“Coaching creates a healthy organisation; a more empathetic, listening workplace; I am better equipped to support and advise colleagues, help facilitate their career goals and performance objectives, and give them a sense of self-worth”.
The Office of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner’s (SPCC) CEO Mark Streater and Chief Finance Officer, Iain McCulloch, speak with Fran McElhone about their experience of coaching within their organisation.
Mark has headed up the team at the SPCC for eight years, prior to which his career spanned 30 years with Sussex Police and latterly as a Commander with the Metropolitan Police. He explained that his previous roles involved informal coaching and mentoring to help colleagues with their career progression. He was keen to obtain accreditation in recognition of the integral role coaching plays in work culture.
“Coaching creates a healthy organisation; a more empathetic, listening workplace,” he said. “As I near the end of my career, it’s allowing me to give something back; I am better equipped to support and advise colleagues, help facilitate their career goals and performance objectives, and give them a sense of self-worth.”
Mark explained that he and Iain have responsibility for a team of around 20 staff, while also having a wider influence with other offices and police forces, and rather than coaching being a ‘nice to have', both leaders wanted it to form part of the organisation’s DNA.
Speaking about his experience undertaking his ILM Level 7 in Coaching, Mark commented: “Trayton and Derek (the programme tutors) have helped us understand that drawing up strategies to make this happen doesn’t happen overnight. At a granular level, coaching involves sitting down with staff, talking to them and understanding their behavioural traits, personalities, and, significantly, giving them the opportunity to talk about themselves and their hopes, fears, and aspirations.
“The value of doing this – the importance of listening and finding out how people are feeling –has come across very strongly in the training. This is so important in the day-to-day management and for meaningful interactions with staff. And through doing so, creates transformational leadership in the workplace.”
“Mentoring and coaching leave a profound legacy,” explained Iain, who has been with the Sussex PCC for five years, prior to which he was Deputy Head of Finance for Northumberland Police and PCC. “I want to help develop the next generation of finance leaders and coaching is proving an effective resource,” he continued.
“The course has been transformational – to be honest, I wish I’d done it earlier in my career; knowing yourself plays an important role and is so important to perform better.
“The feedback from the coaches and listening to the views of the other participants, who are from all different backgrounds, has been hugely beneficial.”
Iain added: “It’s helped me understand that how we were operating before wasn’t conducive to getting the best out of people.”
When mentoring and coaching in the workplace becomes a strategic resource, its impact is amplified when supported by broader investment across an organisation, as experienced by the SPCC. We are honoured to have been a part of this, being the ILM7 course providers for Sussex Police and having trained well over 30 coaches since 2019.