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Small steps, big change?

by Paul Griffiths, Vice President, PSA

Today (7.3.2018) I am opening the eighth in our series of 12 sessions of training in coaching and mentoring for members, which we are running with the College of Policing. 

I’ve attended all the events so far, but I set aside the Cardiff event to stay for the whole day as an attendee. I had received good feedback so far, and I wanted to learn more about coaching for myself.

The day was a balance between discussion, teaching and practice. 

The discussion focussed on understanding difference from own our perspective and that of fellow trainees. For me, it showed the complexity of factors that underpins everyone. It is so important to understand both yourself and the person you will be supporting. Understanding how others view the world helps build the rapport, the professional relationship, and ultimately the trust to provide the best possible support.

Key to learning to be a coach or a mentor is to understand the difference between the two approaches: they are not the same at all. 

Coaching is about listening, hearing, and allowing space for the coachee to understand their own problems and reflect on their options. The training encourages the effective use of the ‘GROW’ model which is an excellent framework to operate:

  • Goal
  • Reality
  • Options 
  • Way Forward  

However as a mentor, you draw upon your own experience, skills and training to guide the other person.

The final key learning was to practice the skills by using the GROW model. I used the opportunity to apply the approach as a coach with someone who was deliberating over their career progression. 

It was so powerful to see them talk through the issues and options themselves, setting a goal to keep moving forward in a positive way. 

I then found myself talking through an issue and gaining the same benefits from the process. 

We rarely make time to think and talk through problems impacting on our professional and personal life: we are all so busy. But even just a short time spent reflecting can provide valuable insight into yourself, your options, and your next steps. 

These first 12 training sessions will be completed by the end of March. Together with the College we will be setting up a database of those trained, and working with coaches and mentors to connect them with colleagues from under-represented groups to forge a professional support relationship. 

We are exploring the possibility of translating the work into a qualification, and working with the Home Office and College to assess the impact of coaching. 

Success may come in many guises, from small incremental steps. But when multiplied out across England and Wales, I hope this initiative leads to genuine progression opportunities for those in under-represented groups: benefitting not just them as individuals, but the police service as a whole as it better reflects the communities we serve.