Clare, Technology, UK
I am an Agile Coach in Consumer Healthcare Tech and I studied Biochemistry at the University of Bath.
Learning to be a Future Leader
My work mostly revolves around coaching the teams that create systems and for our customers, patients, HCPs (healthcare professionals) and GSK employees. For example, one team is creating an online platform that will enable healthcare professionals to learn more about various diseases and the drugs we offer. The platform ensures that healthcare professionals have the right knowledge and information about our drugs and treatments, to provide better care for patients.
Coming in on a Monday usually starts off with checking my emails – I tend to get quite a few emails late on Friday from the US. Then I meet with the other two coaches within my team and we discuss our schedules for that week. I would then usually prepare some workshops focused on product development, team education and ensuring they are delivering value to consumers. I’m currently working with a team mostly based in Poznan. This week we’ve been working remotely: a workshop for about two hours and then a working session after that for an hour. But for the last two weeks I’ve been working in Poznan – it’s quite intense; usually we try to do a full day of workshops and then some analysis of some of the teams’ behaviours and data.
Being able to see first-hand the innovative approach the teams are taking is amazing…. You can actually see how they are changing the way people engage with tech.
I like the working atmosphere and I think everyone is really in tune with our goal of trying to help the patients. Everyone has a different story about why they’ve come to work at GSK. Sometimes it’s because family members or relatives suffer from various diseases. Everyone wants to help people – I think that creates a nice atmosphere throughout the office.
I also feel that GSK has been really focused on my career development and how I would like my career to progress. I have had a very good mixture of formal training also a lot of opportunities to experience challenging work. I’ve been able to work with my manager and some of the senior leadership team in my area to decide what areas I want to go into and the skills I need to build.
My first year’s rotation lasted 14 months because I wanted to stay on and finish the project I was working on. It was a great project that really developed me; I was using new methodology for delivering projects within tech and was given a high level of responsibility. I worked closely with colleagues in Switzerland, Singapore, Poland, UK and US, which enabled me to understand different working cultures. I was then briefly in a compliance role for four months when the head of Consumer Healthcare Tech suggested my current coaching role, as she thought my skill set would be well suited to it.
My current role isn’t just limited to coaching a team, it’s also involved in a company-wide transformation. Next year I will be focusing more on the wider transformation in the Asia Pacific region, leading the change not only within teams but also across the mindset of the organisation. I enjoy being in a role that is constantly helping the company to change, and enabling GSK to emerge as a digital leader in healthcare. I would really like to be in a management role where you can ensure the company continues to thrive in a changing world.
Where are they now?
My role has evolved since my last rotation on the FLP as an agile coach. I moved into product management leadership coaching, and now I’m Lead Coach in Consumer Healthcare. My biggest achievement? Helping people enjoy their work and feel proud of what they do. For me, the best moment is when I can see that they don’t need me anymore.
When I rolled off the FLP scheme, I got an amazing opportunity to learn more about our business in the APAC region. Working in Singapore was incredible, but I also got to explore the rest of the region. I spent time in China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, understanding how those different markets operate. I went on some field visits and followed the sales reps, which was a real eye-opener. But perhaps the best experience I had in APAC was coaching a team in Manila. They had a specific goal to achieve: delivering a working piece of software. I could see that they needed to take a step back and look more closely at the problem. To understand the challenge, I got them to go out and meet the consumers and the sales reps. The experience made them totally change direction and deliver a better solution that was fit for purpose.
The next task on my list is probably enhancing my leadership skills. With a team of eight working in APAC, EMEA and the US, I want to get better at certain aspects of management, like giving people room to make – and learn from – their mistakes!
One thing I would say to anyone thinking about applying for the FLP is that opportunities won’t fall into your lap. You have to know what you want and grasp development opportunities with both hands.
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