Coaching For Everyone? It Really Can Be Done!
How many times have you heard of companies coaching candidates for ‘senior teams’, ‘top talent’ and ‘future leaders? That is, the ‘special ones’ who are worth coaching attention! Sure, there will be talent brewing who, with good coaching, will go from ‘potentially great’ to ‘actually great’. And some brilliant coaches do great work with senior teams. However, does a ‘coaching for senior leaders’ paradigm pass scrutiny, given how organisations are changing? Or is the potential of other staff hamstrung by a short-sighted view of who is worth investing in?
At Mayden, we’ve flipped this approach. We believe everyone is worthy of investment, worthy of a chance to reach their full potential, worthy of their time at Mayden being the best it can be, and an investment that means everyone, no matter their role, can access the same opportunities to shine.
Therefore, we make coaching available to absolutely anyone who wants it. And that includes our directors. But we don’t book an external executive coach to work with them. The directors work with one of our internal coaches. Allow me to explain.
We see potential everywhere
We want great people, it’s that simple. When new members join Mayden they are not pigeon-holed according to job description or experience.
Our flat management structure means we want team members, from the outset, to make great contributions, and have the space to be creative.
If you really want to get the best from people, sticking them straight in a box on the organisation chart and expecting them to stay there is not a great strategy. Give them tools from the get go, and who knows where they might end up.
We have seen colleagues come into Mayden in ‘junior’ roles and watched them fly.
One of the ways this is possible is to offer every one of them the chance to work with a coach from the start. We want them to stretch their thinking, challenge and be challenged, to navigate the ups and downs of company life, and to see what is possible for them… and then support them in achieving it.
Want to embed something? Let people own it!
When we rolled out coaching at Mayden we wanted it to stick. We saw it as a fundamental step when we adopted self-managing teams.
Our experience? This is a great way of making something stick. Allowing people with the motivation do something to actually get on with it.
Everyone on our coaching team has a day job, whether as a marketer, software developer, or product owner. But they all share the same passion for people.
When we set up our programme, we invited colleagues to step forward and train as coaches. We were not disappointed! Some have stepped back as their roles changed and developed, and others have joined the team along the way. The important thing is every one of them wants to support their colleagues.
Some of us have done a career 360 as a result of our coaching experience. (That’s a story for another blog!). If we’d offered coaching only to our senior team, those who became our coaches would never have had an opportunity to develop a new skill set, one that really energises them, and those they coach.
The importance of purpose
Sometimes when you’re deep in the daily grind it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Where do I fit? What’s my contribution to my team and the wider company? Where do I want to go in relation to that? How can I get there when I am so…darn...busy?
I’ve heard all these questions in sessions with those I coach. In a business like Mayden, setting strategy and achieving it is a collective enterprise. It is not limited to our directors.
Every one of us has a part to play. So where does one get the headspace to figure some of that stuff out? It’s in coaching. If we all have contributions to make, we should all have access to the playing field of opportunity? Right?
Our people tell us it works!
In a survey conducted at the end of 2021, 83% of colleagues who work with a Mayden coach told us this enabled them to do work that they were unable to do before. 100% said they would recommend working with a Mayden coach.
To make sure we provide a really useful offering, our coaching team is trained to a professional level. They work to International Coaching Federation standards of competence and ethics, and three of us are certified coaches.
Our colleagues can be assured they are getting genuinely good coaching underpinned by a rigorous framework. Our directors receive that assurance too and therefore they also choose to work with internal coaches.
Hmm, sounds expensive
Sure, cost plays into every business decision. And that can be a reason why it’s often only the senior team, or ‘dead cert top talent’, that receive it.
It’s true that buying coaching packages from external providers would be a very expensive enterprise if we provided them for everyone at Mayden. However, because of the way we organise our teams, and the level of responsibility and accountability that we require from individuals to make it work, we want to make sure coaching is available to anyone in the business.
By training our own team of coaches, we achieved this quickly and cost-effectively, and at a fraction of the cost of commissioning outside coaches to come and work with everybody.
We make coaching available to everyone because we believe everyone can benefit. We want people to have the head space to grasp challenges, aim for goals, and focus on ambitions so they can offer their best contribution to our collective purpose.
We will continue to work with the premise that coaching should not be limited, but available to everyone.
So far, it’s working very well for us!
This is a guest post from Michele Rees-Jones, accredited coach at Mayden, a digital healthcare company, creating digital technology that changes what's possible for clinicians and patients. For more information on Michele and the company, check out her rebel page.