Coaching refers to the process of instructing and training someone to improve their skills. This is executed to achieve a specific immediate goal. In business, employee coaching is one of the vital steps to improving performance within an organisation.
In coaching, a more experienced or skilled individual provides another with advice and guidance to help develop the individual develop skills, performance and career. Contrary to mentoring, coaching is more of a performance focus whereas mentoring is development focused. That is to say in coaching, the goal is to develop a certain individual’s skills to fit the immediate needs of the organisation they are in. That is coaching is effective where results are the immediate focus in an organisation. If an organisation is unstable and on the brink of shutting down, you need coaching whereas a stable and well-functioning organisation should mentor to develop the career of employees holistically.
What is the importance of employee coaching? How does it affect both the employer and the employee? What are the effects of coaching on performance? Let us explore all these questions in detail!!!
Why employee coaching?
According to research by the International Coaching Federation (2009):
- 80% of people who receive coaching report increased self-confidence
- 70% benefit from improved work performance
- 70% benefit from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills
That implies that while coaching may be considered as performance centred without focussing much on employee development, it is also a useful tool in building self-confidence in employees. Not only that but overall the workplace is also made a better place through better communication skills and better relationships in the workplace.
Characteristics of coaching culture organisations
According to Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries in his book “The Hedgehog Effect” (2011), a coaching culture organisation has the following:
- Relationships of interpersonal trust, self-disclosure, and openness
- Focus on self-awareness and personal development
- A preparedness to have courageous conversations
- A willingness to give clear and constructive feedback
A coaching cultured organisation has these 4 attributes. Every organisation that practices employee coaching will be identified with a strong constructive feedback practice.
Benefits of employee coaching
It is key to know how employee coaching is going to benefit any type of organisation before one can even start thinking of how to implement it.
- Helps employees understand what they are doing well and what they need to improve to advance their professional development.
- Help employees build confidence, develop a professional network, keep themselves accountable and improve their communication skills.
- Engages employees into the company culture, which often suffers due to the shift towards digitization.
- By fulfilling employees’ personal desire for professional development, coaching “naturally increases” employee engagement, retention and productivity.
- Improved customer satisfaction is inevitable.
Employee coaching and performance
The results of a recent Gallup poll showed that only about 25 per cent of employees “strongly agree” that they receive meaningful feedback from their managers. This thus shows according to the major traits of a coaching culture, only 25 per cent of the employees indicated that they have a coaching culture in their organisation.
According to (Executive Briefing: Case Study on the ROI of Executive Coaching, Merrill C. Anderson, PhD, MetrixGlobal, LLC), 77% of respondents at a Fortune 500 company indicated that coaching had a significant impact on at least one of nine business measures. Executive Coaching also produced a 788% ROI.
Thus, it is evident that coaching has a positive impact on employee performance and organisational performance at large.
Employee coaching increases productivity within an organisation. Highly engaged employees have better performance.
According to research by the International Coaching Federation (2014) (“Building a Coaching Culture”):
- 65% of individuals from organisations with strong coaching cultures are highly engaged
- 60% of individuals from organisations with strong coaching cultures, report their 2013 revenue to be above their peer group. This is against 41% from organisations without strong coaching cultures.
A recent study conducted by Bersin & Associates demonstrates that equipping your managers with Coaching skills can yield a 130% increase in business performance. The Bersin & Associates study also found that manager-based Coaching within an organization plays a key role in leadership development and employee retention, which is essential for maintaining a competitive edge in today’s ever-changing business landscape.
In 2014, $165 billion was spent on company training programs in the U.S. According to Jane Creswell, CEO, iNTERNAL IMPACT and founder of the IBM Coaching Network, some programs were a far superior investment: “The retention and learning after training is between 20-40%. With a Coaching culture that reinforces the training and application we have seen retention increase to between 60-80%.” (Human Capital Institute adaptation)
Challenges to the coaching culture
While the coaching culture has proved to be very effective in bringing up results through improving performance from all angles, it has its challenges also.
For many organisations, coaching is only for a few identified individuals deemed to have high potential. This may be due to the high costs associated with employee coaching at times.
If you are to implement employee coaching in your organisation, be ready to face the following hurdles in your race.
- Time constraints pressure.
- Navigating confidentiality and organizational interests.
- Honesty and candour when coaches also control opportunity, salary, and advancement.
- Goals that are set by top management, not the coachee
The 7 step coaching framework
The following steps are vital if you are to introduce or perfect your employee coaching culture.
- Authenticity and self-awareness.
- Trust building.
- Reflection on the past experiences
- Enthusiasm and openness building
- Values clarification and alignment.
- Energy management.
- Improving levels of engagement.
In this age, everything concerning the business is ever-changing. That means managers have to come up with clever ideas to keep up with the pace of changing technologies and demands of the market. It is evident that if organisations are to adopt the coaching culture, employee engagement will improve.
According to Gallup's meta-analysis, the business or work units that scored the highest on employee engagement showed 21 per cent higher levels of profitability than units in the lowest quartile. Companies with a highly engaged workforce also scored 17 per cent higher on productivity. This is clear evidence that the whole effects of the coaching culture in any organisation will improve performance and in turn the productivity of any particular organisation.
“Coaches are aware of how to ignite passion and motivate people. They have an energy that is contagious and knows exactly how to get their team excited.”- Brian Cagneey
Blessmore Ndemo is a data analyst at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm.
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