Free your potential
Friday 7 August 2015

Brandon Trust Coaching and Mentoring TeamMore than a year ago an announcement on Brandon Trust’s intranet, caught my attention: ‘Are you listening?’ It was an introduction to the new in-house coaching programme, and an offer for eight individuals to be trained to ILM level 5 in coaching and mentoring.

I applied, was interviewed and by November, joined seven colleagues at the first teaching session at the University of the West of England in Bristol. We were a group of people from different areas of Brandon Trust, engaged in different job roles, each with our unique experiences and learning backgrounds. I started out with a reasonably good idea of what coaching involves, but this was an opportunity to really learn how coaching works, to practice delivering it and to explore the benefits of developing a coaching culture within Brandon.

The course involved classroom-based teaching sessions, coaching practice and written assignments. I was grateful to be able to practice my coaching skills on Brandon volunteer coachees who committed to being coached on a sessional basis and to providing feedback on my practice. Whilst I await final assessment and qualification, I have busily been preparing for the roll-out of the coaching programme, due to be launched this September.

The coaching programme involves providing confidential 1:1 coaching to individuals who choose to be coached but will also support the performance management training programme to train managers in 'soft' coaching skills. The aim is that as a coaching approach develops within the organisation, individuals will have increased freedom to explore their ideas, raise self-awareness, identify choices and find their own solutions. Coaching supports people to develop their skills and confidence and to ultimately change attitudes and behaviours. When people adopt better work habits, they are likely to gain greater job satisfaction and achieve a better work-life balance.

So, along with my coaching colleagues, we’ve read the books, practised our coaching skills, and we’ve even made a film. I’m looking forward to the grand launch next month and I'm sure this new initiative will be a great benefit for many. Coaching is for everyone, whatever your experience, role or aspirations.

Janet Shmulevitch
Project Manager and Coach