Frequently Asked Questions

Find out more about working with The Spark Company


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Strategic Review

What is a Strategic Review?

Sometimes you need to take an objective look at your organisation, your people and culture, and the way you manage and lead. A Strategic Review is a diagnostic process designed to give you actionable insight into you organisation.

Why do leaders ask for a Strategic Review of their People and Culture?

Most organisations find that the people, culture, policies and behaviours that made them successful as they grow can sometimes become a barrier to future success, or act as a blocker to the next stage of growth.

When something is blocking performance in your teams or organisation and you can’t quite put your finger on what it is, we recommend a Strategic Review.

How long does a Strategic Review take?

It depends on the scope of your Strategic Review and the complexity of your business. As a rough guide we suggest allowing 4-6 weeks in most organisations and 6-8 weeks for more complex businesses.

Can I do a Strategic Review myself?

You may be tempted to complete a Strategic Review yourself or with the help of your in-house HR Team (if you have one).

We’ve found that the most effective action plans are based on the frank and candid conversations between your team members and our independent HR consultants during a Strategic Review.

Will a Strategic Review be disruptive?

It doesn’t have to be. We aim to strike a balance between the need for a deep dive into the areas that interest you, and a pragmatic approach to carrying-out research with minimum disruption to your teams and customers.

What happens at the end of the Strategic Review?

You can expect us to walk you through our report, highlight any key learnings and areas of celebration, alongside areas of improvement for you to consider.

What can I expect from my bespoke report and action plan?

You’ll get a report and action plan that is tailored to your business which includes quick wins and longer-term actions.

Do I have to work with you after the Strategic Review?

There’s no obligation for you to work with us after we’ve completed your Strategic Review. Your bespoke report and action plan will outline what you need to move forward either with or without our help – the choice is yours.

We often work with clients on Organisational Change projects. If you would like us to help, we'll agree a scope of work and project plan.

Organisational Change

What types of organisational change projects do you get involved in?

We support, advise, guide and implement change programmes for our clients.

Typically, we specialise in Organisation Design, Restructures and Reorganisations, Mergers and Acquisitions, TUPE transfers, and discrete HR Projects.

How long does a project take?

This is one of those 'how long is a piece of string' questions. It depends.

We'll talk to you about the likely timescale for your project and agree milestones and deadlines before we start.

Can you work alongside our in-house HR Team?

Yes. Some clients bring us to work alongside their in-house HR Team, making use of our specialist skills and the extra capacity they need to deliver a specific project.

What happens if I don't have an in-house HR Team?

We work with organisations of all shapes and sizes, including those who don't have an in-house HR Team. Perhaps they outsource their HR service, they're carrying a vacancy, or they don't need an in-house team (yet!).

What do you need from us to get started?

We usually start with a Discovery Call to understand a bit more about your organisation, what you are trying to achieve and why, any deadlines or pressing dates, and how you'll measure the success of the project. From there we'll agree a brief and scope of work.

If you're not sure where to start, it might be worth considering a Strategic Review before planning any changes.

Leadership and Team Effectiveness

What types of leaders and teams do you work with?

We work with leaders and teams at all levels, right from C-suite and Executives, through to senior managers, line managers and colleagues. We also work with Boards, Directors and Non-Executive Directors.

When's the best time to run a leadership development programme?

This really depends on your business, your team and of course, ensuring you choose a time that doesn't impact your customer service.

Most clients approach us to help onboard a new cohort of leaders, graduates or apprentices, when they've identified a specific gap in leadership competency, when responding to regulatory concerns about the quality of leadership and/or governance, or to achieve a specific change in company culture and values.

Let's talk about what might work for you?

How does team effectiveness differ from team bulding?

Team effectiveness is all about helping colleagues to work together, collaborate and function more effectively. This includes creating a sense of team and community, just like 'traditional' team building.

We also spend time looking at self-awareness, the use of strengths in a team, barriers and blockages to communication, and how to create the ideal team environment to delight your customers. It's a whole level above 'team building'.

What does a typical leadership programme involve?

We don't have a typical or off-the-shelf leadership development programme.

We'll work with you to create a bespoke and tailored programme, with options including co-delivery with key colleagues, to grow your in-house training and facilitation skills.

How long does a typical leadership programme take?

It depends on a number of factors, for example: what you're trying to achieve, your budget and resources, the availability of colleagues and your geographical dispersion.

We can accommodate anything from a 1-week intensive management programme, through to a 6-month graduate training programme, to a two-year high-potential talent programme.

Do you offer outward bound training, like raft building, etc.?

No. We're not an outdoor training company, but we can refer you to local specialists in our trusted network.

When can we get started?

The first step is a Discovery Call to understand what you're hoping to achieve. We can usually start within 1-2 months, depending on the brief, any prep work required and the availability of your colleagues and our facilitators.

Realistically, if you're starting from scratch, you'll need to allow about a 3-month lead time for programme design, approval, prep and implementation.

Executive and Leadership Coaching

What’s your coaching style?

Our coaching style is conversational, informal, and focused on you and your goals.

Where does my coaching journey start?

We’ll start with brief discovery call or ‘chemistry conversation’. This gives us both the chance to work out whether we’ll be able to help you achieve your goals and expectations – by the way, this initial conversation is absolutely FREE.

What can I expect from my first coaching conversation?

We’ll begin by talking about your preferences and what you hope to achieve through coaching. We’ll then tailor our approach to your needs, encouraging you to explore new tools and techniques for goal setting while monitoring your progress and evaluating your achievements.

Do you work internationally?

Yes, we work with clients around the world, mostly via Teams/Zoom although we can meet international clients in person. Typically, our overseas clients are based in the US, Canada and Europe as the time zones work well for both our clients and for us. 

Do you offer 1:1 and group coaching?

Yes, we work with clients one-on-one and also offer group coaching for leadership teams.

How often should we meet for a coaching conversation?

Most people find it helpful to meet with a coach monthly. We can meet more or less often than monthly if that’s what works for you. The trick is to leave enough time for the ‘magic’ to happen between coaching conversations, but not so much time that you lose momentum.

When will the coaching relationship end?

Most people find that the coaching relationship comes to an end when they’ve achieved the goals and milestones that they stated at the start of their coaching journey. It’s a natural consequence of coaching that you achieve your goals and don’t to continue with your coach. The door is always open!

What about confidentiality?

The most important and central part of any coaching relationship is confidentiality. This will be discussed in depth before you sign up so that we establish clear and professional boundaries. If your company is paying for your coach, we’ll never disclose the content of the conversations we have.

When can we get started?

We can get started within a week or so. We'll begin with a free 15-minute consultation (also known as a chemistry conversation) before you commit to any further sessions. We can discuss your goals and availability when we meet.

Confidential HR Investigation

What is a Confidential HR Investigation?

When there is a possible workplace disciplinary or grievance issue, the employer commissions a confidential HR investigation to find out all they reasonably can about the issue, before taking any action.

What are the benefits of using an independent investigator?

An independent specialist gives everyone involved in the investigation, reassurance that the matter is being investigated without bias or prejudice. 

When is an external investigator a better than an internal option?

An independent view is particularly helpful when senior people are accused of wrongdoing and/or when an internal investigation might be considered biased, unreasonable, or unfair.

How can I stay in control of my budget and avoid runaway costs?

We’ll agree budget before we start with an estimated minimum and maximum cost for the investigation. This gives us the freedom to investigate appropriately whilst giving you control over your spending.

How long does an investigation take?

It depends on the complexity of the allegations, the number of interviews required, the availability of people to participate, and the amount of evidence that is reviewed.

Typically, ‘straightforward’ investigations can be resolved within 4-6 weeks in most cases, and within 6-8 weeks for more complex and challenging allegations.

What happens when an investigation is completed?

Once we've completed our investigation we'll send you a copy of our report and the evidence we've gathered. We'll transfer the files to you via a secure IT link to ensure confidentiality.

We also offer all clients a de-brief conversation, to run through the evidence, conclusions, findings and rationale, and to answer any questions you have.

When can we get started?

We can usually get started within a week or so, subject to availability. The first step is to arrange a Discovery Call to understand more about that matter you’d like us to investigate.