Exploring Workplace Partnerships

We all need people to thrive. Thinking more consciously about the relationships around us can deepen our connections and support our goals at home and work. Workplace partnerships remind me of the connection we have in working with others and a sense that we don’t have to go it alone – whether that is solving complex problems, achieving our goals or, in difficult times having someone to listen to us. 

I notice that at pivotal moments of my own development, I have always reached out to trusted people who give me energy, space, and thoughts. Only this morning I had a call with one of these people about an essay I am writing, and afterwards, I had more ideas than thinking it through on my own.  In this blog, we will explore the different types of workplace partnerships that can be pivotal for our overall growth and well-being.

Different Types of Workplace Partnerships

Peer to Peer

Having people in similar positions to you can really help as they understand your situation and challenges. When used well, we can pull on our diverse thinking. For example, if you are good at building relationships and your peer is good at process, then the partnership will help you both in thinking about a diverse range of options. Building trusting partnerships is crucial rather than being in competition. 

Who could you reach out to either in or outside of your organisation more regularly?


Formal and informal mentorship can bring a wealth of support. It can open up support about experiences you haven’t yet directly faced and will in the future. For example, if you are preparing for the next position, then a mentor may have already experienced this and can provide guidance and potential watch-outs that you can learn from. Mentors can also support us to think through what other relationships we want to build with key stakeholders, and they may have contacts they can put you in touch with. 

Your boss and their peers

It goes without saying that developing a good relationship with your boss is crucial to your day-to-day productivity and well-being. However, consider enhancing the relationship even further so that it brings even more insights for you and them. Imagine a relationship where you both share feedback regularly about one another, where your boss provides you with valuable coaching space (rather than being directive) and opens opportunities for you. Asking for what you need from the relationship is key, as well as creating a psychologically safe environment where you feel safe enough to share your successes and failures. In addition, your boss’s peers can also provide valuable mentorship and support. 

What do you want from the relationship with your line manager?

How could you enhance the relationship?

What would the first step be to build stronger relationships with your bosses peers? How could you involve your boss in this?

Direct Reports

The people we manage have a wealth of insights about how we operate if only we asked them frequently. Encouraging a climate where you can ask them for feedback is so valuable, as well as understanding what stage of development they are at and how you can develop your leadership approach to meet their needs. 

How could you create regular time for them, so that it focuses on the relationship and not just the task?

The Coach

Whether it is a formal or informal coach, they are your accountability partner. They give you space to think on a regular basis so that you get fresh thinking on situations and ideas to move forward. I read somewhere recently that it is not the experience itself that causes the learning, it is the reflection on the experience that brings new learning. Coaching supports this to happen.

Who could support you in a coaching capacity?

How could you create time for regular thinking space to reflect?

Different types of needs, Different types of people

Let’s explore the different types of needs we all have and how we can bring people into our network who can help us meet those needs. 

The listening ear

We all have a need for space to be listened to – sometimes we just want to vent or speak out our ideas in a safe space. They provide us valuable thinking time without telling us what to do.

The socialiser

We all value time to connect socially, in and outside of work. These are the people who remind us to have fun, they make us smile and relax.

The connector

As we progress there is a need to be well connected to a wide variety of people. These people are known to be generous with introducing us to others. 

The educator

Educators know a lot about topics you are interested in and open your mind to new thinking. They have a wide variety of resources to draw upon that can support you. 

Identifying your own needs and who can help you meet them is a crucial step in creating valuable partnerships. What other needs do you have and who could support you? 

In Summary

We can be intentional about creating healthy relationships and partnerships at different stages of our life. Some people are with us for a season and some stay for much longer. Recognising the season you are in and who you need around you is crucial in getting the support you need. If you would like to see how coaching can help you to focus on building workplace partnerships please get in touch.

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