Change Any Behaviour

The following article was written by Joy Ainley and was published in the Accountancy Age Newspaper [03-10-02]

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Accountancy Age article

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Change of climate

By reputation, mentoring and life coaching has to be the airy-fairiest subject of all time. If you were to take a cross-section of the business community and ask the question ‘What is mentoring and life coaching?’, my bet is the responses would be rather cynical. Well, my idea of mentoring is: ‘An objective-driven means of providing the individual with the tools necessary to enable them to fulfil their potential.’

‘Their potential’ in this sense is achieved through optimising their ability to use their existing technical skills.

By way of example, consider the technically excellent general who cannot motivate his men, or the incisive change manager who is unaware of the resistance he generates, or even the timid operations guru whose boss runs out of patience before his ideas are conveyed.

In each of these cases, their effectiveness is limited by their ability to achieve ‘buy-in’ from their audience, but in each case, the source of their limitations is very different and needs very different tools to address them.

Every person has different debilitating or destructive traits. Many so-called, ‘non-curable’, ‘make him redundant before I kill him’, issues can be addressed amazingly easily and much quicker than generally perceived.

With the punishing costs of recruitment and high staff turnover, the benefits of satisfying the qualitative needs of employers and employees have never been higher. It is no longer about money, it’s about worth.

The emergence of the contractor market is a prime illustration of the effect of employers ‘disposable’ view of staff, especially in the finance sector.

Thankfully, there seems to be recognition among employers that investing in the development of people in a bespoke way, rather than merely on a technical skills basis, is not only the cheaper option, but creates a different climate within the organisation. This focuses the employees’ away from the job pages, and towards the development of skills that create value for themselves and their employees.