Workplace Coaching for All with Whitney Herrington

This week, I am joined by Whitney Herrington, an HR pro who founded Kith Republic. Before launching her startup, Whitney worked as the director of people and technology at the Southern Poverty Law Center and as the chief operating officer at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. In addition to launching Kith Republic, Whitney serves as the vice president of NPAG.

In my conversation with Whitney, we discuss her new company, Kith Republic, the need for workplace coaching for professionals at all levels and the likely future of workplace coaching for needs beyond the world of HR. Listen to this episode to learn how you and your team could benefit from workplace coaching.

Shift Career Summit Sponsor Banner

This episode of Punk Rock HR is sponsored by the Shift Career Summit on June 17. Mary Ellen Slayter of Managing Editor and I are bringing together some of the biggest names in the world of work to help you take control of your career. The event is completely free, and you can register today at We’ll see you there!

Can I Phone A Friend?

We all need help at work. But sometimes it can be intimidating or even risky to ask for help from your HR department, boss or peers. Whitney Herrington is taking away the fear in asking for advice by providing workplace coaching through her new app. Wondering how to ask your boss to cut back your workload? There’s a coach for that! Do you need to take an extended leave of absence, but you’re not sure how to approach the subject with management? Ask an HR professional whose only goal is to help you succeed.

If you’re an HR professional, odds are you’ve had a friend come to you with a workplace question. Whitney believes this is because your friends believe advice from someone who isn’t from their own organization will be less biased and more helpful. “They believe that you will give them the nitty-gritty that they don’t believe that they’ll get from talking to someone at work or, particularly, their HR department,” said Whitney. It’s in these moments where it would be beneficial for all workers to have access to HR experts who are there to advise in the best interests of the employee, not the organization. But what about when an HR employee needs help at work?

HR Professionals Need Advice Too

Just because someone works in HR doesn’t mean they always know the right answer. Sometimes HR professionals need advice on how to do their jobs, too. Far too often, HR departments are teams of one, so when a decision needs to be made or an individual runs into a roadblock, it’s helpful to have a team of experts on standby for a quick consult.

In Whitney’s experience, HR professionals benefit from contacting her company. too. Oftentimes, they’re coming with questions about how to implement new policies or how to persuade management to get on board with a new initiative. In these instances, Whitney says it’s “great to have other HR professionals who can say, ‘I’ve been through that, too. Let me help you navigate though that, as well.’” When it comes to workplace coaching, we can all benefit, even leaders and subject-matter experts.

The Workplace Coaches of the Future

The model of Kith Republic can be applied to so many other aspects of the workplace. Wouldn’t we all benefit from having workplace coaches to ask about legal concerns or industry-specific project questions? Whitney and I agree that this third-party model is a likely future for workplaces across the country because work is complicated. “The workplace is a dynamic and complex environment. There’s lots of laws and regulation, politics, and things that are not necessarily intuitive for someone to come in and navigate,” said Whitney.

Even the most seasoned professionals struggle to know what to do and how to navigate every part of the workplace. But through on-demand coaching, workers at all levels can receive advice on how to improve their work-life balance, fix problems at work, navigate change and be an effective employee. Whitney welcomes anyone to try out her app, saying, “when you think about all of the things that you’re dealing with as it relates to work every day, just know that there’s someone that you can go through it with.”

So give it a shot! Take a step toward fixing work for yourself or your company today.

People in This Episode