The Case for a Coaching Program

Coaching is garnering an increasing amount of attention because it works.  Coaching skills in the workplace enhance productivity by improving employee engagement and supporting a positive, proactive culture.

Coaching might be misunderstood as a new take on mentoring.  Coaching skills offer a very different approach then mentoring.  What is the difference between coaching and mentoring?

  • A mentor talks and a coach listens.
  • A mentor gives advice and a coach asks questions.
  • A mentor focuses the conversation on their own experience and a coach focuses the conversation on enhancing the skills and outcomes for the other person.
  • A mentor is the expert with the answers and a coach is the expert at eliciting the answers from the person doing the work.

A mentor serves to share expertise and is essentially a teacher.  A coach serves to develop expertise and is essentially a facilitator.

In the workplace, both approaches provide value.  A mentor adds value by sharing their experiences, connections, and wisdom.  A coach adds value by engaging the other person to explore their options, expand their thinking, develop effective action plans, and follow through.

Coaching engages employees by empowering them to explore possibilities, find solutions, and create (and thus own) their action plans.  When an organization is faced with change, wants to expand employee skill sets and productivity, is interested in increasing employee engagement, or has an interest in retaining or expanding the talent pool, a coaching program makes sense.

Pros of a Coaching Program:

  • Increases engagement and motivates productivity
  • Proven impact on skill development and results
  • Perceived as positive at all levels and appropriate at all levels

Coaching programs must provide for training coaches before matching them with a coachee or establishing an agreement for coaching.

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