transformation that continues today. 
What was your personal growth story? 
The Leadership through Coaching and Mentoring Course (LCAM), absolutely taught me endless things about myself, my leadership, teams, and how to embed a coaching culture within our organisation. Through completing the course and by working in ‘Action Learning Groups’, provided powerful personal growth and necessary reflection of my own leadership style.
Furthermore, using tools such as the 360 Leadership Circle Profile and the PROPHET helped to really pinpoint my own personal relative preferences, to learn from this, and understand how to maximise value from the tools not just for my own good but for my entire team.
How did this study transform you / or your own organisation that you work for?
Wolff Coffee Roasters epitomised ‘complexity in action’ yet from completing this course I discovered new ways to progress forward.
Our organisation moved from the traditional hierarchical structure to a distributed and networked team organisation.  By embedding a coaching culture and coaching for change, we were able to impact the ‘Whole System’. I recognised that culture was an emergent property of our organisation and was only able to be influenced through the process of learning by all those who shared in producing it. We were able to do this through embracing the tension between the need to coordinate and control and the need to evolve and adapt.
What was the highlight of your study experience?
The highlight of the study has been the opportunity for me to present my work and findings from my High Impact Project based on my own organisation, at several conferences.
Sharing in particular,  as our organisational name suggests, insights not only about the Wolf being a highly social animal that loves to live in packs, but insights about the collective behaviour of our WolfPack (our people), and how it has been transformed.
With a growth mindset, I now view all 30 employees within our organisation as incredibly alive, vibrant, and passionate and their loyalty for one another and the love that the pack has for one another runs deep and powerfully. Through successfully embedding a ‘Leadership through Coaching and Mentoring Culture’ we have created a positive impact, a better future, and ultimately have influenced the collective behaviour of our ‘WolfPack’ across numerous systems. The organisation’s culture continues to be diverse and includes many subcultures, and this allows for dialogue to present differences and build more resilient teams.

Penny Wolff

What advice would you give to someone looking at trying to do what you have done?
It is important to continue to challenge yourself both personally and professionally, this course will do exactly that. It will take you out of your comfort zone, promote your curiosity, exploration and you will discover your inquiry mind.  
Ultimately you will create the change you want by changing the way you think.”
QUT’s Executive Graduate Certificate in Business – Leadership Coaching (LCAM) program was designed to transform your leadership style. Over the course of twelve months, you’ll discover leadership through coaching as a mindset.  Join a new wave of leaders.

QUTeX Leadership Coaching Practice


Fran is passionate about developing exceptional leaders. She has an extensive background in Leadership and Executive Coaching, holding senior leadership positions, including as Director, Leadership Coaching and Executive Programs within the QUT Graduate School of Business and QUTeX Executive Education. Fran is responsible for successfully delivering global Leadership Coaching education as Course Coordinator for the Executive Graduate Certificate in Business (Leadership Coaching) and establishing The Leadership Coaching Practice within QUTeX.

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