Let's Talk: Principles of Coaching

With Tim Roberts


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Coaching is a great way to create an environment for your people to feel empowered. It can get people thinking and start to challenge themselves. All which are things that contribute to super productive and successful  team.

It’s also especially useful if you’re managing team members who have recently left education and need some help to navigate their place in work.

In this Let’s Talk interview, Tim discusses with Aimee what coaching is and why it’s so important for today’s businesses. They talk about how it allows you to look at situations differently and they provide real examples about how you may apply it when coaching others.


    Watch it to see us discuss areas, including:

    • What is coaching?
    • What makes a great coach
    • How it lets you give better feedback
    • How you can look at situations differently from a bigger picture perspective.

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Aimee: Hi, I'm Aimee Bateman, career coach and founder of Careercake. Today I'm with Tim Roberts who I'm a massive fan of. Tim has worked in L&D for over a decade and you specialise in helping people - as you put it nicely - think. Think in the workplace. You’re a keynote speaker; been on loads of podcasts; super funny and passionate. Nice to see you.

Tim: Nice to see you too. Thank you. No one's ever introduced me like that before.

Aimee: I was going to say the most epic thing to come out of Warrington. That's what I should have said. Super happy to have you here. Thanks for joining us. And we're going to be talking about something that you're very passionate about, which is obviously coaching in the workplace. So how would you describe coaching to somebody that is quite new to the concept?

Tim: So, for me, a coach is somebody who creates the environment for empowerment. So, what I mean by that is the coach is the person who creates that relationship, those situations where the coachee thinks. So, for me it's the best development experience you could possibly have. I think for me it's really about giving the individual the opportunity to think for themselves, to come out of their comfort zone, to really challenge themselves. And I guess what I mean by that, I guess to put a bit of context around that - most organisations, most roles have a lot of people who get out of bed and in their head they just come to work and do the same thing. That might be a CEO, it might be a cleaner, might be an accounts administrator. Coaching really creates that situation where people really start to see things differently. Really start to go – “Okay, I have a choice” - whether I choose my attitude, my behaviours, my actions, my goals. So for me, coaching is very much about allowing the coachee to very much take control and start to make those decisions for themselves.

Aimee: When you say coachee, you mean the person that's actually being coached?

Tim: Yes. In employment, I think sometimes people miss this really, that your evolution - and I’m not talking about going from cavemen to modern day man - you come out of education and suddenly the world is a completely different place because you're now on your own, nobody gives you a timetable or they might give you a contract or a shift, in terms of what time you have to be there. The expectations of your employment are just totally different to education. If you make a mistake in education, there's somebody there to support you, there’s somebody there to actually, physically say “This is what you did wrong and this is what you should do next time”. In employment, people just have completely different expectations of you.

Aimee:  And there are often consequences and a lot of people, I notice when we're doing our work, is that they're failing for the first time. So, in a lot of organisations, just trying isn't enough. They could be really high achievers and it's “Oh you get A for trying; it's okay.” And then they fail for the first time at work and then they question their value when actually that's part of the aim. That's the deal. You're going to be failing quite a lot over the next 20, 30 years, but for the first few times it’s painful.

Tim: Yeah. It's awful and there's no syllabus in work. You know? There's nothing that you can go “I’ll read that textbook and do something different.” You've very much finding your feet really. I think the key thing for me with coaching is that it really helps to develop your emotional intelligence and that's what enables you to respond in the right way in the workplace. That's where it enables you to really think more laterally and really have this bigger picture of the workplace so that you can start to go “Okay, this is my job. However, I also have to learn how to build relationships”. Who is the really important person or people in this organisation, the politics and all that kind of stuff? You have to deal with it. I think coaching for me is the only true way that you can really navigate the workplace. Because, in reality, what you're doing is navigating up here [points to head], driven by what's in here [points to heart].