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CAKE PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT takes on eras ltd people development consultancy.

Welcome to our news and blog page.


Here will share what's new and happening in the world of CAKE People Develeopment and all things Learning and Development.

By Shelley Measures, Jun 12 2018 12:09PM

Managing business finances is absolutely critical for every organisation, regardless of type or size. Responsibility for areas such as budgeting, business cases and project finances are often devolved to people working outside of the finance team, making it vital that they clearly understand what it is that they need to do and why it is so important to do so.

Our financial courses are lively, practical and relevant. We can tailor the content and materials to your own organisation and your ways of working, making the transition of ideas and tools from the learning environment incredibly smooth.

We use a variety of approaches to ensure that participants find this potentially dull topic both interesting and fun to learn about. These methodologies include business simulations, games and a large amount of practical exercises, introducing many useful tools, techniques and top tips.

We cover a wide range of financial topics, from finance for non-financial managers to building powerful business cases, project financial assessment and management and creating and managing effective budgets.

Contact The CAKE Team on 01603 733006 or email for details.

By Shelley Measures, May 25 2018 03:04PM

The L&D landscape has changed significantly in recent years, the standard model of classroom only sessions is becoming less common and has moved to a more modern, blended approach, combining different learning techniques.

We recognise that in today’s world the modern learner likes to take responsibility for their development, preferring an experience that is flexible and open with access to a wealth of resources, when they need it. Our CAKE approach fully supports modern learning and adopts the complementary use of social learning, eLearning and other techniques combined with the standard model.

CAKEconnect is our online learning community, it allows us to create a rich, self-paced learning experience, with space for monitoring and giving feedback.

It provides an enriched learning experience and has great benefits not only for the learners but also for our programme facilitators and the learning process itself.

Since we introduced CAKEconnect, we have found our learners are more engaged. By using a variety of approaches the programme content is easy to grasp, and it enables us to use a range of other supporting material. It is an ideal space where we have created an environment that suits individual learners and different learning styles.

We do our very best to account for everyone in our face to face facilitated workshops, but by diversifying our methods, we can ensure everyone has the best opportunity to learn.

CAKEconnect supports learning in many ways:

Time restrictions of the classroom environment are no longer an issue, which deepens the connections between our learners and our facilitators, creating an extremely supportive environment for questions or concerns to be raised and addressed as well as encouraging conversations and peer to peer learning.

It gives our facilitators a feel for the learner trends and enables them to adapt and act accordingly; it’s a huge benefit to be able to add further resources in an instant from discussions with our learners both in the sessions and online.

Another awesome feature is the reporting; it is always good to be able to have at a glance a quick overview of how well our learners are doing, how far they have progressed and how they are responding to the different methods, which leads onto feedback. CAKEconnect allows our facilitators to use the right tools and blended methods to prepare feedback, and deliver it most effectively.

Overall, it helps the learning become much more meaningful, it engages and encourages learners to take greater responsibility for their learning, and it makes it fun.

Call the CAKE Team today to discover how our CAKEconnect community can support your development solutions 01603 733006.

By Shelley Measures, May 14 2018 01:44PM

We had a terrific couple of days at the CIPD L&D show at Olympia last month. It was great to have such stimulating conversations and hear inspirational stories about the amazing work our colleagues are doing in the L&D community. The energy and passion were palpable. It’s an ideal environment to keep up to date with learning trends, and we learnt a great deal.

One of the main topics of the show this year was apprenticeships. During the conference, IBM and BT both shared how the apprenticeship levy was supporting not only their technical apprenticeships but their managers and leaders too.

Apprenticeships have long been viewed as opportunities for school leavers to gain skills and experience in a trade, but it is no longer the case. The introduction of the Levy in April last year means that businesses can now look to invest and upskill their existing workforce.

I think we are all familiar with the term ‘accidental manager’, it’s been around for a while, where the best ‘technician’ is promoted to a management role that they have no experience in nor have been trained to do. With the new standards for Leadership & Management Apprenticeships, organisations can look at the wider skill set and offer an incredibly robust, long-term, sustainable development programme, giving managers the best chance of being effective and productive in their roles.

We know that some organisations face the challenge of the negative connotations and perceptions of the word apprenticeship. They also fear the weight of the administration around it but, by working with CAKE, it’s seamless from start to finish. We oversee the whole process, support the internal communication, the delivery, administration and funding.

We are hosting another Apprenticeship Event in London this month on May 30th, to explain our unique approach. Follow the link for details and to book your place.

Another strong theme running through our conversations last week was coaching and mentoring, and how organisations are beginning to realise the significance of a coaching culture to support development solutions, organisational change, apprenticeships and overall employee engagement.

Managers and leaders who operate in a coaching culture support learning and give regular feedback, which offers opportunities for growth, and creates a more engaged and energised workforce.

We are passionate about coaching and mentoring; it underpins all that we do. We work tirelessly to support organisations to develop a climate where they can flourish through supporting learning and nurturing talent to deliver business outcomes

Many of our conversations were around how we can support organisations in the training and development of their internal coaches who then, in turn, will develop other coaches to sustain a meaningful coaching practice for the business.

Our experience shows us that when done well, coaching automatically engages people where other strategies have fallen flat and by the wayside. It delivers profit and value to everyone. Profit without the value recognised by the workforce kills engagement in a heartbeat.

To discover how Coaching and Mentoring can support your organisation, call the CAKE Team on 01603 733006 or email

By Shelley Measures, Apr 5 2018 01:36PM

Apprenticeship Levy
Apprenticeship Levy

CAKE People Development Apprenticeship Event - Setting New Standards

The introduction of Leadership and Management Apprenticeships is the best business opportunity available for you to develop the capabilities and performance of your managers and leaders.

The new standards unlock exciting opportunities for organisations to attract talent, nurture and develop existing team members to enable them to reach their full potential and achieve a professional qualification.

We can help you to develop them using the funding available through the Apprenticeship Levy, but where do you start?

Join us on May 30th from 9.30am to 12.30am, for refreshments, breakfast and of course CAKE to explore how your organisation can make the most of your Apprenticeship Levy.

We will demystify the processes and funding of apprenticeships, and share our innovative and unique approach, putting learning to work in the context of your organisation; it’s how we make the difference.

Our event is free to attend and open to everyone.

Wed 30 May 2018 - 09:30 – 12:30 BST

77 Kingsway London WC2 6SR

By Shelley Measures, Mar 22 2018 03:25PM

Leadership & Management Apprenticeships
Leadership & Management Apprenticeships

As an employer, whether you’re an apprenticeship levy payer or not, your people are your greatest asset, and utilising the Apprenticeship Levy to boost productivity is a business opportunity that you simply cannot afford to ignore.

At CAKE we believe that development should be at the heart of all organisations; our leadership and management apprenticeship programmes offer a unique opportunity for you to develop the capabilities and performance of your leaders and managers.

The Levy means the L&D landscape has changed how learning is achieved; by working collaboratively, in partnership with you, we can maximise your levy contributions to meet your strategic business objectives, support your L&D strategy and help your employees achieve their career ambitions.

CAKE is one of the very few providers approved and accredited by both the ILM and CMI, meaning we have a greater scope when designing a programme for you.

Our seamless end-to-end solutions provide the very highest standard of programme and, from start to finish, you are supported by our dedicated team who fully understand the Levy. We will closely with you and your workforce, every step of the way.

Make the most of our skills, expertise and knowledge to make the most of your Levy.

For further information and to download your copy of our brochure click here.

We haven’t covered every aspect in detail in our brochure. So, if you have any immediate questions or require information on our ILM and CMI apprenticeships, or would like a demo of our apprenticeship platform, please contact the team on 01603 733006.

By Shelley Measures, Feb 13 2018 03:04PM

Coaching Leaders

Working with leaders in business, whether senior leaders of organisations or talented contributors within them, can be highly stimulating and rewarding. They are often bright, passionate and inspiring people with impressive track records of success. For the same reasons, coaching these leaders can be scary. It’s easy to feel intimidated by power and talent. This article covers three areas in which gaining the respect of your leader coachees can lead to their stronger commitment to working with you. The three areas are credibility, confidence and challenge.


Leaders want to know that you’re a person worth their time and effort before they commit to the process. Success has come to them from using their time wisely, and you’re just one of many choices they could make to fill their day. Accept that they will start judging you as soon as you meet (or speak on the phone or exchange emails). Every interaction is a moment of truth for them about you. Establishing your credibility is essential for them to trust you and we know that trust is vital for coaching to be effective.

As well as your professional credibility as a coach, learning as much as you can about your leader before you meet them shows them you take your coaching clients seriously. This sounds obvious, but I’m still surprised at the number of coaches who pay scant attention to this step. “I don’t do any preparation as I don’t want to pre-judge the person,” a coach once told me. I know of at least one contract she lost because the managing director she met thought her unworthy of working with. She knew little about his company and even less about him. One or two conversations and a search online might have produced a different outcome. Study the organisation’s website to understand their business niche, approach and successes. Many display profiles of their leaders. Some even give contact details. Recently I was researching a financial software company. The CEO’s email address was on the website, so I sent him a brief hello. This led to a friendly phone conversation. No immediate business resulted, but our relationship is now established. One thing he did say was how few approaches he gets directly in this way. The fact I’d bothered to look and contact him, as a result, was unusual and welcome (why would he have his email in a public domain if he didn’t want people to reach out?).

Speaking to people who know and work with your leader is also very useful. I find a simple, open and honest approach works best, something like, “X and I are meeting soon to see if there’s value in working together. What could you tell me that might be helpful?” Sometimes I’ll ask a more specific question such as, “What strengths do they bring to the business?” or “What are some of the qualities you admire in them?” Don’t ask about failings or shortcomings. You can guarantee this conversation will get back to your leader at lightning speed. You don’t want your motives to be questioned. Keep it positive and respectful.


You need to convince your leader that you believe in the value of what you’re doing. If there’s any doubt, you can forget continuing to work with them. Remove the risk of coming across as hesitant or tentative by having a clear coaching pathway to travel along. Point out the reason for and the value of each step, and include a couple of real-life vignettes to illustrate. When I met the no-nonsense MD of a business consultancy, “Convince me this will work,” was one of the first things he said. I showed him a simple one-pager entitled, ‘Your Exit Strategy In Four Steps’. On the page were four key questions for him to wrestle with. All of his answers related to his achieving retirement as soon as possible. My research had revealed this as his key goal. I explained each step simply and clearly, and emphasised the thinking effort and committed action he would need to bring to make our coaching relationship worthwhile. “OK,” was all he said and we started right away. He retired within five years of the conversation.


Giving your leaders an easy ride is not helpful to their development. They welcome and rise to challenge, and they will want it from you. I adopt an assertive coaching approach with business leaders. As long as that does not stray into rudeness or insult, often they find somebody standing up to them refreshing. Pick your battles, however. Nit-picking is just annoying. Put your foot down on the big stuff, the thinking, assumptions, opinions and judgements that could sabotage your leader’s progress. During one of my last coaching sessions before writing this piece, I interrupted my coachee. “You are blaming someone else for what is your responsibility,” I stated. He was taken aback and a bit annoyed by this. I explained that three times he had told me of the importance of a key deliverable’s success, each time adding that he had little faith in one of his manager’s ability to play their part. The message I got was, “I’m just waiting for things to fail so I can justify my opinion of the guy.” When I said that to him, he became silent, looked at the floor and then reluctantly agreed. It was a breakthrough which allowed us to move towards how he could support that manager more strongly.

Coaching leaders is a great test of your own leadership in action. People like people who are like themselves. When your leader coachees experience qualities in you they can relate to, admire or to which they want to aspire; they will have a natural tendency to connect with you. How you coach them, therefore, is arguably just as important as what you coach them on. By building your credibility, displaying confidence in your coaching and not holding back with a helpful challenge, your leader will be even more minded to take you seriously as a valuable asset on their leadership journey.

Contact The CAKE Team on 01603 733006 or via email on to discuss our coaching interventions.

By Shelley Measures, Jan 15 2018 04:16PM

CAKE People Development - Setting New Standards

The introduction of Leadership and Management Apprenticeships is the best business opportunity available for you to develop the capabilities and performance of your managers and leaders.

The new standards unlock exciting opportunities for organisations to attract talent, nurture and develop existing team members to enable them to reach their full potential and achieve a professional qualification.

We can help you to develop them using the funding available through the Apprenticeship Levy, but where do you start?

Join us on March 6th from 9.00am to 11.00am, for refreshments, breakfast and of course CAKE to explore how your organisation can make the most of your Apprenticeship Levy.

We will demystify the processes and funding of apprenticeships, and share our innovative and unique approach, putting learning to work in the context of your organisation; it’s how we make the difference.


Apprenticeship Levy explained

Hear from our event partners CMI (Chartered Management Institute)

Qualifications and how they work

Employer support and guidance

Learner journey and experience

Funding made simple

The CAKE difference

(Agenda subject to change)

Our CMI (Chartered Management Institute) apprenticeships are an essential ingredient in the development of your teams.

They represent the very highest standard of development design to deliver exactly what your organisation and leaders/managers need. They set the new standard, improving business performance and organisational profitability, delivering professional qualifications inline with apprenticeship frameworks. For all sectors and business sizes, our quality assured, thoroughly blended learning approach will help you attract and retain the best talent and bridge the skills gap.

By Shelley Measures, Jan 4 2018 02:31PM

HR professionals, managers and employers are invited to join Wellbeing Consultant and Menopause Expert Diane Danzebrink for this introduction to menopause and why it matters in the workplace.

Every woman will experience the menopause and with more women in the workplace than ever before menopause should be on the agenda of every forward thinking employer, whether large or small.

Menopause symptoms can have a significant impact on a womans life and work, the concequences of this for both the individual and the organisation can be significantly improved with the correct information, education, advice and support.

Diane will speak about the following to allow you to decide what next steps might be suitable for your organisation.

What is the Menopause?

What are the symptoms?

How can it affect work?

What can employers do to help?

Why does menopause matter?

Ticket price includes a light breakfast and your choice of beverage.

Diane Danzebrink Wellbeing Consultant and Menopause Expert

Organiser of Why Menopause Matters in the Workplace

Diane is a Wellbeing Consultant and Menopause Expert who specialises in providing bespoke training and support solutions for businesses and organisations and private consultancy services for women and couples experiencing menopause.

A professional coach and therapist Diane has completed clinical menopause training for nurses and is the media lay spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and a member of The British Menopause Society. Regularly interviewed by the media she has appeared on the BBC, ITV’s Lorraine and Good Morning Britain, Channel 5 and BBC Radio. Diane is a passionate campaigner and advocate for improved care and support for women experiencing menopause both in and out of the workplace and will be a consultant on the upcoming Royal College of General Practitioners curriculum review. She is currently working with the Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities to raise awareness of menopause in the workplace amongst cross party members and employers. Diane was invited to speak at the launch of the Wales TUC survey on menopause at the Welsh Assembly in September and she has recently recorded an educational video for the TUC as a tool to assist union representatives when introducing menopause in to the conversation with colleagues.

CAKE People Development is delighted to be supporting this event. Menopause is often seen as a taboo subject we believe needs to be brought to the fore and openly discussed by both men and women, unlike in previous generations. We need to prepare women about to enter menopause, support women experiencing symptoms and educate employers. This workshop is a must for both men and women to help them understand more about the subject.

By Shelley Measures, Nov 28 2017 02:06PM

Over 100 HR & L&D professionals joined us for our annual East of England coaching and mentoring conference, The Coaching Conversation, held at Center Parcs, Elveden Forest, Suffolk.

Now in its 3rd year, out latest conference on Wednesday 15 November tackled the theme of change.

Margaret Burnside, Director of CAKE, said; “It has been an amazing year for us, we have gone through a period of massive growth and change which influenced the theme for this year’s conference.

“We are passionate about coaching and mentoring; it’s at the heart of everything we do so it was very important that we upheld the quality of our previous conferences.”

Our aim is to continue to meet and bring inspired people together to support the coaching community. In previous years we have brought guest speakers: Julie Starr - Author and Coach, Andy Lancaster – CIPD, David Taylor – The Naked Leader, as well as experts in the coaching and mentoring world to the region and this year we were delighted to add Professor David Clutterbuck and James Hutton to the list.

Delegates were able to choose from a variety of practical workshops and case studies running throughout the day with the opportunity to connect, collaborate and have some great conversations in the delightful, rural setting.

This year saw the introduction of the first CAKE Coaching Award. We wanted to know who went above and beyond their job role coaching and supporting their colleagues, who were the coaching champions driving and maintaining the coaching culture in their organisations.

The winner of The CAKE Coaching Award was Martin Bull – Systems Development Manager, Global Closure Systems – UCP Zeller and our finalists were: Derrick Farrell – CEO Rehabworks and Derek Jackson – Graphic Designer – LSI Architects.

Margaret continued, “Encouragingly, the use of coaching in conjunction with existing development initiatives is becoming more common. We introduced the CAKE Coaching Award this year, to recognise, reward and celebrate the valuable contribution coaching makes to individuals and organisations. We were delighted to announce our first ever winner having been overwhelmed by the quality of nominations, which gave us some tough decisions to make. The feedback we have had has been amazing; I’m so proud of our CAKE Team for creating a great conference experience.”

What our delegates said:

“I think the conference was extremely well organised, fabulous venue, very good food, very professional speakers and workshop facilitators.”

“Thank you for organising such a fabulous event; the conference was extremely good value for money, an enjoyable and thought-provoking day.”

“I found the whole programme very interesting; I wish I could have attended every session.”

I thoroughly enjoyed it, surpassed my expectations.”

If you would like to discuss any of our coaching initiatives or qualifications call the CAKE Team on 01603 733006 or email

By Shelley Measures, Oct 19 2017 09:50AM

We often get asked to explain just what exactly coaching is all about., so we've put together this guide to provide you with some information about what it is, why it’s used, what the benefits are and how it works..


Coaching is people centred, it’s effectively a conversation between two people, the coach and the client.

It’s about unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance.

In a confidential environment, the coach uses effective listening and questioning skills to help the client to explore options to enhance their performance or to find their own solutions to solve any issues they are experiencing in their professional life.


Simply put, it is to help someone to take something to another level.

It helps them to learn rather than teach them.

Coaching accelerates the client’s progress by providing greater focus and awareness of choice.

Coaching starts by concentrating on where clients are now and what they are willing to do to get where they want to be in the future.


It supports changes in attitudes and behaviour of the client that can translate into more effective performance in their job.

It helps clients to identify barriers that are preventing them being more effective in their jobs.

It is a challenging and demanding experience and this can help to accelerate learning.

It promotes individual responsibility for performance and development.

It helps raise self-awareness and self-management.

It can support the client to deal with a climate of rapid or continual change.

It provides clients with feedback on their strengths and areas for development; this is supported by using 360 feedback.

It is beneficial for clients who have moved from management or front-line positions to more senior levels or where they need assistance in gaining a more strategic perspective.

It can be offered as a rapid and individually tailored solution to a learning need and as such, it complements any existing Learning & Development activity.

In cases where a client is performing perfectly well but could be even more successful with some assistance. In this situation, the coach is not helping to ‘fix’ any particular problem, and instead will seek to help the individual to help themselves to consider their future plans and the next step in their career.

How it works:

We would have a detailed conversation to fully understand your coaching need; we would then suggest 3 best fit coach profiles so you can choose the coach you would like to work with.

Before the first session your coach will have an initial telephone conversation with you, giving you the opportunity to build rapport and agree details for the first session. Typically there would be 6 coaching sessions and these can be a mixture of face to face and telephone. Coaching sessions take place at a venue and over a time scale to suit you but are usually completed within 6 months.

To support the sessions your coach may recommend the completion of a 360 feedback process before you begin coaching and again at the end. This can provide powerful feedback and information for you and by doing the 360 again at the end of the sessions will often highlights your progress on your goals and objectives.

If you would like to have a conversation to find out just what an impact coaching could have on you, call CAKE on 01603 733006, a member of our team will be more than happy to help.

Or join us at our coaching and mentoring conference, The Coaching Conversation 2017. To see and hear just what coaching can do for both individuals and organisations.

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