Why do you and your business need a HR coach/mentor?

Some people see HR as just putting all the policies & procedures in place and I have met many people outside of HR who just see HR as cumbersome and stifling. Where this could potentially be true in organisations where HR is not working in collaboration with operations and the business, HR is so much more than policies and procedures! HR touches the whole business and is truly the ‘people department’. That’s why it’s important the HR team are ‘on point’ which is where HR Coaching comes in!

From recruitment to training to dealing with people issues to change programmes (and so much more), there’s just so much HR gets involved with and it’s one of the reasons I love HR and have been doing HR for so many years!

Any bias aside, HR is truly a fundamental part of any organisation. However, I do think that often, HR professionals will organise everyone else’s development, coaching, training but often will neglect their own and often, it will not occur to the business to think about development for their HR team.

“Often faced with having to organise learning and development opportunities for the rest of the organisation, HR professionals tend to be the last on the list when it comes to creating worthwhile opportunities for themselves..” Personnel Today

In my own career, I’ve had to improvise a lot along the way, particularly in the earlier years, as I wanted to progress and climb the HR ladder. I started my HR journey in hospitality as part of being a hotel manager and just started doing bits of HR as part of that role; managing people, training people, sorting out disputes and recruiting. Over the next few years I realised I wanted to move into HR full time and started my CIPD. Eventually, I moved to my first stand alone HR role in Manchester.

Thinking about my journey though, there are times where I wish I would have had a bit of a HR mentor, a coach to help me along my journey, some HR coaching. In the hotel role and in my first stand-alone HR role in particular, there were no HR Directors (or any other HR role above my own) so I was almost self-taught in some respects; going off what I had learned through doing my CIPD, my natural instincts about what was right, using resources online and speaking to contacts where I could to clarify things.

If you work in a large organisation, more likely there will be those senior HR roles who can offer advice, HR coaching and/or mentoring (if they have the time) but certainly in smaller companies, often you will find a HR Advisor or a HR Manager and they might have limited experience/knowledge. Perhaps they are still quite early on in their HR career (as I was when I could have used a mentor) or perhaps they are fine doing what they are doing but then if the company grows, merges, downsizes, they might not have the experience to deal with those ad hoc, larger or irregular change programmes/projects.

I’ve spoken to many other HR professionals who tell a similar story and more recently, since opening my own HR consultancy business, HR professionals who want my services to help them learn and get to the next stage in their career. One HR Manager was involved in a growing business and hadn’t dealt with mergers and TUPE before so needed support and HR coaching with that, both in terms of actual help doing consultations (as there was only her and one other HR person and they had to consult with quite a lot of people), but also in terms of supporting her through the process. Another person wanted me to get involved with his team, coaching and training them and also generally doing some more of the day to day HR which meant that he had more time and could then do some projects which would raise his profile as perhaps the next HR Director for the Company. Another business wanted me to coach their HR Administrator as that was the only HR role they had and they wanted her to learn and progress.

It is interesting, if you google HR coaching, there’s a lot of information on how a HR professional can coach others but in terms of finding a person to coach your HR guys, not so much!

I was reading an article from Personnel Today which asked HR Professionals “how do you manage your ongoing career and knowledge development?”, just 13.3% of respondents said that they had a mentoring relationship with someone inside the HR function, while a further 4.7% used mentors from outside HR to develop their careers.”

There is much more information available these days and places where people can gain other’s opinions such as forums, groups on LinkedIn and so on, but there’s definitely still a place for one to one coaching and mentoring for those wanting to progress in their HR careers. Since opening my own HR Consultancy I have sought counsel myself, not so much in terms of HR but more in terms of how to run and market a business, how to attract clients and so forth – There’s always things you can learn from others!

So, if you’re a HR professional and could benefit from some coaching, mentoring or HR support in general or you’re a business with a junior HR person/team who could use a little nurturing, get in touch and see how Inspire Excellence can help you!

“Each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out. Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen”– Pete Carroll