Coaching support creates the leaders of tomorrow


Career Evolution is working with Queen Bee Coaching, with free coaching supervision sessions for its coaches. Queen Bee Coaching is a Pankhurst Trust service, established to empower women

In a new support initiative, Kate Howsley, our Principal Coach has been offering free coaching supervision to Queen Bee’s own team of volunteer coaches. ‘Coaching Supervision’ is an established way of professionalising coaching and supporting coaches. It provides them with encouragement, time and space to reflect on and ask questions about their coaching practice. The time also enables them to consider any issues around coaching ethics and boundaries. It also provides accountability, through peer support.

Alongside coaching supervision, Kate has been providing a monthly CPD (continuous professional development) workshop for the Queen Bee coaches. These explore a range of coaching techniques, contracting and developing the coaching relationship.

Recently, of course, these supervision sessions and CPD workshops have been on Zoom, just as both our Career Evolution coaches and the Queen Bee coaches have got used to working with their clients on Zoom.

During lockdown in the UK, the way we do business across all sectors has changed dramatically. In particular, face to face meetings have become a rare occurrence. Remote working rather than travelling into offices to work have become the norm. This has had a particular impact on career and executive coaching, where face to face meetings and personal interaction are an important part of the process.

Bee the best

The ethos that drives Queen Bee Coaching is empowering women who have demonstrated leadership, to improve their skills and confidence. This will enable them to move into senior positions and accelerate their positive impact on society. Queen Bee Coaching ensures its service reflects the diversity, demographic and dynamism of Greater Manchester. This chimes with Career Evolution’s own aims and objectives also.

Queen Bee Coaching originates from the 100-year anniversary of some women receiving the right to vote. It believes that enabling women to realise their full potential will ultimately redress the balance of power across Greater Manchester and close the gender pay gap. The initiative strives to help women develop their skills and provide the confidence to take the next step in their career and increase their impact and influence.

Inclusivity is key

This inclusivity is crucial in creating a new dynamic. It can drive home the thinking that women rightfully belong in senior leadership positions and will make organisations stronger. Queen Bee’s six free coaching sessions are open to women already working in leadership within Greater Manchester and do not have financial or organisational support to access coaching. Queen Bee also regularly hosts recruitment sessions for clients and coaches, to outline what coaching is, its benefits and what exactly is involved in the process.

Kate’s group coaching supervision sessions last around two hours. Groups consist of around four-to- six people. The sessions are initially being held quarterly and there has been very positive uptake. The sessions in March and June were fully booked, and the next session is taking place on 2 September 2020. One-to-one coaching supervision is also available.  Career Evolution is very pleased to be partnering with Queen Bee Coaching and to be guiding future generations of women to the top echelons of business.

Closing the loop

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Whatever the circumstances, keeping your staff informed should always be your first priority. Internal communications are the most vital link between managers and staff. This is particularly true during times of uncertainty and transition, such as during this prolonged lockdown period.

There are various types of internal communications that can be utilised to keep your staff engaged. For any changes or updates on the company, early engagement is essential. Presenting your message to all staff simultaneously and keeping them informed with a consistent voice and message throughout are vital in keeping them ‘in the loop’.

The art of conversation

Even in the digital age, there’s no substitute for conversation. Whether it’s during one-to-one or team meetings, or large-scale presentations, having an active dialogue is worth its weight in gold. In the present situation, such meetings can be carried out remotely, using platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Attaining the right balance between the various media is crucial, so that your important messages and news updates are not lost in a wall of noise.

A live and active spoken dialogue can also better ascertain the mood. It will help assess if more needs to be done to assure staff. After all, you can’t read someone’s body language and tone via an email. There really is no substitute for conversing, where matters can be resolved in ‘real time’, without the need for lengthy email trails. A quick chat can save time and get to the crux of the message, with little chance of misinterpretation.

Conveying the message

Internal communications are sometimes referred to as employee engagement, internal marketing and company communications. The channels used to communicate your messages to your audience, i.e. your staff, are varied. These days the most frequently used channel is electronic media – this works equally effectively if your staff are present in the office, working from home, or furloughed.

It’s important that the message is consistent, regardless of whether you staff are working from home, or in the office. There shouldn’t need to be a context or explanation to make the message clear. With electronic messaging, there’s a certain flexibility, both to how the message is delivered and how the message is accessed. A digital message can be accessed a number of ways, from a computer or laptop, by phone, tablet or other devices. Tone of voice is the reader’s own, so it must be clear what the message is trying to convey.

Lines of communication

For office-based and remote working staff, the most direct way to keep all your staff in the loop is by email. This is especially useful if you have a large staff, with many different departments. Emails can be distributed easily, quickly accessed and are environmentally-friendly. Newsletters or bulletins can be issued electronically, and internal communications can be distributed efficiently via the company’s intranet. Some companies distribute both a physical newsletter and an electronic one, with the identical design being developed for both.  The response is instant too – the recipient can ping back a reply as quickly as they can type it.

Physical media

For your wider staff, who may not have readily available email access outside of their own personal accounts, physical media remains important too. These include, for example, posters, printed newsletter and other ‘desk drops’, which will still be essential in a post-lockdown working environment. These can keep staff informed of developments in the business and what the changes mean to them, reinforcing the message already presented in face-to-face communications and keeping your staff informed. Whatever your message, and however you transmit it, nothing beats the personal connection.

It’s all about you

Coaching isn’t just confined to the world of sport. It can be just as effective when used in business. Like a sports team, a business is made up of individual employees, who as a group drive the company towards its goals. If an employee is feeling unmotivated and unhappy in the workplace, this in turn will affect the business. One-to-one coaching enables employees to be at the centre of their own development and learning. This helps them focus on their specific needs and find answers to enable adjustments and improvements to be made.

Team coach

For coaching to work effectively, both the employee and the coach need to be fully engaged. This will ensure that positive benefits are achieved. Although group coaching has its place, if it’s not carried out correctly it’s all too easy to have some members not entirely on board, or competing for more attention. This situation makes it more difficult for a coach to successfully help each member of the group. One-to-one coaching allows the coach to adapt to the employees preferred learning style and understand the employee’s needs more thoroughly. Ultimately, making it easier for them to achieve their goals. As well as face to face, this can be carried out in the short-term remotely via the internet, which with the current lockdown situation is the sole option.

Challenging thinking

With coaching, each individual has the opportunity to decide on their own solution to the challenges they face.  The coach will help the individual, by working with them to develop different solutions. Each individual will be unique and so will each solution. Coaching can help generate new ways of thinking to solve problems. It is adaptable and flexible in its approach. The individual can choose to undertake coaching when it suits them. This means that it can fit in around their work life in a way that adds benefit, rather than causes additional stress.

A boost in confidence

Following one-to-one coaching sessions, it has been proved that employees demonstrate huge improvements in their levels of confidence, productivity and work ability. It’s a recognised and valued approach to managing employees that is mutually beneficial to the employee and the business. This way, the team member feels valued and supported through their time working at the company. Coaching can make all the difference between merely a good employee and a champion. It is something that every company should consider as part of its business game plan.

Top 10 Tips for increasing employee morale

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Even in normal times, morale is an essential part of how a company functions. But during this period of lockdown and remote working, employee morale is even more important. A happy and healthy workforce ensures the working environment – wherever that space may be – is a positive place. As you interact with your staff, on the phone or via video conferencing, you may notice signs of fading morale. Read our 10 top tips to boost morale and instil pride in your employees.


It’s always important to celebrate success. It might be a small achievement in the grand scheme of things, but it helps to ensure every employee’s success is appreciated. Even if it’s just by saying a simple ‘well done’.

A sense of community

Getting teams involved in local community projects or fundraising can help build teamwork skills and boost team morale. It will also build your reputation within the community and with your staff. While you can’t participate in such activities at the moment, you can plan ahead and look at future opportunities in your local area.

Enjoy it

Even working from home, employees spend a huge percentage of their time each week in work, so it’s important that they enjoy themselves. Make sure they are taking some time out for short breaks throughout the day, to change activity, clear their heads and focus on something else.


Smiling can be contagious. Even on the phone it’s important, as the tone of your voice reflects a cheerful demeanour. If you are communicating via video conference, a smile is pretty much your only way of demonstrating emotion and personality, as hand gestures and expression can be lost onscreen, while a lot of gesticulating can just look busy and confusing. Keep it simple and smile.

Please and thank you

Politeness is another important virtue that can be greatly appreciated at work. Show respect to your team by using ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when speaking to them. Making a point of saying ‘thank you’ after a job has been completed can really make a difference to an individual’s sense of self-worth.

Office comforts

Make sure that an employee’s place of work is comfortable. For many people at the moment, this is literally a space in their home. We’ve had plenty of time to get used to this working arrangement and our ‘workspace’ will have become very familiar to us. It is important as employers to make sure our staff aren’t becoming jaded or complacent, and to identify and address issues if they arise.

Be flexible

Offering flexibility to employees as a gesture of appreciation is a cost-effective way of increasing motivation and decreasing stress levels. Home working is often seen by some employees as a sign of trust between employer and employee. Having been forced into making these adjustments to our working lives, perhaps going forward employees will enjoy more flexibility.

Value your team

Ask for ideas, listen to opinions and take on board any suggestions. This can really help make your team feel valued, which in turn will automatically boost morale. This aspect of communication is essential now more than ever.


Despite many offices not functioning as a physical office space at the moment, make sure you inform employees and keep them updated on any developments. Nothing can disrupt morale more than employees feeling like they are ‘out of the loop’ and in these uncertain times this is even more imperative.


Employees need to be aware that they are part of something bigger. The lockdown may have separated us physically, but employees need to be reminded that they are still a fundamental part of the business. If they share, believe and live by the company values, then this will have a positive onward effect, even in these unprecedented times.