Employee coaching is a learning approach centered on unlocking a person’s potential to maximize performance. In other words, it helps you to be your best.
Have you ever been inspired, motivated, or developed to a new level thanks to the support of a great coach? When asked, most individuals can recall an instructor or mentor who has guided them in developing a critical skill, talent or competency. In some cases, this mentor transformed their lives.
Coaches and teachers from childhood are often cited as people who made an impact. But what about all the great business coaches? Don’t they exist? In general, our culture does not embrace adult coaching in the same way it embraces youth coaching. Also, many adults don’t have the professional humility to consider coaching for themselves or their employees. And that’s unfortunate, because business coaching is an extremely effective means of developing employees at all levels.
Think of it as a solution-based endeavor. Business coaching can be applied to a variety of problem areas, such as motivating staff, problem solving, building relationships, career planning, and teambuilding. It is never too late for individuals and organizations to embrace coaching as a tool to improve business outcomes.
What can be gained from employee coaching? There are three main benefits for participants:
- Learning– Corporate training budgets remain tight, but organizations still need to develop new skills and talent in their workforce. Coaching is a flexible, cost-effective learning tool that can be done on a small or large scale.
- Connecting – Coaching is a collaborative process and in today’s business environment, collaboration (between and across all levels) is the crux of an organization’s success. Employee engagement is at an all-time low for many organizations. What better way to facilitate the connection of leaders to their workforce than through a formal process like coaching?
- Adapting – Companies need flexible work strategies in order to react to the ever-changing business climate. Coaching is the perfect solution. It can be targeted to the unique needs of each employee, whether it’s teaching someone a new skill, behavior or competency, or transitioning an individual into a leadership role.
So, how can organizations get started with coaching?
- Start at the Top – Coaching programs often begin at the leadership level, and almost all the research, including studies performed by the American Management Association, have shown that coaching is a successful tool for employee development that improves business outcomes. Hopefully, as you gain success with leader coaching scenarios at the executive level, the idea will be recognized and embraced as a valuable learning approach for employees at all levels. It is wise to start a coaching program that can be developed on a small, flexible scale at first, and then be modified based on the experience and growth of the participants.
- Provide Clarity of Purpose – Your workforce will more likely accept the program when its goals and objectives are clearly articulated. And, while this is very important to do at a company-wide level, it is absolutely critical to target outcomes and measures for each coach/coachee situation. Failing to do this may produce counterproductive results, and it will certainly be frustrating to all in terms of ineffective use of time and money.
- Carefully Consider the Coach’s Role – Hopefully there are lots of options for you in terms of who may appropriate for coaching roles. It could be an externally-hired professional coach, a dedicated internal coach, or a leader or senior employee who takes on a coaching role. In any scenario, the coach should be chosen based on the skills needed to be taught. Recognize that your internal coaches—even those who are already leaders or managers—will probably need some guidance to handle the role effectively.
How has your company approached coaching or what is stopping you from instituting a coaching program? Please share your thoughts or opinions on my LinkedIn Post here.