Innovative Workplace Coaching at East Durham College

Coaching and mentoring are development approaches based on the use of one-to-one conversations to enhance an individual’s skills, knowledge or work performance and East Durham College fully support this approach.

Some initial coaching had taken place at college and due to the positive impact of this, the college applied for Department for Education funding to sustain and advance this initiative. The obvious next stage of development was to design and introduce formal accreditation and One Awards were ideally placed to support with this.

Joanna Stokes, founder of ‘My Coach Joanna’, provided a lead for this project. Her expertise in delivering coaching, mentoring and training to education professionals enabled her to work with One Awards to develop Level three accreditation, adding a valuable layer of quality assurance underpinned by formal certification respected by both the college, its partners and most importantly, course participants.

The Level three accredited unit is delivered over 10 days of face to face delivery and is supported by individual coaching practice. Feedback from participants, mainly middle managers and Team Leaders has been very positive will many reporting immediate benefit of the application of new found skills not only in the workplace but also outside of their world of work.

Joanna Stokes from My Coach stated “Coaching is an essential skill within Further Education.  The positive impacts it has is not only felt in the organisation but with the individual too.  Coaching helps individuals unlock their potential for growth and gives them a tool kit for long term development.  Investing in coaching will help staff feel supported which in turn will go towards retaining more people working with the FE sector.”

Helen McCoy, Assistant Principal (Performance) at East Durham College said “Through working with Joanna and developing our leadership programmes we have recognised the benefits of coaching.  That is why when we were successful in gaining funding for a coaching project we were keen to use the money to embed coaching into our organisation, as a way of helping individuals to develop and evolve their current skills in order to deal with the level of change we are currently experiencing within further education.”

Fabienne Bailey, Managing Director at One Awards said of this project said: “One Awards have worked with East Durham College for 27 years, we are proud to have maintained this long-standing relationship and continue to support such innovative developments for both students and staff.”

‘When conducted in an efficient and productive manner, coaching and mentoring provides employees a way to connect, learn and grow within the organisation and along their own career paths giving them higher job satisfaction which leads to increased productivity and reduced turnover”.

It is hoped that the programme will be supported with continued investment and that this accreditation can be adopted by other colleges throughout the region and beyond.