Coaching for Development
Recently there has been a shift in the right direction towards coaching in the workplace. Whereas before it may have seemed like just another management fad or a knee jerk reaction to problems many managers are putting on their coaching hat and developing their employees and themselves. Coaching can be deployed for any number of reasons and although we will identify some of those here, we will focus mostly on coaching for development and why more an more managers are taking to the floor and choosing to implement structured coaching programs across the workplace.
Coaching and the Economic Crisis
As the economic crisis took hold, managers throughout organizations across the world found themselves having to accomplish more but with the added pressure of a shrinking pool of resources. In reality, although some may fiercely contest it, for many managers, these limited resources have been a blessing in disguise, as they have provided an opportunity for adaptability and created growth.
As budget cutbacks were introduced, costly training programs were shelved, reduced workforces had to produce even more than before, and the cost of mistakes and delayed outputs increased significantly.
Managers with limited resources found new ways to increase productivity and workplace effectiveness by motivating employees and empowering them to learn new skills and rise to new challenges.
Reasons for Coaching
There are many reasons for an organization to include coaching as part of its talent development. That is reasons apart from the benefits of employees learning new job related and problem-solving skills. I say reasons, perhaps many areas for focus would be a better choice. The focus for coaching may depend on current organizational needs but could include:
- Coaching for development
- Coaching for performance
- Conflict resolution
- Creating self-awareness
- Exploratory coaching
- Informal coaching
- High performance coaching
- Executive coaching
The above are just some examples of the power of focused coaching. Once we understand what the organization is looking to gain from the program and the results that they want to achieve, we can adjust are coaching focus accordingly. Firstly, let´s take look at coaching for development.
Coaching for Development
Although not exclusively, coaching is an excellent way to empower employees and to help them learn new skills and new ways of thinking. Those managers that moved away from their desks and out of their normal management role to invest time and effort in employee development are now reaping the rewards for their efforts.
Reaping the Rewards of Coaching
There are many associated rewards for managers who invest time in a comprehensive coaching program. Here are a few to get you thinking.
Improving Business Processes
When you take time to speak to people at the centre of the action, you will undoubtedly hear complaints about business processes or management styles. These may or may not be unfounded but listen anyway, without judgement. Make your notes and review them objectively later. With the benefit of seeing the operation first hand and with time for a little reflection, you may well uncover a way to make the operation run more smoothly and efficiently.
When employees are supported through on going coaching programs we develop both existing and new skills. This can be done through guided discovery as people are encouraged to think of and try new ways to deal job role tasks and duties. Furthermore, as the coach / employee relationship develops you can tap into the employee´s ability to learn and develop new skills. Responsibilities can now be shared across a workforce of people with ever an ever-increasing skill set.
The more time people come to you to solve their problems, the more time you spend away from what you should be doing. That´s not to say that we shouldn´t help people with problems but teaching people how to solve problems is infinitely more productive.
This could be an extension of the above problem solving. As a coach we come across attitudes of destruction and also attitudes of prevention. There is every chance that the person you are coaching, could actually be the problem. Their attitude towards a situation past or present, or their attitude towards other people could be the obstacle that is blocking their progress. When this is the case, we need to identify this self-limiting behaviour and help the employee overcome it.
Goals and action points for development are set by the employee in the coaching session. They don´t exactly get a free role in setting their action points. As you the coach, will guide them to set SMART goals and appropriate action points to work towards them. However, an employee who recognizes areas for improvement is more likely to commit to a development plan, than if they are just given a list of things to improve on. Getting the employee to choose their action points, creates accountability. Your role as a coach is to hold the employee accountable for those improvements.
Regular coaching sessions provide managers with the opportunity to find out about the career aspirations of the employees. During these sessions coaches can identify such things as:
- Whether the employee feels they are being held back
- Career goals
- If the employee has a plan to achieve those goals
- External studies that are career related
- The employee´s organizational expectations
With this valuable information gathered, coaches can begin to understand the wants, needs and expectations of the employee. More than that, the coach is now in a position to put these expectations into perspective for the employee and where possible, provide a realistic course of action.
The economic crisis brought its fair share of problems for business across the world. However, those managers that stepped away from their desks and adapted to the increasing needs of business, by putting on their coaching hat, started to reap the rewards. The benefits of coaching for development to the employees are numerous. Not least, that they now became a voice that was heard. On a level of more practical application, there has been a shift in mindset from those people who had had the benefit of coaching. With new skills, a new way of thinking and clearly defined objectives. The benefits to the manager and the wider organization are arguably greater, as this newly enriched and motivated workforce strive towards greater things.
If you have any questions about how coaching can benefit you or your workplace drop a an email to:
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