Maryam Kapree - The Future Leader Experience
Circl was a company which I had never heard of, so when I received the link for the programme through a university employability email, I was immediately drawn in. I looked through the company’s website, and I knew my values aligned strongly with Circl, so I was desperate to participate in the programme. Circl is a company that believes that anyone, no matter their background, can be a leader. As an individual who is passionate about challenging social inequality, I thought that I would highly benefit from being on the programme, as I would get to work with individuals who share similar passions, whilst developing my own leadership skills.
Going into the programme, I was incredibly nervous, as I would be meeting Future Leaders from across the country, as well as lots of new professionals. However, after attending the welcome session, my nerves were put to rest. I was surrounded by fellow Future Leaders, who shared similar ambitions to me, and we were able to hear from inspiring professionals. I immediately knew I was in the right place! We were taught the meaning of being a coach, which is often confused with mentoring. However, being a coach means supporting other people to achieve their goals by enabling them to find their own answers, as opposed to telling them what to do. The Circl programme was my first encounter with coaching, and now, I even find myself using the coaching techniques in day-to-day life in conversations with friends and family!
I initially thought that I would be paired with a company based on my future aspirations. However, I was matched with Trainline, and in hindsight, the match was perfect! Trainline is a well-renowned company, yet it was a sector that I was not too familiar with. The Circl Programme enabled me to speak to various professionals from Trainline, and I was able to gain so much knowledge about their sector. I have been able to apply the knowledge and expertise they gave me from their sector to my everyday life, and I have saved lots of their tips for when I am a professional too! Being able to practise my coaching skills with incredibly successful employees was invaluable.
In particular, one of the highlights of the programme for me was meeting my Circl match. I was initially nervous, as I knew I would be working closely with my match for the next few months. However, as soon as I met my Match, my nerves were eased immediately! She gave me great advice and some behind-the-scenes top tips, and I was so inspired by her! She was genuinely invested in my journey, and it was so great to hear about her experiences too. We both grew together, with my Match supporting me to achieve my goals, whilst also responding to any feedback and suggestions I gave her to support her in achieving her goals too.
I was struggling to achieve a work-life balance, so I set this as my weekly goal during my coaching session. I struggled to find a way to make this work, but my coach was able to use powerful questioning to remind me of the importance of this goal. She helped me break down some of the barriers that were inhibiting me from implementing this in my daily life, and once the session was over, I was able to take steps towards achieving my goal. This was a key moment for me because the coaching session enabled me to overcome any hurdles and commit to a goal which would have a large impact on my life.
My Circl Match was a crucial part of my journey, and she is someone who I have remained in touch with since completing the programme! I feel as though this is something which makes the Circl Programme incredibly special, as you can meet people who are genuinely invested in your journey, and want to see you succeed. The entire Circl team continuously championed all young people to achieve their goals, no matter how big or small they were. This could have included day-to-day goals, such as completing an assignment or going to the gym, or ‘Big Hairy Ambitious Goals’, e.g. long-term goals which you aspire to achieve over a longer period of time.
Throughout the programme, I gained several new skills. One skill which I was particularly able to develop was ‘Active Listening’. When coaching, it is important that you listen to the coachee, as it allows them to explore their goals and options fully. It is recommended that we use paraphrasing, and minimal encouragers, e.g. nodding or smiling and holding silence. Initially, during my coaching sessions, this was something which I struggled with, as I was so used to responding with my thoughts and advice when in a conversation. However, I grew to learn that this was ineffective, as it didn’t allow the coachee to consider and solve their goals for themselves. I realised that holding silence was incredibly powerful, as it provided the coachee with space and clarity to explore their options. I now find myself holding silences in regular conversations too, e.g. when speaking to friends, and I have used these techniques in professional conversations too. This is just one example of a skill which I gained on the programme, and I find myself using these techniques regularly, e.g. when speaking to colleagues and supporting them to achieve their goals.
To any young person looking to gain new skills, meet fantastic new people, and learn more about themselves, I would highly recommend participating in the Circl Programme.
I feel as though the Programme enabled me to grow in ways that I was not anticipating, and I feel confident in utilising my skills to enable me to progress. Once the programme ended, my contact with Circl didn’t end there, as all individuals became part of the Circl network. Being a Circl alumni enables me to have many networking opportunities, and we can access extensive support to ensure we are successful. I didn’t anticipate the longevity which the programme would have, but it feels great to still be involved with such a brilliant company. I have been able to implement everything I learned throughout my life, in both a professional and a personal manner, and I am looking forward to continuing to implement these skills. Participating in the Circl Programme has been unforgettable!