BT: Leadership development can be supported through coaching

David Young believes that getting others to think is the core philosophy of any coaching approach

Developing coaching skills within your leaders is crucial to enhancing business outcomes, a learning specialist from a communication services company has revealed.

Speaking at the CIPD L&D Show this week, David Young, group head of leadership development at BT, said that leaders need to be developed well through coaching in order to deliver performance that benefits their organisation.

Citing his own firm as an example, he said: “BT’s default leadership style was authoritative and we knew it was the least likely style to deliver performance and organisational health.

“For us it was about moving to a style which created a sense of family, encouraged teamwork, demonstrated concern and fostered adaptation.”

Young believes that getting others to think is the core philosophy of any coaching approach. The new approach that BT took required leaders to understand the change required and believe alternatives will get better results. Furthermore, there was an emphasis on the need for personal awareness, purpose and authenticity. Leaders also practised applying new leadership behaviour through coaching.

He stressed the importance of getting buy-in from the senior team and using them as an example for the rest of the organisation. The result has led to leadership building a higher level of trust and loyalty. In addition, managers have become less command and control and more about supporting and empowering their staff to achieve best results.

“Great coaching conversations motivate people to perform at their best. We are building our internal coaching capability to help BT grow,” he concluded.



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