OCTOBER 3, 2021

When you’re the head of a team or simply in charge of getting things done, your leadership skills will play a big part in your success. Here at First West, we want you to elevate your potential to achieve your goals, which is why we provide learning opportunities like our “Leader as Coach” development program.

Over five months, our employees explore and practice leadership strategies as a group and with their individual coaches, becoming better able to fulfill our Big Ideals and excel in their career. Does it work? We’ll let these five exceptional First West leaders tell you more:

RISHI BAJWA, Manager Special Accounts

“At the end of the Leader as Coach program, I had embraced the power of an active listening—not ‘half listening’ or ‘look like you are listening,’ but being engaged and focused. I started asking more questions and picking up on non-verbal cues that I may have missed before. During the program, I realized that I may not have all the answers, but that’s okay because my role is simply to guide my team to discover the solution they need. This was a relief to me and I’ve become a more motivational coach from constantly learning, adapting and growing from my experiences.”

MELISSA MACINTOSH, Supervisor, Retail Lending Administration

“The importance of tailoring my conversation has made a lasting impression on me. During the Leader as a Coach program, I realized that I could better assess each employee’s needs and developmental level, which would allow me to provide unique support that would help the members of my team thrive. This is especially important for my department because change is a constant in our roles. Nothing makes me happier than witnessing the positive impact this leadership insight has had for my team and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity complete the program.”

JENNIFER TAYLOR, Assistant Branch Manager, Orchard Plaza, Valley First

“When I entered the Leader as Coach program, I didn’t know how much I would be challenged! The course caused me to rethink the ways that I view leadership and who I am as a leader. With the help of my individual course coach, I’ve gone through a path of self-realization and approach challenges differently. Today, I opt to look at a situation from a higher-level. I can step back and guide my teammates through their own path of self-discovery, which is incredibly rewarding to them and also to help our credit union members achieve their goals.”

CRYSTAL CHOW, Wealth Advisor, Ladner, Envision Financial

“My position at First West doesn’t typically include formal team management, but I’ve discovered that the Leader as a Coach program still helps me succeed. Many of the techniques that I added to my “toolkit” have resulted in “wins” both at work and at home – especially the value of taking time to pause and give others the time to think and respond. And I have added three new perspectives to my leadership toolkit: there is always more to learn; ask for help when needed; do not give up.”

TRACY CLARK, Marketing and Communications Business Partner, First West

“Some years ago, an employee I had recently hired quit. They told my boss the reason was that, while I was a good person, I was a terrible leader. The adage, “we don’t leave companies, we leave people” was staring me in the face. That was the inspiration to continue to build my skills through courses like Leader as Coach, and this experience has been unique. It’s not simply a guide to get people to do what you want. It’s personal development that teaches you how to inspire your team – and the key is that to offer good leadership we need to build better versions of ourselves. It’s not about how our teams work for us, when we show up with vulnerability and humility, our teams will grow alongside us.”

If development opportunities like this interest you, become part of our team! See what opportunities are available right now.

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