Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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Coaching is "a way of life" at Helena Housing
Article Type: Notes and news From: Industrial and Commercial Training, Volume 40, Issue 3.
Helena Housing, a not-for-profit registered social landlord with 13,000 homes in St Helens, UK, has developed all its managers as qualified coaches.
Liz Haworth, Helena Housing’s director of customer services, explained: “The role of housing associations is changing. Many organizations like ours are moving away from the traditional landlord functions to a neighbourhood-management role, placing greater emphasis on the quality of communities and tackling issues like crime, environmental problems and anti-social behavior”.
To bring about the required changes in the way services are provided, they needed more team work and a new breed of manager - or cultural architect - able to coach staff to deliver efficient, customer-focused services.
“In Helena Housing, coaching is a way of life”, Liz Howarth continued. “Other organizations like ours use coaching, but we believe we are the only housing association to grow our own coaches, making coaching a behavior and a leadership style rather than a discrete activity provided by an external consultant.
“The ambitions we set out to achieve were complex and challenging. By identifying and developing the cultural architects in key areas of our business, we have delivered a step change in efficiency, performance and customer service”.
The 18-month coaching program, leading to an accreditation by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), has already made its mark, as an employee survey shows. More staff now understand the aims of the association and how they can help to achieve them; more are proud to work for Helena Housing; and more have regular meetings with managers and a fair opportunity to learn new skills and develop.
The program has lifted the charity into the top 25 per cent of housing associations on a range of performance indicators, including:
non-urgent repairs carried out within five days - 97 per cent (against 96 per cent for the top 25 per cent);
proportion of rent collected - 98.5 per cent (97 per cent); and
cost of collecting rent - £26 (£28).
Helena Housing is an accredited center to deliver the ILM qualification in-house. The charity was highly commended in the UK National Training Awards.