Businesses across the South East are being invited to join one of the fastest-growing coaching and mentoring networks in the country.
The Kent Coaching and Mentoring Network – which was exclusive to the public-sector – is throwing open its doors to help private enterprise take full advantage of the economic recovery, urging companies to invest in their managers or risk missing opportunities offered by the improved market conditions.
Network members draw on a pool of 140 qualified coaches from a wide cross-section of skills bases in established and professional organisations. These include Kent County Council, Kent Fire and Rescue, the MCCH Society, Kent Police, Shepway District Council, Thanet Council and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.
Managers who train with the Kent Coaching and Mentoring Network receive qualifications that are accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management. To be eligible for network membership, businesses have to put forward a manager for a Level Five ILM Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring in Management. On successful completion of the certificate the manager’s company is automatically awarded network membership.
Once a business has gained membership a reciprocal coaching arrangement is then initiated and experts can be called upon at no cost to the member body. This ‘skills swapping’ is carried out via a unique online database which matches coach with coachee. The network also provides corporate membership to the Association for Coaching, two conferences a year for members and group supervision.
Paul Flaherty, Head of Learning and Organisational Development at Kent Fire and Rescue Service, uses the network as an essential tool to drive the service’s decision making to the lowest effective level.
He said: “The Kent Coaching Network is an integral part of our strategy as it uses managers from outside of the organisation to give a completely fresh and objective perspective on our issues. It exposes our staff to best-practice thinking elsewhere with the intention of it becoming standard practice in the Kent Fire and Rescue Service.”
Civil Servant Nick Moon, aged 37, used Kent Coaching and Mentoring to boost his career when he’d achieved five years in the same position and wanted to move on.
Nick, who is now a Policy Advisor at the Department for Work and Pensions, said: “Coaching gave me the confidence to bring about change which benefited me personally and professionally. As a result of coaching I had the confidence to go through a pretty gruelling application process for a new job which was a significant number of steps ahead for me.
“The continued support I get from my coach has enabled me to deal with the shift to the new job more effectively that I might otherwise have done.”
The network was founded in 2004 by one of the South East’s leading business training providers – Kent Learning and Development.