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Coaching for change
Lloydspharmacy's new secondment role offers the chance to develop your communication and networking skills, discovers Victoria Hoban
I hey say a change is as good I as a rest - and work J L secondments can offer a great way to tum your hand to something new, boost yourmotivation and broaden your skills. So what could be more refreshing than a secondment in implementing change? The role of change coach at Lloydspharmacy is offering employees just such an opportunity. Introduced in January, this 12month secondment is open to all its employees and is a chance to develop skills in communication, negotiation and networking, "The role,,, provides another level ofsupport for pharmacy teams and helps the business to roll out and embed important initiatives across the whole network quickly and efficiently," says Barbara Sutherland, head of capability at Lloydspharmacy, "We're pleased the role is [also] creating additional development opportunities for existing employees to help further their careers," Last year each Lloydspharmacy area manager was asked tonominate an employee as a change coach. One of those nominated was Lowri Hartson. Her appointment as change coach for Mid and South West Wales saw her seconded from her sates assistant and dispenser role in Swansea, "When I heard about the new role it really appealed because it was customer-focused white also upskilling staff," she says. Successful applicants undergo a comprehensive coaching skillsprogramme to enable them to coach pharmacy teams to implement new initiatives. "The training included soft visiting each branch and meeting everyone before I began was a great way to build a working relationship," Ms Hartson insists no one has been unwelcoming - helped by the positive outcomes she has helped branches achieve. "One branch had never gained accurate stock control before. I came up with atailored action plan and after two months they got it." Another satisfying, and challenging, aspect of the role is training staff. This is often done on a one to one basis in-branch, "I can identify and address training and development needs by using a competency assessment form. This then allows me to draw up an action plan with the pharmacy manager," she says. All career coaches have weeklyconference calls and quarterly faceto-face meetings with learning and development managers, as well as day-to-day support. In contrast to her branch-based role as a dispenser and sales assistant, Ms Hartson now spends her days visiting branches and driving, "The role is very flexible and no two days are the same, which I really like. Meeting everyone in the area has opened my eyes to otheropportunities at Lloydspharmacy and given me an overview" she says, Ms Hartson has been nominated for an award this year - but insists that it was neither potential fame nor fortune that attracted her to the role, but the opportunity to boost her own skills and experience, and help branches improve. She says: "I get to be directly involved with each branch, which is really rewarding. I am able to see anynatural resistance to change break down as I explain the benefits of each new service. I love that my job is about overcoming challenges."
Lowri Hartson: change is challenging
skills such as dealing with difficult people and minimising the impact of change, and technical training in implementing new systems and processes," says Ms Hartson, At a pharmacy level, change coaches support employeesto improve day-to-day services with tailored action plans, monitoring their progress and sharing best practice. At a company level, coaches ensure all frontline staff are aware of new initiatives and provide the necessary upskilling and support, "It's my job to ensure all staff members are expert in each of our new customer services. Every three months there is a focus on a customer initiative....