Jodie Moore, Corinthia’s Director of Learning, has been coaching and training people in different industries for 20-odd years. When I queried what led her to choose this, I never expected her quick, plain, direct response: “Because I love helping others.”
There were no frills, no finery, no frippery in her answer. Yet it all made sense, and when we chatted, everything fitted in like a hand in a glove.
She sees her job as a passion which expresses a sentiment, a natural trait in her DNA which she inherited from her mother and which she transmitted to her daughter: helping others. Naturally, her passion takes a professional expression, but the underlying drive or passion remains that simple primordial wish to help.
Why is it Director of Learning and not Director of Teaching? Naturally, learning and teaching are two sides of the same coin, but why choose one side rather than the other? “Learning is about changing both behaviour and mindset. People do not change in the long term if they merely undergo a training programme and obtain skills. Understanding why they are learning something, learning it in a way that best suits them and then continuously applying it is fundamental to long-term behavioural change.
“Teaching, training, and coaching are all different methodologies we can use, but our mission is to achieve a long-term impact. You do not achieve that by being told what to do, but by understanding what is needed to grow.
All Corinthia hotels have their Learning and Development (L&D) Teams, who report to their HR Directors and General Managers, but those L&D Teams are Jodie’s extended team. “I do not have my own team. I am a one-woman department that oversees, supports, and enhances the L&D process across Corinthia. I cannot achieve anything except through these amazing Colleagues.”
I was curious to learn what Jodie imparts to the L&D Team across all of Corinthia. “I help foster cultural growth and make my colleagues understand the significant benefits of their team’s development. Every person who joins Corinthia must experience a journey which enables them to understand and appreciate how they can grow within the business.
“The journey includes helping individuals to grow and develop within the role they have found to be the best for them in the business. My role is to ensure the learning and development opportunities we offer support the process of personal growth within the company and help to achieve company goals.”
Jodie’s enthusiasm in getting her message over proved she was obviously in love with her job. “Most definitely! I love creating learning opportunities. We have a suite of programs which I have designed to help Colleagues grow and I provide mentoring and coaching support to the L&D teams throughout our hotels so they can deliver them with their teams.”
Jodie carries out regular one-to-one meetings where L&D Teams update her on what is happening in their respective hotels and seek advice or discuss how to retain or increase momentum or change. She assesses the strengths and development areas of the various L&D Teams so she can support them through targeted training.
“Consistency is essential,” Jodie emphasised. “All Corinthia colleagues must have the same opportunities wherever they are. Now that in the immediate future, Corinthia will be opening new hotels in several countries and hence taking on many new entrants, my role is to ensure that the learning processes and activities are well introduced, rightly directed and correctly developed to meet the new influx. We are also bringing in new online learning platforms. Access to learning has developed greatly during these last decades and people want to learn in different ways, so we must keep up with the times and offer learning systems that mirror these changes.”
Naturally, Jodie supports Human Resources (HR). So, when HR launches a project, she collaborates with her Colleagues in CHL to see that this is met with training that supports the staff to understand how it impacts them and how they can play their part in its implementation.
Jodie explained how standards, quality and consistency are what is achieved when we invest in the Colleague’s learning and their understanding of how the company wants to run and operate. Learning is key to obtaining and retaining high standards. “Leadership and development are both essential. You do not have good teams without good leaders.”
That last sentence struck me. The leadership drive is now developing with significant momentum in the hotel industry.
Jodie has received favourable comments on the internet, such as: ‘exceptional coach who was able to offer individual advice on how to progress” and “pleasant and professional individual.” When I referred to this, her obvious reaction was, “I am the worst person to ask about favourable comments, but I’d like to believe that this is a consistent conception of me. I firmly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to develop their capabilities and be their best version of themselves. My methodology assists me to live out this principle. I have been blessed with great mentors since I started my career and continue to learn from others, and I wish I could repay that by being a good mentor for others. Sharing my knowledge and helping others to learn is at my core, and I search for different ways to achieve it.”
What are the guiding questions which direct Jodie on the way forward? “The primary focus is: What is happening in the business? Where is it now? Where does it need to be? How are we getting there? Is there a People and Development aspect to all this? We have a process all L&D Teams undertake to identify learning needs to support these questions. These development needs may be obvious and known to all, but sometimes they may crop up from a simple comment such as “This is not working in my team”, or a fleeting remark may be a feeler and indication for further action. I keep my ears open and well-tuned to certain suggestions, remarks, or even a mere wish to experience something new. I, too, am learning all the way. And learning requires listening, contemplating, assessing and then acting. There are times when people may be very explicit and express their needs, and other times you might need to dig a little deeper to understand the underlying need. Visiting the properties and assessing and assisting on-site can help with me with this process.
Jodie’s expertise is Management and Leadership Development. Before joining Corinthia, she was a consultant in this field and even ran her own consultancy. Previously, she was a trainer and facilitated workshops, helping people directly in the Luxury Retail field and many other industries but never in hospitality. So, in a way, Corinthia was a new challenge.
She joined Corinthia in September 2015, which is precisely eight years ago. She started with Corinthia London as L&D Manager and then joined Corinthia Hotels Limited (CHL) as Senior Manager Learning & Development and then onto her role as Director of Learning. “When I went for my interview in Corinthia London, I could, of course, notice the luxury around me in the hotel setting, but I sensed something different. The people were down to earth and real. I immediately did not feel out of place; I felt at home. And that made it for me!”
She proudly carries the acronym MAC after her name, meaning Member of the Association For Coaching, which is only granted to persons who have undergone a set amount of coaching hours and experience. Membership allows her to be actively involved in a network with other coaches.
Throughout our chat, Jodie never lost her vibrant excitement in her tone or patent passion for her work. In other words, she is a genuine person who feels at home with the company, which she loves. Her eyes shone when I referred her to Corinthia’s philosophy of Uplifting Lives. “That code of behaviour and purpose expresses my very being; it’s in my DNA. Uplifting of others’ lives is a behaviour which enriches us in our day-to-day life outside work, with friends, family and at work. It makes us see our career as an opportunity to better the lives of others and ourselves in the process. And ultimately, the company benefits through great Guest service and a positive working environment.”
Jodie had mentioned her mother and daughter earlier. I asked after her daughter. “Charlotte is 11 years old and has just started secondary school. It’s a new adventure and a whole novel experience. She wants to become a Child Psychologist, and you know why? She wants to help children in need. Whenever she notices children who set themselves apart and are alone in the playground, she makes it a point to befriend them. She has a heart of gold!”
Jodie then spoke of her boyfriend, Mark, an avid cyclist with whom she loves to have long weekend breaks in other countries.
And then…her rabbits! “I have two rabbits, Daisy and Bean, who roam freely at home.” Unbelievable! Roaming freely? “Yes, they are litter trained and never dirty anywhere. We got them during the COVID pandemic and so had time to house train them.” Jodie stopped for a few seconds and then quipped: “Actually, they are my daughter’s, but I take care of them.”
Her character seemed as if she came from a large family. “If five siblings are large, then yes, I come from a large family. I have four brothers. Being the only girl, I had to learn to fend for myself. I have several nephews and nieces, and we are all closely knit. We see each other often but refrain from holidaying together. Think that might be too much! ”
“So, yes, I suppose I am lucky. The persons I love are close to me, and I am blessed with a job which, in reality, is an extension of my inner-self.”