POSTED: June 19 2020
HR Feature: The Coaching Conundrum

HR Feature: The Coaching Conundrum

We enclose a new article by Pippa Dennitts, Executive Coach and HR Director at Sagegreen HR, takes a closer look at why coaching should be commonplace in the workplace, something that to many has become even more essential since Lockdown.

Pippa Dennitts, Executive Coach and HR Director, Sagegreen HR

“As we find our way through the transition from BC (Before Coronavirus) to AD (After Disease) many organisations are considering how to navigate this new landscape with their people. For some this is being seen as an opportunity to ‘up their game’ and bring forward the sorts of changes in behaviours which may have seemed a step too far before, but could now be taken as a chance to define their own ‘new normal’.

To coach or not to coach, that was the question. Now, it seems, the question has moved on. The evidence in favour of coaching in the workplace is now overwhelming, and it’s backed up by some pretty convincing science. More and more, I’m told by clients that they fully understand the benefits of having managers who coach – rather than command and control – their teams, but they just don’t seem to be able to get the managers to change their ways. I’m asked if I can help train the managers to be coaches, so that the organisation will thrive in it’s new ‘coaching culture’.

For me, therein lies the challenge, and it falls in three parts.

  1. Manager or Coach?

Firstly, let’s be clear about what we want our managers to do. Do we want them to be coaches, managers, or both? Being a coach and being a manager are two different skill sets, and most managers will tell you they already have a full-time job and don’t have time to be a coach as well. I would advocate that for most organisations a skilful mixing of the two is most effective. This is where we can support managers in being more ‘coach-like’ in how they approach management rather than seeing it as a separate role.

  1. The Coaching Experience

Secondly, in my experience, coaching is something which is far more effectively taken on board when it is something which is experienced, rather than just trained. Coaching development programmes are most effective if the leaders of an organisation work with an external coach to experience the benefits of this way of thinking and working, and then use those experiences to be more ‘coach like’ with their management teams. Alongside this the management teams receive training on the theory of coaching practice (often from the same external coach), and how this approach is an excellent enhancement to their skills, rather than a requirement to ‘change their ways’. This combination of the managers being coached and trained provides the best opportunity for them to start to apply the same in their own teams.

  1. A Coaching Culture

Finally, organisational culture is not something which can be prescribed. It is something which is the result of how the organisation behaves. If the organisation’s leaders are able to be open about their own development and how they benefit from coaching, their managers are more likely to take on board this adapted way of doing things and behave in a similar way, and this is how a culture is born.

Where to start?

The inception of the whole process is when the organisational leadership select a coach they can work with effectively and who they trust to support the development of their organisation. Look for a coach who is qualified with a reputable trainer to at least Level 7, and don’t be afraid to interview to find one you ‘click’ with. A good quality coach will be able to tell you about the Code of Ethics they work to, and who their coaching supervisor is.”


Pippa Dennitts is a qualified Executive Coach, Leadership Trainer and HR Director with 25 years’ experience in supporting entrepreneurs and business owners. To continue this conversation, contact Pippa on 07848 872018.