We received some fantastic news at MF this week as Chairman Phil Hayes has been shortlisted for the External Coaching/Mentoring Champion 2019 award at the Coaching at Work awards.
So, we thought it would be a good time to reflect back over Phil’s more than 30-year career, gather his words of wisdom for coaches new to the industry and talk future plans…
What does it mean for you to be nominated?
"It’s all about pride in the team and the company – recognition is just the tip of the iceberg for all of the unseen efforts. Saracens have a phrase they use: TSTNS which stands for ‘the sh*t that nobody sees’. A huge amount of that goes on at MF. There are lots of people making things work smoothly and efficiently in the background so it’s fantastic that the wider team can see MF getting recognition too."
How did you get into coaching?
"It all started thanks to a career in leadership and team development in the great outdoors at the Brathay Trust in Cumbria. It was there that I got into leadership training and team building as well as some ad hoc coaching. Then things really took off when I joined the BBC in 1990 doing one-to-one work with senior leaders."
What have been your career highlights?
"There are a few to be honest. Having books published and the recognition that brings has been extremely rewarding. However, top of the tree has been seeing the team develop around me. I’ve seen a lot of people I work with for many years moving from learning to mastery. With MF they’ve been able to learn their trade and become masters. It’s very satisfying to watch."
What's changed in the industry over the last 20 years?
"A lot has changed. Qualifications have become extremely important and we’re very pleased to have developed some of the first in the UK at MF. Regulatory bodies are now involved and we’re aligned with the EMCC. The sheer volume of coaching has also increased enormously. There are many more niche coaching applications – it used to be just executive but now there’s career, transition, maternity, retirement coaching and the list keeps growing. The reach is getting much wider too. We’re really beginning to see coaching become a way of doing things in organisational life."
Where do you see things going from here?
"Coaching will continue to grow - particularly the faster and more informal types of coaching. So less of the 2-hour sessions and more emphasis on coaching as you go, on the job. Coaching was previously seen as elitist but now it is much more widespread and will continue to become so. It’s nice to see it become more democratised in its reach."
What is your favourite thing about the industry?
"What I like is I can’t see anything wrong with coaching. It benefits everyone it touches. The coachee receiving the coaching and the coach as they learn new skills as they’re doing it. Organisations benefit as they have better aligned and more effective staff and society as a whole improves as people take more satisfaction from their jobs and this has a positive knock-on effect on their personal and social life. It has that win-win quality - with inherently good values, a focus on respect for people and belief in everyone’s potential."
What’s been your toughest coaching assignment to date?
"It has to be with an executive who was testing me! He was suspicious of the merits of executive coaching and every time we got close to a conclusion he’d change the agenda. I had to call him out and challenge him on it. Once I confronted him and gave him feedback we agreed to start working properly and successfully."
What’s been your most satisfying coaching assignment to date?
"The most pleasure came from working with an ambassador in his first ambassadorial role. He’d been experiencing a lot of difficulty forming relationships with the other British agencies in the country he worked in, so we did a lot of work around improving these relationships. One tangible result of this was helping him to negotiate cooperation for an assignment of aid to an emergency region that wouldn’t have received it otherwise. This positive outcome was a direct result of the coaching so that was a real highlight for me."
What are you currently working on?
"I’m working on a few exciting projects at the moment. What I’m particularly enjoying is working with a lot of senior people in high performing environments like Nissan, Nutmeg and Saracens who are going from good to great."
What are your plans for the future?
"My main focus is on continuing to help MF and the team to develop. I’ll also continue to have more and more fun coaching and training coaches. There is huge potential in the MF team so it’s my job to be there to make sure they have a resource to fall back on."
Do you have any advice for anyone starting a career in coaching or in the early stages of developing their coaching skills?
- Practice like crazy
- Get a rigorous supervisor or mentor who will challenge you hard
- Deepen your knowledge of psychology and business – the more background knowledge you have the better and more effective a coach you’ll be
- Be fascinated by how people think and work
This nomination is well deserved for a truly inspiring career and we’ll have our fingers and toes crossed for Phil when the winner is announced at the annual Coaching at Work conference in London on the 3rd July!