The HR Leader’s Transition to Coach

Cheryl Knight

Cheryl Knightby Cheryl Knight

Human Resource professionals are often asked to coach employees, both individual contributors and leaders.  The actual goal may be to give them some feedback that their manager has trouble delivering, or the manager has delivered feedback and now thinks the individual will understand better with another perspective.  Fix them, please?  You are HR, so that’s what you do, right?  As a rising professional in the HR field, I wanted to succeed!  I was providing direction, giving feedback, encouraging others, helping them with their development, telling them what they could do to improve or overcome their challenges.  I was all about helping in a way I thought was coaching.

In these situations, the direction, feedback, encouragement, and advice I provided was based entirely on what I thought they needed to do and my ideas were based on my perceptions.  There was little said or done regarding what they wanted and what was important to them.  I failed to explore how or even if they wanted to approach their challenge or how they wanted to grow their skills to achieve their goals.  I have found that helping or coaching people to my expectations rarely results in lasting change.

It became apparent to me that to be a coach, I was going to have to change a few things:

This chapter covers all three of these, defining how they are applied differently in coaching than in HR.  When making the transition from HR Leader to Coach, whether you are making a career change or want to transition within your organization, it is possible to achieve success if you continue to refine your skills.  By continuing to focus on these three key areas and participating in continuing education, we can build a strong foundation for coaching.

Read more in the full chapter of Coaching Perspectives VI.

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