Amy Wilkinson on the top benefits of coaching and development

Amy Wilkinson on the top benefits of coaching and development

More and more, organisations and individuals are seeing the endless benefits to investing in professional development.

For organisations? A happy, loyal, motivated and valuable workforce who strive to progress and improve. Businesses can even attract better quality candidates by promoting a culture of development. This month, we spoke to Amy Wilkinson, a career coach and facilitator who specialises in food industry careers with over 20+ years experience across the supply chain.

Hi Amy, it’s great to speak to you! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

Well, I am a coach, facilitator and “Oh for Foods Sake” podcast co-host specialising in helping people in the food industry to be more confident and resilient, so they can get the recognition they deserve in their careers without frazzling themselves. 

I have worked in food manufacturing for over 20+ years across various functions. I started working in Operations but quickly moved into Process Development. Since then, I have worked in NPD, Commercial and Marketing roles. 

Ten years ago, while working as a Senior Manager in the food industry, I completely physically and mentally burnt out. Working in food is very rewarding, but it can be stressful at times!  

I bounced back and returned to a successful career with new-found boundaries. It is now my mission to help other people in the industry to have the same success, without burning out. I coach people 1:1 and in group workshops to help them be more confident, influence better and improve their resilience. 

And what do you find are some of the benefits of coaching and career development for individuals and businesses?

The biggest benefit of coaching is that it is tailored to the individual. We are all different, and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the next. The coach helps individuals get to know themselves better and learn what works for them. 

 80% of people who receive coaching report increased self-confidence. Over 70% benefit from improved work performance, relationships and more effective communication skills. I have seen people I work with go from terrified to speak up in meetings, to presenting to over 200 people and getting multiple promotions in the time they have been coached. It really is a superpower! 

 There are also loads of benefits to organisations! People want more from their jobs these days than just a pay-cheque. Young people, in particular, want to feel like their job has meaning, purpose and is teaching them new things. By investing in coaching and mentoring, organisations can support these individuals with their career development. Individuals are more likely to stay within the organisation and continue to add value. That, right there, is your reason to invest in coaching for your business. The payback is significant (in the ICF study, it was shown that ROI is, on average, 7 times the initial investment!). 

So, is coaching for anyone at any stage in their career?

It is absolutely for people at all stages of their careers. It used to be a mystery thing that only Chief Execs and Board members had access to, but as coaching has become more mainstream, it is becoming more accessible to more junior team members. 

It’s part of the mission of my business to make coaching more accessible to people at the start of their careers because it really can propel you to levels you wouldn’t otherwise achieve. 

Coaching can really help empower individuals to take control of their personal development and thrive. It can support you in developing the skills you need to do your job more effectively.

How do you feel the food industry is changing regarding coaching, development and wellbeing?

When I started out in the industry, coaching was unheard of, and mental well-being wasn’t talked about. When I burnt out, back in 2012, there was still a massive shame attached to not being able to “cope”, but the reality was that I had little support, nor did I feel able to discuss how I was feeling with anyone at work. 

I do think things are changing. I believe the pandemic, the “great resignation”, and a greater focus on mental health in the mainstream press have all played a part in this. It’s still a mixed bag across the industry and a big tide to turn, but I am hoping I can play a role in that change. I think that more progressive organisations are seeing the benefits of supporting the development of their employees, whilst also supporting their well-being. 

Find out more

Take a listen to the Oh For Food’s Sake podcast with Amy Wilkinson and Lucy Wager. This month, MDS Business Development Manager Kirsty Barden joined Amy and Lucy to discuss the importance of offering development opportunities to individuals who are new to the food industry and how MDS helps businesses to provide this.