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Why and How of Coaching at Work

2 Woman sitting at a table and talking
2 Woman sitting at a table and talking
Why and How of Coaching at Work

In a VUCA world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity), organizations are faced with the aftermath of the pandemic, the great resignation, the quiet quitting, financial volatility, supply chain limitations, burnout, and more.  Couple this with a multi-generational workforce and the call for developing an effective workplace culture to support engagement and productivity is clear.  Coaching is commonly considered the ideal culture, a valuable skill, and a powerful tool.  It is also often misunderstood.  Some think of coaching in terms of sports coaching and others equate it to mentoring.  Coaching is completely different, and that difference is essential for efficacy.  The International Coaching Federation defines coaching, “Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”  Quite simply, coaching is advanced development for advanced results.

Coaching is a skill now expected of leaders, HR professionals, people in Talent Management, Organizational Development, and working for programs that develop leaders and high potentials.  The reason?  The impact!

  • Fortune Magazine on Coaching: Coaching has an average return on investment of 600%
  • AMOCO Corporation, now part of British Petroleum (BP) – evaluation of coaching over a ten-year period: The investigators reported that “compared to other AMOCO managers, coaching participants consistently demonstrated improved performance, increased ratings of potential for advancement and 50% higher average salary increases. Moreover, the participants themselves attributed these results directly to the coaching they had received.”

The ‘why’ of coaching at work is clear.  The challenge is in the ‘how’ of coaching at work.

Commonly there is a move toward creating a Coaching Culture.  This will involve decisions from leadership followed by basic training in coaching for the high-level leaders.  More in-depth training is then provided to mid-level management.  Key personnel are identified to become certified in coaching and offer individual, group, and team coaching.  A Coaching Program will include internal coaches for entry to mid-level management and external coaches for high potentials and senior leaders as well as the executives.

In a Coaching Culture, a coaching leader:

  • Asks questions for the clarifying of goals.
  • Explores options for moving past obstacles.
  • Empowers the creation of action plans.
  • Supports discovery of opportunities to achieve.
  • Empowers decision making and action.

On the front end this takes more time and in the long run it saves time because it develops people to figure it out and act.  It also increases engagement and productivity because people are empowered.

The American Management Association, AMA, in their Global Study of Successful Practices, shared several major findings on coaching programs inside companies, including one on training:

  • “Another interesting finding is that the internally based methods of providing training were less strongly corelated with overall coaching success than were the externally based methods, even though the internally based methods are more commonly used.”
  • “The AMA/Institute for Corporate Productivity survey shows that external development programs for coaching are more highly correlated with success than internal ones.”
  • “Finding Nine: External training seems to work best. Externally based methods of providing training on coaching are most strongly related with overall coaching success, though they are less often used.”

Training for a coaching culture, coaching leaders, and internal coaches through an external program will support the greatest level of efficacy and success.

The value of internal coaches is that it is a soft-cost – in other words it is incorporated into existing expenses.  A note, with Coach-123 it is possible to engage coaches newer to the profession at a more affordable rate as well as credentialed coaches at a more typical rate.  The value of external coaches is the freedom for people to be completely open and vulnerable with confidentiality protected, different perspective, and the time involved.

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