Wednesday September 17, 2008
Helen Flint - Learning and Development Director
Last week I dragged my fiance along to see the stage performance of Nick Reed's new play 'Life Coach' at Trafalgar Studios starring Phill Jupitus and Amy Darcy. We'd read good reviews on the play and weren't quite sure what to expect - it's about 'finding piece of mind when you hadn't realised you'd lost it in the first place.' The theatre is intimate, seating 100 (on seats made for two, so perhaps not go with your accountant) and we were literally two metres from the stage.
Phill Jupitus was perfectly cast as the nightmare stereotypical coach Colin, spouting psycho babble and using the latest buzz words. Colin is given Wendy to coach by an existing client who needs results and a new carpet for her office. With a quick start we were both laughing at the witty one-liners as the play introduces the characters. Wendy is a hapless PA with Outlook issues and an inability to say no. She thinks she just needs a course on Outlook, whilst of course what she actually needs is a new outlook.
We were both suitably entertained and amused throughout the whole performance by an excellent cast, especially Amy Darcy's portrayal of Wendy, 'morphing from dormouse to powerhouse'. There were some very poignant and moving scenes in the play but don't worry you probably won't need a hankie unless you're the type to cry at Bambi. As the play progresses one warms to the main characters, although at times it was the blind leading the blind. There's a very poignant scene where Amy Near the end, the play comes full circle with the coach pretty much being coached by his client.
Coaching in business
This very topical, poignant and light hearted play really made me think about the coaching we do here in the Purple Palace. We firmly believe in taking the approach of business and exec coaching in our quest to help organisations become great places to work. And the power of psychometrics and team coaching does wonders for team dynamics, focus and harmony. And I also run my own life coaching business alongside my role here at learnpurple.
As with any development activity, it's really important to decide what outcomes are required before commencing and how these will be measured and fed back whilst upholding confidentiality. A qualified and experienced coach will facilitate this. It's interesting how many companies are sceptical about coaching; seeing it as a nice to have rather than giving a real return on investment. It is fascinating, though, how many successful executives employ a coach - ask one near you!
Is coaching worth the investment?
External coaches throughout the organisation can be seen as a big investment though and we are also big fans of internal mentoring and coaching programmes. Here at learnpurple our MD mentors her non-direct reports which has lots of advantages for both parties such as development and inspiration for the mentees, and an opportunity to stay in touch and up skill people for her. If you don't have such a programme in place we'd really recommend you look into it. OK so you have to do this properly and train the coaches and mentors or they could potentially reek havoc but the benefits are enormous with a well structured programme with well trained people running it.
Does anyone out there run such a programme? How's it been for you? Any advice?