HR in MNC’s

I recently had the privilege of joining a truly global organisation, having previously been employed at a large New Zealand based corporate.  Below are some of my reflections after six months in this role on the differences between HR in a national corporate versus a multinational.

I myself am hopeless in the garden, but have always admired people with a ‘green thumb.’ My grandmother is one woman who has an incredible ability to grow anything, regardless of the elements. I have always been intrigued by one tree in her garden, a crab apple she grew from a seedling. Over the years, the crab apple has outgrown every other tree, and stands tall, demanding its stately position in the yard. Through numerous seasons, grandma has diligently trained the branches that now span in all directions. The roots have extended so far they encroach on the plumb and feijoa plots, and still continue to annihilate anything that gets in the way. It was touch-and-go one year, grandma decided to graft a pear tree onto the apple tree, and initially it was not quite the success she had hoped – you can still see the scars. Yet now, both species, following a lengthy period of integration, have a healthy symbiotic relationship, that enables them to produce wonderful fruit from the one tree, in an unpredictable New Zealand climate. More recently, grandma has felt confident taking cuttings for all of her friends, so that they too can share her joy in their own backyard.

Biological metaphors are useful, because they help us to comprehend phenomena in ways we might not otherwise be able to understand them. Multinational companies (MNCs) come in many forms, and have evolved as powerful political, economic and social forces with turnover in some cases larger than some countries’ GDP. Thus, the study of multinationals is becoming increasingly important. Strikingly, there seems to be very little research on the development, operation and behaviour of multinational organisations. To this end, I have introduced this biological metaphor of an MNC as a crab apple tree in order to illustrate the relationship between an organisation and the Human Resources (HR) function.

Background concept wordcloud illustration of multinational corporation

In doing so, I propose that HR is to today’s multinational organisation, as my grandmother is to her garden, and that the role of HR is to assist MNCs by guiding their “origins, growth, reproduction, structure and behaviour”. HR achieves this by performing a series of key activities.


The Gardeners’ Art

The primary focus for multinational companies is to generate a return for their shareholders, and do so by optimising operations and processes across borders. The rapid rise of MNCs has been regarded as the “primary shaper of the contemporary global economy.” This places the activities of the International HR function into perspective. HR activities in multinational companies differ from those in domestic firms, due to the additional breadth of responsibilities such as management of international assignees; the broader perspective required in relation to global operations; the greater involvement in personal lives, particularly when entire families are being relocated on international assignment; the increased scale, number of people, the challenge that comes with this greater diversity; and the complexity of external factors, e.g. dealing with multiple currencies.


Talent Management

The term talent management is not uncommon to HR; however, within an international context it takes on a completely new meaning. Issues relating to the location, cost, diversity, mobility and shortage of labour are heightened when the are considered on a global scale. Global workforce planning and forecasting requires managing a “mobile global workforce, located in acquired enterprises in foreign locals, plus those located in traditional subsidiaries, joint ventures, and partnerships, and involves local hires, hires from countries around the world, and employees from any operation on assignment to another operation”. Information relating to education, literacy, skills, language and unemployment becomes increasingly important to IHRM practitioners making decisions on how or where to staff a particular operation. If required skills are not available in a particular location, HR is tasked with sourcing that talent from within our outside the organisation.


Training and Management Development

IHRM must make decisions in relation to all types of training in multiple locations, across a variety of cultures and in numerous languages. Who should deliver the training? Should it be delivered virtually or via interpreter? Is it developed centrally or locally? Are their legal obligations to train in particular countries? What is the level of education, approach, or education system in a particular country? Which learning style will be best suited to the culture? These are all key questions that HRM must overcome when implementing training in MNCs. Following on from above, HR’s role in the preparation of international assignees is critical to ensure success. Another key priority for IHRM is identifying these high potential employees and developing a cadre of managers with a global mindset, that can cope with numerous conflicts and uncertainties, and are sensitive to multiple cultures. This kind of leadership and cultural competency development is critical for succession planning, and thus to the success of the multinational organisation in the future.


Compensation and Benefits

Managing a global workforce also involves managing rewards and reward systems internationally. Different standards of living, costs of living, currencies, exchange rates, interest rates, inflation rates and tax rates may need to be considered when making staffing decisions. In addition, industrial relations, employee representation and union presence; or government provided or mandated benefits may affect decisions regarding where to locate operations, for example: overtime, compulsory bonuses, severance payments, contract requirements, tax, paid time off, hours worked per week, social welfare benefits, holidays and vacations, pension plans, parental leave, or stock options. This makes it difficult to implement a compensation and benefits systems that is perfectly equitable across multiple subsidiaries. Equally, calculating expatriate remuneration is not a perfect science.


Performance Management

Given the highly competitive global landscape in which MNCs operate, performance, particularly the performance of employees is crucial. IHRM is the custodian of a MNCs performance management system globally. These systems must assist managers to evaluate performance, provide relevant feedback, make decisions about promotion and job assignments, identify high potential employees, manage employee engagement, motivation, development and retention and manage unsatisfactory performance.

Performance management is important as employee measurement is closely linked to each of the activities discussed so far. For that reason, cultural fit with respect to the appropriateness of the performance criteria, competencies, method of appraisal, and performance feedback” is critical. Cultural dimensions such as power distance, collectivism, harmony and face should always be considered when introducing a performance management process. This is where the standardarsation vs. localisation debate comes to life, and is a perfect example of how IHRM practices need to be well thought out and communicated rather than blindly applied universally, or MNC’s risk creating tension within the business. In addition, given the cost and time involved in International assignments, it is important that expectations for assignees are clear, and their evaluation process is effective. This can cause difficulties in deciding who might be the most appropriate person to measure the international assignees progress, hence why 360 feedback for international assignees is common, which in itself requires a lot of administration for IHRM.


CSR and Ethics

The size and scale of multinational organisations generally indicates the greater number of stakeholders, particularly employees. Consequently, their activities are followed closely by the media, consumer bodies, NGOs, trade unions, and international bodies. The logic follows that as organisations get larger, they take on a greater level of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that is, supporting the welfare of those within the communities in which they operate, and limiting damage to the environment. The key aspects of CSR are environmental and human sustainability. Sustainability has heightened the awareness of the triple bottom line concept “people, planet, profit”. It can be common for multinational companies to have a CSR policy, to subscribe to the direction of governing organisations such as the UN, ILO or OECD, or for US multinationals, to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley laws. IHRM often plays a role in writing, communicating or policing CSR policies and initiatives, as well as playing a direct role in promoting employee welfare and work life balance. International ethics is a minefield, given that ethics are relative, and moral dilemmas are difficult to navigate. International code of ethics policies that set out universal principles might assist with the management of acceptable employment practices such as child labour, bribery, discrimination, or health and safety requirements. However, It is then left up to IHRM to police and educate staff on the organisations ethical values.


Strategic HRM (SHRM)

These five activities that have been discussed are commonly cited as being fundamental to HRM within MNCs. In addition, there is one other activity of overarching importance – the strategic role of HRM in MNCs. SHRM has been defined as: “a pattern of planned human resource deployments and activities intended to enable an organisation to achieve its goals”. This definition unmistakably shows that all of the activities discussed so far have the potential to be strategic or of strategic importance, provided they are aligned with organisational goals.

There are several factors that influence the strategic role of HRM in MNCs, namely the: level of internationalisation present, level of horizontal or vertical integration, company structure, corporate strategy, ownership, and country of origin and host country characteristics.

Greenskeeper, Landscaper, or Nursery Person?

Just as the role of a horticulturalist depends entirely on the characteristics of the garden, so too the role of HR differs based on the characteristics of the firm and the environment in which it operates. Each of the five HR activities discussed has the potential to be strategic provided they contribute to the achievement of organisational goals, sustained competitive advantage, and ‘fit’ the organisational structure and strategy. This potential can be realised in a number of ways, for example HR might be involved in strategy formulation or implementation; intended or emergent strategy; corporate or business unit strategy. From this, we can conclude that there are “variations in the roles of the corporate HR function in different types of international firms”, and that multiple internal and external factors will contribute to HR’s ability to be strategic, which is consistent with Harvard model of SHRM.

The challenge for HR is to adapt and respond quickly to an ever changing, dynamic, global environment.  This will be an ongoing challenge for HR given the pace of change in the twenty first century and beyond.

In some ways, managing HR in and MNC is much like my grandmother navigating the turbulence in her garden and the memorable crab apple tree, that has survived decades of expansion, competition with other plants, restructuring and pruning, coplanting with other species, and branching off into new locations … all in an unpredictable climate.



Facebook profile analysis … Using social networking sites for selection


Social Media

Social Media is revolutionising the way we live, representing a fundamental shift in human communication. 50% of the world’s population is under 30 years old, 96% of millennials have joined a social network, and social media is the number one activity on the internet (Buzzz Social Media, 2015). The largest social networking website is Facebook, launched in 2004 with a mission to “give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected”. If Facebook were a country it would be the largest, recently surpassing 1.44 billion monthly active users. Facebook users personalise a profile page by adding real time information about themselves via their computer or mobile device.


Employers seeking applicants for vacant positions engage in recruitment activity in order to obtain appropriate candidates. The selection process enables an employer to consider information about candidates in order to assess their suitability and determine their ‘fit’. Of great interest to employers is the ability to predict future job performance. In addition to general mental ability, personality measured using the five factors is recognised to be predictive of job performance. Employers are turning to the internet to access publically available information about candidates. 80% of companies use social media for recruitment (Buzzz Social Media, 2015). An increasing number of HR practitioners are using social networking sites (SNW’s) to aid in decisions made at the early stages of the selection process.

Can you use Facebook to assess personality using a recognised model like the ‘Big 5’ to determine a candidates suitability for a role?  From a public profile, can you evaluate key factors identified as positive predictors of job performance such as openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and the degree of neuroticism? Then, even if this is possible, should it happen?



This method of assessing personality is remarkably effective, particularly given the internal consistency, inter-rater reliability, convergent, criterion-related, and incremental validity findings in a range of recent studies (see Kluemper et al., 2012). The theoretical basis for this approach is the realistic accuracy model (Funder, 1995). Accuracy is enhanced as a result of the Facebook profile format which offers a rich, multidimensional, and consistent view of an individual, providing the rater with data to project behavioural tendencies and patterns. Facebook collates information (quality and quantity) from different sources allowing others to form a schema of the person. Independent ratings are likely to be more accurate and predictive of job performance than self-ratings as they are not influenced by personal bias. The effectiveness of this approach is obviously limited by whether a candidate has a Facebook profile and how accurate and current it is.

As this approach is new, it is yet to be established as an expected part of the selection process leaving its appropriateness open to debate. Organisations looking to pursue this method of obtaining candidate information may want to minimise any legal risks associated with candidate privacy by requesting candidate consent. Ethical issues include the risk of introducing bias into the selection process by making assumptions about race, religion, sexual preference or marital status from the profile information, potentially exposing the organisation to an employment discrimination claim.

We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it” (Buzzz Social Media, 2015). This suggests that all organisations must embrace social media for recruitment. Implications include which method of social media to utilise i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and how to access and collate this information. Do candidates consent or is this covert? Who completes the assessment, are there multiple raters for consistency? How is this information considered alongside other sources of applicant information such as work or ability tests, interviews, or references? At what point in the process is this information obtained? Implications for job recruits include whether to sanitise their profile to ensure it is attractive to prospective employers, maintain multiple profiles (personal and professional) or increase privacy settings restricting information access.

Managing high application volumes could prove difficult for employers. In what circumstances would information uncovered on SNW preclude an offer of employment? This would need to be defined clearly. Some candidates in a particular age or demographic bracket may not have access to SNW. Would this limit the potential candidate pool? In addition, candidate treatment is particularly important as SNW candidates may become future customers, and their experience during the selection process may leave a lasting impression of the organisations brand.

Irrespective of these questions, the future of recruitment is increasingly digital as pressure continues for organisations to remain competitive. It’s clear that the future of technology will continue to dramatically change the way we live and work.

Is profile analysis the next level of social recruitment? What do you think?

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Jurassic Audit?

HR audit and HR strategy research have developed independently from each other. Considering the research relating to HR audit and HR strategy together presents some exciting potential for HR practitioners and managers wanting to undertake a structured and systematic gap analysis prior to establishing HR strategy.
Aligning these two areas of research enables the HR function to have a greater contribution to overall business strategy, as the HR audit moves beyond a pure regulatory and compliance focus. Findings indicate that HR audit does not currently play a significant role in the HR strategy formation process and is not a particularly popular tool amongst HR practitioners. At the same time, literature highlights that HR practitioners need to be more strategic by contributing valuable insights into the HR strategy development process.

This blog proposes that existing approaches to HR strategy development miss an important introductory step, the HR audit, which can be utilised to better inform the HR strategy. The framework developed here introduces a clear picture of the relationship between HR audit and HR strategy in the context of a number of related factors including business strategy, HR planning, HR metrics, and the role of HR. This framework aims to support HR management practice and overall business performance. This opens up opportunities for future research to empirically test the proposed framework by assessing stakeholder perceptions of HR’s strategic contribution, and organisational performance outcomes as possible measures of its impact.

Strategy is life and death for twenty first century organisational success.  In today’s competitive global environment organisations that fail to develop and execute strategy will inevitably cease to exist. Human capital is the lifeblood of an organisation, a unique differentiator, difficult for competitors to replicate.

HR audits are one of the primary tools external HR practitioners or consultants utilise when looking to assess an organisation’s HR function independently. The audit process and findings enable them to feed back to the organisation where there are opportunities for improvement. These opportunities then form the starting point for a range of HR initiatives or interventions that can be implemented to enhance the workplace and drive greater organisational performance. However, internal HR practitioners and organisations will rarely audit their own organisation, unless this is a compliance requirement. In practice, HR audits seem to have an irrelevant risk and compliance stigma associated with them, and are today a somewhat dated concept.

Factors that contribute to a poor reputation for the HR audit are the origins of the HR audit theory, and that the view of HR audit differs dramatically amongst authors. HR audit literature falls into two categories, a traditional view of the HR audit, and more recently, a transformational or multidimensional view of HR audit. Following the behavioural science movement in the 1960s and the introduction of personnel management, one of the greatest advances in the field of HR in the 1970’s was the human resource accounting theory developed by Flamholtz. This theory originated from an asset risk management and compliance perspective. At this time, one of the tools that rose in popularity acclaimed for supporting the HR function was an HR audit. Research in the area of HR audits has continued since the 1970’s, and while some authors cling to the use of audit as a risk and compliance measure, others take a more progressive approach to the understanding, relevance, and application of HR audits.

By comparison, one of the most recent and popular advances in HRM is the notion of Strategic HRM (SHRM), and the requirement for HR practitioners to become more strategic. One of the main ways to achieve this is for HR practitioners to contribute to the business at a strategic level, through the creation and execution of an HR strategy.  As this field of research is still evolving, there is little agreement among scholars regarding clear definitions and an understanding of the difference between HR strategy and SHRM, so much so that the terms are often used interchangeably. Regardless of this, as the understanding of HRM matures, the greater its importance in an organisation and the more strategic it needs to become. Therefore, more organisations are introducing an HR strateg.

Broadly speaking, SHRM is about the integration of HR strategy and business strategy. SHRM is “the overall framework that determines the shape and delivery of individual strategies, systematically linking people with organisations by integrating HRM strategies into corporate strategies” (CIPD, 2015, p. 1). HR strategy on the other hand, is “a system of human resource practices aimed at the best employee performance possible to meet the firm’s ultimate goals” (Society for Human Resource Management, 2008, p. 3). The differences between these definitions is very subtle.

In contrast to HR strategy development, business strategy development takes place using a range of established tools and methods. One tool used to inform business strategy is a basic SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. This analysis prompts questions such as where the critical areas of implementation are, how the business can enable this, what rival companies are doing, which changes in technology or regulatory developments are affecting work practices, how the organisation might adjust its methods, practices or structures, and what skills, behaviours and attitudes are required for the organisation to be successful (Society for Human Resource Management, 2006). Examples of other business strategy development tools include the learning and experience curve (Porter, 1979), Ansoff’s strategy matrix (Ansoff, 1980), life cycle (Anderson & Zeithaml, 1984), Chandlers fit approach (Lengnick-Hall & Lengnick-Hall, 1988), economic rents (Amit & Schoemaker, 1990), Goldratt’s theory of constraints (Goldratt, 1990), Six Sigma (Neuman & Cavanagh, 2000), Triple bottom line and sustainability (Norman & MacDonald, 2004) and Porter’s five force analysis (Porter, 2008). All of these tools are variations of organisational audit techniques that are intended to support a gap analysis, which then assists in determining which strategies to apply (Spender, 2014). Every few years, a new business strategy development tool emerges in the literature, and business strategists have an endless number of models available to them to support strategy creation and development. HR practitioners could benefit from a similar tool, specific to the profession, which could be utilised to support HR strategy development, and improve the strategic credibility of HR.

Both of these concepts, HR audit and HR strategy, appear central to the study of HRM.  However, the literature relating to each factor has developed independently from the other.  There is a gap in our understanding of how these two factors might relate. In practice, HR audits appear less popular given the perception of their relevance, whereas HR strategy seems to have a more popular image and practitioner following.  A link between the two may show how the application of an HR audit better informs HR strategy, and / or that having an HR strategy, may improve the quality of an HR audit.

The HR audit is a way for organisations to assess value, including the strategic architecture of an organisation, its competencies, and the HR function’s contribution to overall effectiveness. Modern multidimensional interpretations of the HR audit suggest that the value of HR services is determined by a range of stakeholders rather than HR itself. The audit then signals to stakeholders that HR is serious about organisational advancement and intends to engage in the change process based on feedback and metrics that gauge its progress.

An HR audit can shed light on the extent to which an organisation recognises the strategic contribution of HR and the need for integrated HR systems that have a long-term impact on organisational outcomes. The foundation of workforce success begins with the HR function, and an organisation in which HR professionals are focused on only administrative risk and compliance can never fully attain strategic value out of its workforce.

This blog proposes that it is not possible to manage the HR strategy development process without a full understanding of HR within an organisation as well as contextually relevant external factors, and that the ideal tool for this is an HR audit. While HR audit and HR strategy have previous been considered independently in the literature, and HR audits are not used presently to inform HR strategy, HR practitioners and organisations could benefit greatly by reconsidering their view of the HR audit and utilising an audit as a tool prior to the strategy development process.

Conversely, this blog also proposes that a clear HR strategy would better support the HR audit process by ensuring that areas of the greatest importance to the organisation were audited, tracked and measured on a regular basis.

This framework proposes that prior to the HR strategy and HR planning process, HR should have completed a multidimensional HR audit. At the same time as conducting the audit, HR should determine which metrics are important as benchmarks for the organisation using an HR measurement approach similar to the balanced scorecard, and include these metrics in the audit itself. This would ensure that HR is appropriately armed with an understanding of the performance of the HR function, the calibre of the people in the organisation, and all internal and external factors likely to be important to stakeholders in the strategy development process. The audit is therefore intended to identify any gaps that need to be addressed via an HR strategy.

Should we campaign to bring back the HR audit?! Or is it extinct … along with the dinosaurs? What do you think …

Psychological Capital


In a world where technology has developed to such an extent that people have become hyper-connected, and where creativity is the only way to survive, the concept of Positive Organisational Behaviour (POB) and Positive Organisational Scholarship is flourishing. When psychology researchers in the late nineties began questioning the single-minded focus within their field on what is ‘wrong with people’ and began asking ‘what is right,’ a shift also took place in the field of Organisational Behaviour (OB).

Specifically, a group of OB researchers led by Dr Fred Luthans developed the concept of psychological capital (PsyCap), a combination of the states of hope, self-efficacy, resilience and optimism as a positive resource for developing a sustained competitive edge through performance. Luthans (2004) explain that financial capital is ‘what you have;’ human capital is ‘what you know;’ social capital is ‘who you know;’ psychological capital is ‘who you are’ and ‘what you can become.’ It is a twenty first century form of investment for organisations to compete with, and perhaps win, in the ‘flat’ world.

Positive Psychology

The notion of OB being positive is not a new concept; OB, “as a field of inquiry…tends to be more positive than negative”. Positive psychology, developed by Martin Seligman in the late nineties, conveyed a shift among certain psychologists towards research focussing on human strengths that enable people to blossom and succeed, rather than concentrating on how to fix people’s weaknesses and illnesses. POB is a fairly new concept emerging in the early 2000s. It began to emerge in the field of OB because of its relevance to the workplace. Dr Fred Luthans, describes his encounter with positive psychology as a ‘eureka’ moment which introduced the potential of new concepts and perspectives to the field of OB.

Positive Organisational Behaviour (POB)

POB places specific emphasis on the “study and application of positively-oriented human resource strengths and psychological capacities”. Of significance within the POB literature is its recognition of the developmental nature of psychological resources as opposed to the fixed unchanging traits in personality research, like the Big Five and core evaluations.


PsyCap is “who you are” and “what you can become in terms of positive development” (Luthans, Norman, Avolio, & Avey, 2008,, p. 233). Four constructs have been found to effectively meet the PsyCap inclusion criteria: hope, self-efficacy, resilience and optimism. These constructs are theoretically-established and researched, open to development, unique to the OB field and have performance impact. Each has empirical evidence to support its effect on improved performance, organisational commitment and satisfaction outcomes and collectively create a higher-order construct known as Psychological Capital.

Each of the four dimensions contributes something unique to the configuration of PsyCap. Hope is having the “goal-oriented energy” to establish, plan and generate the “waypower” to meet goals. Self-efficacy is an individual’s belief or conviction that they have the power to reach a desired outcome. Resilience means not only pulling through difficulty, but excelling beyond the setback. Lastly, optimism conveys the “permanence and pervasiveness” an individual attributes to their circumstances. The interconnectedness of these four dimensions, similar yet empirically distinct, means they form a stronger predictor of performance and attitudes when combined rather than when measured individually. PsyCap has been empirically proven to improve performance.

As a state like construct, research has also focussed on PsyCap’s developmental nature. PsyCap can be developed by mastery experiences or performance attainments, as well as vicarious experiences or modelling. Furthermore, leadership has been shown to influence follower PsyCap. Authentic leadership behaviours – honesty, integrity, transparency and self-awareness, encourage follower PsyCap and trust, leading to group-level OCBs and high performance. Authentic leadership and follower PsyCap is facilitated by Social Exchange Theory (SET), where the exchange (investment) between at least two people should be equal to the benefit from the exchange and that rewards from the exchange are apportioned equally, encouraging a sense of reciprocity.

How do leaders promote healthy PsyCap in your business?

#Orgpsych #OB #PsyCap #PositivePsych

Coaching Questions

We’re taught that to be successful in any profession, we need to train and understand our discipline well in order to be in a position to provide expert advice. Central to being an effective HR Business Partner is an ability to advise the business – a stock standard requirement in every HR position description.

Advice giving is practitioner led, where the HR expert is called upon to provide an opinion.  An influential HR BP advice giving technique often involves providing multiple solutions and options for consideration, with differing consequences. Perhaps a ‘textbook’ option, and a few alternatives that include differing degrees of risk, taking into account a range of factors influencing the business. Business leaders then participate in the evaluation process, determine the preferred approach, and in doing so this creates ownership and a strong sense of buy in.

i.e Manager has problem X they need to address, so their HR BP talks them through options A, B and C each with different associated impacts. The manager then evaluates these options with the HR BP and selects option B as their preferred. By this point, the manager is particularly invested in ensuring option B is successful, and their behaviour and action subsequent will reflect this. This approach supports the development of a strong relationship, building trust and reliance on HR.

By contrast, coaching achieves all this, with exponential benefits for both managers and HR BPs. It can feel like going ‘against the grain’ of everything known to contribute to HR success. What do you mean I shouldn’t advise the manager? I should keep quiet and ask questions instead? I should let go, and let them determine and decide the best approach? Yes!

I’m reminded of my Dutch school certificate accounting teacher, who (I thought at the time) humiliated me mid class when I asked her a simple accounting question. Instead of helping me by answering my question so I could move on, she quietened the class and asked me the question in front of everyone.  Confused, I asked her the question again hoping for her assistance, and she slowly repeated it back to me.  This went on like a mexican stand off for a few minutes, until I realised she wasn’t going to budge, and she expected me to work out how to answer the question for myself.  Pressured, I started to make suggestions on how the question might be answered, and she encouraged me to keep going.  Within minutes I’d answered the question myself, and never required assistance with these types of questions ever again.

What I didn’t realise at the time was that I wanted to be spoon fed the answers, and her role was to equip me with problem solving skills of my own. I am grateful to her for taking this approach which would have been far more difficult than simply providing me the answer.

There is plenty of literature on the benefits of coaching so rather than focus on that here, I’d like to capture some practical coaching questions, so that all the coaching skeptics (I was once one!) can give it a go, and see what happens!

Coaching questions …


  • What is happening at the moment? What’s going on?
  • How do you know that is the case? Give me an example.
  • What effect does this have?
  • When does this happen? How often does this happen?
  • So what’s the key issue for you?
  • What’s not happening now that you think should happen?
  • Which parts of this are within your power to change and which aren’t?
  • Who else is involved?
  • What do you think their perspective is?

Goal setting

  • How would you like things to be different?
  • What would you like to happen that is not happening now?
  • What difference would that make?
  • How will that be of value to you?
  • What stops you from having that right now?
  • What can you do to achieve that result?


  • What could you do to get that result?
  • What are the options?
  • What actions are needed to overcome the ‘what stops you’ obstacles?
  • What approaches/actions have you thought about already?
  • Has this ever happened before? What did you do then?
  • Which options do you like the most?
  • What are the benefits and pitfalls of these options?
  • What is a short term solution?  A long term solution?
  • What resources are available to you?


  • What will you need to do / learn / find out about?
  • What are the next steps?
  • When will you take them?

Feel free to share your most impactful coaching questions …


#coaching #HR

Take me back to the start

take me back

All endings are also beginnings.  To make an end is to make a beginning.  I’ve just submitted my final assignment for my Masters qualification and promised myself that would mark the end of academic writing and the beginning of professional writing for me.  By chance, this coincides with me joining AirNZ and the end of my time with Spark.  This provides the perfect opportunity for me to reflect on things I’ve learned (and new things I will learn!) through my professional career as a Human Resource generalist.  I’ll be capturing these things here in this blog and I welcome any input or comments from others.