Acorn Coaching and Development

Improving business performance


Ops Director benefits from personal coaching

Skanska is involved in some of the world’s most prestigious building and infrastructure projects, working with both private and public-sector clients. They also deliver numerous smaller schemes, including public-realm improvement, hard and soft landscaping and utilities projects.

Combining skills and experience in construction and infrastructure development they have become a UK leader in delivering schemes in healthcare, education, defence, transportation and municipal services that bring together private and public investment.

Following his long-standing training and development relationship with Acorn, Matt Collins, then Project Director working within the Skanska Bid Team, approached us for personal coaching to accelerate his progress through the business. Matt has since taken on a senior leadership role within the business as Operations Director of Central & the Regions, achieving his goal of obtaining a senior management position.


Matt Collins joined the Bids team at Skanska following a successful career in construction project management within the business. He had reached the point where he wanted to clarify his professional goals, to ensure he was considered as future senior leadership material, and to strengthen his relationships with key colleagues. Matt committed to a series of personal coaching sessions over a period of more than a year, with the purpose of being taken seriously as a future senior leader, and to bring him closer to his goal of obtaining a senior management position.


Acorn’s Keith Longney worked reflexively with Matt in a series of face-to-face, video conferencing and telephone coaching sessions, using emerging themes to inform the focus of future sessions. Specific techniques used were self-reflection and analysis, 360 degree feedback, and understanding personality typing and differentiation, with supporting reading between sessions.


Matt is delighted to have achieved his goal of obtaining a senior management position, and he additionally reports a stronger relationship with his line managers. He reports having clarified his future professional goals, developed a better understanding of how to position and conduct himself in the business to achieve that goal, and an increased ability to ‘read the room’ and understand the different mental processes of colleagues and clients.

“Often we don’t bother (to check), we just assume people know where we’re going”, Matt said. “As a result of the coaching process I am better able to recognize the differences in the way others think and behave and that their need for recognition and reward may be different, and greater, than mine.”

“I learned that behaviours aren’t always what they seem. Despite my ambitions my natural style is to avoid self-promotion. Now I am representing my skills and aspirations more accurately, my opportunities for career progression have improved. I am also better able to see beyond the presenting behaviours of colleagues and appreciate the truer picture.

I am pleased to report a stronger relationship with my line managers as a result of the coaching intervention.

I am more than happy with what Keith has done for me”, Matt concludes.

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"I am better able to see beyond the presenting behaviours and appreciate the truer picture."

Matt Collins, Operations Director, Skanska