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Meet RCSA’s new Preferred Partner, Southern Cross Coaching and Development

Southern Cross Coaching and Development (SCC&D) is RCSA’s Learning & Development partner and a key partner involved in RCSA’s PEARL Mentoring Program. SCC&D designs and delivers highly practical, neuroscience-based executive coaching, leadership training, facilitation and team building, as well as other development consulting services to provide tangible results in the real-world workplace. We spoke to CEO, Simon Smith, to find out more about the company, their partnership with RCSA and how companies can better support their remote working employees right now.

Who is Southern Cross Coaching and Development and what does it specialise in?

Southern Cross Coaching and Development (SCC&D) is a practical, down-to-earth, multi-award-winning, coaching, leadership and team development training company with a deeply experienced team of 35+ coaches and trainers. We operate nationally and internationally across the Private, Public and Not-for-Profit Sectors, mostly within the ANZ and APJ region.

We care about people and know that one crappy leader can make lots of people’s lives very miserable in and out of work. Hence our mission is to “Make the World a Better Place through Better, Neuroscience-based Leadership”. All our programs are underpinned by practical neuroscience research, and are known for being extremely practical, down-to-earth, and applicable in the real-world.

Our seasoned team of 35+ (which includes Organisational Psychologists, ex-National L&D/OD/HR Executives, an ex-Reserve Bank of Australia board member, etc) means we cover most aspects of Leadership, Team and Culture Development.

Our core specialities are Coaching Culture Leadership (The Future of Leadership), Leadership for Engagement & High Performance, Executive Coaching (new leaders to C-suite and Boards) and practical Team Development, as well as Coaching-based Sales Training. We also run specialised Outplacement Coaching and Interview Skills programs, as well as the full suite of GeneSys psychometric and personality assessments (inc. the 15FQ+).

Our latest addition to our services is the world-renowned Red Team Thinking™ program, for which we are ANZ Practice Lead.

We customise everything we do to our clients and often build bespoke programs, so just give us a call, and ask if we can help – we usually can.

You mentioned awards – tell us about those…

Our multiple awards for Excellence in Business Ethics combined with our ‘No Bullsh!t’ policy mean we’ll always do the right thing by our clients (and our own team!) and that what we deliver will do what it says on the tin. SCC&D offers a 100% Money Back Guarantee^ on our programs – we’ve never had to refund a client in our history (founded 2006).

Simon, our CEO, was awarded Coach of the Year by the International Coach Federation Australia, and SCC&D was NSW/ACT State Finalist 2 years running in the Owner/Manager of the Year Leadership Excellence Awards, as well as recently getting to the Quarter Finals in the CEO Magazine CEO of the Year category. Simon has also been Chair and Panel judge in the Australian Institute of Management Leader of the Year awards, and is a Fellow at the ANZ Institute of Mangers & Leaders.

How did your partnership with the RCSA come about?

SCC&D & Simon were working with an RCSA member firm who’s MD suggested we’d be a good fit. The agency MD recommended and referred us to the RCSA. Fortunately the RCSA agreed we’d be a good fit, and here we are as your Learning & Development partner and teaming up to help deliver the PEARL Mentoring Program!

Our CEO, Simon, has a very strong recruitment background both here in Australia and in the UK. Simon originally set up a large Chartered Accountancy recruitment practice over 2 offices for a division of Michael Page in the UK, and was awarded as the top billing consultant in the UK out of 28 offices over a whole 12-month period, consistently in the top 5 every month. Simon migrated to Australia through the recruitment industry, and successfully set up the Chartered Accountancy business for an Australian Listed company before moving into a national business development manager role for what is now Randstad, developing key accounts nationally across their 19 companies. Simon then moved into HR & Leadership Consulting and Coaching, was retrenched, then set up Southern Cross Coaching & Development in 2006, building it to its current size operating nationally and internationally across the Private, Public and Not-for-Profit Sectors.

What kinds of support are recruitment and staffing agencies looking for at the moment by way of training & coaching?

A wide range of programs, mostly for new and middle managers as that gives the ‘best bang for bucks’, but also ad-hoc coaching support for Execs. Most people development needs are around Remote and Hybrid Leadership and Team Development, Leadership for Engagement and High Performance, Effective Performance and Feedback Conversations, plus Leading through Change, Resilience, Mental Health and Wellbeing, and increasingly Coaching-based Sales/Business Development Training.

There’s still demand for structured Leadership, Sales & Executive Coaching, but this is becoming much more focused on specific, targeted performance improvement areas. We’re also seeing a huge increase in use of our Leadership Advice Line - ad-hoc, one-off, as-required supporting coaching sessions to address immediate day-to-day leadership, team and sales challenges as they crop up.

Tell us about your research (*particularly around remote-working, engagement etc.)? What trends or insights have you uncovered? 

We’ve done a huge amount of research across all sectors, which we continually update (and continually apply to our own programs to ensure they are always leading practice). We’ve put together a comprehensive 1 ½ hour webinar detailing many of the critical risks and some working solutions organisations have implemented, as well as our Leading Practice advice.

We’ll happily share the webinar with RCSA members and their clients (great value add for clients!), as we feel this is critical information that needs to be out in the open - get in touch and ask how.

There are so many risks and challenges we’re hearing many organisations are experiencing, many of which are ‘hidden’ from leaders - especially execs. Senior leaders especially need to Red Team themselves – regularly, critically challenge thinking and assumptions. There’s a lot of fear out there – people are becoming increasingly reluctant to say anything about their challenges and needs for fear of putting a target on their backs for the next round of potential retrenchments.

What are some of the simplest things leaders and managers could be doing right now to better engage their remote-working teams?

Managers need to communicate more. They especially need to put structure and certainty into their communications, building in more regular, structured positive and developmental feedback loops into daily, weekly and monthly communications, and ensuring all people are treated equally through that structure.

Stepping out of the transactional ‘get the work done’ conversations to really ask how people are feeling is essential, not a nice to have – then truly listening. Growing and tapping in to their own emotional intelligence to read between the lines is becoming a must have skill to be an effective leader, as is a questioning, ask-not-tell, empowering people leadership style. Time management is also becoming increasingly critical.

Tell us about some case studies and what clients have achieved?

One very relevant case study involved rolling out our [The Future of Leadership] Coaching Culture Leadership and Coaching for Sales programs to a global software company across Australia and Asia Pacific Japan. Our programs and follow-up coaching transformed the organisation from one of the worst performing Regions in the world to Region of the Year in 2018 and 2919, including turning around their Japanese business to an ongoing successful enterprise from four years of losses and broken relationships with clients, and Head Office in Europe (who were one step away from shutting the Japan business down!).

That’s obviously a big client, and of course we’ve had many wins with smaller organisations. As we said earlier, we care about people, and about making people better humans, so we care as much about one individual coachee as we do a project across a large company. We’re proud of that ethos. And we’re proud that we’re consistently complimented by clients on our super-practical tools that make a real difference.

Anything else you’d like to talk about?

Just to sum up - we understand mutually beneficial outcomes and great results are based on trusting relationships, communication and understanding. We’re looking forward to building what we hope will be an ongoing long-term relationship with the RCSA, members and clients that delivers great outcomes for us all.


A 100% money-back guarantee^ applies to each individual facilitation, coaching and training


The cost of an individual’s coaching program will be refunded in full if the sponsoring key stakeholder or the individual coachee does not feel the coach has made a positive impact^.

Regarding Facilitation, Team Coaching & Training programs, the cost of an individual’s training, coaching or facilitation program will be refunded if the organisation deems it has not got the required outcomes for that particular individual^.

^Providing the coaching, team building, team coaching or training was undertaken voluntarily, SCC&D’s invoice was paid in full within 30 days of date of invoice, and providing the participant and organisation’s key stakeholder(s) invoking the money-back guarantee agree to give SCC&D in-depth constructive feedback as to why they each felt the respective program was not successful and how we can constructively change in the future to get the required outcome.

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