All over the world, leaders are using coaching to gain a competitive edge. But does coaching solve every problem one might encounter in the workplace?
“No. It’s not a panacea,” says coaching expert Patricia Overland in an article for Chief Learning Officer. “Determining when coaching is a good investment can be challenging.”
Overland shares a couple of examples from her experience when a leader may not be ready to learn and apply coaching skills. Overland explains that offering coaching without addressing these underlying beliefs is usually a recipe for failure.
- If they prefer command and control: They just want people to do their jobs.
- If they don’t value innovation: They just want people to do things the way they’ve done them before.
- If they have a negative attitude about people: They believe that people only do what they have to.
- If they have a negative attitude toward coaching: They know all the answers and think coaching is a flavor-of-the-month methodology.
For those leaders ready for coaching, Overland points to a research study conducted by Human Capital Institute and The International Coach Federation which found, “A strong coaching culture positively correlates with employee engagement and financial performance. Nearly two-thirds of respondents from organizations with strong coaching cultures rate their employees as being highly engaged, compared to only half from organizations without strong coaching cultures. In terms of financial impact, 51 percent of respondents from organizations with strong coaching cultures report their 2015 revenue to be above that of their industry peer group, compared to 38 percent from all other organizations.”
To be successful at coaching, Overland identifies five must-haves that need to be in place:
Environment: Before coaching, managers should let direct reports know they’ll be doing things a bit differently. Set the stage, get permission to coach and check in frequently to ensure this new way of leading is hitting the mark.
Trust: Trust is a foundation for any coaching relationship. The manager’s role can be especially hard because they have both perceived and real power over direct reports. Getting people to talk openly and honestly about their needs, motivations and skill level takes patience, practice and trust.
Intent: It is important to begin by being very clear about objectives and goals. If a manager notices that coaching is going off track, they should examine their own motivations and beliefs. It can be powerful to say, “That didn’t go the way I intended” and start again, working to be more supportive and encouraging.
Action: Development is good. Development with focused action is better. The purpose behind great coaching is to influence some kind of change in mindset and behavior. Encourage others to take specific actions that are focused on achieving a desired outcome. This moves coaching beyond much disdained navel gazing to a strategy with real bottom-line impact.
Accountability: Leaders who use coaching skills help others commit to behavior change. Even with the best of intentions, people get sidetracked, work gets reprioritized, and sometimes life just gets in the way.
Coaching effectively supports long-term and sustained employee development encourages Overland. “Consider the higher engagement levels, trusting relationships and financial health to be gained from a shift to a coaching culture — and say yes!”
To read the complete article at Chief Learning Officer, click here.