Business wisdom from the desk of … KATE QUANE, Executive Coach, Praesta Ireland
A graduate of the Irish Management Institute and Trinity College, Kate Quane began her management career at AIB, where she worked for 30 years in various roles, including Head of Learning and Development. In 2012, she retrained as an executive coach and joined Praesta Ireland two years later. To date, she has coached clients in the pharmaceutical, technology, financial, non-profit and public service sectors.
The International Praesta Group is the world’s leading specialised executive coaching company. Today we have offices in some 15 international locations, including Ireland.
Describe your role:
I work with high-performing senior leaders and teams who want to up their game and apply their honed skills productively in the workplace. We provide neutral territory, a safe space to think out loud, where executives in senior roles can develop their edge.
How can coaching enlighten?
We work with clients to help them recognise patterns of behaviour or attitudes that might impact their effectiveness. We give real feedback and we can totally relate to the pressures and business issues. It is a valuable form of self-investment for clients who want to retain career momentum.
Highlights and challenges during your tenure?
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with some really talented individuals, large teams and great customers. There were many highlights in my AIB career, as I held many roles during my tenure. One of the key challenges is the usual one for women, how to maintain the elusive work/family life balance. Since joining Praesta, I have worked with some great leaders in Irish business and have had the opportunity for continuous learning and growth.
Did anything in your family background influence your journey to your current role?
My parents instilled a strong work ethic in each of us – all my school holidays and weekends were spent working in the family shop. Being part of a small community, I saw firsthand how teamwork can deliver great results, whether that was achieving a Tidy Towns award, or fundraising for charity. My parents also instilled in me a strong sense of independence, equal opportunity and accountability. All of these experiences have been the foundation stones on which I have built my career, and still remain core values.
The accomplishment you are most proud of?
Well, this is a joint one with my husband, Michael – we have three fantastic children, and I am extremely proud of them.
How you approach difficult situations?
I am known for being calm. I always try and stand back and see what is actually going on, before rushing to action.
How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
Not long! I tend to leave out my clothes the night before and then its less than 20 minutes in the morning from bed to car.
What keeps you awake at night?
Honestly, not much. I’m a great believer in the power of the subconscious … I tend to sleep on my worries and they always seem a little different the following morning.
A characteristic you believe a business leader should possess?
Self-belief. Leadership can be a lonely spot.
What is the most useful way to engage clients?
It depends on the client and what is right for them. I really believe in the importance of networking – spending time with colleagues in the wider industry offers an opportunity for fresh perspective and for collaboration.
Advice to women who aspire to be in leadership roles?
Share your unique views and ideas – do not shy away from being seen and heard and do not be afraid of feedback, even the challenging stuff is an opportunity for growth. Listen actively, understanding where the other person is coming from – it is the foundation stone for relationship building which is critical in today’s business world. The support of a mentor or coach is an invaluable investment.
THE WAY I DO BUSINESS
1. WORK/LIFE BALANCE: Balance is a personal thing … what is right for one may not be right for someone else. In general, I think it is really important to enjoy your work, because if you are feeling constant pressure, the quality of the time you spend outside work will be diminished.
2. YOUR STRONG POINTS: I’m a good listener and love a bit of fun.
3. WEAKNESSES: I have a very strong sense of fairness and justice and sometimes it gets me into trouble because I feel I must speak out.
4. LOOKING THE BUSINESS: I love clothes, but am not a slave to fashion … I go with what suits me and enjoy boutique shopping for something a little different.
5. PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE: I come from a generation where the importance of “a good pensionable job” was drilled into us. Investing early in your pension is critical to support a retirement free from financial worries.
This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this, don’t miss our November issue, out Thursday, November 3.
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