A seasoned professional, ready to help and encourage

Iain Hunter is a long term RFS fan, and we are thrilled to have him on board as a volunteer coach. Iain brings a wealth of professional experience as well as empathy and focus. He is passionate about creating a supportive, positive environment for his coachees and is ready to help, no matter the barriers.

What is your career background?

Having worked in London, New York, Melbourne, Sydney, and Hong Kong, the constant thread throughout my career has been building businesses and brands.  I have worked extensively across many channels and disciplines advising some of the world’s largest brands including Unilever, Aggreko, American Express, DuPont, American Red Cross, Kimberly-Clarke, Coca-Cola, and AT&T.

Some career highlights in my career include:

  • building the successful national agency network Blaze Advertising from start-up to annual billings of $130M in Australia (later sold to WPP),
  • a global role as Senior Partner with Ogilvy Worldwide in New York,
  • building business consultancy HS Dominion in New York and London,
  • Chief Executive, UK of the NGO iDE Global where I led the iDE UK office, driving increased awareness of iDE’s sustainable development programs in Asia, Africa & Central America, launching the first iDE UK Fundraising Board, and building mutually advantageous business partnerships.
  • launching Iain Hunter Associates in London in January, 2019,
  • with two other partners, launched THE Worldwide Partners with two other partners in January, 2020.

My work with iDE Global, Unilever, United Technologies Corporation (UTC) and others has been in the arena of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility.

In addition to being a Volunteer Coach with Recruit for Spouses, I am Marketing Expert-in-Residence at Imperial College Enterprise Lab, a mentor with Imperial Venture Mentor Scheme, a mentor with London & Partners, a mentor with University College London Hatchery Team, and a Partner with the RSA Student Design Awards.

What inspired you to become a volunteer for the coaching programme?

I have known the CEO of Recruit for Spouses for about 8 years and have always been very impressed with its work, values and ethics.  Given my other mentorship engagements, it was an easy decision to decide to help Recruit for Spouses wherever I could.

Can you tell us a bit about the process you undertook to become a coach?

The first step in any coaching or mentoring scenario is to explain who has the responsibility for what.  The coachee holds the responsibility for setting up appointments, calls and meetings as appropriate according to their and their coach’s schedule and availability.  It is important for a coach to be a good listener and to be able to quickly understand the differing challenges and concerns on the part of their coachee.  The role of coach is not to instruct or pontificate, but to offer a range of different approaches to a problem saying things like, “I have found this approach to be successful” or “You might want to consider this as a forward step”, and so on.

Can you tell us about a typical coaching session?

We always start with pleasantries – usually talking about the coachee’s latest family news, children at new school, new or additional responsibilities for the spouse, etc.  At the last session, we will have agreed on what next steps will be and work to be done between sessions – and so at a new session, we look back to what those steps were (possibly refreshing a CV, writing a draft covering letter, developing a list of companies that are of interest, etc) and discuss what has been done since that last session.  As time goes on and coach and coachee become more comfortable and relaxed talking together, the discussion becomes more fluid and wide ranging – talking about things such as life goals, the “things I’ve always wanted to do”, etc.

What impact have you seen the coaching sessions having on the coachees?

Typically, increased confidence and building an innate feeling on the part of the coachee that “I can do this!”, “I’m excited about this challenge.”, “I feel I have the external support and fresh set of eyes of someone who is not part of my immediate circle, but who I trust and whose opinion I respect”.

What impact has the coaching sessions had on you? And how has it enlightened your view of military spouses?

A sense of reward knowing that in some small way, I have helped to make a difference/add value.

What advice would you give Military spouses who aren’t sure the coaching programme is for them?

Take a deep breath and have a go.  There’s no judgement on the part of a coach – simply a desire to help in whatever way they can, no matter how large or small that level of assistance night be.