Royal Mail to focus on management coaching

By Ross Wigham

The Royal Mail has doubled its budget for leadership coaching following criticism of its management in a report.

The group has developed a two-year, £1m leadership coaching programme that will be open to all 1,200 managers and is designed to run alongside its performance management system.

Mark Whitley, service development director, said the measures would help managers engage with employees at every level of the business.

Through the programme, over 400 managers have been set a number of clearly defined targets and a personal plan, which is evaluated on a monthly basis.

The changes have been initialled after the Sawyer report claimed that local and regional managers lacked communication and leadership skills. The report said that coaching was the key to preventing further industrial action.

“A massive number of our postmen are optimistic and proud to work for us – the question is of confidence in management,” Whitley said.

Sue Marsh, head of leadership coaching at Royal Mail, said managers would learn to adapt their approach to make them more effective in dealing with staff. The coaching also introduces a framework to help managers address their individual plan.

“Effective questioning is used to draw out responses as well as role-play, where candidates have to adapt their behaviour. We outline the approach managers should be taking on a day-to-day basis,” she told delegates at the HRD conference.

The programme focuses on team dynamics and relationship building.

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