Only those in HR really understand what it’s like to work in HR – right? It’s so true, and when you work in HR, much of your role involves helping, guiding, looking after other people. Helping them access training, and information, and guiding them to develop in their career or role. Even in the more negative moments, such as discipline or redundancy, it’s about ‘them not you’. But with burnout in HR on the rise, what about when someone in HR needs support – especially with burnout on the rise among HR professionals? Enter HR coaches – business coaches who specifically work with HR professionals, both one-on-one and offering group coaching.
What is an HR coach?
To understand this, we need to step back into life coaching and business coaching. Life coaches have become quite a mainstream thing in recent years – compared to around ten or 15 years ago, when they were seen as glorified mentors and very ‘alternative’. Now, coaches work in many different niches, helping people across huge swathes of businesses and at different levels. One of those niches is HR.
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Taking life coaching into the professional space brings us to business coaching specifically. Business coaching is a professional service that aims to help individuals, typically entrepreneurs, executives, managers, and employees improve their business skills, performance, and overall effectiveness in the workplace. It involves a collaborative and structured process where a trained coach works with a client (or a group of clients) to set and achieve specific business-related goals.
Coaches work with clients to define clear and achievable business goals. These goals could be related to leadership development, team building, time management, sales, productivity, or any other aspect of business performance. You might find a coach will use assessments and evaluations to understand the client's strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.
It’s worth noting that the coaching industry is unregulated, and anyone can call themselves a coach. However, you will also find many coaches who have completed training courses and have accreditation to a body called the International Coaching Federation, as well as myriad testimonials from clients and years of coaching to their names.
For many coaches, the transition to coach came from a career in HR, meaning that they bring their HR experience and skills to the coaching they offer
Lorraine Petken, AKA The HR Coach, says: “HR coaching is no different to traditional coaching in its structure and format. The clients are HR professionals, so the coaching conversation is often around HR related issues as well as more generic work-related issues. The coaching sessions are goal orientated and focus on the coachee finding solutions to their own HR/ work related issues. The key benefit I find is that the coachee knows that the HR coach has a real insight into their world which enhances the coaching process, rapport and allows for a shorthand in conversation.”