COO Simon Denys about coaching at Ocular

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Time for a new angle. Time for a topic that, totally unfairly, remains underexposed. Partner & COO Simon is responsible for the operational part within Ocular but he also coaches colleagues to become the best version of themselves. According to him, it is the most wonderful thing there is.

What gave you the idea to start this type of coaching?

"A long time ago I was an intern at Volvo in Ghent. At the time, Jos Borremans was the development coach and psychologist, and he literally spoke to everyone in the company. He had a perfect sense of what was going on and could therefore make the right associations. He felt what was needed and was the glue within Volvo. That memory was the trigger for me to start coaching at Ocular."

How do you tackle that coaching?

"At Ocular, we tackle these personal coaching sessions via weekly one-to-one meetings with colleagues. I then consciously take the time to see how someone is doing. How does someone feel within our company? Where do they want to go professionally and what do they need to achieve that? We talk about different challenges and then figure out how to best address them.

I cannot take over the work of my colleagues, but I can highlight that they are not alone.

Every challenge creates both personal growth and development within our team. I try to make a difference in this field by reasoning from my own experience in rolling out and executing projects within the AV sector. Together, we look for a tailor-made solution, just as we do for our clients.

There is an annual growth meeting anyway, but coaching goes much further than that."

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What does coaching mean to you?

"Nicolas and I are convinced that colleagues should be given space for development, both in their jobs and on a personal level. That requires a lot of time and energy, but it's more than worth it. In the long run, it always pays off.

Moreover, I'm occupied with self-development every day and prefer to pass it on as much as possible. Small adjustments can make a huge difference. It is wonderful to see that something I have learned works effectively, also for my colleagues. I get an incredible amount of energy from that."

What is the added value of coaching in your opinion?

"I recently took a training course that revealed that you should actually allocate one hour of time per colleague. That seems like a lot, but I look at it differently: how much time do you waste when you are not doing that? It was the trigger for me to start one-to-one conversations. As the sessions evolve, I really see people change. In addition, you immediately detect what is going less well thanks to the weekly follow-up."

In the meantime, I have already noticed that the coaching also has a positive impact on the company. I used to be less aware of this, but by working in the business for a longer time and by becoming a father, I realise how important it is. After all, people are everything: without the Ocularians, there would be no Ocular."

How does it affect you?

"I get a lot of gratification from managing people and seeing that certain insights are shared. For me, it is important to keep people from making mistakes I made myself. Missing out is human, it's only really a problem if you don't learn anything from it. This is precisely why we want to share knowledge and experiences among each other.

You know what is truly indescribable? When someone actually puts your advice into practice and then proudly lets you know the results that were achieved. That cannot be compared to anything else."

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We also asked some colleagues how they experience one-to-one's:

Sofie Desombere: The one-to-one's are not only informative but also motivating. It creates an open dialogue and better internal collaboration.

Stijn Desender: Thanks to the discussions with Simon, I now know how I can grow further within Ocular and how to focus better. I find it a great added value that the company invests in personal coaching, it makes me eager to do better myself.

Liesbeth Aertssen: During those coaching moments, we look for opportunities together and tackle pain points straight away. Ocular not only invests in the growth of the company, but also in the growth of individuals and in mutual cooperation among colleagues.

Davy De Coster: The one-to-one's are incredibly inspiring and put the finger on the problem very quickly. It also ensures that knowledge is shared much more between colleagues.

Sara Tegethoff: I find it very valuable that we consciously take time to reflect on certain issues. Where do things go wrong and why? By paying attention to this, certain frustrations can be tackled quickly.

Thanks for the interview and inspiration, Simon!

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