CIPD 2019: Bringing good work to life with coaching

As well as quality conference sessions with their exceptional case studies, panels and speakers, the exhibition hall of the CIPD’s annual headline gathering buzzed with collaboration and conversation.

Two people in conversation
We caught up with Relocate Global partner, the Academy of Executive Coaching (AoEC), to gauge the mood and interests of the thousands of HR visitors and delegates in Manchester, and hear how the conversations CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese prompted around good work were playing into coaching in today’s organisations.

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Building capacity with coaching

The AoEC’s Vicky Routledge had been on the stand over the two days. “The conversations that we’ve been having have been around people definitely recognising what coaching can bring to their organisation – and that it is well-needed and fundamental to their organisation,” she told Relocate Global.“Some organisations have no coaching capacity at all. Others are trying to build on the capacity they have at the moment and looking at ways of doing that.“For their organisation they are developing their people strategies, working with their senior leaders and leadership teams, perhaps getting the buy-in from their organisations.“But everybody seems to recognise the value of coaching. We’re getting lots of different people too who have received coaching and want to build on this. They are wowed by it, and realise that they want to give back what they’ve received having experienced the true value of it.”

A listening approach to employee voice

Along with a definite international dimension running through the conference as Brexit dominates the public agenda, employee voice was also a key theme running through this pre-election conference.What role therefore might coaching have here given the democratisation of the workplace, agile working practices, flatter organisations and more contingent working? Could coaching help leaders manage this multiplicity of opinions and views, and encourage people from across different cultures and in the multi-generational workplace to speak up and comfortable being solutions-oriented? “We were talking to some people and students about how even the teaching profession [in the classroom] is changing from being told what to do all the time and actually listening to everybody’s ideas and including everybody, because actually everyone does have ideas and a voice – no matter what level you might be,” said Vicky. “Everyone is working collaboratively for the future.”We were also talking to an international person yesterday,” continued Vicky. “He was explaining to me how they do coaching in their organisation. And I said to him that’s not coaching!“It was because they were advising people what to do, rather than listening to them and helping them to understand that the answer is in them. It’s about asking the right questions to bring that out and about helping them to move forward and enabling them to bring the best out of that person. 

Bringing work to life

“In turn, that’s not only good for the individual, it’s motivating and it’s good for the organisation," concluded Vicky. "It’s bringing them up the ranks because it’s showcasing that they are able to do it for themselves.”With engagement, fulfilling work and self-actualisation increasingly valued among the workforce, it looks like coaching has a vital role to play in bringing work to life.

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