Making Yourself VITAL

Earlier this month (January 2017), I gave a talk to Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) professionals at John Moores University in Liverpool. The Liverpool group is chaired by Lynn Delaney, a senior practitioner and Executive Coach. A feature of CIPD is the support they offer to their students. The sense of community was palpable. I became a Fellow of CIPD in 1993 and I can’t remember such a spirit, well done.

The session was titled ‘Coaching and Mentoring in Today’s Organisation’, my intention was simply to invite my fellow HR Professionals to consider what will be their professional point of difference? HR roles are often characterised by i) the processes they administer and lead ii) they are often viewed as back office rather than client facing iii) HR professionals are more likely to impact on clients in an arms lengths way through policies and processes rather than face to face iv) can be difficult to communicate the positive impact of a HR professional, i.e. the HR process may be good practice but if you feel it’s done to you may feel less than positive.

Of course for many of us in the profession this back office detached role suits us. However for those who aspire to lead, influence, engage and one day sit on the board then I see it as critical to develop a quality conversation.

What is a quality conversation?
I think of this as an effective dialogue. The definition of effective in the English Oxford Dictionary is: “Successful in producing a desired or intended result”, and dialogue is: “a conversation between 2 or more people as a feature”.  The definition of dialogue by Merriam-Webster Dictionary is: “an exchange of ideas and opinions”.

Whatever we do the process and the task can become priority, whilst the quality of our dialogue can suffer. This can be true in every relationship, whether work, family or friends.

I see HR colleagues getting career ‘stuck’. Before anyone shouts, this is not because they can’t achieve but just the opposite because they can. For some organisations having and keeping really effective HR completer finishers may be a success. However remember to check in with yourself, maybe ask yourself:
“What did I want from this role?”
“Have I got what I wanted?”
“What else can it give me?”
“Is it time to develop my next level dialogue?”

At a senior level it is not our job to be fully up to speed with the operational processes. What we should be able to do is be the ‘go to’ person for the senior team. The person who listens, challenges and supports. This is our point of difference – this makes us VITAL.


Keys to being vital:

Judith Barton, Director of Coaching and Mentoring
Judith Barton, Director of Coaching and Mentoring, FCIPD

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