Workplace coaching has been for the reserve of executives or individuals within organisations. Now organisations realise that managers using coaching skills can provide direct performance and business benefits.
More than 70% of organisations with any formal leadership development activities use coaching as an important part of that. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) states that line managers typically deliver 36% of the coaching to their reports, while HR and Training and Development specialists were delivering 30%.This suggests an expectation for line managers to deliver more coaching.
I will start with defining what is coaching in the workplace, and what it is not. I will cover how it works as a development tool, the topic of the Manager as coach, their roles and responsibilities; the deliverables to the business and the pros and cons of delivering coaching.
I will cover how a manager can coach, who they will coach, and different styles and to conclude the issues that it may raise, how they can be recognised and some solutions.
How does it work?
Organisations realise they can improve the performance and motivation of their people through coaching. A coaching style of management is preferred to the traditional command and control approach.
Coaching is a more a management style rather than a tool. Application of coaching has many examples; delegating, problem solving, team building, planning and reviewing.
Coaching embraces 2 fundamental principles, that of awareness and responsibility. Huge potential lies within all of us. What blocks that unleashed potential? Restrictive structures and company practices, the lack of encouragement and opportunities offered, and management style of the company. The most common internal block is self belief. Building self awareness, responsibility and self belief is the goal of a coach.
Awareness can be raised by focussed attention and by practice. It is the clear perception of the relevant facts and information. It helps in recognising when and how emotions or desires distort our own perception.
When we accept, choose or take responsibility for our own thoughts and actions, our levels of commitment increase, and so does our performance. Performance is likely to improve if someone chooses to take action, rather than being told.
Effective questioning in conversation best generates awareness and responsibility. Questions should be open beginning with words like what, when, how (much/many), and who. Why is discouraged as it suggests criticism. Questioning will follow the coachee’s train of thought. If they appear to be going way off track a simple interjection like “I notice we haven’t talked about”, helps bring things back on course.
What should we ask, and in what sequence? Several coaching models exist. The most familiar is the (T) GROW model. The G is for Goal, setting the agenda for the session as well as the long term aspiration. The R is for reality, exploring the current situation. The O follows for options or courses of action. Finally W is for what is to be done, when, by whom (the way forward).
Other coaching models exist, such at the SHOOTS model. Here they cover Seek to understand, Hone the goals, Objectives set, Options and action planning, Try it out, Success chris hsu abax review. One further coaching model the “Coaching path”, is another.
The Manager as Coach the pros & cons
Can a manager coach and do their own day job? With the demands placed on managers these days, adding one more task to their list of objectives in an ever demanding workplace.
Organisations realise they can improve both the performance and motivation of their associates through coaching. Focussing on encouraging people to think for themselves, a coach provides support, challenge, feedback and guidance, but rarely answers.
A survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) suggests managers who have been trained in coaching can also self coach. While operational coaching carried out by line managers will help to improve performance, it is dedicated internal coaches who will bring about long-lasting behavioural change that can really add value.
Dedicated internal coaches within an organisation must raise the question of value for money and cost effectiveness. My own observations of cost-cutting programmes, flatter organisations, and the need to demonstrate value for money leave little room for a coach to exist as a dedicated resource.
There are some additional pros and cons for coaching a team From the perspective of the coach is a successor could be created, avoiding team members being “off the job” to develop skills, and could be cost effective. The downside to this is that they (the manager) feel their own job may be jeopardised, it can be time consuming, and giving people responsibility may encourage them to dispute the coach’s authority. The manager in coaching may develop a lack of confidence if the coaching experience does not go well.
For the team the benefits are that they will be coached by someone who knows them and their development needs. Development is part of the job and is therefore directly relevant and useful, and it makes work more challenging and interesting. The downside could be if coaching isn’t taken seriously.
Coaching may not always be appropriate. A manager may have to switch from a coaching role to a directing role and then back again. As long as this is explained to the team this should not cause an issue. If not then the behaviour can be seen as ambiguous.