HR Advisors Conference Blog

Further thoughts from the conference or about the challenges of being in an HR Advisory role.

The best coaching session I’ve ever had!

I was looking forward to Tracy Sinclair and Mary Britton’s session at the HR Advisors Conference on Coaching Principles at Work. Coaching is an area that has many misconceptions including that it’s soft and fluffy and just about having a chat with open ended questions. It’s also gone through many evolution’s from being used as a punishment for someone who wasn’t performing to now being a strategic driver for companies wanting to develop a coaching culture.

Mary and Tracy

Tracy and Mary talked about the 30,000+ research studies that now sit behind coaching all showing the positive impact that it has on your brain, your work and on your life.

Mary said that skilled coaching opens up fresh conversations and new solutions. It’s about creating results in decision making – being able to make better decisions and with more confidence.

Tracy discussed that coaching is partnering together and both working towards someone’s goal.

There are 3 key ways that coaching is being used in businesses:

  1. Using external coaches: If you have specific coaching needs then bringing in an external coach can be a great way to achieve results. You should always check the credentials of your coach as anyone can set themselves up as a coach. Tracy is on the ICF (International Coaching Federation) Global Board and recommends that experienced coaches will be a member of the ICF, or other similar bodies.


  1. Using internal coaches: Many companies are now training up internal coaches. This is an excellent transferable skill for managers or supervisors, but also a role that HR can take. There is skill involved in a being a great coach, so making sure that your internal coaches are fully trained will get the best results. From the global ICF survey, 70% of organisations now have internal coaching capability and 20% are looking at introducing this!


  1. Managers or leaders taking the coach approach: The other option is for managers or leaders to use a coaching approach with their teams, or for the company to build a coaching culture from a strategic level. The ICF website has information about the winners of the Prism award. This year GSK won and in 2013 a school in Turkey won by showing the impact their coaching culture had on the entire community.


Mary also shared that coaching should be used ethically to grow performance. It shouldn’t be used to get information about someone who isn’t performing, for HR to then work through a disciplinary process and fire that person (which has happened).

Tracy then demonstrated what skilled coaching looks like by running a short coaching session with me. Earlier in the conference we had talked about personality styles and I’m a bit of a peacock, so I leave things to the last minute. Tracy helped me analyse why this happens and what I might do about it.

Now I’ve had coaching sessions before however they have always been very transactional. Often using the GROW model, they cover off where you are now, where you want to be and what options you have. And those discussions are useful at a base level. But the difference in the session Tracy had with me was amazing. She immediately created a very safe environment for me to discuss things with her, and took me down paths I hadn’t thought of.

It was transformational coaching.

And the best coaching session that I’ve ever had.

HR’s role is going to change rapidly in the next couple of years and I truly believe that becoming skilled coaches is going to be a vital competency for any HR person to have. I also think that managers and leaders taking the coaching approach, especially with Generation Z now coming into the workforce and having coaching as a strategic driver is going to be the difference between successful and non-successful companies.

Tracy runs training programmes on developing your coaching skills as well as coming and coaching so if you would like to know more please visit

Mary Britton is a co-founder of Coaching Pacific who also run programmes in the UK and New Zealand. For more just visit

Mary Tracy banner

I wanted to thank Tracy and Mary for a great session and demonstration – and know many in the room were inspired to look into how they can utilise coaching at work to get some powerful results!


Angela Atkins MC’ed the HR Advisors Conference 2017 in London last week. She is the People and Learning Director for Elephant Group NZ and Elephant Group UK – and also developed the Management Bites training programme. She is best-selling author of the bites series of books and is passionate about helping HR and managers create better businesses. You can follow her on Facebook or there is more on her blog HRManagementBites.


One comment on “The best coaching session I’ve ever had!

  1. Tracy Sinclair
    July 26, 2017

    Great insights on how coaching is and can be leveraged so successfully within organisations!


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This entry was posted on July 24, 2017 by in HR leadership and tagged , , , .

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