Coaching in Extraordinary Times

The East of England LGA has designed a range of digital coaching packages, which can be tailored specifically to individual needs


ILM Level 7 Coaching programme – developing coaches to shape local authorities and navigate the complexities of a 21st-century organisation.


The pandemic has thrown up all kinds of questions and challenges around learning delivery. Talent Bank Associate Steph Allen FInstLM, The Training Spa, shares with us how she has seamlessly adapted the birth of the ILM Level 7 Certificate for Senior Level Coaches and Mentors programme, not in response to, but in the face of the pandemic, to ensure delegates still get all of the benefits of the programme:


“For my eight ILM Level 7 Certificate for Senior Level Coaches and Mentors cohorts in partnership with EELGA, I have always focused on ‘flipped learning’. Delegates read about a topic, between sessions, and then, in pairs, demonstrate the skills to the rest of the group. The remainder of the day is spent actively discussing coaching and mentoring skills in context (without any PowerPoint!) so that everyone can take advantage of practical learning, whilst reading the supporting academic theory in their own time. For the latest cohort, lockdown hit precisely halfway through our programme, and it was clear that delegates would have to focus on their ‘day job’. We postponed a couple of sessions, but the use of our WhatsApp group kept everyone in touch. As soon as we felt it appropriate, we scheduled the ubiquitous Zoom conversation, and it was clear that we could return to learning!


Using my experience of virtual delivery during the pandemic, we rescheduled the final half of the programme as virtual sessions using the ‘two hours plenary; two hours small groups and ninety minutes plenary’ model.


In case everyday life had intervened, we planned a ‘story so far’ session. Ninety minutes on Zoom, giving everyone a chance to refresh their knowledge from a ‘World before COVID’! This ensured that once virtual workshops resumed, everyone had remembered what had gone before.


Flipped learning has been my go-to model for some years, although it works exceptionally well for virtual workshops and, by splitting each event into three distinct parts, delegates retain the workshop feel, rather than suffer from ‘Zoom fatigue’!


One of the many learning opportunities during the pandemic has been the importance of a coaching style of leadership. Helping organisations to embrace agile working and a powerful lever in implementing this cultural change has been the benefits of adopting a coaching style of leadership.


The ILM Level 7 Certificate for Senior Level Coaches and Mentors not only helps colleagues develop the skillset to become a coach but offers all leaders the opportunity to create a coaching leadership style. This is proven to be more effective in gaining engagement; developing people and increasing productivity.”


As we shift into a new era of a hybrid workforce, enhancing employee support is at the forefront of every business leader. As we emerge from the economic lockdown, the responsibility of every business must be inclusive for its employees.


Employee coaching will be pivotal for any organisation to succeed. 


For EELGA, the pandemic has accelerated models of delivery that were being heralded as the future of learning – remote, smart, online.


While our hand has been forced to adapt to a digital age of delivery, ‘flipped learning’ has proved invaluable in the transition, and the benefits create a compelling argument compared to conventional classroom-based delivery. The ILM7 Coaching programme is continuing to deliver impactful but appropriate learning virtually, while also maintaining relationships amongst the delegates.


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