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Diving Deeper Into Logic and Learning Through Adversity

Episode #1015: Learn how to unravel emotion with logic and confront assumptions to achieve results in a conversation with Katherine Crewe, a Director at the Institute of Corporate Directors, Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, board member of several companies, TEC-Canada chair, and executive coach out of Montreal, Canada.

About the Katherine Crewe

Katherine Crewe began her career as a biomedical engineer where she learned how to dig beneath emotions and focus on the factual background of problems to find solutions. She is a Director at the Institute of Corporate Directors, Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, board member of several companies, TEC-Canada chair, and executive coach out of Montreal, Canada. Katherine entered the coaching industry after acknowledging her desire to be challenged at work. She wanted to grow personally and professionally which led her to TEC-Canada. Katherine met TEC-Canada by chance when exploring options for a new career path and realizing her desire to “elevate [her clients] game.” With experience as an engineer and a passion for helping others, Katherine uses her logical problem solving skills to help clients achieve their goals and embrace their best self.

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Key highlights

From engineering to coaching

Timestamp 03:14

Katherine Crewe began her career as a biomedical engineer. After exploring options for a new career path, she was led to TEC-Canada. Katherine shares how TEC-Canada contacted her by chance and she embraced the opportunity. At TEC-Canada, she found her passion for pushing clients to “elevate their game.”

During Katherine's career in biomedical engineering, she learned how to dig beneath emotions and focus on the factual background of problems to find solutions. This skill has allowed her to become a unique support line for clients—allowing them to see beyond their emotion and into the logic of a situation.

Experience in groups

Timestamp 06:16

Severin and Katherine share their experiences with different personalities in groups. Katherine elaborates on how she divides her groups, but maintains the diversity within them. The clients Katherine serves are not specifically from engineering fields, but from all backgrounds and walks of life. Katherine and Severin share the importance of asking questions and actively listening in group situations.

Following your own path

Timestamp 10:44

Katherine reflects on her coaching career and wishes she followed her own path sooner. She states that although many trainings and tools are provided to TEC-Canada Chairs, it is just as important to be yourself, listen, and follow the flow of the conversation between you and your clients.

Reflection on retreats

Timestamp 13:44

Katherine has introduced the idea of retreats to her coaching groups; however, her audience and team members have a hard time committing to a weekend of additional work. Severin introduces the idea that retreats need to be a norm for the group as they bond individuals together and are seen as a valuable experience amongst executive leaders. Katherine and Severin share the impact that norms have for groups and the need to establish those norms at the beginning of new groups.

Diving past the emotion

Timestamp 17:48

Katherine shares her experience with diving deeper into issues with clients. Severin introduces his experience as well and quotes a client’s reflection on the words he once said. Both Katherine and Severin emphasize the importance of posing hard questions and the benefits that come from them. When gauging group opinions, Katherine shares her usage of anonymous polls to gather honest feedback.

Breakout rooms and bringing out the best

Timestamp 21:50

In Katherine's experience facilitating groups, she recommends inviting quieter members to participate after the discussion has begun. This gives clients that like to contemplate and ponder, more time to finish analyzing and filling out their statements. Katherine and Severin talk about ways to productively use Zoom such as utilizing breakout rooms to allow for more intimate discussion on questions and topics. Although she believes this is critical, she wishes she could engage with each individual group more.

Listening as a tool

Timestamp 25:34

When asked about tools she uses in her coaching sessions, Katherine states that listening is an important tool that she's developed over time. She writes notes as her clients are talking to ensure her active participation. Katherine believes that this keeps her from overstepping her boundaries as a coach and entering the realm of consulting.

The use of referrals

Timestamp 26:51

Both Severin and Katherine believe in the use of referrals in their client sessions. Katherine states that if a client needs professional help, whether it be from a psychologist or family therapist, she encourages them to receive specific and direct support. Severin recommends building a portfolio of trusted referrals. He uses this in his coaching practice to ensure clients always leave learning something or having what they need to succeed. Similarly, Katherine uses her connections with others to refer clients.

Challenging your clients

Timestamp 33:48

Katherine reflects on her experiences with a former client and wishes she would have challenged their request further. She elaborates on the need for coaches to question their clients’ desires and/or requests to help them achieve their overarching goals. In her role as a coach and chair, she believes that she is meant to stand up and question clients, and inspire them to act intentionally. When addressing the question of the type of clients she looks to challenge, Katherine states that she is “looking for someone who is really there to find… a safe place…” a place where opinions can be voiced and corrected without “discrimination.”

Learning from Covid-19

Timestamp 39:32

Severin and Katherine share a valuable discussion on their takeaways from the Covid-19 pandemic. Katherine states that she has learned a lot about herself and what her expectations for the Covid-19 pandemic were. In her own practice, she has learned to bring the flexibility she provides during virtual meetings to her in-person meetings. Katherine has “embraced the notion” that she will “likely have hybrid meetings forever” because of the flexibility it offers. Severin also shares his learning experiences through the Covid-19 pandemic on virtual meeting presentations. Both Severin and Katherine share their learnings and the tools they plan on bringing into in-person sessions. Severin shares a quote about learning through adversity and Katherine shares her take on the quote. Learning through the covid-19 pandemic was essential for both Severin and Katherine.

Accountability and leaving it better than you found it

Timestamp 46:25

When asked what qualities make Katherine a “difference-maker” in the coaching industry today, Katherine states her value of accountability has been impactful in her practice. She wants her clients and fellow coaches to be able to “count on” her “word.” If Katherine says a project will be done by Friday, she does her absolute best to ensure that it is truly done by Friday. Severin responds with an experience and asks Katherine what her “why” is. Katherine shares that her mother always taught her to “leave it better than you found it”, which she has held always practiced throughout her career. She seeks to have clients leave better than they were before their session by impacting them in positive ways.

Avoiding assumptions

Timestamp 50:53

Katherine speaks of the first group meeting she facilitated as a Chair. Her biggest hurdle was making assumptions about what her clients knew or did not know. She advises her younger self and other executive coaches just entering the field to never assume that your clients will know something. Always be prepared to lay it out and explain it to them. As a coach, Katherine states that you never really know what your clients or groups will be like until you learn about them directly. Severin shares this experience as he annually restates the roots and purpose for the group in order to avoid assumptions and miscommunication.

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