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A person-centred approach to workforce support

President Paul Griffiths reflects on the PSA / College of Policing Coaching and Mentoring Programme as we hit the half way mark of this year’s Coaching Skills Workshops:

It’s the beginning of March and since the start of the year, six Coaching Skills Workshops have been held, with around 250 policing leaders attending to learn how to be an effective coach.
With 770 already trained since we launched the Coaching and Mentoring Scheme with the College of Policing in 2017, I’m confident that we’ll have over 1,000 people ready to provide this support to our workforce by the end of our 12 events in 2020.
The impact this could have is really quite significant.
Now, more than ever, we need to encourage and support the skills and experience we have in our organisations.  Our Service is undergoing rapid change as it grows on an unprecedented scale and adapts to new demand.  Our staff and officers are used to working under pressure and facing challenge – it’s what the job is about – but whilst we ask more and more of them, we need to look for new ways to support and develop the people that make our service what it is.
Coaching and mentoring can go some way towards doing this.  It’s not a formal development path towards a particular role, it’s not a training programme for which you’ll receive accreditation.  Instead, it’s giving people the chance to think differently, to find their own solutions and understand themselves better.
I asked our Coaching expert why she felt that coaching is such an important tool within policing.  She said that policing is an environment where people are used to solving problems very quickly.  Coaching offers a different tool for approaching problems or issues, it stops the tendency to take initiative out of someone’s hands, and gives them the responsibility of finding solutions themselves.
All coaches and mentors that sign up to the scheme commit to supporting three colleagues from under represented groups, and I hope that this peer to peer proactivity will go some way towards addressing the lack of diversity, particularly at senior ranks, within the service.
Our coaching expert quotes Einstein when she talks about her theory of encouraging people she works with to try different things.  Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Perhaps this is also how we should look at the lack of diversity at senior ranks in our workforce.  Fresh thinking – through coaching, mentoring, peer support, and person-centred approaches could be the different thinking we need, to support the difference we need to see.