Business Link


Schülke & Mayr




National Training Awards





Using workplace coaching to develop engineers


Jim: We'd tried introducing coaching as a way of developing our engineering teams before, but I don't think we'd really seen it work. We wanted an accredited coaching programme, but one that did more than just deliver a qualification - the difference had to be visible, tangible and long-term. I think what made the difference with U&I was the planning that went into it, and the follow-up that came after. It meant we could take a standard accredited programme and make it ours.


Peter: That was so important - it's all very well doing a course, but unless you start to build that straight away into the way that you work, it gets lost. Whereas lots of courses might just give you enough to qualify, we did more than that and had lots of follow-up sessions. U&I observed us while we were coaching engineers as well, to see us in action!


Rayme: And if anything specific came out of that, we'd do a workshop on it, so it just felt really relevant. It wasn't like doing one of those qualifications where you have to imagine it applied to your own work, this really was about coaching BT engineers. It was just for us.


Jim: I felt like delivering the training in 'our language' made all the difference too. Even though it was an accredited programme it felt like we were driving it. Where the team saw a gap in their knowledge or what they felt comfortable with, we could fill that gap with the training. The most valuable thing for me was that U&I worked with us to build ways to measure and keep an eye on the effectiveness of the training, like introducing coaching plans.


Peter: For me the best thing was that we had to prove that what we were learning was working. It's quite a discipline, but it really helped everything we'd learnt fall into place. It makes the difference between learning something and really understanding it...


Rayme: It's been great because the knock-on effects have been massive. I'm confident in coaching our engineers to be better at what they do, and I can see how that impacts on the people I work with and the division as a whole.


Jim: Exactly - it means fewer customer complaints, a reduction in repeat jobs and much better efficiencies all round, so it's impacted on the whole company and on our customers too.