Make Your Mark for Students
Soon after Covid-19 locked the UK down for the first time, I received a call from Baillie Gifford’s early careers team. ‘Can you run Make Your Mark virtually for our 2020 interns?’, they asked. ‘And can you do it in 3 weeks?’
Of course, I said yes.
Back then, hundreds of Baillie Gifford executives had already completed my 12-hour Make Your Mark programme, and, given how the firm embraces coaching, offering it to young people, particularly in a time of crisis, was an obvious next step.
Little did I know how significant coaching those interns would be.
In a nutshell, just as I was closing the last session, Emily Mason, then a Heriot-Watt University student, told me the programme was so powerful that she wanted her Watt Women in STEM colleagues to experience it too.
Emily, who founded the student-led society and was then its Chair, introduced me to her deputy, Kirsty Mitchell, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Make Your Mark Student Schools
Emily and Kirsty became my first Make Your Mark Ambassadors. Together we went on to organise and deliver four virtual Make Your Mark Summer Schools For Students. Open to all and free-to-attend, the Schools brought together hundreds of 18-25-year-olds from around the world with professionals in my network who, having completed Make Your Mark themselves, were willing to share their learnings, experience, and tips to help the young participants understand that building confidence, presence and communications skills is lifelong work, which even ‘successful people’ have to work at it.
Interestingly, as well as the students benefitting greatly from attending the Schools, many of the professionals were repeatedly heard to say: ‘Well I wish I’d had this experience when I’d been starting out. What might have been different if I had?”
Emily, Kirsty and I also recruited a further 15 Make Your Mark Ambassadors, young people who, having completed a Make Your Mark Student School, wanted to promote the power of coaching and the benefits of offering it to young people before they enter the workplace full time. In return for their efforts, I created case studies and social media activities to showcase my Ambassadors as leaders of tomorrow and offered them, free of charge, various development opportunities, including group and
The beginning of Coachsters
I wanted so much to scale and deliver more Student Schools but couldn’t see how to make that happen.
Until I mentioned what I was doing, in passing, to my coach supervisor, the inspiring and extraordinary Tracy Sinclair MCC. Tracy told me that she was also working with young people and harboured a dream not only to coach them but to give them coach training too, so that one day they might coach each other. Tracy joined me to deliver the 2022 MYM Winter School, which Baillie Gifford kindly funded, and…
Boom. Coachsters was born.
When young people embark on their careers it can be overwhelming - doing exams, not knowing what the workplace is like, getting into work. With the pandemic on top, this already tough time became tougher still. Yet, typically, our leaders of the future are not given the essential ‘soft’ skills they need to transition successfully from the world of education to the world of work.
Which is why Tracy and I founded Coachsters.
Professional coaching is expensive, not least because it takes considerable time, money and effort to become a credentialed coach, especially to reach the standards required by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), the leading organisation for professional coaching and coaches. That’s why employers usually only offer coaching to those leaping towards the top rung of the career ladder, rather than stretching to step onto it.
Tracy and I are combining our skills and expertise to change this and our partnership amplifies our impact. We coach and train young people to be coaches because we believe this will make them, the workplace and the world stronger, more resilient and more successful.
We are particularly thrilled that in February 2023 six of the original Make Your Mark Ambassadors, Emily Mason, Kirsty Mitchell, Katey Cheung, Catherine Hogan, Jeffrey Jiang and Emily Dow, completed Tracy’s ICF-accredited Science & Art of Coaching Programme, and now want more young people to experience the four steps of the Coachsters journey.
But for that, WE NEED FUNDING.
Help us coach tomorrow’s leaders today.
If you’re an organisation or individual who shares our vision, get involved. Help us equip tomorrow’s leaders with the knowledge, skills and experience to put coaching principles and philosophies at the very heart of a new style of leadership. Help us coach tomorrow’s leaders today.
Tracy Sinclair, MCC
Susan Room, PCC, MFA, FRSA