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Move the Needle: Transformation through Coaching and Professional Development

In a recent interview with Vashti Whitfield, Executive Coach, the Move the Needle team
delved into the transformative power of coaching and professional development. Vashti’s
insights shed light on reframing challenges, building a lasting legacy, and the essential
qualities to consider when choosing a coach.

Interview by Cristin Merritt, CMO of Alces Flight with editorial support by Dominik Wojtak

Empowering Human Potential

Vashti Whitfield’s journey in coaching is rooted in a profound passion for unlocking human potential and leaving a meaningful legacy. Through a mix of creative design and research-backed methods her approach integrates psychological, neuroscience, and emotional intelligence aspects, emphasising the importance of initiating change from within. While many people consider coaching to be ‘only for the C-suite’ or for those who deal with creative or interpersonal relationships, Vashti points out that coaching is important for all fields and that several options for coaching and development exist.  For Vashti, her area of expertise covers a few pathways: executive one-to-one coaching; short, impact-led group coaching via her Radical Reframe series; and through direct design and development with companies, charities, and institutions.

Innovation through Reframing Challenges

Oftentimes the complexity of working in supercomputing throws up barriers – technically, personally, and professionally.  Looking within to find the solutions means having a solid toolset to hand, and where coaching can help develop those tools.  Vashti highlighted one of her preferred methods in addressing challenges: reframing.  The concept, originating from therapeutic practices, revolves around changing how we perceive problems rather than altering the problems themselves. She emphasises that everyone possesses the capacity to reframe situations, fostering innovation and creativity by encouraging a willingness to view challenges from different perspectives. Whitfield shared her personal experience of loss, and how focusing on reframing a tragic event can transform adversity into something purposeful and meaningful. By turning challenges into opportunities, individuals can break free from rigid thinking patterns, unlocking new solutions and approaches.

Building a Legacy in a Changing Landscape

In the dynamic field of High-Performance Computing, where technology, people, and careers evolve rapidly, Vashti advocates for examining both immediate and permanent legacies. As businesses and leaders navigate unprecedented changes, it is crucial to consider how actions today contribute to a lasting impact on the future.  By engaging with outside facilitators, be it coaching, development, or consulting, a well-structured plan can emerge with a wider view.  Pursuing a more holistic approach recognizes the interconnectedness of personal and professional aspects, acknowledging that building a legacy requires addressing diverse challenges of life.

Advice for Choosing a Coach and Embracing Professional Development

When seeking a coach, Vashti offers valuable advice, emphasising the importance of compatibility. A strong connection with a coach who inspires and works in an area beneficial to the individual is crucial. Additionally, a coach’s extensive knowledge, background, and skill set are vital for comprehensive personal and professional development. Recognizing the interconnectedness of personal and professional growth, Whitfield highlights that a coach should be equipped to guide individuals through both realms.  She also adds that checking qualifications is a must as there are professional boards of accountability that exist to ensure coaches are kept to standard!

Watch the full interview!

You can now watch the full interview and get all the insight from Vashti’s about her passion for unlocking human potential. And, don’t forget to check to explore coaching and professional development.

Move the Needle Project

Furthering the cause of diversity and inclusivity in HPC, the ‘Move the Needle’ project  by Women in HPC and Alces Flight is all about tracking actions people and teams are taking to drive positive change. Beginning in January 2024, individuals in the HPC field can commit to one to three actions to ‘move the needle’ toward greater inclusion.

About Vashti Whitfield

Over the last twenty years, Vashti has lived, worked and breathed a life driven by her passion to provoke, inspire and facilitate the transformation and development of human potential. As a true alchemist, after the death of her husband, Vashti chose to convert her own tragic loss into a catalyst to educate and inspire millions of people around the world. Vashti now collaborates and works alongside inspiring individuals and an ever-growing global community on how to harness human potential through purpose, passion and potential.

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