Organizations of all sizes are increasingly discovering how the power of coaching can improve employee performance, morale and job satisfaction. The resulting benefits increase the likelihood of career success for individuals who have benefitted from coaching, and provide sponsoring organizations with a more inspired workforce that can deliver improved results where it really counts—on the bottom line.
In considering coaching for your organization, it is helpful to understand what coaching is and what it is not. Coaching is a collaboration between a coach and a client in which the coach helps the client develop awareness and design and implement action plans to achieve desired goals. Unlike consulting or mentoring, the goal of coaching is not to dispense advice as much as it is to lead the client on a journey that results in self-initiated change. The client has the answers and the coach provide the process.
What are the best ways to introduce coaching into an organization and which people are the best candidates for coaching? How can you ensure a successful coaching program that delivers results? Who benefits most from coaching? A few thoughts:
Start with the CEO – The best way to get employee buy-in for a coaching program is for the person at the top of the organization to go first. A CEO that seriously commits to a coaching relationship will not only benefit personally from the program, but sends a strong message to others that coaching is a good thing. It is important that the CEO openly communicate about the benefits of the coaching process;
Pump up your star performers – Coaching is one of the best leadership development tools an organization can utilize. Identify those future executives in your midst and intentionally develop a program that allows them to maximize their skills. Coaching not only can help improve performance during the coaching relationship, but the coachee should leave the relationship with an action plan that will keep them moving forward;
Turn around struggling employees – Many organizations will use coaching to try and “save” an employee who is having difficulty succeeding or having problems relating to other team members. This can be one of the most challenging coaching situations because the employees often resist the idea of coaching or only give the process “lip service” which hinders progress. I often use 360° assessments to help the employee see what others around them are saying;
Time for a tune-up – Executives and professionals have those periods of stagnation in their careers. Coaching can provide the needed jump-start to get you moving ahead;
Team Building – This can be done in individual or group coaching environments. Coaching is particularly beneficial after organizational change such as downsizing or consolidations that change work assignments and relationships;
Goal Setting – Coaching is an effective tool to not only help employees and organizations develop appropriate goals, but can also be useful in building action plans with timetables and accountability measures built-in to the process; and
Conflict resolution – Bringing in a set of eyes from outside the organization can often help break through conflict more effectively than internal managers. A coach won’t have the “baggage” of knowing organizational politics and history which often times creates a barrier towards resolving conflict.
There are many other potential uses for coaching including helping managers develop succession strategies, career transition issues and managing issues related to organizational restructuring. I often recommend implementing a pilot project which usually helps executives understand how coaching works and gives them a clearer picture of how it can be most effectively applied in the future.
Coaching is proven effective as an employee development tool. Creating a coaching culture can be one of the best investments you’ve ever made for your employees and your organization.
Ross Woodstock is an executive coach/consultant and communications strategist with Kolt Communications, Inc.