Rewarding Futures

How coaching Resilience can overcome stress

Main Image

An employee of a leading business is sitting at his desk one afternoon.

He’s at the top of his field in the organisation, contributing significantly to the bottom line. But he’s also a known workaholic and perfectionist, first in the office every morning, last to leave at night, and even coming in at weekends to the detriment of family life.

Eventually he’s found collapsed and on his way to hospital, a victim of ‘burnout’.

This true story is one with a happy ending (as we’ll discover later), and it’s a scenario that many will recognise to some extent - even if it doesn’t go as far as a trip to A&E.

The most recent figures from the Health & Safety Executive show that in 2015/16, of the 30.4 million working days lost due to self-reported work-related illness or injury, almost 26 million were attributed to work-related illness with stress, depression or anxiety accounting for the majority of these. Stress can inevitably manifest itself at the senior levels of an organisation. However, the manner in which Lloyds Banking Group CEO António Horta-Osório recently shared the story of his own breakdown reflects changing attitudes towards mental health including in a corporate context where, to date, burnout has been accepted as an occupational hazard.

With working life not set to slow down any time soon, especially in the digital information age, how then do we equip people to better deal with the demands of work - and what role does HR play? The Preston Associates (TPA) - an Executive Coaching company who Vana Resourcing partner with – have specialised support in place in the form of 1:1 or team coaching, aimed at developing the qualities of resilience in senior managers with benefits for both individual and employer. 

So what do we mean by resilience?

Resilience is about the ability to adapt rapidly to change,” says Derek Wilson MBE, one of TPA’s most experienced coaches. “It’s about living in the ‘here and now’ rather than a regretful yearning for ‘what was’ or ‘what may be’. It’s about the ability to quickly assimilate environmental information and build empathy, trust and commitment using great communication skills. At a personal level it is about building on a foundation of emotional competence which includes self-awareness, confidence to act decisively and a high degree of self-belief based on a clear sense of one’s own identity and values.”

undefined

According to Derek (pictured above), what makes people less resilient can be down to a variety of factors such as the inability to clearly identify challenges and overcome them, an insufficient social network to help manage stress and trauma, and general fitness (or lack of). 

Some of these factors were clearly evident in the individual whose story we told at the beginning of this article, and who Derek was called in to help. So how was their life turned around? “It took 6 three-hour sessions over 6 months,” said Derek. “The first thing we did was to get his PA to indelibly ink into his diary one-and-a-half hour gym sessions three days a week. We then took him through a series of ‘remedies’ for a less stressed existence.” These ‘remedies’ varied from the obvious (keep fit, sleep more, take a proper lunch break) to the behavioural - more delegation and trust in others, less perfectionism, learning the art of saying no’ and Mindfulness.“To the individual’s credit, he was amenable to everything we discussed together as thinking partners. The result?  A happy, contented family man with a committed, responsive team and, despite it not being on my agenda at the time, he substantially increased the bottom line of his activities.” 

So what role do senior HR professionals play in these circumstances?

In this highly connected world of work, we find that HR Directors are needing to pay much greater attention to the culture set by those at the top of an organisation,” says Julie Stokes OBE, an Executive Coach and Consultant Clinical Psychologist also with The Preston Associates. “At TPA, we regularly coach directors around not only their own resilience – the capacity to bounce back - but also the impact they have on their teams. Executive coaching – quality time to think – is proven to be one of the most sustainable investments on promoting a resilient business culture.”

Or as Derek Wilson summarised, “the best investment one can make is investment in oneself.”


Through our partnership with The Preston Associates, Executive Coaching is an additional service that Vana Resourcing offer to clients. If you’d like to understand more about this, and the opportunities it could offer you or your business, please contact us.

I’ve worked with the team at Vana on many occasions over the years, engaging them to hire senior talent in a number of businesses. Both Debbie and Jo offer great insight and expertise, but above all they deliver results. I would happily recommend their services.

Scott Fishburn, HR Director, DFS

“Debbie is a high-integrity recruiter and takes time to understand organisational needs; commercial and cultural. VANA have worked in partnership with us a number of times, enabling us to secure some excellent senior HR hires.”

John Burgess, Head of Talent & Leadership Development, AXA Group

“I have worked with Debbie both as a candidate having introduced me to ING Direct and Invensys, and as a client supporting me with key hires in both organisations and more recently at DAS.  Both Debbie and Jo are exceptionally well networked, I trust their judgement completely and would highly recommend Vana.”

Kate Banks, ‎Group Director of HR & Legal Services at DAS UK Group

'Debbie and Jo are first class headhunters of HR talent. They take the time to fully understand the brief and culture of the organisation before suggesting any candidates for opportunities. Thank you Vana for sourcing quality hires for my team.'

Helen Norris, Head of HR - Nationwide Building Society

I have worked with Debbie both in the search for talent and also as a candidate, in both situations Debbie has been faultlessly professional. Debbie builds strong relationships exploring briefs to ensure she has a deep understanding of what the business and candidate need, allowing her to deliver a real match.

Ian Marchant, Retail HRD, Greene King plc

Candidate experience is really important to me in recruitment, because that is someone's first experience of an organisation - your organisation. As I see it, the recruiter is part of YOUR brand and their actions impact on YOUR reputation when they act for you. The candidate remembers the experience of applying for a job and not always the recruiter involved.

My experience as a candidate of Jo's was exceptional. Jo kept me informed at every stage, questions were anticipated and I always knew where the process was. Also, Jo was present as a person and not as a remote handler. This shows me that any candidate that Jo places would be treated in exactly the way I'd want them to be. I recommend her without hesitation.

Geraldine Buckland, Director of People, Bristol Water

Debbie is a great recruiter of HR talent; she has successfully worked on a number of key senior hires for us both in the UK and internationally.

Jonathan Wright, Group HRD, Murphy Group

Debbie has recently supported me in securing my first HRD role. Her observations and feedback were very insightful and assisted me greatly in navigating the recruitment process and learning about the company and environment I'll be stepping into. Totally dependable, unbiased and a good judge of character, I would highly recommend her to act on your behalf with prospective employers. I haven't worked with Debbie yet as the employer but wouldn't hesitate to do this if the need arises.

Anita Calverley, HR Director, Yeo Valley Farms

The thing about Vana Resourcing is that Debbie and Jo actually care – about you as a person, your career and your business. Yes they deliver great candidates and opportunities but they make sure that the fit / opportunity is right, challenging both sides in a positive way when needed. They’ve supported my career for the last 10 years, including introducing me to my current HRD role, and I have no hesitation that they will be my first point of call for future candidates and opportunities.

Suzie Noble, Chief People Officer, Brightside

“I have worked with Debbie several times, she stands out from the crowd as a sourcer of talent and when she is managing you as a candidate, I simply haven't worked with anyone better. Commercial, thorough, expert and with a sense of integrity that means you are only ever recommended to organisations that suit you - and as a hirer you only get talent that works for your organisation. As a hiring organisation, working with a partner like Debbie is simply irreplaceable.”

Head of OD, Vodafone

Debbie brings accurate and current insight on HR Talent. Her ability to recognise top people in their field and actively nurture relationships over a long period of time sets her apart from her peers. Debbie is refreshingly honest , she keeps confidences and is not afraid to challenge both candidates and hiring Executives to ensure the right outcome for all parties. I would have no hesitation in recommending Debbie or Vana Resourcing for a critical HR hire.

Barbara Duffy, International HR Director leading on Talent, L&D, Resourcing,OD

“Debbie introduced me to OVO Energy, and she not only found me the right role, but an organisation whose ethos matched my values.  I have since worked with Vana to recruit almost my entire senior HR team! From HRBP's to a Reward Lead and most recently a HR Director. Vana really understand the importance of culture fit."

Kim Atherton, Chief People Officer, OVO Energy

I have worked with Vana Resourcing for a number of years representing me in my own search and as a client. Debbie and Jo are professional and efficient but unusually for this sector, genuinely caring about both client and candidate experience in equal measure.

Jonathan Edge, HR Director UK & Ireland at Ideal Standard International BVBA

“Jo is highly professional, knowledgeable and proactive. It’s not often that a recruitment consultant really interviews you in the same way a prospective employer would.”

Simon Amesbury, SuperGroup plc

What a refreshing delight to work with a commercial partner who understood my business, had national and regional awareness, a handle on the market, an effortless connection with candidates and could tolerate my Everest-like expectations.

I will continue to work with Debbie and Jo again on my incessant drive to solve the talent conundrum of the coming years.

Keep up the great work, you are a credit to the industry.

 

Stephen Robson, HR Director, Global O&Supply Chain at Kingfisher plc

"The team and I have worked with Jo now on a number of occasions for various recruitment assignments. I have always found Jo to be consultative and considered in her approach but above all honest and straight forward! She has a great understanding of her market place and is always at the end of the line to offer insight and market knowledge. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Vana and look forward to our continued relationship."

Heather Harrex, Resourcing Partner, Nationwide Building Society

I've known Jo for a number of years and worked with her as a client and candidate. What's great about working with Jo is that you're guaranteed an honest perspective and terrific insight to the market. She nurtures her relationships in a natural and engaging way: put simply - she knows her stuff!

Marie Aitken, Chief People Officer

I initially engaged Debbie to undertake a search for a Head of OD. She is consultative in style, and took time to gain a comprehensive insight into our organisational culture and HR journey, delivering an excellent shortlist of candidates and a super hire. The feedback from our candidates on their engagement with VANA has been equally positive. Jo and Debbie has since supported me with several other senior hires within the People organisation at RLG, and we enjoy an effective working partnership.

People & Corporate Affairs Director, Royal London Group

“I have worked with Debbie as both candidate and client. In both contexts I have found her to be super-efficient, thorough and a pleasure to do business with. She listens really well, responds quickly and is flexible to evolving demands. Debbie is up there in my top 3 recruiters.”

Sue Round, Head of Talent and Organisational Effectiveness, BP

I have worked with Debbie and Jo for many years as a candidate looking for opportunities and a manager looking for talent.  I have always been impressed by how Vana strive to ensure that there is the best fit in terms of candidate values and company culture.

Sarah King, Head of HR, Triodos Bank