As a coach, I get to see inside growing businesses to understand something of what makes them successful.
Working with these organisations to support their people, I witness how helping the individuals develop personally, benefits everyone around them. One company I’ve supported this way is 20/30 Labs in Northampton and they’ve kindly let me share this story of our work together.
20/30 Labs UKAS Accredited Testing Laboratory
20/30 Labs are an environmental and clinical UKAS accredited microbiology lab providing medical testing, laboratory services, training & CPD as well as research and consultancy.
This is a hugely successful company with clear strengths and direction. During the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, they were in a strong position to develop new products and services to support the national testing effort, all further growing this established business.
What were 20/30 Labs key challenges?
Talking to Managing Director, Zoe Laughton, she shared her reasons for getting in touch with Personal Strengths Coaching.
With a focus on the people side of the business, Zoe is responsible for ensuring they have the right people – with the right skills and behaviours – to deliver. As a business undergoing a period of huge growth, new people were coming into the business while some existing employees faced change in their role or moved to new positions.
Zoe said “I was hoping that we would enhance confidence in individuals. People know what it is they need to do but don’t always have the confidence to follow through autonomously”.
Why choose Personal Strengths Coaching?
Zoe wanted external support, someone neutral to support individuals within the company on a targeted basis, allowing them to talk through ideas and explore different approaches.
Additionally, for those whose role was changing – meaning working towards new objectives – Zoe explained that Personal Strengths Coaching gave them accountability and “really enabled them to focus on how they would achieve those objectives.”
How did this work?
We used a number of strategies while working together, ensuring we achieved the best results for individuals and the business as a whole.
Individual coaching sessions allowed employees to learn their strengths, consider their role and how to apply their strengths in those positions and beyond. The coaching sessions provided a safe space, enabling people to speak openly with someone outside the company. They also provided accountability, giving employees an opportunity to identify areas for further development or exploration with the expectation they would do something with that.
We also held collaborative sessions with managers, providing space for a three-way conversation to discuss an individual’s development. These sessions helped managers understand the strengths of their team members as well as their aims for development.
We also held facilitated sessions with leaders, helping them understand their strengths and how to use and stretch them to benefit the business.
Zoe confirmed: “The collaborative approach has been really helpful…when I give you a person I’m really confident that you’re aware of what we’re trying to achieve as a business and… I completely trust that conversations that you’re going to be having are the kind of conversations that I’d like you to be having.”
Let’s talk about outcomes
Zoe mentioned two significant outcomes from the work.
Across the business, there is now a shared language when talking about different approaches to a situation. She says that when individuals are nervous about their capability, there is a huge benefit to focusing on those individuals and how they use their strengths within their roles making sure people are “playing to those strengths and utilising them to the best of [their] ability and to [their] advantage.”
Seeing individuals growing in confidence has also made a huge impact. For those who are new to roles, being able to identify steps to embed the strengths work within their role has been very significant. Zoe says that, for other employees – in their role a long time and struggling with certain challenges – “I’ve definitely seen their confidence grow and flourish as a result of the sessions that they’ve had.”
When asked what the biggest benefits had been for 20/30 Labs, Zoe shared three things.
As a company who are going through a period of growth and change, there has been a real focus on getting the right people in the right place for future growth. This work has helped with that, ensuring that the company works effectively now and into the future providing the best solutions for customers.
She then returned to the subject of confidence, and her belief that the work we’ve done together has accelerated the development of individuals within the team, helping reach objectives quicker than previously expected.
Zoe continued that the involvement of Personal Strengths Coaching “has really enabled us to focus and the fact that you’re regularly discussing objectives, it’s kept the momentum going.”
Working together – for your business and your people
20/30 Labs have invested in their people to ensure the strength of their business, seeing the changes our work has brought has been rewarding for everyone involved. When I asked Zoe what kind of businesses would benefit from strengths coaching she identified the common needs of all organisations, particularly “productivity and workplace wellbeing”.
While she says most organisations would benefit, it was good to hear this feedback:
“I think businesses going through a period of change will definitely benefit from this, because that’s what we have found.”
If you’d like to find out more about how Strengths Coaching might support your team or business – Get in Touch.