The world of coaching is a flourishing industry, and many innovative leaders are finding that they need to become coaches. This can be a positive thing because coaching and leading work hand-in-hand. Not only does this develop your skills as a leader, but it also pushes your staff to embrace and take ownership of their development.
The Benefits of Coaching
Coaching has numerous benefits for the individual being coached and the organization as a whole. For an individual, the benefits include:
Take greater responsibility for their results and the results of the people they work with;
Be more accountable for actions and commitments;
Plan and take action towards achieving goals and objectives;
Communicate more effectively with others;
Become more self-reliant and confident:
Increased creativity, productivity, and self-esteem;
Make more significant contributions to their team and organization;
Have greater satisfaction in life and career.
Other benefits include:
Strengthen individual’s skills so they can delegate more tasks and focus on their core strengths:
Improve employee retention since managers are taking the time to help employees enhance their skills;
Uncover hidden talent in people that can be utilized more effectively;
Overcome time-consuming and non-value-adding performance issues;
Use company resources more effectively as coaching costs less than formal training.
The main thing to recognize is that coaching brings the best out of individuals and teams, which results in improved productivity, increased employee engagement, and better performance. In most cases, people’s performance improves because they want to improve, not because they are instructed they have to. Coaching is a powerful technique to discover what people’s self-motivation is.
How Coaching can be Used in an Organization
Coaching is a technique that can be used in a 360-degree fashion. Much like 360-degree feedback, coaching can be executed the same way: uphill, downhill, laterally, and coaching of teams. An authentic coaching culture allows coaching to be used in all directions equally.
Organizations can approach coaching in a way that aligns with their objectives. Before employing a coaching strategy, the company must identify key points on how managers will become coaches and how those managers should coach others. Typically, this is a Human Resource effort with Executive Management supporting the initiative. This ensures a company-wide initiative.
Coaching downhill is the most straightforward and most utilized technique. Downward coaching involves a higher-level employee, arching subordinate employees. Since direct reports are the easiest to influence and have the greatest level of contact with the manager, these are easy candidates for coaching.
Coaching uphill is more complicated. Coaching upwards involves a manager coaching his superior. This technique is unique and hard to implement. For this to be effective, the entire organization must be open and encourage upward coaching. This can be seen as a manager guiding a superior manager. This can be as simple as the manager being a third party to help work through problems with a superior manager.
Coaching laterally involves coaching peers of the same level in the hierarchy. This can happen at the manager or even at the lowest level of employee. This involves guiding co-workers with the same position level as the person doing the coaching. This can often be mistaken as cross-training, but it is not skill-based. It is development-based.
Coaching teams usually comes last concerning implementation. Team coaching is about guiding already-empowered individuals to work as a high-performing team. A coach in this respect would help the team clarify its objectives in the beginning and check in throughout the process to help and aid in defining future learning points for the team at the end. The team members should be independent, self-directed, and operating effectively.
Coaching can also provide many benefits in all directions. When coaching downhill, it provides confidence and growth for the employee. It allows the employee to freely talk about what is happening in the organization in a safe space. This also provides a channel for feedback from unbiased sources in confidence.
Whether it is coaching uphill, downhill, or laterally, coaching is beneficial because it allows the people being coached to gain skills they did not have. It allows for growth and development at all levels to become better employees no matter what level they currently work at.
The coaching process provides insight and an opportunity to reflect on one’s performance. The coach and the person being coached are on a path of self-discovery that brings to light many new elements of their personality. This allows both parties to become more in touch with themselves and gain more knowledge about who they are as people. By working in a coaching environment, new ideas are presented regularly because more people are discussing situations and solutions that may have been undiscussed in other environments.