In the second of our ‘How Coaching Solves Business Problems’ series, we’re going to look at the challenging subject of wellbeing in the workplace. As a society, we’re talking more openly than ever about the mental health challenges we face. While more efforts need to be made, there are certainly far more examples of people talking openly about their psychological well-being. That’s universally a positive thing. But, in some workplaces, the stigma is still very real.
The reality is where psychological wellbeing is left unchecked it can lead to stress and absenteeism. It has a knock on effect of impacting morale, reducing productivity and in many cases can cost the business and the wider economy a significant sum of money.
There’s more that organisations can be doing to support the health and psychological well-being of their employees. We’d like to share our perspective by using the AA Engineering company that we introduced in the first article in the series: How coaching solves real business problems: Transition & Readiness
AA Engineering Scenario
A new team of young professionals has been brought together to breathe new life into the marketing department at AA Engineering. John, AA Engineering’s CEO, is looking for a fresh innovative approach to how they promote the business and they want to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible.
John’s charged AA Engineering’s Marketing Director, Amanda Walters with the task of developing this new team.
Being a new team, Amanda found that they were having challenges in delivery and implementing changes. They didn’t have the wider respect of stakeholders. Their inability to set boundaries meant they found themselves saying ‘Yes’ and jumping through hoops to make progress.
At this early stage in their AA Engineering career, their focus was still on themselves and not as a collective. The team’s productivity and effectiveness were not what the business had anticipated and little progress was being made on some of the key marketing projects.
Amanda was feeling the pressure.
The People Problem
With the team not functioning collectively and unable to influence, there was a concern of team members suffering from burnout. Morale was low and Amanda could see the frustration from the team. It’s not surprising that sickness rates within the team had risen. Worse still, Ashley, one of the most talented members of the team was considering leaving the AA Engineering in pursuit of a better role.
As for Amanda, she felt most of her time was taken by managing and supporting the team. She hardly ever had the opportunity to develop the strategy or follow through on the projects that John was judging her on.
What We Did
The Know You More (KYM) coaching programme was developed so that clients can support team development. For AA Engineering, this meant that each member of the Marketing team accessed 3 individual coaching sessions and 2 team coaching sessions.
Having spent time with Amanda it was agreed that the team programme would focus on developing collective leadership and stakeholder influence.
The Know You More coach matching process meant that we could identify the best team coach from our pool of 85 within our coaching community. In this case, the ideal coaches were experts in supporting high-performance teams.
The Team Sessions
Team session 1
Know who – Collaborative skills, and collective reflection skills.
Team session 2
Know what – Teamwork and collective leadership.
The Individual Coaching Sessions
Each of the 8 team members was matched with an individual Know You More coach, against criteria based on their profile. The coaches and marketing team members established clear goals for the coaching process. These were captured within the Know You More platform for measurement throughout the programme.
While the topics discussed during the coaching sessions were personalised to each team members needs, they did also refer to the content of the group coaching sessions they attended. How to embed and sustain the learning from those sessions was also discussed.
Additionally, there were a number of themes emerging from the individual sessions which were consistent with a number of the coaching relationships. They were –
Stickability, Grit (Know how)
Developing resilience and ‘bounce-back’ started with personal reflection and self-awareness about reactions under pressure and individual stress responses. The coaches helped their coachees to focus on strategies for developing resilience and how to see these in others.
Individual emotional agility (Know You)
The other key theme was the development of emotional self-awareness and emotional self-management. This built on the group coaching sessions around teamwork and collaboration and provided the opportunity for the coachees to consider their intent and impact with wider stakeholders.
This was about supporting them to make conscious changes in behaviour and mindful choices around the impact they wanted to make.
How This Helped
The team developed a collective confidence and stronger desire to make their impact. Identifying their individual roles within the team and understanding how they could collectively lead improved the effectiveness of their communication and influence. Their ability to manage up saw productivity and delivery soar.
With a better understanding of focus and team performance, the team were able to creatively address the marketing problems they faced. This significantly reduced their sense of overwhelm and perceived workload. Increasing their sense of personal ownership and wellbeing.
What this meant for Amanda & John
With the team functioning at a higher level, Amanda was able to strategically implement and measure the marketing projects the team delivered. The improvement led to significant cost savings and an increase in new business. Amanda was doing the work she was meant to do because the team was empowered.
And, as for John, he’s just happy that the original vision for the new marketing team is now a reality.