When reflecting on my contribution to this blog I was wondering which experience of an internal coach could be of interest to other coaches, either internal or external.
Finally I decided to write about our Job+ coach programme.
For me this is wonderful illustration how something can naturally come to life to the benefit of many, just by some people taking the initiative to experiment with something new. When others follow to contribute to the goal a real movement can be created, independent of reporting lines or other constraints.
This is what happened in our organisation!
Before I share with you my personal thoughts on the benefits and the future of this programme, let me provide you some brief context on internal coaching in my organisation.
The core coaching team
We are a financial institution with more than 3,500 employees in many locations, with head office based in Brussels. Coaching in Euroclear had its roots in an experiment with one full time individual coach, coaching in one specific division. As the results of the annual staff satisfaction survey in this division were substantially higher than elsewhere in the company, Euroclear decided to roll out a larger scale coaching programme. In 2015 we established a virtual coaching team of currently five full time coaches. ‘Virtual’ meaning not all coaches report into the same manager, but some report into ‘business’ managers. We all work together with the head of coaching on our coaching objectives.
We have a strong supporter for our coaching work in our senior sponsor, who happens to be CEO of Euroclear Bank.
Very similar to the range of work of external coaches we work with individual coaching clients, provide team, group and peer coaching facilitation as well as support to leadership development programmes.
Given the ratio of internal coaches and overall staff numbers, we initially focused, on providing coaching services to senior leaders and people managers where coaching would not only have an impact on a personal level, but also influence their leadership style to the benefit of their teams.
Our coaching register with names of people requesting coaching was growing and while no-one had to wait for an unacceptable time, we noticed it was becoming increasingly difficult to meet the increasing demand with our limited resources
Then something happened… the Job+ coach concept was born in our company
Our definition of Job+ coach:
“A Job+ coach is a person who has an accreditation as qualified coach, is passionate about coaching and has a true interest in people development. Job+ coaches act as role models by fostering a coaching culture in our company and are committed to delivering individual coaching within the group in addition to their main occupation.”
How did it come about?
Once staff became more aware about the coaching services of the core coaching team, colleagues with coaching qualifications started to approach members of our coaching team without us having done any ‘advertising’. Our colleagues were looking to see if they could use their coaching skills to contribute to the coaching programme.
These people were ready to offer their coaching services in addition to their business responsibilities to one or two coachees at a time.
After being convinced that they had the skills and qualifications necessary to perform coaching in our company we gave it a try…
A year later we can report that it was a success! We now have 13 Job+ coaches who work with the core team on individual coaching.
For me it has really been a wonderful and exciting journey and I can see very tangible benefits for coaching in the company:
- The additional coaching capacity and the Job+ coaches in their ambassadorial role for coaching in different departments helps to imbed more deeply a culture of better quality interactions in the company.
- We can roll out benefits of coaching to staff who are not part of the people management population and coachees can access the coaching programme with minimal waiting times. Over the past year we managed to make different forms of coaching accessible to nearly 10 pct of our total population with the help of our Job+ coaches.
- The larger pool of coaches enhances our offering also with diversity in coaching styles, languages and locations. The languages and locations are a very important point, as we are a multi-location company and the closer our coaches are in terms of physical distance and culture to the coachee the better.
Another major benefit is the recognition the Job+ coaches receive by being part of the programme. They tell me that they are more energised and motivated in their day to day jobs as they can spend some time doing something they love.
Using and improving their coaching skills is great for the personal development of the Job+ coach and they have a strong sense of contribution to their colleagues’ development and well-being, which is very rewarding.
I do not want to make out that all this happens and runs smoothly by itself. Once we had more than a couple of active Job+ coaches, we realised that we need to get organised to support further growth.
This is when I came into the picture as the responsible for the Job+ coach programme in early 2016. Since then I ensure that new Job+ coaches have the relevant skills and training to perform the role, match them with coachees based on a number of criteria and accompany them in running their individual coaching in line with our terms of reference and ethical code. I also organise their external supervision.
Having said all of the above, the programme would not be worthwhile if it weren’t relevant to business needs and complementary to all other personal development offerings. To ensure that we are on top of our game we have regular meetings with key stakeholders, such as division heads and Human Resources with whom we have excellent relationships.
To measure our success in individual coaching, we collect feed-back on all our coaching interventions concerning client satisfaction. These individual surveys are also the basis of an overall annual satisfaction survey on coaching, which is published internally and provides trends in coaching and examples of feed-back as well as numbers of people coached.
Externally we are sharing our experiences with internal coaches from government and non-government organisations to learn from and inspire each other in the world of internal coaching.
Ready for more?
We definitely are!
Given the success so far we decided to grow the Job+ coach pool further and earlier in the year started to run an ILM level 5 certificate in Coaching and Mentoring course.
Another pilot case for the coaching team. We made this offer initially available to 12 new potential Job+ coaches. Again, no advertising required... People came forward from different departments, locations and departments to join the course.
We already have a waiting list for a future course! We are halfway through the programme and feed-back is great. Our participants enjoy the new skills they are acquiring, making close connections with colleagues in a non-business setting and the practical experience.
Together with an external expert, our head of coaching and myself are providing this training which I find hugely rewarding. I take great pleasure in witnessing how these wonderful, totally motivated people are enjoying their path to becoming fellow coaches!
Once we have concluded this first internal coach training in April 2017, we will take stock to see what went well, what we can improve and how we may want to organise a wider roll-out in the future.
- We have learned that you can start small and grow naturally – this was true for us for the core coaching team, but also for the Job+ coaches.
- No matter what size the coaching programme, the terms of reference and ethical standards have to be clear and followed at all times. The framework and way the programme is administered has to evolve with size.
- Support of our senior sponsor and our key stakeholders are very important for the success of our coaching programme.
- The programme has to be relevant to the business and our clients. We run surveys to measure this.
- We have quite a movement going and more and more people are interested to become Job+ coaches. This is why we decided to run an ILM accredited course to ensure that the new coaches all have a common, recognised based to start from.
- It is all about people: our Job+ coaches are fantastic! They invest their skill and time for the personal development of their colleagues.
Please note that everything I have expressed in this blog is my personal view and I am not representing Euroclear as a company.
If you want to connect with Petra, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Petra is internal Cross Divisional Lead Coach in Euroclear Bank, Brussels. She provides individual, team and group coaching at all levels of the company and is also responsible for the internal Job+ coach programme, the training of new coaches as well as supporting leadership development programmes.
Her business career of 30 years in the finance industry prior to her full time coaching appointment mainly focused on roles relating to relationship management and strategy and included managing and developing teams.
Petra's passion for personal development increased over the years in line with her involvement in people management.
This interest led her to become involved in coaching and in 2012 she became an accredited business coach.
Petra is an active member of the Belgian Internal Coaching Network and a Member of the Association for Coaching.