A new development scheme for senior HR professionals is being launched to help organisations produce the new breed of results-focused HR business partner.
The Institute for Employment Studies (IES), which is launching the coaching programme, claims HR must become a business partner to survive as its traditional, transactional role is threatened by increased outsourcing and self-service HR.
Coaching Services for HR and Training Executives is designed to help HR prove its strategic value to the board and comply with forthcoming regulation that will require people management data to be published in annual reports.
The programme consists of up to 10 one-to-one sessions with coaches who all have extensive senior HR and business backgrounds.
The sessions, which will cost £3,600-£6,000 per person, are followed up with additional telephone and e-mail support.
Alison Carter, principal training consultant at IES, said the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's (CIPD) advanced practitioners qualification does not meet the demands of senior HR professionals because it is too theoretical.
"The CIPD's course is theory-based. Ours is about action. There is a danger that HR could effectively disappear if it does not get more strategic," she said.
Liz Sadler, head of Marks & Spencer's people insight unit, used the IES pilot scheme to carry out research into how effective the firm's 65,000 employees felt the HR department was.
"I found it highly effective. It was a robust way to work as I was able to use it as a sounding board and it challenged what I was doing and the methodology," said Sadler.
Nickie Fonda, strategy and business development adviser at the CIPD, said although coaching can be helpful, its philosophy is to use working parties and groups so members can network and "co-consult with peers".
By Paul Nelson