Coaching for HR professionals

Marijana Lawton 10.09.2019

Morgan McKinley offers a unique programme of coaching for HR professionals which empowers individuals from the HR industry to establish developmental relationships with more experienced professionals.

Are you interested in coaching for HR professionals?

Through an exciting collaboration with our clients, Morgan McKinley offers a unique HR Mentoring and Coaching programme. By using our matching expertise, this coaching for HR professionals programme brings the most suitable mentors/coaches and mentees/coachees together in a relationship through which developmental guidance opportunities can be provided.

By definition, mentoring is a professional developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person - it’s an ongoing relationship of learning, dialogue and challenge to improve the career prospects of the individuals involved. All HR professionals within our client base can apply for mentoring. The programme is most effective for HR business partners and HR managers who would:

  • Value discovering more about how other organisations operate
  • Benefit from the wisdom and experience of a more senior, objective professional from a related, non-competing organisation

Morgan McKinley’s senior HR clients are welcomed as mentors. It’s a great opportunity to ‘give back’ to the HR community, hone your coaching skills and learn about how things are done in other organisations.

What are the benefits of mentoring and coaching for HR professionals?

  • Enhanced confidence
  • Being challenged to set higher goals, take risks and achieve more 
  • Exposure to diverse perspectives and experiences
  • Cross-industry networking opportunities
  • A role model for professional leadership
  • An objective perspective on navigating your career

Below we highlight the views of  two individuals who have established a successful mentoring relationship. Ruth George – Group People Director at Unite Group and Fiona Williams – Head of HR at Buro Happold. 

Views from Ruth George, The Coach 

You have recently qualified as a coach and mentor, congratulations! What made you interested in becoming a coach?  

Within my job role, I am frequently asked to undertake coaching for HR professionals within the business and whilst I have always enjoyed this, I thought it would be useful to understand if what I was doing was actually correct! I could see how the business was increasingly focused on coaching and I wanted to ensure that I was the best possible coach to my colleagues. Alongside this, I was also starting to think about my next steps professionally and wanted to understand more about coaching; was I a good coach and would I like to spend more of my time doing it?
Have you received coaching yourself and how did that grow your career?
I recently finished an 18 month coaching relationship that I found very insightful and beneficial. First and foremost, I found it invaluable to talk about my role and its nuances, but also my future aspirations with someone who is confidential and not connected to my organisation. Voicing my own thoughts out-loud really helped me see myself more objectively, allowing me to understand my strengths more clearly and giving me the confidence to do what was right for me. That has enabled me to take control of my next steps in a much more proactive way than I believe I would have been able to beforehand.
Please tell me about the highs and lows of undertaking coaching for HR professionals?
Coaching a fellow HR professional is enjoyable because you are able to demonstrate empathy, appreciating the challenges that our profession brings. That means you can quickly move into deeper conversations which are more beneficial for the client. For me, there are no lows and I also have the benefit of learning from my fellow HR colleagues as they share information with me.
What would you say are the traits of a great coach/mentor?
The ability to really hear what the client is saying is number one for me. My role as a coach is to listen, ask questions and to hold space for the client, to reflect and decide what they think and feel. Traits that demonstrate your emotional intelligence are key.
What did you personally get out of this programme?
I met some great people who were able to objectively give me feedback on my coaching practice that has enabled me to improve. I learned the theory behind my natural coaching style and developed new styles, meaning I can now adapt more to my client’s needs.
What advice would you give to someone who you would coach/mentor? 
If you have the opportunity to work with a coach or mentor, grab it with both hands and really invest the time in yourself - reflecting and taking action on the things you say you want to change. A business which is investing time in your personal development is not as common as perhaps we would like, so if you are in this fortunate position, appreciate the value that your organisation is showing in you by encouraging you to conduct coaching for HR professionals.

Views from Fiona Williams, The Coachee 

You have recently been coached, what made you interested in this?

I believe that being coached by the right person at the right time can be really impactful and empowering in helping develop your career.

What did you take away from this programme and how did it help grow your career?

Being ready for coaching is really important, it needs to be at a stage in your career when you are open to it and will get the most out of it. For me, I had been in my role as Head of HR for 3 years but had recently returned from maternity leave. When I was off, I was able to do a lot of soul searching about what I wanted out of my career and how I could be a good leader and also support my own team and their careers and development. The coaching really helped to refocus my goals and allowed me to indulge in conversations about my career progression, including what was getting in the way. It was a fascinating journey and took me down paths I would never have thought. Even going back to my childhood to understand why I behave in certain ways. It gave me a greater understanding of myself and a level of self-awareness that has helped me develop in my role. 

Has your day-to-day outlook changed following your coaching and what were those changes?

Yes, I have a lot more self-awareness and can also notice the triggers and how to deal with certain situations better. It has also helped me let go of a lot of my uncertainties and doubts that were sometimes holding me back and potentially limiting my ability to be a great and impactful leader.

Did you feel that you were given the right person to coach you?  

Ruth was great. She made it very clear from the outset that if we didn’t get on or it didn’t feel right we would stop and go our separate ways. But we got along great, don’t get me wrong she challenged me and made me answer some very tough questions about myself, but in the end it really helped me to focus and gain perspective and confidence. Coaching for HR professionals makes you realise that you have all the answers but the ability to take proper time out to talk and explore draws out those answers in a way that you couldn’t do yourself.

How many meetings did you have and what were the follow up plans on completion of this coaching?

We had about 6 sessions in total spread out over a 6 month period. This felt like the right amount of time because it allowed me to put things into practice in between and reflect. The coaching has come to an end now but we have had one follow up session which has been really beneficial and I know her door is always open if I feel the need to catch up in the future. I think the important thing about coaching is to know when to end it, as it can be easy to indulge and become a crutch. I felt we ended it well and I came away feeling equipped to make the right changes. I have grown in my role and my confidence in my abilities as a result of coaching.

Would you recommend this to your colleagues and your HR network? 

I would highly recommend coaching to everyone but it needs to be at the right time otherwise it won’t be as impactful.

Find out more about our coaching for HR professionals programme

If you would like to learn more about Morgan McKinley’s unique HR Mentoring and Coaching programme, please contact

Marijana Lawton's picture
Manager | Human Resourcing


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