A journey of learning and discovery

We caught up with Chi-Zeng Nim, Marketing & Communications Officer at Stratford Circus Arts Centre, who was in the first cohort of associates who graduated from Foundation for FutureLondon’s elle leadership coaching programme this Spring; elle was designed and run by Leaders Lab’s experienced trainers and coaches.

One of the joys of my role is designing and producing all the marketing collateral for the arts centre. It brings me a great feeling of reward when the biannual events brochure is complete, I’m holding it my hands and it has gone out to all those on our mailing list.

I correctly guessed, at the very beginning, that elle would be a journey. And what a journey it has been – a journey of learning, a journey of realisation, a journey of discovery and a journey of growth. With the guidance and support of the Leaders Lab coaches, it’s been a journey that takes you a little further than your comfort zone yet enables you to expand those boundaries each time.

Before the programme I was the kind of person who would prioritise the requests from others over my own tasks. Due to this, I always had my head down and was quietly working away at my never-ending list of things to do; I would try to do everything and to do it all myself. In working with others, I would have a very hands-on approach and always took them through a step-by-step guide. I believed in teamwork, leading by example and I would never ask someone to do something that I wasn’t prepared to do myself. But the downside to that was it took up a lot of my time – time which I don’t really have – and so very often I would be working late into the night to get done what I needed to do.

From the programme I have learned that you don’t need to action requests right away and it isn’t necessary to micro-manage. So what I do differently now is to make a habit of asking people for deadlines if they haven’t specified one or advising them on when I can get it completed by. This manages their expectations and allows me to properly prioritise my workload. I’ve also learned to delegate tasks to others and when doing so, make clear requests and allow them to demonstrate their own capabilities. I now only give more guidance when they feel they need and ask for it.

The greatest realisation of this journey is the amount of potential I have and am yet to utilise. elle has helped me to grow in depth, breath and height; in depth – I now have better knowledge and understanding; in breadth – I feel more certain of myself and know that I am capable of so much more; and in height – well, my director said to me, and I was probably only three sessions into the programme:

“Chi-Zeng, I think elle has really had a great effect, I can see a change already.”

“Oh, thank you. How do you mean?”

“Well, like the other day when you introduced yourself, I thought ‘That was Chi-Zeng!’…”, she paused to compose, “…you’re not the tallest person…”,and I laughed, “No, I’m not…”

At the end of the whole conversation I understood that she meant I speak with the presence of someone who could be the tallest person in the room despite actually being one of, if not, the shortest!

My thanks and gratitude must be expressed to all that were involved. The other amazing associates whom I’m ever so proud of, The Legacy List (now renamed Foundation for FutureLondon) for making it happen, Leaders Lab for their professional wisdom and Clare Connor whose idea the whole programme was born out of.

My experience with elle has been truly invaluable.