Connection, Collaboration and Curiosity: Curiosity = Coaching in Business Transformation
Restructure in London Local Authority: An Opportunity to Build a Coaching Culture
The local authority were going through significant change, bringing 15 services into 4 main areas, which meant that a restructure of jobs was essential. They approached Happy Ltd who sought a collaboration with Ordinarily Different Ltd, as the Workplace Culture Specialist, to design a method of assessment that would help select the right people for the right roles, in line with the new culture they wanted to imbed within these 4 connected services. The roles were of a management level, so the council were keen to ensure the modern approach to leadership was accounted for in their assessment process and part of their culture.
The first stage was to discuss what their new focus of leadership looked like, redesigning the values and behaviours that they wanted to embed throughout the new services and therefore what they are seeking in their leaders. The centric behaviour was to be a good coach, with 6 further behaviour loosely aligned to support this. These were
Be a Good Coach: Builds Relationships, Be Empowering, Build Emotional Intelligence, Be an Effective Communicator, Willing to Reflect and Learn.
From this, a range of assessments were pulled together, featuring coaching exercises. During this phase of the assessment, the candidates were asked to coach a council staff member, with an observer present. With various pauses for discussion, reflection and feedback along the way. There was also a group exercise to ascertain their leadership, problem solving and further coaching skills. At the end of this session each candidate had a 1:1 session with an observer who gave them feedback. Later on in the day they were presented with another team based exercise to chart their progress in relation to their feedback.
The assessments were run over 3 days, with 18 people.
Throughout the assessments, a key element was providing the candidates feedback continuously as they progressed. This was important, so they had a learning journey throughout this process, and could demonstrate that they had the agility to flex their approach, and reflect and enact on feedback. They were also assessed on not only their ability to act as a good coach to those that were asked to, but to their fellow colleagues going through the process too, during the group exercises.
After every day of assessments there was a clear theme of feedback from the candidates, being that for most, despite the purpose of the assessments, they felt they had had great insights into their skills, had boosted their confidence, and learned a great deal about the importance of coaching. Some also had significant realisations within their career direction and learning and development options. This was a significant take away, since the candidates all reflected that they had realised they had strengths that had not been immediately obvious to them at the time, and were keen to continue exploring this strength and bringing it into their work.
The local authority reported that everyone who was engaged in the process had a very positive experience, which has now set the 4 new services up for success, particularly with their new focus on coaching.
After seeing all the skills and strengths available to the council, every person was placed within in a role within the organisation. A real success for the council, the residents, and the staff involved in this process.
Hiring New Teams: The Next Phase in Building a Coaching Culture Through Recruitment
After completing the round of assessments to assist with Phase 1 of the restructure, the council asked Ordinarily Different Ltd (through Happy Ltd), to come back and help them work through a new recruitment process to ensure that the new cultural focus was embedded, by getting the right staff through the door. Phase 2 of this restructure involved 55 candidates being assessed, over the period of 3.5 days.
This phase was for the level of managers and staff who were working with the service managers who had just been placed through Phase 1. This time around, the managers from phase 1 were part of the selecting process for this Phase 2. This then gave them an end to experience of how to recruit using the desired culture as the driver, as they had experienced it themselves. This also gave them empathy with the candidates, whilst also now putting their coaching and leadership skills into practice. The assessments from Phase 1 were used as the base template with many modifications, such as using different scenario’s, and less complexity in the detail of the assessments.
The results from Phase 2 were similar to the first phase, with the candidates realising new skills and attributes, and being selected for the best jobs suited to their strengths and behaviours that they showed during the assessments.
The council reported that they now have a strong team with the right people in the right roles, doing the right things, and culture of coaching and feedback is starting to grow.