A chartered FCIPD-qualified professional, Laura Ibbotson has over 20 years of experience in the HR sector. With a thorough understanding of ESG strategy and business transformations, she is currently the Head of HR UK at Heras.

How is your experience in executive coaching and could also share about your current role? Could you explain to me what you do as a CIPD qualified trainer?   

Coaching Executives is usually within my business domain. Having recently qualified as a NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner at the beginning of this year, I use the NLP techniques I have learned through the course to coach managers and employees on a daily basis. Along with formal coaching program, we have an ad hoc conversation with otherstaff as and when required.

I'm also a mentor on the Chartered Institutes of Personnel Development (CIPD), a prominent institute that helps to build career in HR. Being a member of CIPD is a prime requisite for working in the HR industry in the UK. The CIPD also advises the government on various HR policies, and have a huge network of development, networking, training, and qualifications professionals in the HR space. They have a mentor team in the institute, through which, junior HR staff coming through the rank can apply for a position, and I am one of the mentors in that team.

What are the challenges when it comes to executive coaching? Could you also talk about the approaches and technologies that you are incorporating in resolving the challenges?

In the UK, I would say the challenges are around time management. As an NLP practitioner, we have to assist people to maximize their brain’s potential while embracing neuroscience and boost different areas of their lives, and that takes time. However, due to the time constraints faced by people in their day-to-day lives, it becomes much of a challenge to coach them.

Speaking of my methodology, I personally use NLP technique to help coach the individuals. But one of the main techniques I practice other than NLP is making them face the mirror, and look at themselves and self-reflect. It is all about self-awareness and getting them to understand their own self-worth. It enables them to identify their development areas what they need to work on in order to step up to their next role.

"Executive coaching has renewed its popularity and people are coming to terms with its importance"

As far astechnology is concerned, I try to coach and engage individualsthrough an online training platform called Good Habitz. Comprising a wide variety of training modules, the platform can be used to train the employees on multiple aspects—from health and wellbeing to learning how to speak a different language, to management and IT skills. Considering that each employee follows a different method for learning, where some are comfortable with reading materials and others with video tutorials, the platform allows the mentors to choose from different variety of training methods while letting individuals to choose different methods for learning.

Are there any trends that you are noticing in the executive coaching space or anything that's coming up that you would like to share about?

I personally believe executive coaching has renewed its popularity and people are realizing the importance of coaching in workplace. its importance. Earlier executives and managers did not look at coaching as a way to develop their potential and enhance their professional skills. Today, the knowledge and understanding of coaching and the value it addsto the leadership is becoming widely understood. In tandem with world class coaching certifications, the demand for coaching is rising as well.

People no longer want to hide the fact that they have a coach guiding them and are socially accepting the need for coaching and developing their potential in a more positive and engaging way.

Could you talk to me a bit more about how you are looking into leadership coaching, particularly your point of view and how things are at your company?

Looking at the leadership perspective, all our senior leaders in Heras have a coach for different levels, while filtering it down to other departments in the UK. We are also currently looking at various leadership programs which will involve coaching our management team within the UK. We have also initiated a program for email mentors who will be guiding business leaders via emails to level up their professionalism.

On an ending note, do you have any advice for your peers who are also taking part in training the future executives in the industry?

From an HR practitioner perspective, I would say perseverance is the key to success. There are plenty of case studies that showcase the positive impact coaching can have on an individual’s professional and personal growth. On the other hand, from the HR coaching point of view, I would also want other practitioners in this space to adopt a multi-faceted approach to learning, accepting that there are diverse learning methods and styles preferred by different individuals and a one-size-fits-all strategy can never work. Each individual is different and depending on the person we are coaching, as mentors we have to change our style and methodology to obtain the necessary results.