My desire to undertake an executive coaching qualification was born out of leaving my permanent role as Group Head of HR in the City and starting my own HR Consultancy business.
Having worked in HR for 20 years, I fully understood the importance of building a confidential, secure environment for clients to feel they can open up and discuss issues in a safe place, as well as establishing clear roles, responsibilities and boundaries. The plan was that the executive coaching would be ‘another tool in my HR toolkit’ and the hope was that both sides of the business, HR and coaching would work well together.
My HR experience gives me a good insight into some of the challenges the individual is facing, and within an organisational context. I believe coaching can have a transformational impact on developing leaders, and upon the culture and effectiveness of an organisation in the longer-term.
Due to the nature of the coaching that I do, and my HR experience, my coaching clients often ask for my help, support and opinion of a situation that they are in. I am very used to giving HR advice at a senior level and although happy to give clients this input, it is also important to let the individual explore their own ideas first, as very often they find the answers without my contribution.
Coaching is focused and directional and I feel I help to equip the client with the tools, knowledge and opportunities they need to fully develop themselves to be effective managers/leaders improving resilience and effectiveness, removing roadblocks to performance and enhancing creativity.
I would describe my personal coaching approach as supportive, intuitive, sincere, and challenging. I listen carefully to the issues being faced and try to understand in the first instance, before responding, which makes asking powerful, open questions easier.
I am a good listener and refer frequently back to previous comments made or past reflections, something that has been picked up many times by coaching clients in feedback sessions. It is important to me to write notes following the coaching sessions in order that I can personally reflect on what has been said. I have also received feedback suggesting that I am extremely easy to communicate with, putting the client as ease from the start of the session.
I have gained a lot of confidence as a coach since the start of my coach training. There will always be room for further improvement, expanding my knowledge, asking cleaner and more eloquent questions. However, I have learned that it’s most important to focus on the quality of my listening and trust in the coaching process – this has had the greatest impact on my coaching style.
Coaching is one of the key components of managing employees effectively.
Coaching your employees and helping them progress is the mark of a successful leader. Here are 5 ways to coach your team to success and become a great leader in the process.
1. Emotional Intelligence
Coaching isn’t just about the employee. A large part of coaching is also about the way you interact with each member of your team. If you can level with people, understand the issues they may face in their role, and be sensitive to possible opposing outlooks, you’ll be far better equipped to help your people overcome barriers and work together as a team.
2. Knowing Each Individuals’ Strengths
Coaching isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. It’s important to tailor your focus to the person you’re interacting with. Each member brings something unique to your team. Your job as a manager is to find out what each person’s strengths are and help them develop these skills with a tailored coaching plan. Having a genuine understanding of the individuals that make up your team and what they need to work towards, will allow you to more efficiently plan and execute projects. People who use their strengths every day are found to be six times more engaged.
3. Ask questions
Rather than creating a development plan for your people based on strengths, include them in the conversation by asking what it is that excites them, what they’d like to learn, and where they want to go in the future. While helping employees develop their visible strengths is key, don’t forget that they may have hidden talents which are yet to be discovered.
Really listening to your employees' responses and tailoring the next steps around their answers shows you value your people and are prepared to help them reach their goals. The coaching you provide should aid them on their road to professional development process.
However, the most effective strategy is ultimately to use these conversations to help them take control of their own development.
4. Empower them
Once you know what your employees’ skills are and where they want to go, it’s time to help them put those skills into practice. Begin by giving each individual responsibility over tasks which will help them develop in their key areas. This can include providing stretch assignments, letting them take the reigns on a new project or pushing them to take the lead on a sales call. The best way to learn is by doing, and the more autonomy you give them, the more you’ll demonstrate your trust and confidence in their abilities.
It’s key to make sure your people know that you’re not expecting them to improve instantly overnight. Development is a process and there will be setbacks on the way, but that’s why you’re there to help. Checking-in with them regularly will show that you’re available for advice and feedback, without encroaching on their sense of autonomy.
5. Feedback is key
It’s impossible for people to develop without feedback. If your team isn’t aware of what they can improve, it doesn’t allow them to change or really build upon what’s going well. It’s not only important to be timely with your constructive feedback, but also in recognising and celebrating achievements.
Coaching is an increasingly important part of a modern manager's job. It’s key to get comfortable with coaching people by building genuine, unique relationships with your team members, using feedback efficiently, and listening to people to find out what they want and where they feel they’re headed.
Once you’re collaborating like this and leading your team in the direction they need, you’re well on your way to coaching a happy and motivated team to success.
Executives and senior managers both have an important role in a business that should always be taken seriously. Being in a senior role comes with incredible responsibility, including handling employees, customers/clients, and the overall responsibility of running of the business. With that in mind, those who are seeking to develop their leadership and management skills will find that booking themselves individual coaching sessions will help enhance their leadership skills immensely.
What Is Leadership Coaching?
Coaching doesn’t just teach you “how“ to be a more effective leader; it covers everything about leadership, from how to increase trust and appreciation, to optimising your professional and personal performance. In particular, coaching will help you manage conflict and work as a team more effectively so that resolutions are more effortless in the workplace.
If you’re wondering how exactly a coach can assist you more than an online course or on-the-job experience, for example, then the list doesn’t end there.
How will a Leadership Coach help?
A coach will help you:
1. Develop new perspectives in a professional manner
2. Develop your individual leadership and conflict skills
3. Reflect on your management & outcome
4. Tolerate stressful encounters
5. Reflect on your personality & leadership style
6. Develop strategies to achieve your goals
7. Expand your professional behaviour
8.Target various levels of competence & improve on them
Of course, how successful the coaching will be for you also ultimately depends on how much work you are willing to put in to get the results. Coaches are there to guide you, but they can’t create the skills and improvement for you. It’s also important to have an appropriate match between the individual client and the coach.
Personal development is a crucial part of anyone’s life, whether it’s business-related or not. Having a coach to help guide you through this personal development will make sure your best skills are brought forward and will help nurture new ones that are vital to your growth.
The Facts - Whether you are growing start-up or an established company, your business will inevitably require an organisational restructure sometime down the road. The good news is that change can bring a lot of benefits and spur the company success in the longer term.
Is everyone in the right roles that play to their strengths, including the leadership and senior management team?Reviewing job descriptions, from the leadership team down should be the first port of call. Working with the business owners and the leadership team I would look to understand the future aspirations of the company and if there are any obstacles, in relation to lack of competency, in any role, or team that effects achievement in this regard.
Are decisions are made effectively and collaboratively and cascaded down to staff clearly?
Understanding in the first instance how decisions are made, by whom and whether this is an effective approach. Are employees kept well informed and do they understand what part they play in new initiatives, projects and the future success of the organisation?
Is the workload manageable and appropriate for all levels of staff?
Are employees drowning in too much work, or do they have capacity to take on more? Identifying whether employees are focusing in the right areas to aid the overall company goals and strategy. If not, why not?
Does the company have efficient managers who delegate work and manage their team members effectively?Understanding the experience level of the managers is important. Have they received any prior or ongoing management training? What are the leadership team’s challenges, if any, with each individual manager? What are the personal obstacles, if any, that each manager needs to overcome to be more effective within their management role? I can provide 1-1 coaching to help identify the gaps and then help the individual manager to be more effective in their identified area(s) of weakness.
Is each department appropriately resourced and are there plans in place to scale up to meet the needs of the business if necessary?
Understanding the business goals more clearly in this regard is important in establishing a scale-up plan. Do you need more staff, or are the existing employees in the wrong roles or possibly not effective? Once established and in conjunction with a succession planning/talent mapping exercise, I would assist in identifying the gaps and recruiting new staff into the organisation, but only if necessary.
Is there an effective talent mapping process is in place, which identifies star ability and a programme of development to retain these individuals in the business?
A simple 9 box grid tool can be used to reveal the performance, talents, and potential of employees. In addition, it offers a way to better monitor these talents and develop them further. It is a tool that can be used for team and talent development and talent spotting.
Is there an effective succession plan in place which identifies the successor for each role and identifies where there are gaps in skills and experience and how to plug these gaps? Where no natural successor can be identified, is there a plan to recruit externally, if required?
Working with the leadership team to identify the successor for each role. Plans should be kept up to date to be effective and beneficial to resource planning.
Vision and Goals
If the vision and goals are clearly identified, you are much more likely to achieve them. With clarity and dedication, the new structure will be up and running more quickly, saving costs, improving efficiency, and delivering better service. The organisation will have retained the right people for the future.
Shape the future culture
The culture of an organisation is shaped by the behaviours that are tolerated, celebrated and rewarded. The performance management system, competencies, career progression and reward strategy should all be working effectively for the organisation.
Tackle the difficult decisions
There will be obstacles to success, there always is. These may include politics around senior employees, and possibly expensive compensation precedents which were put in to place during initial company set-up.
These obstacles need to be tackled courageously from the outset.
Celebrate success when it happens
If business transformation goes on over a prolonged period, it is important to acknowledge milestones and celebrate success along the way, which will raise the level of employee engagement.
Please see the link below to my Business Support Package.
With the news of a second lockdown announced on Saturday, these are the key things we know so far:
Key facts to know about the flexible furlough scheme
Who is eligible to be furloughed under the new scheme?
Only employees who have been furloughed for at least three weeks on or before 30 June under the old scheme can be furloughed after 1 July. The only exceptions to this are where parents return to work after taking maternity, shared parental leave, adoption, paternity or parental bereavement leave.
Duration of furlough
From 1 July, you will be able to bring back previously furloughed employees for any amount of time and on any pattern of work and claim a grant for the hours not worked. For example, if your employee normally works five days a week and you only need them in work for two, you can furlough them for the remaining three days. If business picks up, you might want them to work for three days and be furloughed for two.
The last date anyone could be furloughed for the first time was 10 June. If you furloughed any employee on that date, you will be able to move them onto the new scheme immediately from 1 July.
However, it is now clear that if you re-furlough someone after 10 June, you will have to wait the full three weeks before you can move them onto the new scheme, regardless of whether this ends after 1 July. For example, a previously furloughed employee starting a new furlough period today (15 June) must remain furloughed under the old scheme until at least 6 July. After this date, the employee can be flexibly furloughed for any period.
Limits on numbers of people you can furlough from 1 July
The numbers of employees you can furlough in any period starting from 1 July cannot exceed the maximum numbers of employees you claimed for under the old scheme – although you don’t include returning parents in this calculation.
This may create some difficulties for employers who have already put in place rotating furlough patterns.
You must submit any claims under the old scheme by 31 July. After 1 July, you cannot submit claims that cross calendar months. This means that if you have staff whose furlough spans June and July, you will need to submit separate claims for June and July – even if they have been furloughed continuously.
Your claim period is made up of the days you are claiming a grant for. Claim periods starting on or after 1 July must (usually) start and end within the same calendar month and must last at least seven days. You must include all furloughed staff in one claim even if they are paid at different times and the government recommends that, if you can, you should match your claim period to the dates you process your payroll.
One thing to bear in mind is that if you can submit a claim up to 14 days before the end of the relevant claim period. However, if you do this and the number of days your staff work changes, you will need to adjust the claim next time. That doesn’t sound too difficult if you’ve over-claimed, but if you’ve under-claimed, you’ll have to contact HMRC for help. The government therefore recommends that you don’t “claim until you are sure of the exact number of hours [your staff] will have worked during the claim period”.
Working out pay under the new scheme
If you don’t intend to ask staff to return to work, your pay calculations won’t change, although your contribution will increase from 1 August.
However, if your staff do return to work part-time you’ll need to work out how many hours each employee usually works and offset this from the number or hours they have been furloughed.
You will need to decide if your employee has fixed or variable hours. If their pay depends on the number of hours they have worked, or they are not contracted to work a fixed number of hours, use the variable calculation.
You will need to keep a copy of all records (one version says for five years, and the other for six years) including:
The guidance states that you need a “new written agreement” to confirm the new furlough arrangement. It’s not clear if you need separate agreements each time you flex the furlough period (which would be really cumbersome) or if you can make provision for this in one document which provides for flexibility which would make much more sense.
It is fair to say that Covid 19 has impacted all our lives in so many different ways. Many employees have been forced to work at home, whilst our key workers are still going out to work and experiencing working conditions that can only be compared to a terrifying action movie that never ends.
Employers have had to quickly enact new policies and procedures focusing on absence, health and safety, remote working, and business interaction - including travel and external meetings. Conferences have been cancelled and we are no longer able to fly half-way around the world to meet clients.
If companies are still pushing ahead with recruitment, recruitment consultants and employers are doing their best to endorse video interviews and remote induction programmes.
Questions to ponder
Evidence suggests that being able to work remotely enables employees to be more productive, care for their children and avoid stressful commutes, overall improving mental well-being.
Whilst some people react well to working from home, others find it isolating and distracting with perhaps younger children around. They may miss the face to face interaction and are generally much happier in an office environment.
While video calls can be helpful, face to face meetings with customers and colleagues are still valuable, as are overseas meetings with clients which help to build rapport and stronger relationships and gain first-hand understanding of the culture and business needs.
What this experience has taught many employers is that effective home working can be achieved. Employees still work hard and meet deadlines. Relationships with clients are still being maintained and recruitment can continue.
It is certainly interesting to reflect on how these unavoidable changes may well reshape the world of work forever.
Each April, employers must ensure that their organisation complies with the latest round of amended employment laws and deadlines. As well as dealing with the ongoing impact of coronavirus (Covid-19), important issues in April 2020 include:
Changes to written statements of terms and conditions
From 6 April 2020, the requirement to provide a written statement of terms and conditions extends to workers, not just employees. This includes casual and zero hours workers.
The right to a statement no longer requires a minimum length of service and applies from the worker’s first day working for the organisation.
There are also changes to the information that the written statement must include.
New rights to parental bereavement leave and pay
Bereaved parents of a child who dies on or after 6 April 2020 have a new right to take up to two weeks’ parental bereavement leave with pay at a statutory minimum rate.
The right, sometimes referred to as “Jack’s Law”, also applies to stillbirths occurring after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Employers should review their organisation’s policies and procedures now to ensure that they include time off for bereaved parents. Organisations will need to communicate these policy changes as soon as possible, ideally by 3 April 2020.
New holiday pay calculations for workers with irregular hours
On 6 April 2020, the holiday pay reference period for workers without normal working hours increases from 12 weeks to 52 weeks.
Employers will need to adjust how they calculate holiday pay for workers with irregular hours, for example those in seasonal or atypical roles. Your organisation’s holiday policy may also require adjusting if it refers to the holiday pay reference period.
Employers should also check the contracts of employment of workers with irregular working hours to ensure that, where the reference period is mentioned, it is updated with the new period.
Increases to the National Minimum Wage
The national living wage for workers aged 25 and over increases to £8.72 per hour on 1 April 2020.
Other national minimum wage rates also increase on 1 April 2020, with hourly rates rising to £8.20 for workers aged 21 to 24, to £6.45 for workers aged 18 to 20 and to £4.55 for workers aged 16 or 17.
Increased rates for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave
The weekly rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay increases to £151.20 from 5 April 2020.
It is up to employers to make sure that staff on maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental leave and sick leave are paid these statutory minimum rates.
Increased rates for statutory sick pay
The weekly rate of statutory sick pay increases to £95.85 from 6 April 2020.
In the wake of coronavirus (Covid-19), the Government has announced that it will introduce measures requiring employers to pay statutory sick pay from the first day of an employee’s sickness, rather than after three waiting days.
Changes to the unfair dismissal award
The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases from £86,444 to £88,519 for dismissals that take place on or after 6 April 2020.
Increase in statutory redundancy pay
New limits on employment statutory redundancy pay come into force on 6 April 2020.
Employers that dismiss employees for redundancy must pay those with two years’ service an amount based on the employee’s weekly pay, length of service and age. The weekly pay is subject to a maximum amount. This amount is £538 from 6 April 2020.
Larger employers with 250 or more employees should also be working on their third gender pay gap report.
Meanwhile, the Government has confirmed that the extension of IR35 tax rules to private-sector employers will be delayed until 6 April 2021.
As full details of the scheme are awaited, it would be unwise for employers to seek an employee's agreement to "furlough" them before the Government has published guidance and draft legislation on the scheme.
However, it is important for employers to communicate with worried employees and the reassurance of an initial letter is a good starting point.
On 20 March 2020, the Government announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to provide funds to support all employers with a PAYE scheme to continue paying employees who would otherwise be made redundant or put on an unpaid period of lay-off.
Under the scheme, if a worker is designated as a "furloughed worker", a grant will be available from HM Customs and Revenue (HMRC) to reimburse the employer for 80% of a worker's wage costs, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. Payments can be backdated to 1 March 2020.
The Scheme is initially set to run until the end of May 2020, but the Government has said that the scheme will be extended if necessary.
The Government's guidance on support for businesses states that employers that wish to designate employees as "furlough workers" must "notify them of this change" and the change in status "may be subject to negotiation".
Unless the employer has a contractual right to lay off workers, it will need the employee's agreement to be placed on furlough leave. Similarly, the employee's agreement is needed to make a reduction in pay. However, it is highly likely that employees will agree, if the only alternatives are redundancy or unpaid leave.
During the furlough period, employees will:
A contract of employment is an agreement that exists between an employer and employee, and sets out terms such as employment rights, responsibilities and duties.
A verbal contract will automatically come into existence when a person accepts a job, but written contracts of employment will help businesses to protect themselves and reduce the risk of disputes or claims being pursued against them. While some believe that they can achieve greater flexibility without such contractual documents, this can in fact cause them serious difficulties further down the line when perhaps the relationship breaks down.
Pitfalls of ignoring your legal responsibility
In the UK, an employer is legally required to provide employees with a written statement of their terms and conditions, within the first two months of their start date.
While this is not a contract of employment, it can act as a summary of the information contained in the contractual document. It should outline essential terms and conditions, such as rate of pay, working hours, holiday entitlement and a brief job description as well as information on collective agreements, pensions and notice periods.
However, with effect from 6 April 2020 employers will be required to provide employees with their written statement of terms and conditions on the first day of work (rather than within two months) and this right will also be extended to workers.
Employers will need to review their recruitment processes and ensure employment contracts are being issued to employees and workers on or before their first day.
By failing to provide these statements, employers could face complications such as:
Drawbacks of having basic written statements
While providing employees with a basic written statement is the bare minimum a business is legally required to do, it is recommended that employers also have comprehensive contracts of employment in place.
Employers can choose to include information on their policies for computer and mobile phone use, smoking, outside interests, additional employment and expenses.
A clear and detailed contract of employment that outlines exactly what you expect from employees can help to safeguard your financial and business interests. With increased control over the terms and conditions, you can also reduce the possibility of disputes or claims being brought against your organisation. It is recommended that you regularly review and update these contracts, particularly when, for example, an employee has been promoted or your business has developed, in order for your business to remain up-to-date and properly protected from harm.