Are you ready to ELBA? Bringing it all together – now that’s definitely ELBA
Every week is some kind of celebration or campaign week – you know the kind of thing – “This week it’s International Unicycle Week” and so on. I suppose we should think they all matter to somebody somewhere. But two of the more important ones coincided this week, and they are linked – International Coaching Week, and Mental Health Awareness Week.
Coaching and mentoring is a big part ELBA’s work with community organisations, helping them build capacity, quality and resilience. We also mentor hundreds of school, college and university students every year. It is business volunteers who act as the coaches and mentors, freely giving their time and expertise. It’s ELBA’s job to make sure the match between coach/mentor and recipient organisation is right. Get it wrong and it’s a waste of everyone’s time.
It’s great to talk to someone else, whether as a student learning from a business person how to get started on the career you want; or as an adult in the workplace, having the input of an external person who can help you see the wood from the trees and rekindle your confidence and self-belief.
For me, that’s the link to mental health awareness. It’s great that so many people and employers are now prepared to talk openly about mental health. Everyone has highs and lows as we move through our careers, and I bet most of us can pinpoint a moment when just a friendly chat with someone else has really helped us get back on track. When mental health problems become more acute the need to talk becomes more urgent and more specialised.
But why not get ahead and think about prevention in the workplace. Successful organisations now need to be agile, entrepreneurial, externally linked and ready to change. By definition, that requires the talents of everyone to be engaged. Reflection and review become central business processes. Having mentors and coaches for your staff will not only help them be more productive, its got to help them keep a good healthy balance as well.
So many employees of ELBA members are ready to act as coaches and mentors – we have to assume they get a lot out of it too. They probably know they are helping organisations be more successful. They might not be as aware of how they contribute to general well-being as well – including their own. I saw it this week in my own team, where one of our colleagues with probably the toughest job in the organisation emerged animated and upbeat from her session with her coach from Morgan Stanley. I also heard it from an ELBA community partner, one of the most entrepreneurial managers I have ever met, who spoke about the transformation he had been able to make in his organisation as a result of his mentoring relationship with a skilled manager from Deutsche Bank. It’s happening all over.
Another way of thinking about it all is to say it’s about getting it all together. Now that’s definitely ELBA.