At some point in your professional life, you're going to find yourself being coached or playing the role of coach to someone, somewhere. It can be both exciting and rewarding. What exactly does it mean to be coached or to coach, and how can you make a positive difference from both sides of a relationship? Here, Graduate Associate, Annabel Sunnucks and Lead Consultant, Lizzie Stutchbury give their perspectives.
One of Informed Solutions’ key focuses is the personal and professional development of its people. At a formal level, structured learning occurs through industry experience gained from working on client facing projects. This learning is reinforced by InformedACADEMY, an industry-leading framework of courses that teach both general practitioner and general management skills.
In addition, the company offers learning opportunities through regular company forums called communities of practice, where teams have a chance to present, discuss and problem solve in five domain areas (Delivery Management, DevOps, GIS and Data, Software Development and User Centered Design). These sessions are open to anyone in the company with an interest in those areas.
Coaching Underpins Informed Development
Underpinning Informed’s formal learning and development structure is a coaching scheme, which provides support and guidance for developing talent at Informed. As part of this process, team members are paired with more experienced colleagues who are able to help apply training and development to everyday work challenges. The coaching experience is different for everyone, but a good coaching relationship is one where less experienced team members feel understood, reassured and advised. Beyond that, it’s about testing potential, encouraging and celebrating success.
Here, Graduate Associate, Annabel Sunnucks talks about her experience of being coached, and Lead Consultant, Lizzie Stutchbury gives her perspective on coaching at Informed.
Coaching has been a really significant part of my personal and professional development since day one at Informed. It’s never just about someone telling you what to do, how to do it and when to do it by - it’s much more personal and relatable: You get to hear about the experiences of someone who’s been in your position, find out what challenges they faced and what helped them overcome them and how best to learn fast.
For example, I’ve recently been transitioning into a role focused around wider team performance and management. It was all new to me and I had questions and apprehensions about whether I had the right skills to do the job. I also needed to learn to manage my time in a different way and to regularly communicate any capacity constraints. Working closely with my coach, I was able to discuss methods, priorities and identify an agile mindset that would help me succeed in this new stage of my career.
The most valuable coaching experience was learning about the importance of time management and not taking on more than you can handle. I’ve found that it’s so easy to keep saying ‘yes’ to everything that comes your way, especially when you know it gives you an opportunity to develop your skills. Having a coach, who has a significant interest in your growth and development has settled me and helped me to focus on the bigger picture and to prioritise my time on achieving my goals in the wider context of the company’s goals and objectives.
Informed’s coaching programme is incredibly valuable to both the coach and those being coached. As Annabel mentioned, being coached is about being supported through something new, or something you’re finding difficult, whether that’s a particular new skill or situation.
As a coach, it’s rewarding to be able to see people develop, to help them understand their potential and for them to see it and make real progress. Beyond that, being a coach encourages you to learn how to encourage others in a positive and supportive way both from your own on-the-job experience and from the coaching you had early in your career. That’s the part of coaching I enjoy the most as it really helps you feel connected to the wider team.
I have always enjoyed sharing my experiences with people I have coached. I’ve faced many of the same challenges as they will encounter, which means there is a solid and trusted platform for useful and honest sessions that make a real difference to someone’s confidence and development.
It’s a well-established view at Informed that confident and satisfied employees help organizations succeed. Our business is going through a sustained and impressive period of growth, so you could say that we’re doing some very good things with our programme.
To find out more about working at Informed Solutions, visit https://www.informed.com/uk/careers/