WLP08 Phil Hayes and Coaching

What is a coach and why is coaching an important skill to have at work? Pilar talks to Phil Hayes, Chairman of Management Futures.

00.31 Pilar talks a bit about coaching and how our new attitude to work has enabled this profession to grow. (Transcript below.)
09.10 Phil explains what coaching is.
14.30 How leadership in organisations has changed in the past years and how coaching can become an integral part of management.
21.50 Social value in organisations and inclusivity.
24.35 The importance of self-awareness and values. (If you enjoy our chat around this, have a listen to WLP07 on Values.)

"You won't get loyalty from people unless you help them to develop quickly."

Today's episode is dedicated to coaching. And to bring you a little bit of insight into what a coach does, what a coach is and how coaching can be used back at work, I went to talk to Phil Hayes who’s the Chairman of Management Futures. This is a company based in London that specialises in training professional coaches, and we are talking business coaches, not sports coaches – although he does mention that this is an area they’re starting to look at, he talks about it at the end of the interview. So Management Futures specialises in training professional coaches, offering qualifications and they work with managers to develop their coaching skills. Phil has been in this profession for over 25 years and he’s had two books published by the Open University Press: NLP Coaching (Coaching in Practice) and also, Leading and Coaching Teams to Success: The secret life of teams.

So, in this episode, Phil explains what coaching is and why it’s a skill that is now useful to managers – and this is really the reason why I invited him onto the podcast, because I’ve seen how Coaching as a profession has grown, but I wanted some insight into why it’s grown and more importantly how it’s changed, and even more importantly why are we talking about coaching when we’re talking about management?

Phil focuses on coaching in organisations, the executive coach for example but of course there has been a rise in other styles of coaching. There is the life coach, who will help you deliberately decide what you want to do with your life. Where you want to go and help you to put a plan together that will get you there. So maybe you can call that personal coaching... There is of course the career coach, who focuses on what you want to do with your professional life.

Again, these are all quite new things. They come from a place where we think we have a choice in what we do with our professional lives. When we start to think, what do I want to achieve, what is my long-term plant etc etc. Working is not just a way of paying the bills and supporting a family, but it can also be a place where we fulfill our potential, where we become the best at something we like doing or where we pursue a cause. In a similar way to when I was talking about Happiness at Work, in the first episode of this podcast, Coaching as a profession has grown and evolved because our attitude to work has changed. We see work as something which plays a key part in our lives, which we can take control of and we are prepared to pay someone to help us to get there.

Coaching is of course all about helping the coachee find the answers within themselves, so this is also a new way of helping people grow. It’s not about consuming information or seeking advice, it’s also about taking the time to focus on yourself, to listen to yourself and then to make some decisions. I suppose the Coach is there to ask those questions which are going to generate the answers that will help you be happy, or at least happier.

There are many models and methods of coaching, from very simple ones like the GROW model, which is often introduced in management and leadership courses too to whole schools of coaching like Somatic Coaching, which, I believe, taps into the body also to release potential, but I am not sure about how this works, so if you do, please drop me a line or comment on this post.

So, back to my chat with Phil Hayes, he doesn’t just talk about Coaching but also about how management has changed. As our relationship with work changes, as our attitude to work changes, as our relationship with information changes, how we organise other people to do the work, which is the essence of management, has to change. I think I’m going to leave Phil to share his thoughts about this with you or else I’m in danger of repeating myself if I start going off on one again... I am of course thinking of how as virtual teams and remote working become more popular, we need to change how we work with each other and build working relationships based on trust, etc... And the virtual team aspect does of course leave me thinking about how, if coaching is becoming such an important aspect of management, whether it can be transferred onto those teams that rarely see each other, and if it does, what that might look like... Mmmm, food for thought and material for another podcast. If you have any thoughts on this, or any experience of it, I’d love to hear from you.

Right, let’s stay focused, which I’m not great at, and let’s move on to my chat with Phil Hayes. I went to visit him at the Management Futures office, in Central London, nearish Waterloo, so you might hear a bit of traffic under our conversation but I don’t think it will detract at all from the content. I met Phil through my good friend Sue a few years ago and I have to say, that I was really taken in by how much he cares, not just about coaching, his business and how he operates now, but since I met him, I’ve realised that he’s always looking about how he can contribute to the development of people in the future, he’s always thinking about how the focus of coaching and management needs to change to make, not just the world, but society a better place. I’m sure you’ll pick up on his genuine love for the profession through this interview.