Learning the skills of leadership: Katherine Ritchie CA
Successful Senior-level Executives require perspective and a solid support network. Katherine Ritchie CA shares how to sharpen your leadership skills, inspire others and transform your thinking.
When Katherine Ritchie’s responsibilities increased at work, as the Manager of Operational Transaction Services at EY LLP at the time, she decided to dedicate more time to career development and different ways of thinking.
“People are busy juggling work and personal commitments, and therefore need to prioritise which development opportunities to undertake,” she explained.
“Access to learning opportunities and unbiased advice can be limited. I had a great support network at EY, but some of my friends who work at small organisations have no one who is naturally their go-to sounding board for help when considering development opportunities.”
CAs who aspire to the C-Suite have the opportunity to benefit from a unique 1:1 or Team Leadership Development coaching sessions, designed specifically to promote innovative thinking and leadership skills at any level. Katherine embraced the chance to work with Leading Figures, experts in coaching and consulting for finance and business professionals.
Why did you decide to undertake Coaching rather than another development programme?
I heard about the Coaching at one of the ICAS Insight events, which coincided with me wanting to dedicate more time to my own career development and my responsibilities increasing at work. Not enough time is spent on exploring different ways of thinking and career opportunities, so it was great to do something for myself.
After the one-to-one coaching sessions, I now dedicate more time to myself, in order to invest in my own development and learning.
What are the key lessons that you have taken away?
Successful CEO leadership requires astuteness about others with regards to emotion and strategic personal drivers, which are competencies that require self-knowledge and self-awareness. The coaching helped raise my self-awareness and challenged me to acknowledge my values and think differently.
I typically learned some theory in some of the sessions, which helped prompt ideas for the discussion. Hearing opinions on leadership styles and approaches, building resilience, growth versus fixed mindsets, was really interesting and has prompted me to read more about the subjects.
How are you applying those skills to your role?
I am very conscious to actively listen, as well as pausing to think about the question being asked and how my answer could be received. After the one-to-one coaching sessions, I now dedicate more time to myself, in order to invest in my own development and learning.
Upfront on projects I like to discuss ways of working and set objectives with the more junior members of the team. Following the training about growth versus fixed mindsets, I am even more conscious of encouraging collaboration, sharing of information, asking and providing regular feedback and creating a safe environment to admit mistakes.
How has the Coaching delivered on your expectations?
When I first started my coaching sessions, I wasn’t sure how effective it would be but it really enables and supports individuals in pursuit of deeper self-awareness and improved leadership skills. Thomas and Russell from Leading Figures were very good and made me feel at ease to share my experiences and insights.
It was useful to share challenges and discuss potential solutions with people who think differently from me.
What would you say to other CAs thinking of undertaking coaching?
If you are looking to broaden your learning and challenge your thinking, I would recommend signing up. One-to-one coaching is invaluable. My sessions allowed me to explore challenges in my own life and be coached by someone unbiased. It was useful to share challenges and discuss potential solutions with someone who thinks differently from me.
The views and opinions expressed are that of the interviewee, and not Ernst & Young LLP. Since this interview, Katherine has moved roles to become Global Quality Strategy and PMO Head for Advanced Therapeutics at Novartis.