We asked some of our coaches for their observations on the importance of coaching for individuals and teams as they enter a hybrid working environment and how well companies capture and communicate the impact of coaching.
HPC Executive Coach
Q: Why is coaching important as we enter a hybrid working environment?
As we edge closer to returning to the office, we will encounter a new working environment where a new set of challenges and opportunities awaits us. Covid has changed our relationship with work and the workplace and so a lot more is required of our leaders to step up to this challenge and adopt a more flexible and supportive leadership style. The adoption of a hybrid working model in many sectors will lead to an increased focus on people leaders and people leadership. This will be exacerbated by increased opportunities for mobility as the global economy recovers.
Based on my conversations with leaders, I see three areas of focus for them:
Personal: What behaviours and mindset do I need to adopt to best navigate the new model of work? How can I develop a more focused and positive mindset? What resources do I need to support me personally on this journey? How do I sustain my performance over the long term?
Team: How can I best adapt my leadership style to support and empower my team individually to stay engaged and productive? How do I best foster a healthy level of collaboration and trust? In light of an increasingly global recruitment market, how can I retain my top talent and keep them motivated?
Organisation: What do others now need from me and my team? How will create a sense of agility that will allow us to respond to the next crisis? What opportunities does Covid create for us as an organisation?
Coaching becomes really important in this environment in that it offers a personalised approach to support and empower leaders to hone the skills they need. Coaching:
– Offers a trusted sounding board to ignite fresh thinking around new challenges and opportunities.
– Supports and empowers individuals based on their individual circumstances – the CEO , the line manager, the new employee working from their bedroom and who has barely seen their desk since they started – all with different multigenerational and personal circumstances.
– Gives space to explore goals and develop practical strategies to build their overall impact, enhance collaboration with their team/stakeholders and ensure wellbeing of themselves and people remains front and centre.
– Provides a meaningful incentive to develop and retain top talent in a highly competitive global market. We know that the growing millennial workforce particularly value this.
There is no doubt that those who invest in a personalised authentic and motivating development experience will enhance their own capabilities and their capacity to hold onto their talent, strengthen individual, team and company performance and deliver an improved bottom line. Coaching offers the perfect solution to do just that.
HPC Senior Facilitator, Executive & Team Coach
Q: What new challenges and opportunities can coaching help to unlock in leaders and teams as we enter this next phase of work?
Coaching helps leaders and teams to identify the new questions they need to ask of themselves, their customers and key stakeholders. For example, “What Covid losses do we want to recoup or remain as lost? What are our ‘Covid keepers’ – the changes that we want to retain and strengthen?” As the answers emerge, leaders and teams often find themselves in that uncomfortable space between what has been versus what must become. This transition demands a complex personal and organisational systemic shift. When you feel the searing heat of a ‘burning platform’ underfoot, change becomes the only viable option. Coaching plays a critical role in unlocking the shape, pace and impact of that change.
HPC Senior Facilitator, Executive & Team Coach
Q: In what ways can coaching empower a team to overcome the challenges of working in a hybrid environment? What are the primary challenges teams should anticipate and prepare for?
In the past year, teams have had to quickly adjust and flex how they work, collaborate and communicate with each other. They’ve developed a wealth of experience in new ways of working. Where they may once have felt that it was impossible to collaborate effectively unless they were all physically sitting together, they have now developed ways of interacting and collaborating via a range of virtual tools from MS Teams, Zoom and in house tools and resources. This experience provides a rich learning opportunity for team coaching to empower them, as we move to a hybrid working environment, where a mix of onsite and remote working will soon start to become the norm.
The move to a hybrid environment is certain to present more unique challenges as teams negotiate what the ‘new normal’ will look like for them. What will the new norms of behaviour be? What are the positives from the past year that the team will benefit from bringing forward into a hybrid model? Are there old ways of working, prior to Covid, that the team would benefit from re-instating? By working with a team coach, each team can reflect and consider the best approach for their particular team. While each organisation may have over-riding policies, the organisation will benefit from team coaching where teams are empowered and accountable for how their team can perform to their best potential. A team coach will ensure that all voices on the team are heard and each team considers the challenges they will face and how to overcome and prepare for them.
HPC Executive Coach
Q: How well do companies capture and communicate the impact of coaching?
When your people commit to coaching, as a company, what are you hoping will be different and how do you capture the benefit? Often the focus goes on the delivery of support for our people. Return on investment can often be quantitative, linked to staff engagement; promotions; improved performance. Creating the conditions so that coaching impact is ‘pushed’ back to you rather than ‘pulled out of people’, is a strategy I’ve seen work really well.
What would that look like? Greater collaboration, better listening, more explicit reflection on how groups and teams work together and might work together better. Increased advocacy and more constructive feedback. All standard coaching outputs – but what about sharing our successes? What about telling these stories, it’s the stories that connect, not the numbers. When you or your board hears that sales and compliance are suddenly proactively collaborating on processes before they land – rather than retrospectively tweaked for compliance, that’s cultural gold!
We coach for purpose and balance between the individual, the team and the organisation. So, to really take delivery of the benefit of coaching, we need the individual to surface what’s different and then share this with the team and the organisation. No numeric assessment will ever catch a micro moment…but micro moments are what create (or break) trust and cultures. And coaching catches those moments, one conversation at a time.