Report on “Promoting workplace wellbeing – Coaching in the workplace”, the talk given by David Craigie, 27 and 30 April 2012.
The Business Matters Trust is very grateful to the City Chambers for hosting the 27 April talk and providing refreshments and to Biggart Baillie for hosting the 30 April repeat of the talk and providing a buffet lunch.
Iain Archibald welcomed guests to this fifth in a series of lunchtime talks under the umbrella title “Promoting workplace wellbeing”. He introduced David Craigie, a Chartered Occupational Psychologist.
David chose the theme “Coaching in the workplace” for this talk – a positive way in which workplace wellbeing can be improved and employee performance can be enhanced. You can view the slides from his PowerPoint presentation and listen to a recording of the 30th April talk including the Q&A session by using the icons at the foot of the page. Here now is a written summary.
David began his talk by getting his audience to work out one of the principles of coaching from two photographs – much like the popular TV programme “Catchphrase”. The principle in question is encapsulated in the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime”.
David highlighted the range of services that are provided by himself and his colleagues at the Craigie Partnership. He commented that even 5 years ago this slide would have looked quite different. The range of services provided has actually remained fairly consistent but the nomenclature describing them has changed markedly. The use of the term “coaching” is much more widespread than before. David said that this was not just a fashion” for the use of the word but that the coaching approach which he was going to outline had become much more prevalent in recent times.
He outlined what his talk was going to cover:
- What is Coaching?
- Different types of Coaching
- Coaching statistics
- Case studies – ethics and tricky situations
Consequences of coaching
- Coaching Techniques in PRACTICE
- Links & Resources
In defining what coaching is, David helped by teasing out the differences between coaching and other techniques which might be considered equivalent. Using the metaphor of going on a journey he suggested that:
- The Mentor might say, “I’ll tell you how I got there”
- The Trainer might use the approach, “I’ll teach you the skills to get there”
- The Counsellor might ask, “How is the journey?”
- Whereas the Coach is much more likely to say “I’ll walk with you and guide you on the journey”
He commented that, while preparing the presentation, he had expected to find perhaps half a dozen types of coaching to display on a slide. Instead, the slide which he showed had a list of sixteen and he did not believe this was a fully comprehensive list. He did say that he has a theory that you could open the dictionary, pick a word at random, add the word “coaching” after it and find someone who is offering that particular service. The main point that he wished to communicate from this long list, however, was that coaching is actually a process which can be widely and successfully applied.
David went on to show the results of a survey which had been commissioned in 2005 by the CIPD where the effectiveness of different approaches to coaching (the use of line managers, internal coaches, external coaching consultants etc) had been assessed across some 30 large companies and organisations. Results were variable but trended to a positive benefit from the use of coaching techniques. David further elucidated the benefits as improvements in:
- Confidence and motivation
- Behaviour change
- More confident and effective leadership
- Improved leadership from team-leader level
- Decision speed improved at senior levels
- Management committee and general managers ‘singing from the same song sheet’
He then went on to explore the area of ethics within coaching. It might seem surprising to some people that issues with ethics and boundaries would arise while coaching but David gave three case studies which clearly demonstrated the need to be aware of such issues. Issues with confidentiality, the use of information gained during coaching sessions and the responsibilities of coach, company and coachee with the coaching “contract” were all discussed.
Moving on, David outlined two practical techniques which would assist anyone involved in coaching, either as a coach or as a coachee. Using an example from his own experience he showed how to assess what stands between an individual and their goals and offered a very practical way of evaluating ways forward in a situation.
He drew the presentation together in a series of final tips:
- Always clarify the purpose
- Decide if Coaching is the best approach
- Don’t be afraid to consult the experts… but be aware of sales people
- Set out agreed objectives (all parties!)
- Regularly review progress
- Consider outcome measures at outset
There was time for a short Q&A session at the end of the talk and David indicated that he would be pleased to talk further with people off-line. Further support for individuals or organisations is available from the Craigie Partnership.
Consultant to business matters