I have been employed by London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) as an Executive Coach to support their potential and existing managers since September 2009.
Over that time I have worked with over 30 of the LEYF team. Before I undertook this commission I made it very clear that there was no reporting structure, and that anything that the coaches and I discussed was between ourselves (unless illegal or immoral).
It has been one of the most pleasurable commissions that I have ever undertaken.
I have had the pleasure to spend time with really committed and passionate people, who have been able to have the opportunity to explore their issues in a safe and totally confidential environment.
Before each ‘coachee’ is signed up, I insist that we have an initial meeting to establish rapport and agree that we can work together.
When I met my first LEYF coachee, they were understandably a bit suspicious, and concerned as to why they had been singled out for ‘coaching’ in the first place.
Through simply listening to their concerns and allowing them to explore how they felt about these, they realised that this development tool was anything but a negative (i.e. they needed to improve to manage effectively). It was in fact a recognition of their value to the organisation, who were now investing in them to help them move forward. Once ‘this penny had dropped’ the sessions were useful and productive.
We both sign a contract that has a specific confidentiality clause, unless they tell me that they are carrying out any immoral or illegal practice, anything we discuss is totally confidential. Our normal contract is six sessions, but this can be flexible depending on the needs of the coachee. In some instances three sessions has been sufficient: when we are talking about holidays and the weather we recognize that we need go no further.
On other occasions the contracts have been extended to meet the coachee’s continuing needs.
Coaching is a service that I would like to extend to other Nurseries as I have watched people move themselves forward to far through having access to this invaluable service.
Course Review by Neil King of London Early Years Foundation
“We have successfully used Alice Lewes as a coach. We wanted to provide our leaders with the opportunity to invest time into exploring how they can be the best that they can be. It can a valuable tool in supporting leaders to refine there skills outside of the management structure, where they can explore issues in depth and look at strategies and tools that will support them face the challenges of being a leader. More importantly it can provide the space for a employees to realise their strengths and to nurture themselves.
Using Alice as a coach has supported many of our leaders to deal with change, to support transitions, to complement their induction into leadership and to take the next step in their career. Alice’s ability to connect with people, her own experience and her excellent communication skills have enabled her to establish and build a strong rapport with her coachees, thus allowing them a safe and secure space to grow and develop. Also, most importantly we have shown our leaders that we want to invest in their development, and it pays dividends.
I would highly recommend Alice to other organisations who also were thinking of using coaching as a tool to develop their leaders. We will continue to use her services.”
Neil King, Director of Human Resources & Organisational Development at London Early Years Foundation (LEYF)