The last two years can be described broadly as a period of change. Employees and employers alike have had to manage transitions on unprecedented scales as the pandemic has changed how we work, collaborate and learn, possibly forever.
Throughout the pandemic, the subsequent economic and social challenges have led to increases in mental health issues. Anxiety, depression, and other stress-related disorders are on the rise but throughout these challenges, employees have also shown a greater degree of resilience as they adapt to new working patterns and requirements.
The pace of change has been terrific in the last two years, it has torn up good business plans and forced employers to adapt and pivot in ways never thought of before. Organisations are re-examining business strategies, workforce models, values, and culture — often steered by new demands from employees themselves.
As people have lived and worked through the pandemic, becoming more accustomed to working from home, spending more time with family and less time commuting, it has prompted individuals to prioritise flexibility and their own personal fulfilment. This has led to a new challenge of how to show up while working remotely and while balancing personal commitments and retaining many of the benefits that working away from the office brings.
Faced with these ongoing challenges, the role of People professionals is now even more complex. Following a volatile two years, they are navigating the perfect storm of issues related to rising business and living costs, a fierce war on talent, widening skills gaps and making hybrid working a permanent reality for those who want it.
Now more than ever, organisations are taking the opportunity to use coaching techniques to fill the gaps and provide guidance and support for their employees. Coaching is a broad term for a process that focuses on bringing out the best in others by empowering them to take responsibility for their own development in a way that aligns with their core values. Coaching also explores viewpoints and challenges negative thought processes and limiting beliefs that may prevent people from showing up as the best version of themselves.
Individual and group coaching is proven to provide a far-reaching and deep impact on both personal and organisational growth. With companies committing to support employees on their journey, coaching opens the door to candid and ethical discussions going far beyond the reach of bite-sized learning, computer-based training, and large town hall meetings.
Coaching brings accountability and support in areas such as:
- Managing Change – as workers transition back to the office, coaches can help employees see the opportunities available and better manage their reactions to the change happening in their internal and external environment now and in the future.
- Managing Stress – coaching encourages employees to understand triggers and emotions tied to work tasks and team dynamics. And identify ways to cope and manage stress. The outcome is often improved self-awareness, and better prioritisation of self and goals leading to work-life harmony, and enhanced resilience.
- Employee Engagement – coaching allows employees to explore their value and contribution to their employer and then consider how their talent can serve other areas of the organisation. This perceived investment in their professional development leads to employees becoming more engaged with the wider organisation
- Professional Development and wellbeing– employers want to succeed, and employees have the same goal. Coaching allows employees to take more responsibility for their actions, how they continue to show up and what choices they have around how they would like to tackle short and long-term growth
Despite the somewhat chaotic environment organisations are still operating in, partly because of the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and partly because of the enormous shifts businesses across the UK have had to make in response, all organisations are striving to get the best out of their people.
Formalised coaching provides the space, time and environment for individuals to think deeply about how they can solve a problem, and how to move themselves – and their teams-forward. It also provides a platform for people to be held accountable for their progress.
The coaching professional Level 5 Apprenticeship, is for anyone who manages leads or works with others to provide them with the opportunity to become a professional coach. When a coaching culture is embedded throughout an organisation it can deliver a number of benefits. The apprenticeship won’t just be creating someone that can do a job, but actually, someone who will embed professional coaching skills within an organisation and empower others to take responsibility for their own development and develop more resilience to change.