Why Tyk gives every member of its team a personal development coach

At Tyk, we have built an incredible staff of people with a huge variety of skills, experience and knowledge in a wide range of specialities. But as we grow and scale at pace, we are passionate about growing our Tyklings personally and professionally so they can enjoy the journey with us. Which is why we are investing in a coaching approach to leadership and personal/professional development. 

Partnering with Ultimate Contribution Uncovered (UCU), Tyklings are offered a unique, 12-week 1-2-1 coaching programme. The aim is to help each person uncover what is most meaningful to them inside and outside their career, what they intrinsically value, and what they want to pursue on their life-long learning journey. 

Personal development driven by the individual, not the business

The scope of lifelong learning now covers both personal and career development, and Tyk is very proud and passionate about promoting that balanced approach. And it is equally important, especially when it comes to employee happiness and retention, that people are building their careers in a way that suits them first, and the business second.

Dino Rakitzis, Founder of Ultimate Contribution, recognises how Tyk is leading the way in delivering such an initiative:

Few companies feel brave and skilled enough to put their employees’ learning and development first. Tyk is one of the exceptions, and we’re excited to offer unprecedented access to our team of certified facilitators, and the unique opportunity of time, space and expert guidance to uncover answers to life’s biggest questions.

The benefit to the individual? The science suggests the approaches we use significantly improve an individual’s drive, passion, mental health, mental resilience, self performance and emotional intelligence. Whilst the results we’re seeing from the programme are overwhelmingly positive – and we’re only just getting started!

  • 99% found greater clarity and confidence in their life’s direction
  • 98% felt more equipped and empowered to improve their sense of fulfilment and purpose
  • 100% would recommend it to others

Having a mentorship programme alongside a technical training and development programme ensures that from the business perspective, we are aligning employees’ personal goals with our business goals and strategy to ensure the best return for everyone.

James Hirst, our COO and co-founder, who has benefitted from the programme himself, explains why this is such an important initiative for Tyk:

The coaching we’re offering is something that’s completely new to our industry and I’m incredibly proud that Tyk is the first organisation to be doing this. We believe that if we build a really high performing team, invest in that team, make it as good as it possibly can be, then the product and the service and everything else will follow the same path.

But we also recognise that Tyk is just one part of our lives, and we want to make sure that the time we all spend working at Tyk is as rewarding and fulfilling as possible. And given all of the focus on radical responsibility, autonomy and flexibility – something we have been promoting as a remote-first business since day one – it’s pretty clear that really we shouldn’t just be coaching people on how to do their job.

Seeing the benefits for me, it is now vital to me and my leadership colleagues that this opportunity is something that we should be offering to every employee, not just executive teams with executive training budgets.

Employee benefits that actually benefit employees

The world offers so many different ways to work, to learn and to change, that hating your job or sacrificing your personal life becomes second nature. Tyk has been a remote-first business since day one, giving employees the flexibility to own their work-life balance so it becomes more simply a life balance, in which work is as much a part of life as family, friends, hobbies, etc.

In one conversation with the team at UCU, we were warned that setting up a programme like this could lead to people choosing to leave Tyk, as they may come to the realisation that working here didn’t align with their personal goals. But we decided that our core values were such that this was a risk we were willing to take. It is a win-win situation for both parties if someone decided Tyk wasn’t for them; it’s just as important for us that they are happy in their careers as it is for us to have an engaged and motivated workforce.

Tyklings’ development = Tyk’s development 

As we embark on the second phase of the programme’s roll-out, 25% of the Tyk team have already been through the programme. We’ve been taking stock of its success so far (we have to practise what we preach, after all), and the feedback from those who have taken part has been overwhelming:

  • “It really stretched me into a new headspace. Whilst it covered old topics it did them in a very joined up way and led to a pretty awesome outcome”
  • “I loved that it got me to strip away my preconceptions and think about my motivations and strengths and build from there.”
  • “Makes one question one’s existence after going through the exercises. It opens up new possibilities on improving oneself and it is a continuous process”

In a separate initiative, inspired by our work with UCU, we are also taking steps to invest in developing our team as coaches – 10% of employees are already trained as coaches and mentors. Our internal coaching and mentoring programme gives every Tykling the opportunity to work closely with a colleague from outside of their working team to provide an individually-tailored programme to learn from each other, bounce ideas around, chat about career development or be mentored on a specific topic. 

We continue to roll out both the UCU and internal programmes, with mentors and coaches helping to build relationships and nurture personal development across the business. As we aim for our product to connect every system in the world, so we continue to connect every Tykling to a successful and fulfilling future, wherever that may be.