It’s Better By Coach

30th May by Richard Bowyer

Published on


One of the benefits of applying for a role through the AAW Group is our offer of a full interview coaching service including face to face or remote mock interviews and developing strategies tailored to our candidates, their unique needs and the posts being applied for.  We have had very positive feedback from candidates on this service delivered by our personal coach and associate Anton Packheiser. Below, Richard Bowyer, the Chief Executive of the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals charity, outlines the impact it made on him as he celebrates a year in the role.

Richard Bowyer photo

On the 10th May I celebrated my first anniversary in a job I love, and without the work I did with Anton Packheiser I’m not sure I would be able to say that.

I joined Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity in May 2021 after almost seven years at Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity and six months as a fundraising strategy consultant. I was ready for a new challenge – and ready, I felt, to step into my first CEO role – although after a long period with GOSH I was out of practice at the application process.

The earlier days of my search had a few missteps – including two occasions where I was the second choice candidate. This was both positive in the sense it showed I was a credible candidate as an organisational leader, but also frustrating in my inability to get over line and secure an offer. Being qualified is not enough if you’re struggling to tell your story in way that does you justice in an interview.

What impact did Anton’s coaching have on me? Well, I would point to three different areas.

First, he was full of practical advice. For example, in interview run-throughs, he felt I was selling myself short. He would constantly push me to tell ‘complete’ stories, explaining the full and ongoing impact of decisions I took and projects I led.

Second, he gave me perspective. Job applications can feel like a beauty parade and as an applicant you are particularly vulnerable. Anton’s advice was essentially, if it’s not working it’s probably not the right match for you; when you meet the right charity it will feel the easiest thing in the world.

Third, and much less tangibly, he was there for me through the process. Prepping every interview and debriefing afterward. A job search can feel such a lonely experience, but with Anton’s coaching I knew I was never on my own.

It’s been a brilliant and challenging first 12 months with RBH Charity. We’ve launched new appeals, appointed a fantastic new Chair, written our first grants strategy, moved to hybrid working, completed our biggest ever property project and exceeded our fundraising targets.

Career coaching doesn’t make you into a different person. Your strengths are still your strengths, your achievements are still your achievements. But it can help you find the right approach and confidence to tell your story in the most effective way – and that can make a world of difference.

For more information on our coaching services (and our Executive Coaching Programme for non AAW candidates) visit Career Development | Astarita, Aldrich & Ward (