The Naked Headhunter – NOV. 2019, ISSUE 4
Thoughts From Andreas Zink, People & Culture and Talent Leader
In this forth series of interviews Mark catches up with Andreas Zink, who has held positions in corporate, global/regional HR and consultancy roles for over 20 years, and recently achieved his ICF ACC accreditation . Andreas talks about his personal development, what coaching means to him, how coaching can make a difference and the most important skills of a coach. Additionally Andreas shares his perspective on how he sees global HR evolving and the war for talent.
TELL ME ABOUT (YOUR) PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT?
I am passionate about continuous learning and personal development – it is like laughing, do it every day, be it in a formal or informal way. There are so many new things that we can explore, each of us have the skills that we can further improve and we have got so many different ways to learn and develop. Reading an article, discussing with another person, listening to a podcast, mentoring somebody and so on and so forth. We can do it every single day, be it some minutes or taking some more time, it is our own choice as we all have 24 hours available every day. For 2019 I had set myself two main goals outside of my comfort zone; running my first marathon and achieving my ICF ACC accreditation. They’re meant to change behaviours and habits, to overcome my inner-critic and to push my limits. I have invested a lot of time and effort to achieve them and I am happy that I managed to do so.
WHAT DOES COACHING MEAN TO YOU?
Coaching for me is the most powerful and sustainable leadership style. It is a partnership between two people (yes, there is group coaching too), the coachee and the coach. The goal of this relationship is to empower the coachee to find their own solutions/answers to develop themselves, to increase their impact and performance and to change their behaviours and attitudes. The coach mainly asks open questions to ignite the coachee’s thinking and reflections, they listen well and ensure that they fully understand what the coachee is saying – in addition, they stay away from providing their solutions to the coachee’s questions/challenges. I have had the pleasure and privilege to be in both roles, I have learnt a lot (about myself) and will continue doing so. There is no limit to growth – apart from not wanting to.
HOW CAN A COACH MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Someone who teaches, provides ‘solutions’ and knows things better than the coachee is outside my definition of a coach. A good coach is somebody who does the utmost to make the coachee succeed by creating the trusted relationship, by enabling the coachee to create clear coaching goal(s) and to achieve them without having their own agenda. The coach is an enabler who makes the coachee come up with solutions and answers which they might challenge so that the coachee looks into their pros and cons – the more the coachee creates the solution, the more likely it is they implement it. By doing so they grow and the coach is more of a sparring partner, somebody who with time makes themselves superfluous because the coachee has grown/developed so much that they can coach themselves.
WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS OF A COACH?
This is a difficult question. The ICF (International Coach Federation) has come up with 11 core competencies and I fully buy into them, i.e. I use them as a coach. Nevertheless, I’d like to share my top three: asking open/probing questions, listening actively and establishing/maintaining trust. The one that has been the toughest for me to improve has been the listening one. Until a couple of years ago I was very over-confident about the skill and have been working hard on getting rid of at least the ‘very’.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE WAY YOU SEE GLOBAL HR EVOLVING?
I have enjoyed working in corporate, global/regional HR and as a consultant for 20+ years and both driving and observing involvements. Some former HR organizations have successfully made the transition into a true People & Culture organization, i.e. apart from only a title change they have also made a cultural one. Their people have become true business partners who are business savvy, continuously develop themselves and others, use technology, coach and proactively create and maintain trusted relationships. Truly global People & Culture professionals have the ability to see things from a global, regional and a local level, i.e. to balance their sometimes different needs and requirements. The global economy continues to change so fast, be it the rise of the GIG economy and as a result a new workforce structure, the Mergers & Acquisitions, the spin-offs, the start-up, the scale-ups and the changing demands and mindsets of talent, that People & Culture professionals have to change even faster. While on the one hand the implementation of technology (e.g. systems, employee self-service, AI) is paramount to reduce repetitive, non-value adding tasks, on the other hand People & Culture can have impact by focusing on purpose, culture, change-leadership and people development. Unfortunately, I still see too many HR organizations and professionals who are still claiming their seat at the table without being able to name a reason and without noticing that in a more agile environment tables are gone.
WAR FOR TALENT
HOW DO YOU SEE THE WAR FOR TALENT EVOLVING OVER THE NEXT 5-10 YEARS WHEN IT COMES TO WORKFORCE PLANNING?
I do hope that any ‘war for talent’ finishes very soon and that this term coined by McKinsey disappears with it. What about a mind-shift change to ‘grow your talent’? The so-called ‘war for talent’ has been around for too many years and makes me cringe every time I hear or read it. It is worn-out concept/slogan/excuse – one could think out there is a battlefield with all the ugly and horrendous associations coming with it. At the end of the day what is lacking? We can easily say that birth-rates have plummeted and hence, there are less human beings available. On the other hand, there is the news that because of AI and automation there is lower demand of people. Overall, if there were lots of professional workforce planning and development/upskilling happening, there would be enough skills, even very specialized ones, available to meet/exceed the needs of employers. Each and everyone of us has their unique talents and there is a joint responsibility (employers and individuals) to further develop one’s skills and competencies and/or gain new ones. The main driver of the development is the individual and their intrinsic motivation while employers need to provide space, opportunities, time and sometimes even funding – in addition, a company with a clear mission, purpose, values and sustainable products/services will be more attractive for talent. It is beyond my understanding that companies reduce or slash L&D budgets in general, and they are often the first cuts when companies want to do ‘savings’. In addition, there are still too many companies who let go too many experienced employees of a certain age and who would still like and be able to continue work. The same applies to not hiring people of a certain age. In many countries people are requested to work until their sixties before retiring and there is little interest to employ and/or upskill them – people nowadays tend to stay shorter in a job, hence, human beings with a limited number of working years available match well the new ‘norm(ality)’.
WHAT AREAS ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT AND WHAT TYPES OF CONNECTIONS ARE INTERESTING FOR YOU AS YOU LOOK AHEAD?
Life. I am passionate about purpose, i.e. I want to have it in all aspects of life, be it at work, with my children and other human beings. Making a difference and having a positive impact on others is crucial for me, to share, to learn, to give back and to be present. I thrive on building and maintaining trusted relationships and in a business environment I feel inspired by the five principles and framework of ‘A blueprint for better business.’
Mark Hamill, aka The Naked Headhunter is a Non Executive Director with Ackermann International. Mark has been active in executive search for 20 years and is passionate about the power of search. Mark specialises in global succession search particularly in scaling organisations.
“I am happy to connect you with Andreas, so please just reach out to me if you wanted to chat with him about career opportunities, coaching, industry insight, market knowledge or share any of your business needs with him.”
Phone: +44 7725 828717