A SEAT AT TRICIA'S TABLE WITH ALAN ROSS, ARK ASSOCIATES
Pioneering the World of Workplace Wellbeing Revolution, One Breath at a Time.
"Your mindset and habitual thinking patterns can be changed. No matter the age, you have vast potential for development" - Alan Ross
By Tricia Scott
Alan Ross specialises in bringing clarity and focus to busy businesses and minds.
With 28 years of top-level corporate coaching experience plus Directorial and Board positions within Nabisco and Scottish & Newcastle (now Heineken plc), there's not a lot he hasn't experienced regarding the challenges faced by senior executives and their teams. Alan also has a superpower, a rare and under-utilised skill in the corporate world that only a select few have tried and tested (with incredible results), Mindfulness.
As I sit down to talk to Alan (via video screen, as is the way in these challenging times), I notice how at ease he is. I have been lucky enough to chat with Alan previously, and his easy way of just 'being' is always noticeable. A surety of his subject matter mixed with his 'super' skills as a mindfulness & yoga practitioner give the instant impression that you are in the company of one very capable and experienced coach.
A RESUMÉ TO BE PROUD OF
Alan does not disappoint. From the outset, I am seriously impressed with his resumé. By the time he was 40 years old, he had been sitting on company boards for ten years, working within sales and marketing with big corporate names who heavily invested in his future growth. Around this time, at the age of 37, his employer sent him to the Insead Business Schoool in Fontainebleau, near Paris, for eight weeks of executive development. This is where he was introduced to evening Yoga and Mindfulness sessions, and a new lifelong passion was born.
Returning from Paris, Alan knew that he wanted to continue his business development and that he wanted to invest in others the way he had been throughout his professional career, a promise he has made more than good on over the years, continuing to set aside time to work with charitable organisations such as The Princes Trust and lend his skillset to committees and boards industry-wide.
THE BRAVE NEW WORLD OF SELF-EMPLOYMENT
Working for himself was a natural next step for Alan. With an arsenal of sales and marketing skills under his belt, he set about approaching companies and starting conversations around developing leaders and their teams. Of course, he was highly successful. It wasn't long before he was not only in demand as a Coach but developing a loyal client base with more and more top-level executives recognising the benefit of having someone on hand, in strict confidence, to lend an ear to strategic plans and help clarify thinking while addressing issues and challenges. Coaching corporate teams gave Alan the ability to affect change from within the business, positively impacting company culture with his non-judgmental approach and ability to listen on a deeper level to enrich the workplace experience for all concerned. Something he continues to do to this very day.
We hear the phrase often 'lonely at the top', which is just one reason that Coaches like Alan remain in high demand. Still, as he points out, it's not surprising that executives and leaders hire help to stay on top of their game; you only have to look at sports professionals to see it takes an entire team to make the player. With nutritionists, wellness experts, holistic doctors and a myriad of sports coaches and physiotherapists, to name just a few. It's no different, Alan tells me that for any professional people who want to remain at a high performing level, it takes more than acumen to stay at the top; you have to take care of the whole self, which is where Alan's superpower comes into its own. Mindfulness is the missing jigsaw piece in the fast-paced world of today's CEO.
MIXING BUSINESS AND PLEASURE
It wasn't so long ago that corporate and mindfulness words were seldom used in the same sentence (except if you happened to be talking to Alan, that is). You only have to go back a few years on platforms such as LinkedIn to see that bringing a holistic view to business and adding in self-care and, god forbid, Yoga we're a bit like mixing oil and water. Not so in today's world, the executives of the moment are not only recognising the benefits of a mindful approach but reaping the benefits with a more productive, calmer workforce, happier teams and a vastly increased output.
You don't have to look very far amongst today's corporates to find heavy investment in wellbeing regarding recruitment, productivity and retention. It's a brave and exciting new corporate world. Lunch-time yoga sessions, group meditation and wellness weekends are fast becoming commonplace and I believe that we have pioneers like Alan and his team of Ark Associates to thank for that.