Being a great Manager isn’t just about managing

As we move into a post lockdown era, many businesses seem to be busier than ever trying to meet the demands of their customers / clients. During this busy time, it’s going to be fundamentally important to provide people managers with the core skills, knowledge and behaviours required to lead and guide their teams effectively.

Good managers are essential to any successful organisation and many believe that the key to being a good manager is to be able to attract, develop, work with and support their people.  Good managers achieve goals through hard working, productive and effective teams.  Exceptional managers attract exceptional staff; they make the organisation a preferred employer; they help to increase market share; add to profits and reduce costs. Simply put, their staff are engaged, committed and ‘go the extra mile’.

So what makes a good manager?  Many believe it’s the relationship between the manager and their team that is key.  Good relationships are based on trust, commitment, energy and engagement, and a good manager has the ability and behaviour to galvanise those attributes and build a cohesive team.

Good managers coach, counsel, they listen, they learn from their teams, they support and help those who are struggling for whatever reason.

Good managers seek feedback, they communicate, delegate and trust those who they delegate to, they develop, empower and motivate.

Good managers communicate upwards, shine a light and shine the spotlight, they show compassion and care genuinely care about their teams.

Good managers adapt, are flexible and embrace change, they coordinate, they don’t over-control, they plan and observe what’s coming and adjust accordingly.

On the flip side, good managers do not micro-manage or spoon-feed, they don’t underestimate the need to define goals, don’t lead with their ego’s and don’t display favouritism.

This is, and will be, an ever changing list of attributes, but it’s the managers who take pride in their teams, nurture and support who will continue to thrive in the busiest times.

Here at Futureproof, we’re putting the spotlight on the key topics that are making a difference in the organisations we work with. Get in touch with one of our Learning & Development Managers to discuss the following: or 01623 409 824.

Championship Mental Health & Resilience!

It’s not a great surprise to learn that one of our most popular topics at the moment is resilience and ways to improve our mental health.  To some, resilience is a sort of “miracle drug” personality trait that can heal all wounds and right all wrongs.

In simple terms, resilience is our ability to adapt and bounce back when things don’t go as planned. Resilient people don’t wallow or dwell on failures; they acknowledge the situation, learn from their mistakes, and then move forward.  And it’s the ability to learn and move on that is a key driver in improving our mental health, particularly at work.

Here at Futureproof, we believe that the following building blocks provide a great framework to adopt when looking at your resilience and your ability to move forward.

  1. Get connected. Building strong, positive relationships in your personal and professional life can provide much needed support in good and bad times.
  2. Learn from experience. Think of how you’ve coped with hardships and disappointment in the past. Consider the skills and strategies that helped you through difficult times. Sometimes writing or making notes about past experiences can help you identify positive and negative behaviour patterns.
  3. Be proactive. Don’t ignore your problems. Instead, figure out what needs to be done, make a plan, and take action. Although it can take time to recover from a major setback, know that your situation can improve if you work at it.
  4. Make every day meaningful. Do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose every day. Set goals to help you look toward the future with meaning.
  5. Remain hopeful. You can’t change the past, but you can always look toward the future. Accepting and even anticipating change makes it easier to adapt and view new challenges with less anxiety.
  6. Take care of yourself. Tend to your own physical and mental needs and participate in activities and hobbies you enjoy. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Get plenty of sleep. Eat a healthy diet. Practice stress management and relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing.

Taking care of and improving our mental health needs commitment but the positive influence it has on our life can be huge.  We make time for our bodies, make time for our minds too.

To learn more about what we offer to help manage mental health and boost resilience, contact one of our L&D Managers at or 01623 409 824.

What is well-being and how can we improve it?

Being mindful of, and for many, finding ways to improve our wellbeing seems to be the hot topic for the workplace at the moment – but what does it actually mean and why is it so important?

To answer that best, we have to acknowledge that wellbeing is subjective. It will be different for everyone and is based entirely on our thoughts, feelings, behaviours and body. Past experiences, our attitudes, our outlook, and our choices all impact our sense of wellbeing.  However we define or pigeonhole it, wellbeing is fundamental to our health and overall happiness and organisations play a key role in that when looking at their own employee’s wellbeing.

Enhancing your wellbeing isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it.  The basics can start with simple tweaks to our lifestyle such as eating a healthy balanced diet, getting enough sleep and exercise, and creating healthy habits to look after ourselves more.

But it’s not just a personal project, your employer can help too and those who commit to a variety of initiatives to improve and embrace wellbeing to have healthier and happier employees.  There’s lots of information on what employers can do out there, but the most popular are:

  • Provide an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) – this would provide private and confidential advice, information and signposting to those in need.
  • Introduce wellbeing focused benefits – discounted gym membership, healthcare or screening and cycle to work schemes work really well.
  • Use tech – there are lots of apps, on-line networking groups and websites out there that provide wellbeing services, could you link up with companies like ‘Headspace’ or ‘Mind’ to help?
  • Look at what’s out there in terms of training and development and how it helps to link positive wellbeing to increased performance.
  • Upskill your leaders in everything wellbeing.
  • Arrange get-togethers – taking people away from their desks and providing time to focus on anything but the day job can have massive benefits.
  • Encourage breaks and early finishes when things are quite – this works particularly well in spring and summer.
  • Create positive and healthy relationships, particularly between managers and their teams.
  • Tweak routine and patterns to help your employees – promoting a flexible and inclusive approach can work wonders.

Here at Futureproof, we know how important this topic is and will continue to be and have the knowledge and experience to help companies promote a healthy workplace. Click on the link (Personal Development & Well-being), give us a call or email us at to learn more.

The Art of Coaching

Put simply, coaching is a process that aims to improve performance and focuses on the ‘here and now’ rather than on the distant past or future. While that may be true, it takes a very specific skill to actually be a good coach – not everyone can or wants to do it.

Many believe that there are three generally accepted styles of coaching in sports: autocratic, democratic and holistic. But does this naturally transfer to the business world? One thing is for certain – each style has its benefits and drawbacks and needs to be delivered in the right way to maximise impact.  Remember, for many, coaching and being coached is one of the most effective ways to improve and maintain performance.

The internet is awash with tips, cheats, techniques and methods to help someone become a coach, but we firmly believe that it’s the matching of the coach and coachee that is critical to the success of the process.  Get it wrong and it has the potential to damage relationships and negatively impact the department/business.

Here at Futureproof, we believe the process for matching a coach with a coachee should start with defining the reasons for engaging a coach – why is it needed? How will it add benefit and what would happen if it didn’t happen?  Once the reason has been identified, the search for a coach can begin.  The next step would be to provide the coachee with a few options – no need to bombard them, 2 or 3 is fine.  The coachee then meets the coaches and chooses the one that works for them – not the other way around, it’s not about what the coach gets out of it – here, the coachee is king.

Go through this process and most businesses will reap the rewards of introducing coaches and a coaching mentality throughout their business.  There are lots of ways it can benefit, but the key areas include – better management skills, improved productivity, increased confidence, heightened self-awareness and greater wellbeing.

Futureproof have a variety of courses and workshops on this subject but we believe our ILM Effective Coaching Programme – Level 3 Award offers an excellent foundation in the knowledge and practical application on workplace coaching. Contact one of our Programme Managers to learn more about it.  

Tel:  01623 409 824 Email:

Presenting with impact

Anyone can present with varying levels of confidence, clarity and impact but high impact presenting is a specific skill. It’s not about being able to read a shiny, well animated slide deck – it’s about being able to get your message across in a way that engages your audience and keeps them hooked.

Whether you’re pitching to a new client, managing an existing one or simply trying to persuade your colleagues to buy into your idea, the key is impact and the steps below will help.

  1. Tell your story

No matter what industry you work in, you want your audience to leave understanding and supporting the ideas you’ve just delivered.  The art of storytelling will do just that and like any great book, it has a beginning, a middle and an end and more importantly, takes the audience on a journey.  A good story will enable you to present in a compelling way and bring the audience with you on that journey.

  • Become your audience

There’s a reason why you’ve been asked to present, it’s likely because of your knowledge, expertise and/or experience and the best way to convey that is to think about what you’d like to see and take away from someone presenting to you.  So, put yourself in your audience’s shoes.  A little research here goes a long way – think about how much knowledge they have (and don’t have in some cases) and what they will find the most interesting and useful.

  • Keep it simple

Yes, the content of what you are presenting is important and shouldn’t be ignored, but don’t forget, the audience (regardless of size) wants to listen to you and what you have to say.  Keep your slide deck punchy with bullet points and try not to overload the audience with pages of text.

  • Practice, Practice, Practice

A presentation that tells a story but is to the point, well thought through and rehearsed will have them hanging on your every word.  Don’t underestimate rehearsing your presentation and if you think you have it nailed, practice it again!

Here at Futureproof, we know how important this skill is and have lots of useful content in our courses on the subject.  Please talk to us about:

  • New Business Presentations – Pitching with Confidence
  • Presenting your Products & Services – Demonstrating Value-Based Propositions
  • Key Account Review Presentations 
  • Presenting to Key Stakeholders / Senior Colleagues – with Purpose & Poise
  • Effective Team Briefings & Project Reviews
  • Public Speaking Skills – Engaging an Audience

High Impact Presentation Skills – Example Course Outline