#CIPDCoach14 – Internal coaching & optimum environment

Got a couple of people now. James Hutton from News UK and Katherine St John-Brooks rom Working Solutions. They’re going to tell us about getting the most from internal coaches and some of the benefits and challenges of making this happen.

Keen to hear this because my belief – and ready to have it challenged – is that the role of internal coach is one of the most difficult as you don’t have the objectivity and fresh perspective to bring the same level of challenge. I believe that the greatest power of a coach comes from holding themselves in a place of not knowing and of not seeing things as their client sees things. So I’m keen to hear what James and Katherine have discovered….

Katherine’s clear this isn’t about managers having a coaching style or approach. This is about 1:1 coaching with employed coaches to develop individual performance.

What’s worked –
BE CLEAR ON WHY – what’s the purpose for setting this up? Is it about saving £££ or is it about an internal talent pool, or talent development, or career coaching, is it personal or professional coaching, is it coaching or mentoring, how can this help discover themes or trends in messages coaches are hearing (but not breaching confidentiality).

FIND THE RIGHT PEOPLE – be clear on what you want and how you’ll decide who’s best, is it manager nomination, is it self-nomination, is it observing a session, is it training lots and selecting the best. And then how do you match coach and coachee? How much involvement does the org have?

CLEAR FRAMEWORK – to check governance, ethics, contracting, complaints process, record keeping

CPD – how will you develop your coaches ongoing, how will supervision be set up, how can action learning sets be used? Create a network of coaches.

EVALUATION – is it a 5 point scale at the end of a block of sessions —– is it measuring impact on absence, customer service, training costs..sales!

Being an INTERNAL COACH IS GREAT BECAUSE…..they make a difference, see clients grow, feel valued, see the bigger picture and culture, gain personal and professional growth.

Being an INTERNAL COACH IS CHALLENGING BECAUSE…..if they need to balance coaching with a day job, things change and creating the space to coach can be hard, it can be harder to maintain objectivity, you know the same people, not having enough clients so feeling out of practice.

James is now going to tell us about the non-textbook approach to internal coaching in News UK. They have a new CEO and new editors and are moving into digital, apps, etc. Big contextual change is calling for coaching.

James and his HRD are big advocates of coaching to enable cultural change – but it’s a counter-cultural approach. The business is fast-paced and is focussed on developing and retaining high potentials. They also needed to develop true business partnering in HR.

They partnered with i-coach academy because i-coach were keen to fit their approach to the OD work that was going on. They have a 9 month programme with 5 modules totalling 7 days – combination of taught programme, practice and essay.

They recruited through application process to ensure the person (and their line manager) were committed and had the willingness to develop ongoing.

They now have 25 coaches from 2 programmes and finding it hard to keep the momentum – CPD and supervision are in place e.g. maternity coaching, mindfulness – but finding it hard to keep the important over the urgent.

They had a clear purpose that this isn’t about remedial coaching – this is about growing to be even better. I love that there seems to be this change towards seeing coaching as good to great instead of poor to OK. Not that it can’t be for that too but that’s been its main purpose historically and a myth I’m keen to change. And they’ve seen this good to great shift happening with coachees in News UK.

They’re seeing coaches growing in confidence in all they do, retention’s improved, they only focus on high potentials so more people are wanting a bit of it. The difference this tailored development approach makes can’t be ignored.

The cost is a third of what it would have been if had entirely used external coaching but they want to do more to really see what ROI has been seen.

And looking to the future with Katherine….
An ongoing upwards trend in coaching (Riddler report 2013)
Orgs still need to do more with less – internal offers a lower cost option
Team coaching is increasing
With this growth we need to make sure supervision and QA are in place to maintain standards and avoid (or actually move away from) poor coaching which doesn’t drive the real difference – this is a key time for the reputation of coaching

It excites me that coaching is growing and more people are seeing the difference it can make – tailored to them as a unique individual – but I’m so keen to see orgs do this stuff with thought and care to build on the reputation and confidence it can bring. Be clear on WHY you’re doing in. HOW are you going to involve others in making it happen? HOW will you talk to others about what’s going on? HOW will you bring support so people can be honest about what’s being learnt and change course towards the end goal?


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