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Helping managers coach graduates

Corporate graduate development programmes come in many flavours. Size of intake and duration are obvious differences. But there are many more subtle and complex issues that vary from business to business.

Probably one of the most difficult balances an employer has to consider is the extent to which the graduate is there to deliver work for their manager, whilst the manager is there to help the graduate develop. Of course both are true, and they can often be the same thing, but it is a balance that requires skill and attention.

This is further complicated by the need for a line manager to see the graduate develop in a specific role, whilst in many businesses a “rounded graduate” is the ultimate goal of the development programme.

I’ve just come back from delivering a 2-day programme for supporting managers in getting the most from the graduates they manage. By adding this dimension to the graduate development programme, we can support graduates with more sustainable and context specific learning.

Perhaps equally important, we can help managers become much more engaged in the graduate development programme, better equipped to support it, and encouraged by the value the business places in their role.

As well as exploring the specific perspectives of the managers on the programme and getting them to work on these together, we use the GROW model to explore the coaching process.

We also look at behaviour - the application of theory - using 1:1 work with actors on what we call real-play, so managers can experiment with discussing difficult performance issues with real people, gaining valuable personal feedback.

We’ll be meeting the managers again in a few weeks, on the follow up day …