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A Personal Perspective on Leadership Coaching and its place in Occupational Health

Posted by Ann Caluori | Thu, 16/11/2023 - 11:35


Guest blog by Faye Chappell, Workforce Development Coach


People are often promoted into leadership positions because they are high performing and not necessarily because they want to become leaders. The transition to a leadership position can be a lonely one. High performing individuals can find the transition from ‘doing’ to ‘leading’ challenging. Feelings of imposter syndrome can develop, negatively impacting confidence.


The leadership training that I was provided with at the start of my career focused on HR policies and procedures – with emphasis on management as opposed to leadership. When I was offered leadership coaching, it was eye opening – I made considerable steps towards becoming a leader. Coaching is a managed conversation between two people, a coach and coachee, with the purpose of unlocking potential, through a process of goal setting, supported by listening and powerful questioning.


Previously I experienced situations that left me feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and unsure of next steps; but the artful questions posed by my coach enabled me to become more self-aware and to identify strategies and behaviours that worked in improving my relationships, efficacy, and effectiveness. The benefits were plentiful – for me, the team and the organisation. It unlocked improved performance through the development of leadership behaviours but also enhanced by mental wellbeing. I was better able to face challenges and was no longer daunted by potentially difficult conversations or by change, and this resulted in me experiencing less strains within my role. I felt less stressed and had greater job satisfaction.


These benefits cascaded to the team. I recognised the importance of coaching conversations and used these to encourage problem solving and professional development. I proactively strengthened relationships which then allowed for more open and frank discussions, sharing ideas and giving feedback. The team became more resourceful, creative, and productive.


For the organisation, leadership coaching can be useful to attract, develop and retain people. It supports improved efficiency, effectiveness and wellbeing but helps to create a workforce that feels invested in, valued and loyal, which, given the challenges that many organisations currently face in respect to attracting and retaining top talent, is an incredibly powerful tool.


Since becoming an accredited practitioner coach, I have delivered leadership coaching to health and social care leaders and have seen the benefits which I experienced widely replicated. Leaders have reported that coaching has given them headspace and supported them to feel better equipped to deal with change and challenge.


Leadership coaching is a supportive tool for all leaders whatever the stage of their career and is particularly beneficial when working with an emotionally intelligent, resourceful, and motivational leader who is receptive and open to the coaching conversation. Leadership coaching helps bridge the gap between people’s current state and their potential.


I suggest it should be used by organisations within occupational health, to nurture talent.


I am sure we will see quite a different workforce in the next few decades. What we know we can control is helping to develop inspirational, productive, and visionary leaders. Through investment in effective leadership, organisations can unlock that potential – positioning themselves in the best place for developing the people of tomorrow.


 Faye Chappell is a Workforce Development Coach

 and founder of Perform Well coaching.