Since taking on the role of KC Communications Operations Manager, my remit has expanded to take responsibility for the professional development of the team by implementing formal mentoring and peer coaching to achieve further success for the business as a whole through its greatest asset – its people!
KC Communications has had a long term commitment to professional development having invested in both internal and external training support, and perhaps most significantly implemented one to one peer mentoring, allowing the team to work together to explore and enhance their personal strengths further.
As a team, we communicate a lot about learning and development and had been looking at ways to enhance our mentoring programme to support career development. As we have a relatively new junior team in place, who would benefit from collectively working together we decided to trial a different format of peer coaching, commonly known as a coaching circle.
With UK Coaching reporting that nearly nine million adults received coaching last year, the benefits of coaching are seen widely. A coaching circle is an opportunity for members of the team to share ideas, challenges, strengths or any issues they are having. At KC, our junior members of staff form the circle, with my role being the facilitator, to ensure discussions stay on track, are focused and individuals come out of the sessions with clear actions and are accountable in future sessions.
Forming the circles with members of the team with the same or similar job roles allows those facing similar challenges to be addressed collectively so that issues can be resolved and individual progression develops at a faster pace; it is often that people with similar job roles will face the same challenges but may not raise these personally due to a variety of factors such as lack of time, confidence or simply not feeling they have the mental space to address their challenges.
The coaching circles take place each fortnight, where individuals will each bring something to the circle to focus on. This allows the focus to be across each member of the team equally, allowing everyone to speak and contribute. There is also time within each session for a general discussion around other topics that may be of benefit for the group to discuss.
To ensure individuals are accountable for the actions they take from these sessions, in between the circle sessions the team will connect for a ‘lightning round’, a quickfire question on how they are sticking to their agreed action from the session beforehand.
Although we’ve only recently implemented this process, we are already seeing huge benefits from the coaching circle format as the mentor and mentee relationships are enhanced allowing for both personal and professional development. The team is able to talk freely about anything they wish to bring up in a protected space, currently virtually, but allows for colleagues to take discussions out of the circle to delve deeper into the topic discussed if necessary.
Hollie Thornton, our Account Executive says “Making the switch from 1-1 mentoring sessions to the coaching circle has brought many benefits to me personally, including being able to speak about myself in front of the team and growing my confidence discussing any issues I may have. Part of being a strong team means that when discussing certain topics, we are able to do so within a safe, protected environment such as the coaching circle.”
We’d love to hear some of the formats that you undertake within your business to support the development of your employee! Tweet us @kccomms to let us know.