CEO, Hermes Apollo Engineering, South Africa 2015
In the Theaetetus, Plato asks, "why should we not calmly and patiently review our own thoughts, and thoroughly examine and see what these appearances in us really are?"
A most important element of leadership is the ability to examine oneself, to survey ones beliefs, values and thought patterns and the influence they have on the quality of decisions we make every day in the pursuit of our leadership agenda.
I found that the tutorial component of the Oxford Advanced Management and Leadership Programme (OAMLP) is the most significant and life changing pillar of the programme. I consider myself very fortunate to have had Heather Katz as my professional tutor on the programme. She made the process of critical self-reflection gentle and yet highly impactful. Her experience in corporate and TA (Tranasactional Anylysis) give her strong intuitions without being overbearing. She structured the tutorial in a way that made me take ownership of the developmental process.
Years after our engagement, the process she helped me start is still continuing. I am more confident of the quality of the decisions I make; I am a more effective communicator and the relationship with my staff has improved.
Thank you Heather.
Director of Software Engineering, BAE Systems USA, 2014
Heather, during our coaching session, you quickly achieved a balance between nurturing/supporting and challenging. During my individual session I really appreciated the way I could be open with issues I'm facing at work.
Two things have changed for me. One is to set aside time to reflect and think about what I'm really feeling and why. That often helps me to get to the root of an issue more quickly, and to have more confidence in my team and their ability to solve problems themselves.
To see you model, and then for me to practice a coaching style was valuable. I believe that the team has good answers already; I need to facilitate them doing it versus me telling them. This is a huge cultural change for my group.
I thought your style was very effective, especially since we are all very action oriented. You gave us a "job" (listening! and asking open ended questions) to help us to avoid trying to solve another's problems.
Dr Mark Newbould
Chief Executive, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, 2014
Heather has been supporting me to think through work challenges, refine my approach to problem solving, build resilience, and plan my professional future.
We have used a range of techniques put together into something I can take away and use. The Clean Space and Emergent Knowledge approaches were excellent, allowing me to look at issues from a different perspective and to marshall my thoughts and ideas into something coherent and practical.
Heather's sessions are a great mix of challenge, support, guidance, and fun! I always leave with a clear sense of purpose, a plan, and greater self belief, along with some memorable 'nuggets' to sustain me when tested in the weeks ahead!
I would strongly recommend Heather Katz to senior leaders who are looking for an experienced executive coach, who want to be challenged and guided towards solutions.
Rene Rivero, Manager Banco de Sabadell, Miami USA, 2013
Marianne Williamson (New York Times Best Sellers author) writes "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? ..."
Heather was the person, whose guidance and wisdom led me to have a glimpse of that power and brilliance and make personal decisions that have changed the direction of my life. As a result, I wanted to continue my education and applied to the Executive MBA programme at the University of Oxford, and will commence a new journey in January 2014.
I am deeply grateful that I have had the privilege and opportunity to have Heather as my professional coach. If you want to give yourself the gift of meeting the person that you are capable of being, I suggest you work with Heather.
Tracey Calabrese, Doctoral Student, Green Templeton College UK, 2013
Our work together has been invaluable! The coaching provided me with the skills needed to work through situations of extreme stress. It helped me to look at life differently, to appreciate and celebrate my journey and to focus on enjoying the process. The sessions helped me to think through the role stress plays in my life, and to position it in my mind so that the stress is not all consuming. I was particularly surprised by moving around the “clean space”, the space and objects in it, what they signify for my own life. It has helped me to internalize things at a deeper level.
Heather is kind, easy to talk to, a really good listener and she asks the right questions. She is extremely knowledgeable in her field. Her sessions helped me to better deal with the challenges and stresses of the Oxford doctoral program and to develop strategies to help me continue to move forward.
I now take more time to get together with people and have some fun instead of always thinking about work. I am very fortunate to have been able to work with Heather!
Nicola Strong, Coach & Consultant, Strong Enterprises Ltd, UK, 2013
As a coach I am always interested to share with other coaches newly discovered (to me) models and concepts. Working with Heather on a coaching model called Clean Space and Emergent Knowledge, I very much appreciated her natural, professional and elegant understanding of her art. Her presence was supportive and intuitively connected. The model is certainly transformational. It suits my thinking preferences, as I really like taking a spatial approach to exploring issues. In fact it felt like an easy and yet uncompromising triple-loop learning experience!
In the end I think it is important to remember that any coaching model is no use if it not wielded with precision. Therefore, I would like to highly recommend Heather as a skilled and professional leadership coach. It was a joy to work with her."
Diane Newel, Managing Director Strategy and Leadership, the OCM, UK, 2013
Heather’s approach to our coaching/supervision sessions allowed me to gain greater insight both into my practice as a coach and as a leader, and to connect both of these to actionable and powerful shifts in my own thinking patterns and responses that have contributed to my growth and success over the last 2 years. I found Heather’s approach and the relationship that we developed appropriately challenging and very supportive. Her use of clean language and her innovative practice around space and mapping worked very well as an ‘unblocker’ for me in a couple of key areas.
I would recommend Heather as a coach for leaders, coaches and mentors who want to give of their best in their work with others, and to develop their self-awareness and flexibility of style.
NHS Consultant Physician and Manager, Berkshire, UK, 2012
The more I think about this, the more valuable it becomes. What emerged for me through the Clean Space and Emergent Knowledge session was a much clearer vision of my priorities and true interests. What had the greatest impact were the extremely open questions, allowing me to sift through each possibility carefully. I have never done a "scoping exercise" of this type before but this experience has made me very enthusiastic about this method of coaching. The greatest value for me was the opportunity to undertake a clear weighing up of the many different possibilities I should consider, as well as the opportunity to think about some possibilities I had not considered before, guided by a sympathetic and wise coach.
I found Heather’s style worked extremely well for me. Some of the questions were so open that I initially found them hard to understand, but I negotiated them all after some reflection. This is the ultimate "free space" exercise and one has to be prepared to "think outside the box". One should not be put off by the openness of the questions. I now feel that I have weighed up future options as carefully as I can which gives me greater confidence for making decisions. Clean Space is a very good method of coaching for someone who wants to consider as wide a range of possibilities as possible; it will not work so well for someone who is used to being told what to do and how to think.
Jenny Tudge - Director of Development, Keble College, University of Oxford High Performance Team Development Day – December 2011
Heather is a professional with skill and integrity. She approached our team training day with a tangible interest and enthusiasm. She was determined to get the tone, structure and content of the day absolutely right for our situation. She took the time to discuss our current team structure, workload, context, issues and interactions. On the basis of those discussions we built the content of the training session together. Her email prompts and reminders were well-timed and appropriately phrased; at no time did I question my decision to engage her help. As a facilitator on the day her approach was firm but at no point was she confrontational. We were thinking hard for 95% of the day - there was very little of Heather telling us how to feel, how to be, she encouraged us to think, do, discuss, listen...and think some more!
Although only a small team of six we are a diverse and complex group of characters with a fair number of issues, and anxieties bubbling under the surface. Heather helped us to value each other, and if we put her techniques into active use and work together I'm confident we can become a more effective team. Overall I felt the day was a hugely valuable experience for the team and for each of us as individuals. I am pleased that we took the time to do it and feel justified in the time and cost allocation.
Ann Witteveen, Regional Programme and Campaigns Manager, Oxfam GB Regional Office, South Africa - October 2011
A key value I got from our sessions was time spent in self-reflection, thinking and discussing problems from my perspective - normally I spend all my time solving other people's problems and mine come last. I am more conscious now of my effect on other people. I study their body language and try to gauge what underlies the words they are speaking. I am also more conscious of my own interactions and now really make an effort to listen intently before I consider my response, rather than thinking of my reply while someone is talking. I liked your informal style and our sessions were only intense in short bursts. There was time for less formal dialogue and at the same time you challenged and encouraged me out of my comfort zone, which was important. Although I had quite a lot of insight already I hadn't organised my thoughts. People who work with you need to be prepared to be challenged. However, if they are open and willing to be honest, they will get something very positive and very personal out of the experience.
General Manager, IT Services Provider, France - October 2011
Heather goes to the point and presses where it hurts until the point is fully addressed. Through our sessions she gave me the energy to face the obstacle and overcome a challenging situation and gave me the confidence to fully address complex inter-personal situations. I found her style direct and to the point, which in my case was required. Through her direct style, Heather encouraged me to uncover myself as well as identify and face some of my weaknesses to better manage them. In a short period of time she helped me identify a management issue I had and enabled me to put together an action plan to solve it.
Amlan Debnath, MBA Graduate, University of Oxford Said Business School- June 2011
I received immense value from the coaching I did with Heather. We focussed on a few key areas and in addition to a deeper understanding of these issues and the ways to tackle them, we could go beyond and explore the goals in career and in life. Heather's experiments with clean space and emergent knowledge are much appreciated. I appreciated too her listening with a very sincere interest, and asking questions that made me think hard about my issues and challenges in ways that I wouldn't have otherwise. Heather is one coach who empowers people by helping them see their own shadow. Her unique ways to urge her coachee on path of discovery is commendable. I recommend her as a coach to leaders who: are grappling with crucial issues -- in business or in personal life -- or seek self-realisation, or wish to prepare themselves for the next phase of growth. Heather, your coaching is one of the key takeaways from this past year. Thank you so much for your effort and I hope many more people will benefit from your coaching in future.
MBA Graduate, University of Oxford Said Business School - June 2011
Heather, you were a lifesaver. Your ability to listen and empathize had a great impact on me. These were invaluable sessions. I would not have survived my degree without your guidance. What’s changed for me is my ability to: see my situation differently; take a step back from my current thinking to re-evaluate the situation and see things in a new light; and to prioritize. Heather is the most amazing coach I've ever had. She is very giving with her time and offers fantastic guidance and coping skills. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a career coach. She was outstanding.
Simon Fineman, CEO and Chairman, Timbmet Holdings – April 2011
What emerged for me through our Clean Space and Emergent Knowledge session was that working this way was a good and efficient way of clarifying my thoughts about a particular problem. What had an impact on me was the idea of translating my challenge into a three dimensional, spatial concept. This was very interesting and allowed me to see things from different angles. The value I received from working with Heather in this way was that it set up a train of thought, which actually went on well beyond the session, which itself was a catalytic in moving my thinking forward. I enjoyed working with her and was particularly impressed by her persistence in pushing me constantly to expand my thinking and clarify what I really meant. Sometimes it’s all too easy to back-off from analysing a problem as much as one should because it’s just plain hard work. This exercise forced me to work intensively, to face the problem and push myself onwards. I would highly recommend working with Heather using Clean Space and Emergent Knowledge. It was a positive experience and I would stress that making progress can be fun too.
Bahareh Patrick, Radiation Oncology Nurse Care Manager RN BS MA
Washington State, USA May 2011
What emerged from my Clean Space and Emergent Knowledge session was the ability to work through my conflict three dimensionally. Many times previously, I have mulled the conflict in mind, tracing and retracing steps, getting lost, conflicted, stressed and frustrated with lack of progress toward any momentum forward out of the conflict, much less a solution. Clean Space allowed me to physically make mental progress.
The value I received is first, the huge benefit of moving forward with some answers to questions I have long been asking myself regarding the conflict I face. Second, I see through Clean Space, that giving one self time away from a seemingly unsolvable conflict just to get back to it and spin one's wheels again some more may not be enough. Clean Space gives me some new tools for thought.
I had a great deal more clarity and thus felt more empowered to go forward to seek solutions. This would be in fact the direction of the actions I would take from this point. I would recommend Heather because I believe she is a experienced practitioner of her art. She has the empathy it takes to connect to a person, the wisdom to respect personal boundaries, and the patience to allow individual work to be proceed in the way unique to each person.
Peronel Barnes – Create & Consult UK 2011
During a couple of "Clean Space and Emergent Knowledge" sessions with Heather I gained a sense of recognising that the idea/vision I had been forming, was more formed than I had recognised. My ideas and route to achieve them is already mapped out, and I need to step out in confidence at every stage. The impact was exhilarating. Now I have to work out how to get the vision into nuts and bolts of activity and planning. I recommend that you work with Heather and try this out. Experience the time without any pre conceived ideas, and let your imagining have full reign. It's amazing how creative you can be if you allow yourself the time and space to practise.
Kay Parker - Vice President Culture & Performance, Alere International UK 2010
I brought significant challenges in relation to self-esteem to our executive coaching sessions. After my sessions with Heather I now do lots of self talk as well as 'blasting' unrealistic thoughts and statements/negative language. As a result of our work I am now able to step back from my emotions and think about what was the trigger and why I felt like this? Is the thought/statement I tell myself, true?
I would highly recommend Heather. I found it very easy to establish trust with her and form a relatively close relationship in a very short time. She is open minded and easy to work. She gives honest and direct feedback whilst showing empathy and giving practical, balanced and level suggestions to tools you can use to help in any given situation. I feel that, although we haven't spoken much I could always call upon her if I needed to.
Female Senior Executive, Non-Departmental Public Body about to be abolished UK 2010
I asked Heather to coach me through the challenges of applying for an exciting new post. I knew that there would be a great deal of competition and I would need to reaffirm my self-belief; difficult at a time when my confidence had been undermined by the imminent abolition of the body I worked for and the prospect of being made redundant. After only two sessions I was much clearer about how much I really had to offer and could rise above the negative impact of my situation. Heather offers an impressive range of coaching approaches – from a very strong focus on definite actions to sensitive exploration of the deep-seated obstacles that so often stand in the way of fully developing our full potential.
Sonia Brown, Chief Economist Monitor, UK 2009
Working with Heather as my executive coach has grown my awareness and confidence to take action and increased my personal effectiveness. My communication skills have improved, which enables me to act as a leader with deeper insight and ability to transform insight into outcomes. My skill to influence and persuade my team, the organisation and the external environment has increased and my ability to influence and manage upwards and sideways has grown, which makes me a more effective and influential senior leader in the organisation
Irfan Keshavjee, CEO White Rose Group, Kenya 2008
Heather helped me pick out the most pertinent issues from a morass of confusing issues I had to deal with in my life and enabled me to sort through them in a methodical manner. She helped me separate ‘apparent priorities’ from ‘real priorities’ and focus on what is important to my mental, physical and spiritual growth. I found her coaching style comfortable, calm and enthusiastic. Her sincerity, excitement and ability to understand me had an impact on me. As a coach you couldn’t get better. I sometimes think coaches are selected by destiny rather than a human mind. Thank you Heather!
Daniel Garduno, CEO Bank Assurance Company, International Financial Group, Mexico 2006
It is not common here to have a coach if you are in certain levels of the organization. However, after my experience with Heather I was so convinced that I convinced everyone here. I want to tell you at every opportunity that you changed the way I see business and I'll be grateful for ever.