BMF General Manager Paul Coles is one of Australia’s true leaders in the client service field. Paul has been instrumental in reshaping AdSchool’s Advanced Account Management course for 2021 and here he shares some of his insights with us about the upcoming course and the account management discipline.

ACA: You’ve been closely involved in overhauling the Advanced Account Management course for AdSchool: could you tell us about the main changes and improvements you’ve made?

Paul: Yes, along with the Ad Council and some other key agency leaders, we have reset the foundations of the course for 2021. The objective was twofold, ensure the content was as relevant as possible and the format was engaging as possible. So the content has evolved, and the course is now part online, part classroom learning. Students will get to hear pre-recorded lectures from some of the industry’s finest, and then take those learnings and insights into the classroom, to put a more practical/workshop lens over it. Our industry is always evolving, so it’s important we look to recalibrate AdSchool, regularly.

What are some of the key learnings you’re hoping course students will take away with them?

We cover a pretty broad range of topics, relevant to growing your knowledge and skill-set in Account Management. We try to make sure the insights and theories are as practical as possible, so you can put it to use immediately. I am sure there will be nuggets of gold that will help students become super suits.

As one of Australia’s most talented and experienced client relationship executives, what are some of the secrets to your success?

“Most talented and experienced” is certainly an oversell of my capabilities, but I’ll take most experienced, as I have been in this industry over 15 years now. I would also love to know the secret sauce to success, no one has given me the inside word on that one yet. However, I can offer up a couple of bits of advice, which I have always held true in my career. Surround yourself with good people who want to do good things. Focus on people and culture, because the outcome is brilliant creativity and the commercials will follow. And finally, have fun – that’s one of the best parts of working in a creative industry.

Building and maintaining productive relationships with clients is often very challenging: what keeps you motivated when the going gets tough?

The reality is that doing great things isn’t easy. There will always be bumps in the road and challenges to overcome. But when you have a great partnership with a client, disagreements and debates in the relationship, become a very healthy part of driving better outcomes. So, what keeps me motivated when things get tough, is the belief that on the other side of any challenge, is a better result. And you know what? when things get really tough… sometimes you also have to just sit back and remind yourself that it’s just advertising at the end of the day.

In your opinion, what is the most important skill for any successful account manager to possess?

People skills. Creativity is a people business, one that relies on building great relationships, effective communication and creative collaboration.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self just starting out in advertising, what would it be?

Choose to work in an agency where the culture inspires you.

Learning on the job is clearly very important in our industry, for people at all stages of their career. Why should people also sign up for the more formal courses in advertising that AdSchool offers?

I don’t think anyone will argue about how important it is to never stop learning. It’s how you grow personally and professionally. But our industry moves so fast, it’s rare you get the time to stop and challenge yourself to learn something new. Formal training, like what AdSchool offers, is a way to ensure you grow your skillset and knowledge, beyond what you are learning in your day-to-day.

AdSchool Advanced Account Management begins on 11 March. For full details and registrations click here.