In Spotlight with our Director of Applied Organisational Coaching

Coaching is at the core of everything we are and how we interact with client organisations. Our partnership approach is informed by over 22 years of exploring and working with coaching philosophy, evidence bases and practice. When we partner with clients we do so through the lens of how coaching theory and approaches can be leveraged to realise desired organisational outcomes. We work from a coaching mindset; we know that performance and wellbeing develop when potential is harnessed and interferences are well managed.

Our research shows that partnering with IECL increases the performance and wellbeing of organisations, teams and individuals.

In my recent conversation with Andy Johnson, IECL’s Director of Applied Organisational Coaching, we discussed what this all means for our clients and the developing world of organisational coaching.

Andy Johnson, thank you for chatting with me, let’s start with what you do at IECL?

I am the Director of Applied Organisational Coaching. What I do is work with clients to understand what they are aiming to achieve, what is their end state and how they can use coaching to achieve it.  I want them to feel heard, supported but also challenged in the pursuit of their desired outcomes, aspirations, possibilities.  I am also a member of our Coach Accreditation Faculty, a Coach, a Coach Mentor, a Facilitator and a Supervisor.  All of these roles involve relationships and partnerships with our clients, creating a space and environment for reflection, new thinking and the application of a coaching approach.  My role also involves advising clients – being the SME and their trusted advisor in solving specific challenges and issues.

What is Applied Organisational Coaching?

Simply speaking is it how coaching or coaching skills are applied to achieve goals..  Fundamentally, coaching is the alchemy that converts the inputs to the outputs. It is the process that combines various inputs to deliver measurable outputs. If you think of the inputs as the ingredients, coaching is the recipe to create the performance and wellbeing outcomes.

Coaching at the core is not only a “coaching session” but can be any “coaching process” in an organisation. This requires both social and structural scaffolding and critically embedded in a strategic business objective.

Defining Applied Organisational Coaching

Coaching: The ICF defines coaching as “…partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential.”

Organisational: IECL only focuses on coaching in an organisational context.

Applied: Applied Organisational Coaching is the practical and effective ‘doing’ of the coaching.

For anything Applied Organisational Coaching, IECL partners with clients and organisations to design and create tailored solutions, taking into consideration three distinct lenses to achieve desired outcomes:

  • Functional capability or skill development
  • Relational intelligence – understanding the human element
  • Systemic intelligence – the role the organisational system plays in leader development.


My role is to increase an awareness and understanding into the role IECL plays in assisting with the long-term embedding, application and utilisation of coaching skills and approaches. How coaching is applied in leadership, in conversations, in creating cultures and in the growth and development of organisations, teams and individuals.  It is broad and simple at the same time.

What do you like about working at IECL?

Working for the best and working with the best.  It is a wonderful organisation and brand that I have gained so much from and I feel very privileged and honored to work for.  The people that I work with are exceptional – the right balance of professional and fun.  The work we get to do, conversations we are involved in, the people we get to stand with, make every day different and exciting.  I love the variety and opportunities, but I appreciate the foundations of the business and that it is my role to continue to move the business forward for whomever comes next.  We make a difference to people and that is what I enjoy doing.  Sometimes incremental, sometimes huge … we always make a difference.   

What is something people in our industry have to deal with that you want to fix?

Box ticking Vs ticking the box.  Difference between attending a workshop (box ticked) and participating in a workshop and applying the learnings back in the workplace and having a system in place to assist with the ongoing application and support and development of these learnings to enhance personal and professional growth. Looking at the bigger picture of human growth and development.  Practice, reflection, practice, reflection, practice, reflection etc etc etc!  Was Rome built in a day?  

What are your credentials/past experience for working in your position?

I have worked in the development field for 22yrs.  I spent 7ys in the London Fire Brigade where my role covered everything from recruitment testing, physical conditioning, diversity and inclusion, occupational health and safety and government forums all related to the development and the requirements of being a fire fighter.  I spoke to audiences of hundreds and held one on ones, allowed some to realise their dreams whilst others did not.  In my early 20’s I was afforded the opportunity to work in a very unique, high pressure, high performance environment. 

During the same period, I also played rugby at both a professional and semi-professional level, affording me further experience of working in a high pressure, high performance environment. Upon arriving in Australia, I stepped into the start-up space, working for a Team Building company that was 6 months old when I joined.  A great opportunity to work on every aspect of business development, sales, marketing, delivery, finances and a with a multitude of clients that allowed me to travel and work across Australia.

I was then approached by a client and stepped into the corporate world as a capability advisor for a financial services organisation, working with the CFO and multiple brands across all aspects of leadership development, capability development, workforce planning, strategic planning, agile methodology, innovation theory, behavioural economics and coaching.

By the time I joined IECL 2016 I had experience across professional sport, government, start-up and financial services and clients and contacts that spanned a multitude of national and international organisations.

Regarding formal credentials, I completed my IECL Levels 1-3 in 2012, Team Coaching in 2014 and Coach Supervision in 2018.  I have other qualifications and licenses in NLP, mBIT, MBTI, Hogan, PCM, Cert IV, Health & Nutrition and continue to study my Psychology degree.  I have been a member of the ICF since 2015, an ICF Mentor Coach since 2019, a former ICF QLD Volunteer Leader and currently hold an ICF PCC credential.

Who was the biggest influence in your career?

First – a hypnotherapist a saw in London in the early 2000’s to help me with my speech impediment.  Loved the whole person approach and the simplicity and powerfulness of just asking me questions and inviting me to reflect and create new thinking, habits and behaviours.  Very profound experience on many levels.

Coaching career – Dr Hilary Armstrong, John Raymond, Chip McFarland, Irene Booth and Mandy Geddes, all involved in my Levels 1 – 3 and early engagements into IECL or IEC as it was then.

What’s your Archetype?

My archetype (using the correct language) would be an explorer or adventure.  I’m aware that I like to keep exploring, moving forward and experiencing as much as humanly possible.  I can’t stand still!

What’s your background?

I was born in a very small village called Steeple Bumpstead in Suffolk, England.  I had what I would call a standard English countryside childhood, more time outside on my bike than inside, played in parks, fields, building sites and generally getting muddy and exploring.  Played lots and lots of sport, always kicking balls around, being yelled at to come inside for tea or when it as dark.  Wanted for nothing but was taught to understand the value of what you had.  Was encouraged by my parents but also given freedom to go my own way, potentially why I didn’t do too well at school!  Sport, friendship and family have always been a strong influence in my life, challenging yourself, pushing boundaries, being respectful and not being afraid to ask for help when needed, but only after you’ve given it a go first!

What are the values that drive you?

I’m not a fan of standard values language, I prefer to use my own. So, the values that drive me are; 1) Be respectful to everyone, you never know everyone’s story so don’t assume. 2) Don’t be too big for you boots. 3) Smile, dance, laugh and have fun. 4) Keep pushing everyday.

Your top 3 favorite Podcasts/Books?

Not a great reader or podcast person but I have read Barrack Obama’s first two books and will read the latest one soon.  I prefer autobiographies generally.



When and where were you born? Steeple Bumpstead, home birth, 1977

 Who was the most influential person to you as a young adult? Two rugby coaches, Bob Crooks and Ade Davies

What did you do during the summertime? Family time at the beach and wrote a Uni assignment!

 Did you have any nicknames? AJ or Johno

 What is your favorite sport? Played Rugby Union, but I enjoy watching all sports

 What was your favorite music/band/dance in high school? Paul Weller or Blur

What would people you know find surprising about you? I have in the last 10yrs been homeless at one time

What was your first job? Paper Round

What was your best job? Professional sports person was pretty cool!

In addition to being paid money, how else has your career created value in your life? Met my wife at work!  Friendships and travel.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? Family time, playing with the kids and or just relaxing.  Watching Netflix, Stan, Kayo or whatever app my wife has downloaded!  Exercise and marathon running, I have just received my application for the 2022 ice marathon


By IECL Head of Marketing – Pouneh Sedghi