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16 Sep 2020 168

Thought leadership article: Galvanising the business community into supporting coaches

UK Coaching's Director of Coaching Emma Atkins's thought leadership article on why she’s reaching out to the business community to galvanise them into supporting coaches within their workforce.

It seems to me that through the Government’s enforced coronavirus lockdown and furlough scheme, more people have been finding the time to get outside and increase their levels of physical activity or start incorporating it as part of their daily routine. Whether that be a walk, run or cycle ride.

As we return to work to bolster the economy, I wonder: are those new-found physical activity behaviours, harnessed during lockdown, going to go out the window? 

Many of us are making the first tentative steps back to the working routines of pre-COVID-19 – ‘getting dressed for work’, sorting childcare and commuting – but are we still ensuring our physical activity needs are being met? And as employers, how can we be more supportive of helping colleagues to be active, as we all know how beneficial this is for health, well-being and ultimately productivity.

When I worked for a charity in London, which was a while ago I might add, I’d spend time meeting people in swanky offices, sharing the importance of sport and physical activity, but when I asked how they support members of staff to be active, they would point towards the ‘gym’, which was normally some equipment in a dusty cupboard in the corner of the room. Forgotten and unused.

As we know, one of the biggest issues currently facing us is obesity and inactivity; the Government’s announcement of a new ‘obesity strategy’ is calling on people to ‘take control of their own future by losing weight, getting active and adopting a healthier lifestyle’ and great coaches are a solution to getting and keeping the nation moving.

Coaching can be great for business

I’ve been chatting to several high-profile business leaders over the past month, asking them whether they know how many coaches are within their workforce. With over three million people coaching on a regular basis and with over half of these being volunteers, there must be plenty of people hiding in companies’ workforces that regularly coach out in the community outside of work. This is sparking business leaders to think about how coaching can be great for business; linked to staff health and well-being.

I am challenging leaders in the business world to think about the amount they spend on supporting people’s poor health (through sick pay, etc) and asking them to be proactive.

Maybe a starting point is to uncover your hidden coaching workforce and ask them how you could support them better to continue to impact their local community. Consider too how they could bring some of that coaching magic to benefit your workplace and, ultimately, your business. Or maybe there are some people in your workforce who could be great coaches but just need that bit of help to unlock their potential. A simple pledge to support your coaches by bringing them together for a weekly session to share best practice and spark some ideas to help others be active could help.

Embrace coaches in your workplace 

Whatever the approach, I would be keen to hear from you to see how we at UK Coaching, whose raison d’être is that we are here for the coach, can help you to build a coaching workforce that’s not just great for the community but great for your business too.

If you’re a business and I’ve piqued your interest, the key thing would be to get in touch with us at [email protected] or drop me a line directly on LinkedIn. We can then discuss how we can empower you to embrace the coaches in your workplace and use them and sport and physical activity as part of your working environment.

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