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How to develop a coaching mindset

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Managers should know that having a coaching mindset is not at all the same as being an employee’s friend, mentor or counsellor.

There are thousands of resources for upskilling, but how many are directed at managers? And of those few, how many are devoted to teaching managers about managing people, which is a huge part of their job.

People management is not an innate skill for many bosses, and there is no shame in admitting it. It is worth reading up on how to develop a coaching mindset because none of us are born senseis.

As a manager, you are in charge of a team of people who look to you for guidance every day in the workplace.

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It sounds daunting, but there are skills you can develop to help you help your team. Soft skills like empathy, communication, active listening and having the right mindset can mean the world of difference when faced with a problem that seems insurmountable. This is just as true for managers as it is for every other worker.

There are, however, some additional points managers may want to consider which apply specifically to them and their goals. So, let’s break these down.

Finding the potential in your employees

The last thing any manager wants to do is treat their employees like kids. A good boss should endeavour to strike a balance between approachability and respectability, which is a very difficult thing to do.

The key to maintaining that delicate balance is to remember your own goals for your employees. Do you want them to be confident enough to make professional decisions independently?

A significant part of your job will be communicating with your staff, but it’s important to make sure you listen to them and take on board their concerns too. Staff and managers have things to learn from each other, and as a manager you should always encourage workers to come to you with their questions and concerns.

Obviously, you are not their counsellor or their friend, or even their trainer – but you do have to be there for your employees at work. They rely on you to get the best out of them.

Active listening

This may seem like a fairly obvious tip, but active listening can be harder than it sounds – pardon the pun. This communication technique involves listening to what your employees are telling you, rephrasing it and repeating it back to them.

It makes people feel heard, valued and understood. It’s a particularly valuable skill for diffusing any workplace confrontations or grievances you may have to deal with. The trick is to stay calm and in control.

Have a growth mindset

Again, this is easier said than done. But having a growth mindset is all about the willingness to put in the work to think long and hard about what you want from your team. The more experienced the team, the less guidance they need.

Newer hires and inexperienced teams need a lot of attention even after the onboarding stage, as they get to grips with the company’s culture and way of working. As a boss, it is your responsibility to make sure your whole team runs smoothly and knows what targets it has to achieve.

As you can imagine, growth mindsets require almost sub-human levels of multitasking. But the effort is worth it once you see your team smash its targets under your tutelage.

Asking questions

Good coaches and bosses keep people on their toes, and this involves asking critical questions. A well-placed question can hold somebody to account if they are underperforming or evading responsibility at work.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your employees calmly and directly. They will definitely respect you more if you do.

The power of staying silent

This last point ties into the first one about finding the potential in your employees. If you ask them a question and they appear to have difficulty answering it sometimes the right thing to do is let them ruminate.

Even if you know the answer, you want your team members to be able to figure things out for themselves. Don’t spoon feed people at work; you want to empower them to find the answer by themselves, and that usually requires holding your tongue.

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Irish payroll tech company BrightPay merges with UK’s Relate

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The two companies will get funding from investor Hg to hire more employees and innovate new technologies across Ireland and the UK.

Irish payroll management tech company BrightPay has announced a merger with London-based accounting software company Relate Software in a bid to integrate services for SMEs across the two islands.

Based in Co Meath, BrightPay has been operating in Ireland for more than 25 years and employs more than 70 people in the country. It provides payroll software services to more than 330,000 employers in Ireland and the UK.

Upon merging, BrightPay CEO Paul Byrne and Relate co-founder and CEO Ray Rogers will remain investors and become co-CEOs of the new entity. The other co-founders of each company will also continue to invest in the new business and develop products.

Byrne said that Relate’s track record in the sector will help them become the leading service for many businesses and accountancy firms.

Private equity investor Hg, which focuses on software and service businesses in Europe and North America, will become the majority investor in the combined business. “Their deep sector knowledge has proven invaluable to us and will be instrumental in fuelling the further growth of BrightPay/Relate,” Byrne added.

New hires and technologies

The merger will benefit from the combination of BrightPay’s expertise in payroll software with Relate’s experience in accountancy management tech. Together with Hg, the new business will invest in new technologies such as cloud and automation to improve their services.

Rogers, founder and CEO of Relate, said: “Combining products from both businesses will provide a compelling offering for our customers, with the scope and backing for further innovation and development.

“I’m looking forward to working with Paul and am also excited to welcome Hg, a leading software investor with a track record of supporting growth in Irish software businesses.”

While details of the transactions have not been disclosed, the combined business will have more than 190 employees with plans to hire more people across Ireland and the UK.

“Both BrightPay and Relate are very highly regarded businesses and champions in their field,” said Jonathan Boyes, Hector Guinness and Thomas Martin of Hg in a joint statement. “The two companies bring together core operational strengths whilst also unlocking a high-quality, complementary suite of products to a newly combined customer base.”

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New UK broadband rules will make it easier to switch supplier | Broadband

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The UK media regulator, Ofcom, has introduced a new service to make it easier for customers to switch broadband supplier to get a better deal.

Ofcom hopes the new process, One Touch Switch, will encourage people to seek out better deals after research found that more than two-fifths of people were put off switching broadband suppliers because of the hassle.

People can already switch between providers that use Openreach’s broadband network – such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk – through a process requiring a customer to only contact their new supplier.

However, until now customers looking to change networks or technologies – such as between Virgin Media’s network and a provider on Openreach or other smaller networks such as Hyperoptic or CityFibre – had to deal with both the new and old supplier simultaneously.

Ofcom research found that a quarter of customers making such a switch faced attempts by their provider to stop them. The One Touch Switch process aims to eliminate these issues, including customers having to sort out the end and start dates of their old and new services.

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“Household finances are strained at the moment, so switching broadband provider could help keep your bills down,” said Lindsey Fussell, the network and communications group director at Ofcom. “We’re making it as easy as possible for you to break up with your broadband provider and take advantage of the deals on offer.”

Ofcom said the new rules will also mean that suppliers will have to compensate customers if they are left without internet for more than one working day during a switch. All suppliers must introduce Ofcom’s new simplified switching process by April 2023.

The regulator has introduced a range of measures in recent years to make sure customers have access to the best deals. These include cracking down on the so-called “loyalty penalty” by which customers who stick with their broadband, mobile or pay-TV supplier are not offered the same discount deals as new customers.

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India, Japan flex cyber-defence muscles as China seethes • The Register

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India and Japan have each flexed their cyber-defence muscles in ways that China can’t miss.

Japan’s flex was the Monday launch of a national cyber-security policy that for the first time names China, Russia, and North Korea as sources of heightened threat. The policy also calls for Japan’s Self Defence Force to increase its digital capabilities.

The new plan was released as expected under Japan’s policy of refreshing its defensive plans every three years. The theme for the policy is “Cybersecurity for all” and chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato said its aim is to ensure that no part of Japanese society goes without the protections it needs.

Kato said the plan was also developed because Japan’s government “recognised a threat” and therefore a need to strengthen its online defences. The policy documents list many recent infosec incidents – such as the attack on SolarWinds and Microsoft’s Exchange flaw – as the sort of thing Japan needs to counter.

India’s flex came from vice-president M. Venkaiah Naidu, who on Monday visited a military museum and remarked that India’s security forces should “prepare themselves to dominate not only in a conventional war but also establish their superiority in the new and emerging areas of conflict such as information and cyber warfare along with the increasing use of robotics and drones in the battlefield”.

“The nation is assured that any misadventure by an adversary will be given a befitting reply by the Indian Army,” Naidu said.

While the position of vice-president is largely ceremonial – the officeholder is backup to the head of state, but actual power resides with Parliament – Naidu’s words have weight. Doubly so as he stated India faces “both symmetric and asymmetric threats from outside and within” and then asserted India’s sovereignty over Jammu & Kashmir and argued that previous arrangements that gave the territory autonomy were temporary.

Mentioning Jammu & Kashmir is significant, as the disputed India/China border is in the territory. The territory is also the subject of a dispute with Pakistan.

Kashmiri separatists, which India labels Pakistan-supported terrorists, and China, will all have noticed the veep urging India to arm itself in the kinetic and digital realms.

China has certainly noticed last week’s meeting of “The Quad” – the grouping of Australia, the USA, Japan, and India – and its announcement of plans to develop infosec standards it hopes the world will follow.

China’s foreign ministry has labelled The Quad a “closed and exclusive clique” informed by “outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality and ideological bias”.

Spokesperson Hua Chunying addressed the issue at a press conference in response to a question from Russian news agency TASS. “For some time, these countries have been keen on insinuating China with the so-called ‘rules-based order’, playing up and inciting the so-called ‘China threat’ theory, and driving a wedge between regional countries and China.”

Te actions of Japan and India actions suggest the wedge is working. ®

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