When it comes to executive coaching there’s no better resource than Kati Reaugh, a Director and HR Business Partner of Netflix on the Netflix talent team. We were lucky enough to chat with Kati on our HR Insiders podcast in April. We took an overview look at Kati’s role as an HR Business Partner in our last blog post and wanted to take the opportunity to expound on Kati’s unique approach to the coaching she says makes up 75% of her role.
Kati explains that her efforts are more focused on coaching than most HR Business Partners. Working with people on a mostly individual basis has proven more effective at her company than enacting large-scale programs for improving company culture and addressing challenges as they arise. For Kati, “Coaching is the backbone of what I do.”
“I have regular one-on-one meetings with the leaders. So, I work with VPs, directors, and managers. We meet to talk through what’s going on in their department and anything new that’s come up since our last meeting.” Kati is intentional with how she schedules these meetings so that she still has time to handle issues as they arise. Currently, Kati says, “I’ll meet with the VPs every week; depending on what’s going on, it could be even more frequent. Directors, it varies; some are every other week, some are monthly. And then managers are a bit more spread out.”
Whether she’s in a regularly scheduled one-on-one or meeting with an Independent Contractor as needed, Kati’s approach is the same.
Kati starts off by making it clear that she’s there to support, not direct, the individuals she gets to work with. “Whoever I’m working with is the expert in their life, in their job, and they know the relationships that they have, both with their reports and their team.” Her goal in these coaching sessions is to create a space where the leaders of the company can freely discuss the issues they are facing. The way Kati puts it, “It’s helpful to be able to talk through those situations with someone who is very objective. I have no agenda, and I keep everything confidential.”
Kati calls her approach “consultive coaching.” She explains, “I don’t have the answers for them. It’s really fun to come to a solution together with someone or to ask them the right questions to get to a solution. I think deep down everybody knows the answer they need, they’re just not confident with it. Sometimes they just need someone to get it out of them and help them talk about what’s going on. From there, I can help them think through all of the different options and they can choose the best one to try. If it doesn’t work, we’ll try something else and keep trying.”
A key component of facilitating these types of discussions is confidentiality. Kati says, “I don’t share anything we talk about. It’s more useful for the individuals I meet with to have any direct conversations or whatever else comes out of our coaching session. They will do that, not me. It keeps it a safe space. They don’t have to feel judged if they don’t know how to handle something, because I don’t either. We’re there to work it out together.”
Part of what equips Kati to function so effectively as a coach is her dedication to being part of the long-term vision of her company. As she puts it, “When I’m working in a company, I really try to stick with the same organization for a long time because you can develop very deep relationships with the leaders and build trust over time. Once those relationships are established you become more and more effective.”
Check back in for our next post where we’ll dive into the unassuming leadership role that, in Kati’s opinion, is the most vital to a thriving company culture. If you’d like to get in touch with Kati directly you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, check out her website, or catch the whole conversation with Kati on HR Insiders available on Soundcloud and Apple Podcasts.