Dunedin: time to 'stir it up a bit', coach says

Coach and counsellor Anne Bond works with individuals and businesses throughout New Zealand. Photo by Peter McIntosh.Anne Bond has a simple philosophy.

Through her work as a professional coach and counsellor, she wants to add value to people or businesses, whether that involves working with an individual, small or medium-sized businesses or ''huge'' companies.

It was all about enabling people to have the confidence to make the changes they needed to make them or their business grow, she said.

Based in Auckland for eight years, Ms Bond, who is in her 50s, returned to Dunedin 18 months ago for family reasons and because she loved the city and missed it.

She had no regrets, saying it was the right decision.

''Dunedin has been unbelievably kind to me over the years. I've always found the people unbelievably supportive.''

While she believed there were many opportunities in Dunedin, she would also like to ''stir it up a little bit''.

''It's still a beautiful city. What I'd like to see is more people working, more organisations coming in and seeing Dunedin for what it is and realising it is a tremendous base for them.''

She was heartened by the number of new, innovative companies in the city, but would like to see more.

''We need to have more people here. There are a lot of people working very hard to keep Dunedin buoyant.

''I still see a lot of areas that can be supported and things grown in order for this to become a city people really take notice of,'' she said.

Born in England, Ms Bond moved with her family to Dunedin when she was 6 and grew up in the city.

She studied anthropology and philosophy at the University of Otago and loved her university days so much she considered an academic career.

After graduating, she worked at Presbyterian Support Services where she benefited from receiving a large amount of knowledge and training, she said.

She studied family therapy at Otago Polytechnic and did her psychotherapy theory study at Ashburn Hall.

She forged a career working with people, which included being director of coaching at the Institute for Strategic Leadership for eight years before leaving the role in 2007 to work independently.

Part of her job was to find and train the coaches for the institute's programmes and she got to know a ''huge number of people''.

Ms Bond was still very close to many of those people.

She worked a lot with senior military personnel and one of the first on the programme was Sir Jerry Mateparae, now Governor-General, and she was very proud to see where he had gone.

She also worked with many senior business leaders, including the likes of former Fonterra chief executive Craig Norgate and New Zealand Merino Company chief executive John Brakenridge.

Upbeat and positive, Ms Bond said she was ''one of the very fortunate people in the world'' as she got to work with ''unbelievably cool people''.

In her work now, about 30% was Dunedin-based, about half was in Auckland and the remainder was in Wellington and Christchurch.

She also has a private psychotherapy practice.

Most of her clients came to her because they wanted to achieve something.

Most were innovative and were aware that being leaders was not about power and control, but about trust and developing their team and giving people space to think for themselves, she said.

By listening, she found out who they were, what they had done and what they wanted to do.

Then she could add value to them by getting them to look at themselves ''far more deeply''.

Once they understood themselves, then she could help them understand other people and how they ''think and work''.

''My whole process is supporting other people.

"What I offer is an opportunity for people to have a good look at themselves, to have a think about where they want to be, what they want to do and why they want to do it,'' she said.

Such a role required being a ''people-person'' and a great listener.

''You need to have a very good mind, you've got to be reasonably nimble in your thinking and think outside the square,'' she said.

The job involved working with many people and everyone had an individual need.

If you could not see where they were at and ''meet them where they truly'' are, then you were just being a cookie-cutter type person ''and that's not me at all'', she said.

While it was a very positive industry to be involved in, some of the work she did was ''unbelievably tough'' and there were times, she admitted, when there were a few sleepless nights.

''You've got to have hard decisions sometimes. You've got to have real conversations so you can find the right answers,'' she said.

sally.rae@odt.co.nz

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