In its recent People Profession survey for 2020, the CIPD cited that the most important skill for people professionals in the post Covid-19 work landscape would be to confidently Coach line managers in their organisations.
As we get our heads around the new normal, we’re also looking ahead to what will be needed in 6 months, 12 months or further – and whilst none of us can be certain what the future will hold when so much right now remains unknown, we can say with some certainty that the need to support and engage our people to rebuild our businesses will be essential, and it will be impossible to do this without line managers to embed people practices
It’s here that Coaching will come to the fore. As we work flexibly to adapt to the changing circumstances, integrating people strategies to revised business goals and focusing on employee wellbeing and experience, we need our line managers fully on board. It’s unlikely there will be the time, nor the appetite for conference-style meetings that roll out new initiatives. Instead, the key will be a more intuitive, supportive approach which sees the building of relationships between people practitioners and line management, empowering managers to put the strategies into practice with the encouragement of the people team.
This will require a shift in perspective for some of us. Coaching at its best works as an enabler to unlock potential, and sees individuals working together professionally to arrive at solutions, with tangible next steps. We all know that HR can sometimes be a profession rooted in compliance and process, so for some this will be a step outside the comfort zone and a new skill to embrace.
Economic change, digital transformation and organisational agility are the biggest drivers of change influencing the profession: Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated employee health and wellbeing as an immediate priority - almost 70% of people professionals said this. - CPID People Profession survey 2020 -
We wonder though, whether it’s just the people profession who’ll need to upskill and learn the benefits of a Coaching approach? Several of the drivers for change explored in the CIPD’s report highlight an evolving focus in business strategy and people management, setting the tone for a more diverse, individualised working culture. This, never mind the impact of the pandemic, will result in a new landscape in terms of how and where our teams work.
With globalworkplaceanalytics.com suggesting that by the end of 2021, up to 30% of the workforce will work permanently from home for multiple days of the week, our teams will look very different, and as such, leading and managing them will also need to change. Line management of ‘hybrid teams’ – those where individuals are based in different locations, working at different times, or both – requires a different approach: managing by walking around doesn’t work when your people are based in a variety of places.
Instead, line managers will need to place value on 121 conversations, and build trust with their team members. Taking a Coaching approach to these conversations is a highly effective way to not only build these relationships, getting to know individuals, supporting their wellbeing and professional development in a way which enhances the employee experience: moving away from a transactional, process driven management style.
As we move into the 2nd half of a year truly like no other, we should begin to prepare ourselves and our management teams for the new challenges ahead. If we can be confident in our own ability to Coach line managers to positively impact engagement, and our managers in turn can feel confident in taking a Coaching approach with team members to enhance the employee experience, then we’ll be supporting a return to growth for both our people and our organisation.