Over the last three years, developing the coaching skills and confidence of managers has formed an integral part of the Leadership in Action programme. These skills enable managers to encourage their team members to take ownership of situations and identify solutions that they are committed to.
Due to the success of this approach a decision was made to develop a wider in-house coaching capability and provide the opportunity for individuals to gain accreditation in this area. 32 individuals from across the University engaged in a comprehensive development programme and to date 60 % have achieved the ILM Level 3 in Workplace Coaching and Mentoring.
The coaching scheme is not there to replace support and guidance from a line manager, but to offer an additional mechanism where one-to-one confidential coaching can be provided and supported by the direct line manager back in the workplace. The coaching scheme is one component of an integrated leadership strategy to support and develop all people employed by the University.
'coaching gave me the space and insight to be able to explore some difficult management issues during my first year as a manager and find solutions in keeping with both the University ethos and my own character. My coach has helped me find strength and leadership in myself that I didn’t know I already had. The time I spent with her has been invaluable to both me and my team.' - Manager in a Support service
'I found the coaching experience to be extremely positive and the intervention came at quite a crucial time for me in terms of difficulties I was experiencing in my work. The sessions addressed the objectives I had agreed with my manager, and also a further objective that I identified in discussion with ‘X’ and that particularly helped me to feel more comfortable and confident working in my team and with my manager.' - Manager in a Support service
'In general I would say that having a coach has been a very positive experience. It has been very useful to be able to have the conversations you may have with your colleagues but be unable to work through solutions because you are all too involved with the situation. To have someone from outside of the office to be able to sit with and look at aspects of my work objectively has been fantastic. It has not always been easy as the aim is to sometimes get me to look hard at the things I do ask why I do them and if it is really necessary or the most effective way to do so.' - Manager in an Academic Dept
'I really felt like I realised for myself where some of my strengths are, and for this I am very grateful; it's very easy for me to dwell on the weaknesses and failures. ‘X’ reminded me constantly of the positives. One practical outcome is that I've realised that a job I didn't at first want to do is actually something I could bring a lot of energy and creativity to, so I asked to take it on (to the pleasure and perhaps of my HoD). A more personal outcome is that I've learnt that I often don't say what I think but defer to others; and this is something I've been trying to avoid since then.' - Senior Academic
'Both 'X' as a person and the coaching experience more generally were very valuable. I am really grateful for having had the opportunity for this kind of personal support. I have been telling friends about it, and it made me realise that I really do feel that the University as an institution cares about me, and offers me a way to grow and develop. So thank you very much for suggesting this and putting it in place. It's a terrific scheme, at least for me.' - Senior Academic
The coaching sessions have been invaluable. At first I found this very difficult and, as a result, did not see the usefulness. The most recent coaching session we had on this was amazing - not only was I finally starting to ask the right questions but the impact that this had on the coachee was phenomenal.