Taking the leap in pandemic times.

Who would have thought starting a new job in the middle of a global pandemic would have been a good idea? For many people it made sense to just stay put. Well, I’m not many people and it turns out, in my case it was totally the right decision for me. I have zero regrets.

Back in March 2021 I took the leap and started in a new learning & development role at the global phenomenon that is Gymshark.

I’d luckily had a great head start in L&D, and I had already started to fall in love with helping others learn and develop. But this time, a new job, in a pandemic, in a completely new environment, and a new company, and a new sector with a very new style and most terrifying of all. New people. You’re probably starting to get my drift!

Tackling the nerves.

My biggest nerves before starting my new role were not being able to forge those all-important connections which set you up for success in the organisation. How on earth was this going to work when I was at home, and they were on a screen?

By the end of my first day, these thoughts didn’t even cross my mind. You quickly begin to forget how you’re working & building relationships with people you’ve never met in real life. Virtual communications saved the day and helped me go from nerves to excitement and engagement.

Onboarding in a virtual world.

The key message of the onboarding process was to take your time, understand the business & get to know your team. This, along with plenty of introductions, catch-ups & virtual tea-breaks created a platform for these connections to grow. Now, with me being nearly 5 months into the role, I can say with 100% confidence that the rapport that has developed is some of the strongest I’ve ever had in a work environment, and for me, is quite literally priceless.

The best bits about starting a job during lockdown are all the perks that come along with working from home. No commute, flexible hours and all that jazz. What I found added the greatest value in my induction period was having more time to digest all the information that is heading your way when you’re the new boy. It really helped me to ensure that I had time to really ‘get it’.

Unexpected benefits.

An unexpected (yet golden benefit) was meeting people with one added extra. Their names were in the bottom corner of each screen making it easy for me…and meant no awkward forgotten name moments.

However, I wasn’t complaining when URL transitioned into IRL. I was amazed by Gym Shark HQ. The building, the workspaces…and don’t even get me started on REFUEL the amazing in-house food and drink hub. The first day in the office really solidified my comfort in my decision & my role.

Culture makes it work.

The culture at Gymshark is just as you expect; authentic, honest & ever evolving. For me, the most monumental part of the Gymshark culture is ‘fail fast’. Feel safe in the environment which you’re in, so much so that you’re happy to make mistakes. This helps us learn and evolve. This one has been key ?.

My advice?

In summary, and not to steal some other sporting companies’ strapline, just do it.

You will always have nerves, you will always have self-doubt, but for me, I found it the best time to make my leap, supported by strong inductions, an incredible culture, and the benefits of working at home, and then in a hybrid role. Embrace it. Absorb it. Enjoy it.

Is it just me or does time feel strange right now?

Time has been feeling weird for a long time now, but in the last few months, it’s been a whole different kind of weird.

Some days go by so fast they barely register and then some days, you know the ones, they simply drag like time is almost standing still. There are days when I find myself thinking ‘where has this day gone’, but also, why does this day feel so familiar? You’ll all have felt this. It’s the dreaded Groundhog Day effect. 

Before I continue, I know I’m not the only one experiencing time very differently, and I’m acutely aware that millions of others don’t have work at all – in that sense, many of us literally do just have more time on our hands than usual.

The very concept of time doesn’t feel normal anymore…and apparently (after jumping into google and reading up about this) if you feel like I do, then I have some good news. It’s okay to feel like this!

It’s completely normal to feel life right now has warped our perception of how days, week and months pass by. We can all breathe a deep sigh of relief as we realise it’s actually a ‘thing’.

My initial research told me that there are many psychological processes that make up our understanding of time, and this then affects the way we see the world. Here’s one for you. How is it that January this year felt like the longest month ever and then February disappeared before our eyes?

Once again, I googled some more, and found myself spiralling down a rabbit warren of cognitive neuropsychologist science. In essence, what they say is that the things that we tend to use as ‘anchors’, to mark the passing of time or a specific place in your memories, have no longer been occurring, (because our world has changed so dramatically) which then contributes to this altered perception of time that we are all experiencing right now.

Look at it like this. Think of all those events we had to cancel in 2020. The well-earned summer holidays, the summer weddings, the birthdays, the travel, shopping till you drop (maybe that’s just me) going to the office, doing our jobs and all the normalities that changed overnight leaves us feeling lost, because nothing of value or interest really separates one month to the next.

We simply stopped making our anchors.

So, there must be a reason for this disorienting sense that time is malleable and inconsistent. Right?

In my reading and research, those same clever neuroscientists have worked out that there is not a single organ or system in the body responsible for timekeeping. In fact, psychologists have identified many factors that affect our sense of time, some of which explain our heightened awareness of it this year.

It’s been suggested that the way we feel time is passing is connected with our level of focus or our physical state and even our mood.  So, if we’re multitasking, and we’re busy with many different things at once, we have less attentional resources to monitor the passing of time, which means we might feel that it’s passing more swiftly.

Unsurprisingly; it’s been suggested that particularly negative emotional events can change the way in which we remember the timing of them. In fact, negative emotional events may even actually produce a time dilation effect, (which sounds like something from The Matrix) but it means that you perceive the time is passing much more slowly, We have all been through something awful, and we all remember how long it seems to last. So after all that, the weird passing of time in the last year isn’t just a quirk or you losing your mind. It’s more likely that something is going on, deep inside your brain, to alter how you experience the time.

This article just scratches the surface of understanding how we perceive time and it’s relation to our emotions and behaviour, and we haven’t even touched on the impact of Mercury being in retrograde!

So what have I done to help myself? I’ve found focusing on becoming more self-aware has helped me. I’ve been looking at how I perceive time, not only in different moments, but also for different situations and for different things that play on my mind. It takes practice, but I’m starting to spot some of the research I’ve shared with you in my own behaviours.

In summary, whether you’re feeling time is going too fast, too slow or simply too repetitive; you are not alone and you are normal. 

As we all become more self-aware, we develop the process of unlearning and relearning something different in order to survive and thrive in this new normal.  Our usual anchors may be missing at the moment, to help break up our days, so it’s up to us to actively shape our own years and rebalance our perception of time.

My final thought? As you find yourself progressing through 2021, be aware of the ‘illusion of time’. It might just be playing tricks on you.

Aysha Haynes

You can learn more about Aysha here.


Spot the signs of WFH burn out.


Let’s face it. 2020 was a year to be remembered, or forgotten, depending on your experiences!

The amount of enforced change that we experienced was unheard of, and yet we’re still here, working hard and, more importantly, working remotely into 2021 and we are nearly at the half year point already!

Around the world millions of people made the very quick transition from an office to remote working and whilst some of us out there will have experienced this before, for many, it was something completely new, and in some cases, terrifying.

Dependant on the company you work for, their culture, their technology and their degree of future focus the experience of remote working has been vastly different for most people.

In a lot of cases employers started to panic about the simple fact – is the work going to still get done?

In reality, for the most part, it needn’t have been a concern. Productivity is linked to wellbeing and remote working for a lot of people has boosted the latter, therefore driving the former.

Obviously, this isn’t the picture for everyone, and we recognise that. Remote working doesn’t fit everyone’s lifestyles.

However, for those who are delivering the same, if not more, whilst working at home, there’s something else employers should be concerned about more than a drop in productivity.


This is not a drill. This is real. The risk that this will happen is high. Remember that oh so controversial song, Blurred Lines? That is what is happening now because the line between work time and home time is disappearing fast.

For some it’s the fact that they don’t have an office and seeing work equipment keeps their work brains always on.

For others they are feeling the fact their employers are focused on productivity and they don’t want people to think they’re not working. So, they work more.

Routines like breaks, lunch, meetings, chats by the coffee machine – they have all disappeared leaving only work in their place. Yes, we have Teams or Zoom, but it’s simply not the same. We don’t mean for a second that your working day should be all gossip, chit chat and eating, but it helps you strike a healthy balance, one that is being lost at home.

There is tons of research out there that repeatedly tells us that we must keep our work and personal lives separate. It is hard enough already to switch off after a particularly hard day, but when there is no escape it can have a profound effect on our mental health too.

In some cases, you as an employer. will start to spot burn out. You need to start looking for the signs.

Always on. Late night replies. Teams replies. Working through lunch. Frustration. Irritability. They might start making mistakes or taking longer to do work than before. It’s vital that you catch it early.

We’ve done the hard work for you and come up with 4 simple tips to help you stop working from home burn out affecting your team.


Your team are guided by you, they copy how you behave. You need to model the behaviour that you seek.

If you reply late at night, if you skip lunch, if you never say no then the chances are, you’re creating an army of followers that will do the same. If your team is particularly loyal, they may also see this as helping you and won’t want to let you down. Set some rules for the team and get buy in about what you think is fair and acceptable when remote working is in effect. Share them, review them, and most importantly stick to them.

For example, if you must send a late-night email, then change your signature to say that you choose to work at this time, but you don’t expect others to respond. A small message like that goes a long way to keep the culture on track.

Don’t do the very things you want them to avoid or it’s going to be a noticeably clear case of mixed messages!


Many people working from home are trying to replicate the work routine and structure, especially those with childcare to consider. Guess what? It doesn’t work. Think flexibility with the team and let them know its ok not to be sat at their computer at exactly 9am if they’re still getting a child into school or setting up children with activities. You must focus on the work that gets done, not the exact times it happens.

Make sure they know that they can take lunch, that its ok to grab 5 minutes, to walk the dog, to collect their food shopping, because if they cut all those things out for work, the remaining things bump over into personal life…and it won’t fit, and then stress becomes a factor, which takes us back to burn out.


You do not want a team of busy fools. You need to help them prioritise if they cannot do it themselves. Help them see that its ok to not work on everything at once, that its most likely 3-4 hours will be one big chunk of work and the rest of the day will be smaller tasks, or multi-tasking and that there are times it’s ok to not be actually doing something. Thinking, reflecting, analysing, deciding…these things all take time too.

Working flat out, 9-5, day after day is not healthy and once again, will lead your team to burn out.


Set up a regular time that its ok to be social. Consider virtual coffee breaks, a virtual team lunch, a quiz, a birthday sign song. Factor these in and make them become healthy habits. It’s a clear sign from the leader that it’s time to stop, it’s time to let work go, and it’s time to relax a little.

Make sure you attend where appropriate, always ask people what they did in the evening or at lunch and continually build the belief that its ok not to be working all the time. We suggest you work with your team to encourage ownership of this, so that it’s their thing not yours.


If you don’t want your team to suffer from working from home burn out then try to spend a few minutes now, thinking about what you just read, and see if you can spot the signs (in them, or even in yourself) and try to implement at least one of our 4 tips.

Remember – your team are looking to you to care for and nurture them, regardless whether you’re in the office or not.

The Emojis are coming.

Have you noticed the rise of emojis in learning?

They’ve been around for ages, helping us to get across our feelings with funny faces and ROFL but they hadn’t quite transitioned over to learning, until now.

Our visiting friend, COVID19, has helped these cheeky little digital icons make the jump from messaging to webinars. Both Zoom and Teams are now incorporating them as instant indicators of how a learner is enjoying (or not) the session you’re delivering.

They can tell you to slow down, to go back, to speak up and even just give you some love for that last bit of learning.

As a trainer, this is essential when you cannot see everyone’s faces, but it also helps delegates to express their emotions in a scenario that doesn’t feel quite normal yet. 

Instant, visual, engaging feedback.

We’re loving that we get instant, digital and easy to understand feedback at the exact moment a learner feels it. For us, it boosts engagement, keeps us on track and helps the group see when the lightbulb moments are happening. We’re loving this at Well Prepared Training and are incorporating into our chat activities and methods of learning and feedback.

But, the most important question of all, which emoji would you choose? Ours has to be the LOVE emoji…who can resist those hearts for eyes!

Are we screening out of love?

By now pretty much every organisation will have given into the power of a screen for a meeting, catch up, training session or information download. They arrived in a virtual flash, like a knight on a white horse, galloping into our lives and saving the proverbial day. Fast forward to 2021 and they’ve been with us for some time now, taking over our lives in both work and social situations.

It’s starting to become a little less ‘hero’ and a little more ‘frenemy’,

No article these days is complete without a little data. The Harvard Business School recently completed some excellent research and we’ve taken inspiration from it for this piece.

By the end of this post, we think we’ll have given you a glimmer of hope to help you reignite some va-va-voom into your za-za-zoom by using the lost art of telling great stories.

Anyway, back to the study, which polled over 3 million people across 16 global cities and came back with one resounding fact (that likely won’t really shock you).

Since March 2020, the average workday has increased and we’re attending more meetings than ever before!

The research found that we’re working on average nearly 50 minutes! (or 8.2%) per day in the new world which we’ve found ourselves in.

Those extra meetings we’re all attending? For most of us, it’s an extra 2 a week being squeezed into our schedules (but for some many more as suspected micro-managing kicks in).

The way we are experiencing these meetings? Yep, you’ve guessed it, most of them are courtesy of our knight in slightly tarnished armour, the virtual screen.

What you’ll undoubtedly start seeing soon, if not already, is the start of ‘screen fatigue’. Each meeting becomes an led powered blur, your eyes begin to tire under the strain to constantly make eye contact. The need to look engaged and interested is essential now there’s no longer an escape from the ever-present glassy gaze of the camera.

A single flinch, a suspect eye roll, a pensive lip bite, or even just a quick distracted gaze out the window can now give the wrong message to every other person in a meeting. Just. Like. That.

You’ll be finding by now that people are less and less remembering to try to engage others in a virtual meeting. The initial flurry of ice breakers, challenges, check-ins, polls, chats, videos and even having ‘mandatory fun’ have just dried up. All of a sudden, the virtual meeting has become such a familiar part of the daily routine that we’re suffering burn out from an amazing tool, expedited by its global usage through a pandemic.

If you’re delivering or experiencing training, then the job is now a little harder. It’s difficult to get a temperature check on the room when everyone’s face is made of cold hard pixels.

And if the camera is off? Well, that’s surely a sign of either poor WIFI or maybe a case of ‘I don’t want to be here’.

You can’t always see faces because there’s a clunky slide deck or another shared screen in the way. Something designed to connect us, is in some cases, now having the opposite effect.

So, how do we save virtual screens from the ultimate unfriending?

We need to fall back into our original lovefest with screens and virtual meetings. We need to remember to use the medium we have to its fullest. We need to add some rich beautiful media, images, icons & music. It’s now time to treat ourselves again to extra servings of engaging videos and fun interactions and then liberally sprinkle them across our meetings and training sessions just like we do with chocolate over our fancy cappuccinos (skinny with nut milk of course)

Let’s rediscover the love and excitement for the use of a poll and bring back the sparkle in our eyes when a chat box pops open, just like when we did in the honeymoon period. It’s time to rekindle those feelings and there’s one trick up our sleeve that could truly save the day. Storytelling.

Learning to tell a great story.

We need to remember to tell engaging and insightful stories to our listeners, whoever they might be.

This is proven to be an effective way to capture and then hold onto people’s valuable attention, and guess what? A story, well told, is so much more valuable and easier to recall compared to boring old facts and miserable old bits of data. 

Remember most of the old wife’s tales you know, but aren’t quite sure why or how you remember them? You’re confused that these stories have stuck in your minds so well when you cannot remember your 18th secure log in password of the day? That’s because you were told it as a story, and lo and behold, it stuck.

Now, not everyone can tell a story, but it’s not rocket science. A little structure goes a long way.

You need a defined beginning, middle and end. Long drawn-out meetings – we’re looking at you.

You need to draw the listener in, with something enticing, a hook if you like, so the listener is in no doubt about the all-important ‘what’s in it for me’?

A good story always has a hero and a bad guy to help prove your points and bring the situations to life. Your bad guy might take the form of budget cuts, but you use him just the same.

If you want to end on a high, then finish up with a ‘moral of the story’ situation. Proves a point. Ends the story. Resonates, and everyone loves a moral high ground. Fact!

Now. If you’re still on the fence then bear in mind that data (again) tells us that when we share anything, it’s shown to be up to 20 times more memorable when told as a story, within a meeting, a speech, a training event or webinar. Or even just a good old actual story.

So, there’s many of us right now who might be at that moment in our virtual relationship where our attention might be straying, our heads turned by another app or platform. We might still be pining for our long-lost love of the classroom or meetings room (remember them?) and seeing real faces sat on real bottoms on real chairs, but that’s not quite within our grasp just yet.

In the meantime, we’ll be reinvesting a little more time and attention into the stories we tell, and the ways and means we tell them via virtual screens and not stamping out those still warm embers of our love affair with virtual training just yet.


You can learn more about him and what he does here:


Is 2021 the year to embrace social learning?

his was the question in my brain at the beginning of last week.  I’ve heard the term and why it was important and so I knew that I’d find the answer, and much more, as I was preparing myself to join the Learning Technologies Digital Experience.

If you missed this incredible opportunity to upskill your future tech awareness, it’s a 2-week conference helping those in the world of Learning & Development learn to incorporate fresh learning tools and technology for our clients.   We’ve been twice in real life and so I knew this third experience, done virtually, would give us lots of ideas.

You can play catch up here. https://www.learningtechnologies.co.uk/ltdx-full-conference-programme-2021

So, after a little self-assessment I decided that because A) I like Social Media, B) I comment on LinkedIn and C) I’m fairly sure I’ve done a Tik Tok dance challenge at least once that I was ready to understand Social Learning.

I excitedly got ready for my session, delivered expertly by THRIVE, on ‘why 2021 is the year for social learning’. I polished my screen, selected my virtual background and practiced my best social media sparkly smile and jumped straight into the session.  Turns out, no background needed but hey, I was prepared ?


We talked about future proofing your L&D strategy by at least getting the ball rolling on this exciting innovation.

We marvelled at real world examples of some incredibly clever social learning wins with a couple of great case studies from THRIVE Learning.

I learned loads to share with our clients and so here are my key takeaways.


I thought back to when I watch my nephews ‘messing around’ on their devices and just see it as harmless play. During THRIVE’s session it dawned on me, that, in fact, they’re actually creating content. User Generated Content. It doesn’t have to be super polished and professional.

Platforms like TikTok & Clubhouse have shown that content generated by ‘ordinary folk’ (instead of uber glossy paid influencers) is vastly more engaging and becomes self-generating: 

People Create – People Watch – People Create.


We need to accept that by letting other people make content, there is a fear of losing control. The mindset shift that’s needed here is that your people are already doing social learning over coffee, in team meetings, 121’s and on virtual calls – you’re simply giving the rest of your organisation access to it.

Trust the individual & your existing culture.


There may be concerns that this new user generated content won’t support or align to strategic aims or your culture. We need to see this content as insight into what people actually need for their day-to-day work – you’re actually getting closer to your organisational needs as a result.

This doesn’t replace your L&D strategy; it simply enhances it.


We don’t quite have the same budgets as the global social giants so don’t panic – we already know we won’t be quite as ‘cool’ as TikTok, but this is about your tone & a desire to co-create a social-learning space for your teams. Pick your people wisely and use those that want to get involved & create ideas – they’ll want to cascade & generate interest themselves. 

Start small if you need to and build your content and following as your grow.

In summary, I opened my eyes to a world where I’m not always responsible for all the content, or the learning, or even sourcing it. Frightening? Maybe.

But if users are generating content that I can celebrate, share and use to support a future where everyone learns, who am I to argue?

Consider me a future social learner and trust me, next time I’ll be paying way more attention to the nephews creating content.

Sara Hickman

Are you hiding in your comfort zone?

Look around you. Does it feel safe?  When did you last take a risk?

We mean a real risk, one with consequences, not like trying the new blend at Starbucks or risking a smiley emoji on the next work email.

It is so much easier to stay in the relative safety of a warm padded comfort zone then take the chance that something might just go wrong and the easiest possible response? Avoidance. Why make yourself feel uncomfortable if you don’t have to. Right?

Sadly. While this might work for you for the short term in the long run it’s not a great strategy. Doing something new, different, and perhaps even risky, is simply a part of the world we work in today. And without the skill and courage to take the leap, we can miss out on those opportunities for growth.

Here’s 3 top tips from us to boost your confidence to do it differently.

  1. Revisit those excuses!

Spend a little time looking back on the reasons and excuses you’ve used to not come out of your safe place. I don’t have time. It might go wrong? I might look silly. It’s easier to go with the flow. I don’t want to upset anyone. Sound familiar?

Would you accept these excuses for anything else? If your team gave them to you would you allow it? Often when we look back, we realise we’ve been taking the easy option, and if you always do, what you’ve always done, you can’t be surprised that you always get what you’ve always got.

  1. Don’t make one giant leap for mankind….try a baby step first.

It can feel way too intimidating to step outside the zone of safety and make a leap. We get it, sometimes the risks outweigh the perceived benefit. How about this, identify where you do sometimes make some growth, an area you do feel more comfortable to stretch yourself in and then just steal a little bit of that confidence, and use on a different topic. A baby step. No leaping, just testing the water and seeing that it could be worth the risk. If you see that it wasn’t as bad as you thought your brain will find this risk a little easier on round two. Keep working on it.

  1. Bite the proverbial bullet

For you to really step outside your comfort zone, you have to do it, even if it’s uncomfortable. And trust us, it will be! You need to dig deep and put some steps in place to force you to take the plunge. Let’s say you hate talking in front of others (there’s millions that do!). Think back to all those excuses, toss them aside, agree a baby step and postpone the giant leap and then bite the bullet and volunteer to share next months results ar the team meeting. A small step, lower risk, and lower chance of scaring you to death if it doesn’t work out. Everyone has to start somewhere and as the saying goes, nothing good comes from comfort zones.

If you need help with making changes, stepping outside your safe spaces or just getting something new off the ground then you can chat to us here.

Are you and your business really ready for rise of flexible working?

We’re sure by now you’ve noticed the biggest shift in both where, and the way we work in human history. COVID19 has changed the landscape of work in a way no-one ever expected. The world of work has suddenly shifted, and flexibility will become one of the keywords of 2020. 

For many organisations, this was simply no big deal, with the right technology, ethos, culture, and people that had already embraced home working it must have felt like just another day at the virtual office.

But, for millions of people, this was the biggest shift in flexible working they have ever experienced in an incredibly short period of time.

Businesses without the right technology suddenly couldn’t work, employees who were used to a set start & finish time, a familiar desk, drawers, and a favourite seat in the canteen had their world turned upside down. The answer? Work at home. Now. Done. Overnight millions of people relocated their work to the kitchen table, office, dining room and sofa.

After the initial pain that comes with rapid change it has undoubtedly shown them, their businesses, and the clients that yes, the rumours were true, we can actually work at home and still get the job done.

Right now, your people are working flexibly in a way you never imagined, and guess what? They’re getting used to it and that is going to be a very difficult thing to take back. The working at home flexibly genie is already out of the bottle.

What’s happening now, after over 100 days of experience is many of these employees are becoming aware of just how, where and when they can work in the most effective way, and for many, they now want to change their working lives to suit this.

This is leaving many organisations that didn’t have them, scrabbling to create or adapt policies, in order to build a more flexible working culture that’s now needed, plus meet the demands of the future employees they may need to hire as well.

You don’t need to come back to the office. Ever!

Organisations around the world will be reviewing their structures, office rents, equipment costs and some will have already made some snap decisions. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter has already told thousands of people who are now working brilliantly at home each day – You don’t need to come back to the office. Ever!

So, are you starting to think about the future of flexible working for your people? If the answer is not yet, then this is something that needs your attention now.

It’s important to recognise that flexible working will only really be successful if it is available to everyone, allowing anyone to use and adopt a flexible working pattern within their organisation. Yes, there are certain roles that will always need to work in an office, we get that, but for millions of people, they can work perfectly well at home, and the jobs are getting done even though they’re juggling kids & homework, housework, cramped conditions, lockdown and unusual hours. Imagine how much more productive they can be as some of those factors start to become more normalised.

Moving from your traditional, 9-5 working pattern might seem like a huge, and uncertain step, but the benefits of embracing a flexible culture for both employees and for your business are huge. If you ever wanted to do a study or get some data on how this could work for your business, that time is now, you have a real life pandemic that’s providing you with everything you need to see how flexible working will suit you and your people.

A recent study completed by Timewise found that 87% of all full time employees either already work flexibly or have said that they want to and for those that are looking for flexibility in a new job the number jumps to 93%!

Most of the current workforce in 2020 is increasingly made up of multiple generations; from those in first jobs in a resurgence of apprenticeships, those who are career focused, some who may be edging into raising children right through to the baby boomers who are looking to ease into their retirement. The spread of employee experience has never been higher.

As a  business, moving through these crazy times you can get a head start on the change that is, without doubt coming, by already starting to create a flexible working culture which will allow you to manage and successfully support different teams with different needs and still grow your business.

If you start doing this now, difficult as it may seem, your people will move with you, as they can see what’s coming too, and when you do this right it dramatically affects not just the welfare and overall happiness of your employees, but also, it has a direct impact on retention, performance and motivation – which all, in turn, affect the bottom line.

Your people are the heartbeat of any company, and by allowing them greater control over their work-life balance, you will create a culture of value, trust and respect.

We have moved ahead in the space of a couple of months, into a new era of working (that has been gradually building in the background) and for the foreseeable future flexible working will be the norm.

Right now, there is probably some kind of home-working office in every home, most people have multiple devices, most have unlimited minutes on mobile phones and super-fast fibre pulsing through their home. Right now, travel and accommodation costs are reduced, and you’ll be wondering why you dint do meetings via video call before? The environmental impact will be massive as the amount of travel by cars and planes will reduce significantly, and it’s all making businesses look back at what they had and say, “was that actually the best way to do things?”

Pretty soon, it is much more likely we will exist in a world where it doesn’t cross your minds about when, how, or even where to work. That future is closer than you think, for some of us, it’s already happening, and the sweet spot, most people are more productive!

With dramatic change like this, you need to help your people along the journey. Whether its change management, coaching, resilience, remote leadership, soft skills, management programmes or even webinar training at Well Prepared Training can help. Reach out to us today and see how we can help you make your business flexible working ready.

Get in touch today.

Creating and driving a Coaching Culture

It’ll probably come as no surprise to many of us who’ve been harping on about this for years, but growing numbers of organisations are finally putting people at the centre of their plans for success – and more and more it’s going hand in hand with a coaching culture.

But for any business to truly capture the benefits of coaching that also requires something else that isn’t so easily achieved. A shift in perspective.

For too long coaches are deployed as a last resort, when all else fails and when no-one else really knows what to do. Too often its only for the elite, or those struggling. This is not the change we are looking for.

To create a true coaching culture, coaching has to become a genuine part of the DNA of the whole company. Now that, as they say, is easier said than done. Using our wealth of experience at Well Prepared Training (way too many years to mention) we’ve come up with 5 things that you need to get onto in order to create a coaching culture that works.

Empower those that can.

One of the first things we do with our clients wanting help with creating a coaching culture is to empower their managers to coach themselves. It’s too easy to assume that everyone knows how to coach or has even been coached in the past. We develop managers with the basics of coaching and help them to understand what coaching is immediately helping them to start role-modelling coaching behaviours. We don’t stop with just one 2 one sessions; we encourage group coaching at different levels and Coaching doesn’t just have to happen at the individual level either. Give teams the skills and tools to run group coaching sessions and help them see the benefits of peer to peer sessions too.

Get the board on board.

We all know this. It varies from business to business but more often than not change is led from the top and if they’re not buying into it – it’s most likely going nowhere. We engage the boards of the clients we work with by encouraging them to experience the benefits themselves so they can become a future role model in their worlds and give that all important stamp of approval. When a new manager gets coaching and sees it as development because he knows the board get coaching too, then you’re onto a winner.

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The list of benefits to having a coaching culture are long and respected. It can increase self-confidence in individuals and teams, it can help people get a true perspective about work, and home life. For many it boosts their wellbeing too. Most engagement surveys that score highly often relate back to the benefits of coaching within a business. People respond well when you can show them as a business you want them to do well, and you want to help them do it on their own. This will only work if it is defined and woven into the very culture of your organisation. It must be talked about from day 1, with clear principles and access for all. An embedded culture is a successful one.

Spread the coaching love.

For teams to genuinely believe that coaching is for everyone, it has to be available, for everyone. You need to be talking about the benefits and possibilities that coaching can bring right from the first interview, onboarding process, induction planners, one 2 ones and appraisals. Try not to limit yourself and think that coaching can only be done one way. Yes, there are more ‘traditional’ options like external, professionally accredited coaches. But also think about internal coaches and self-coaching to make it more widely accessible to the masses.

Make it part of daily life.

One of the best ways we have found of developing an active, truly worthwhile coaching culture is by making coaching (and the important part of giving and receiving feedback) part of everyday life. Your people need to know that it’s okay to try, okay to fail and finally it’s okay to learn and improve. We absolutely encourage the opportunities to get and give feedback at any time. We always use the respective companies feedback model, or we can supply one that fits. We recommend allowing time in diaries and planners for self-reflection, group coaching and recognise those who are coaching their peers.

For a culture like this to survive in any business is needs to be sustainable. It can’t be the ‘word of the moment and then die a death. Everyone needs to keep it alive by talking about it, doing it, calling it out when it’s not happening and celebrating the successes it brings. Have a think about how you can make those things come to life. Remember, what gets focused on gets done!

If you’re interested in starting, building or enhancing your coaching culture, from start-up businesses, right through to FTSE’s and C-Suite Coaching, then reach out and start the conversation today. We’re here to help you and your teams grow.

Your Moving Forward Leaders Handbook

We’ve created this free support tool to help leaders have great conversations and unify their teams as the new normal starts to take shape.

We’ve been lucky enough to have worked with our clients throughout COVID19 and we’ve been listening to what they told us, the stories, analogies and most importantly, challenges they’ve been facing.

Right now, one of the main conversations leaders need to have is around how to bring back their people, not only safely, but in a way that creates unity and team work and restores the balance once had.

This handbook helps both the leader and their team to get the most out of these critical conversations; discussing both business goals and wellbeing.

You can download your completely free handbook by clicking the link.

If you would also like to obtain a copy of the Team Members Handbook please get in touch with us here.

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