CTO Craft coach name: Rod Alderton – Founder and Director Alderton Digital Ltd
Former positions: Group CIO, Equiniti; CIO, Personal Lines, RSA; IT Director, AXA / swiftcover.com Insurance.
Short bio: Rod has been providing coaching and advisory services since 2017, drawing on his 30-plus years of experience in Software Development, Agile Project Management, Strategy & Architecture, Digital, CIO/CTO and Consultant roles. He also specialises in helping people ‘translate’ technology challenges and opportunities, etc., across all organisational roles.
Hi Rod, can you tell us about your life before coaching – what roles and projects did you work on?
Designing and delivering Digital / eCommerce projects using Agile methods has been a key theme of my career, mainly within the insurance sector.
Why did you choose to go into coaching?
Several people have been good enough to be a sounding board for me over the years, and I now enjoy being a sounding board for others and putting my 30-plus years of experience to good use.
Do you have a coaching specialism or interest?
I enjoy the concept of storytelling to help Board/Exec/Investment teams understand technology risks & opportunities.
How do you build trust between you and the person you’re coaching?
I am always happy to share my own experiences as well as listening to theirs so they know they aren’t alone. At the end of the day, we are all human.
Have you been coached before, and if so, what did you learn from it?
Yes, I have found it essential throughout my career. When you are so busy with the day-to-day routine, it is really useful to get another perspective to help ensure you are benefiting from other experiences and prioritising your time correctly.
How does your background in tech help you to coach individuals?
I certainly find it helps me to coach other tech people. I think, given the nature of the job, many of us find it hard to balance logic with emotion, so have developed techniques to help with that.
Can you tell us something interesting about you that not many people know?
My mum really wanted me to be an actor, my dad really wanted me to be a football player, and I wanted to be a racing driver, so I have no idea why I wanted to get into tech. I’m very glad I did, though!
What are the key skills you think every coach needs?
To be able to share useful experiences and tools that will genuinely help people in the specific context of their situation. In the past, I was often given general feedback and advice that was interesting but not particularly helpful in the moment, so I try to give short, medium and long-term advice.
Can you tell us about when you really made a difference to someone as their coach and why?
I meet a lot of really good tech people who are struggling to succeed because they can’t get their messages across to leadership teams and also struggle to understand the messages they get from them. By unblocking this, people have been able to demonstrate the great capabilities they already have, and have become effective members of leadership teams, delivered results and felt happier in their jobs.
At what stage in a tech leader’s career do you think they should have a coach?
All the way through. I still very much benefit from those who are willing to coach me now. Never stop learning!
If someone isn’t sure whether they would benefit from a coach, what would be your advice?
Give it a go. Many coaches are very flexible, so you don’t have to make an upfront commitment. So, have a good and open up-front chat and make sure you feel compatible as you need to feel very comfortable with the person you are working with.
In your opinion, could even the most experienced tech leaders benefit from a coach and why?
Absolutely. Everyone needs a sounding board and broad experiences.
What’s your favourite coaching exercise, podcast or recommended reading?
The book “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. A superb way to make sure you are focusing on the things that will really make a difference.
If you or your CTO / technology lead would benefit from coaching or any of the services offered by the CTO Craft community, use the Contact Us button at the top or email us here and we’ll be in touch!
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