ILM’s coaching conference at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) on Thursday 16 October launched a new paper on coaching and some interesting workshop sessions on improving coaching at work.
Helen Mayson reports
ILM’s coaching conference at RMAS kicked off with Tom May presenting findings from ILM’s new research paper into coaching - Coaching for success: the key ingredients for coaching delivery and coach recruitment. It was surprising that many of the people interviewed for the research couldn’t agree on what coaching really is, suggesting there’s an educational piece for employers on the need for coaching and the definition of coaching. The report also includes recommendations for selecting a coach, which was then expanded on by keynote speaker Jonathan Passmore.
He called out the ‘coffee shop queue’ approach to choosing a coach – where coaches will often be selected on the basis of a single meeting at a conference or event, instead suggesting businesses apply a more scientific approach to coach selection using behaviour anchored rating scales (BARs). He talked about how coaches can ‘move to mastery’ in coaching by developing and using a range of tailored approach according to the needs of their coachee.
With over 100 attendees from employers, L&D teams and universities, there was some lively debate about the importance of chemistry and charisma in a coaching relationship. During Passmore’s presentation, attendees agreed to perform one ‘random act of kindness’ in the next few weeks as a way to improve outlook and become better coaches.
Breakout coaching sessions
In the morning and afternoon, people had a choice of workshop sessions with coaching experts from AQR, Chapel House, Chaucer Insurance, IDG, People face2face, Worth Consulting and Embrion which covered topics like psychometrics in coaching and increasing engagement to mindfulness and coaching capability.
First, Doug Strycharczk took us through a look into psychometric tools and how they can help improve your coaching capability and assessment, including MTQ48 (which assesses mental toughness) to ILM72 (integrated leadership measure). Then we dropped in on Karen Whittleworth from Worth Consulting, who talked about increasing employee engagement through adopting a coaching style of leadership and the impact it can have on a business. Teaching your managers to ask great questions, actively listen and reflect back, and remain detached and non-judgemental can greatly help manager-employee relationships, says Whittleworth.
Nemesia Willis from Chaucer Insurance and Patricia Stretton from People face2face gave us an interesting case study insight into how training coaches during a period of change has had a big impact on engagement and retention. One example of how they developed their coaching approach was in feedback to employees on their call centre. Rather than managers feeding back on calls themselves, employees were asked to assess their own call style and suggest changes, which improved performance and led to a 10.4% increase in sales.
Coaching at work: Markerstudy Group case study
In the afternoon, Simon Payne from Markerstudy Group gave us an employers perspective on coaching. As an organisation who grows through acquisition of other businesses and with a large portfolio of different brands, they use coaching both to engage and integrate new staff into the business and motivate existing employees to perform well. It’s really beginning to become embedded into the organisation, says Payne, with managers increasingly asking for coaching and using the language of coaching in their conversations.
Afternoon sessions included keynote speaker Jonathon Passmore from Embrion discussing how to embed a coaching culture in your organisation and a lively and interesting session from Bobby Chatterjee from IDG on ‘Weaving the golden thread – the power of integrated coaching’. Interestingly we ran through the top three challenges bought up in coaching sessions, and they were stress, doing more with less and generational differences, a surprise to the workshop group.
Finally, a session on mindfulness led by David Collins from Chapel House explored ways you can improve as a coach by being more mindful and using mindfulness techniques in your sessions. The example of using metaphors to help coaches access deep data about their charges was very interesting. ‘The coach must have a bright light in their eyes in order to help those with a diminished light,’ said Collins, which echoed Passmore’s earlier statements about the need to do ‘consistent acts of kindness’ and be a positive person to get the best as a coach. A positive and eventful day - we hope you enjoyed it.
Download our coaching report
Coaching for success: the key ingredients for coaching delivery and coach recruitment