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The Benefits of Coaching

Overwhelming evidence reveals that for many employees, work has become an unhappy and stressful place. Engagement is at a dramatically low level. The consequences have been disastrous: Big financial losses, high turnover and absenteeism, low productivity and innovation, poor customer service and deteriorating worker health. We spend over one third of our lives at work, so something must be done.The good news is that some companies are exploring radically new management styles to improve the situation. They realize that top-down command-and-control, rigid hierarchies and silo thinking have dominated traditional management for over a century. But in today’s culture, where consideration for workers is essential, the distant and authoritarian “boss” who inspires fear is no longer effective. The manager-coach, a more supportive and caring figure, has emerged as a promising alternative.More and more top executives expect managers to coach their subordinates. A Wells Fargo executive stated that he expects bank managers to dedicate two-thirds of their time to coaching.Google discovered that their employees ranked coaching at the top of the most important managerial competencies. Emotional intelligence, involvement and personal relationships with their team, rather than their technical expertise, were their most appreciated strengths.In order to succeed as a coaching manager, a leader must be accessible, approachable, and supportive. It is their responsibility to establish a caring, positive, and personal relationship with each team member, share and exchange information, ask open-ended questions, actively listen to employees, empathize with the difficulties they face, and respond to their needs. These leaders provide regular, constructive feedback and encouragement, and are also open to the input of employees and learning from them. They recognize their teams’ efforts and contributions. They focus on their employees’ strengths, and they encourage autonomy. They foster a sense of responsibility and accountability so they can work together with the team to accomplish the organization’s objectives. This requires mutual trust and respect.

  • productivity and engagement

  • well-being and job satisfaction

  • attracting, developing, and retaining talents

  • adaptation and innovation

  • growth and development

  • a more positive role for managers

  • more success for teams and managers

The manager’s coaching skills significantly contribute to team building and collaboration. A well-functioning, unified team will achieve better results for the business. That leads to positive developments in the manager’s reputation and career progress.Coaching is a partnership where both sides work to reach an agreed-upon destination. The partnership has a specific goal: sustained behavioral change in leaders, transforming the quality of the leader’s working and personal life. Sometimes it involves working with individuals or teams in executive or management positions.Coaching is not simply technical guidance, career counseling, consulting, mentoring, or training although it’s true to say that all of those elements may be seen in coaching. The Executive Coaching Handbook (executivecoachingforum.com) defines executive coaching as an experiential and individualized leader development process that builds a leader’s capability to achieve short- and long-term organizational goals. It is conducted through one-on-one and/or group interactions, driven by data from multiple perspectives, and based on mutual trust and respect.So, we see that coaching is a one-on-one or perhaps group service for leaders or executives designed to bring about more effective, healthier organizations. When leaders improve their performance, such benefits spread throughout the entire organization.As team members who are open and responsive to coaching apply their newfound skills and techniques to other people within the system, improvement flows through the organization. It helps everyone perform at the highest level.In most leadership coaching situations, the real objective is to help successful people become even more effective. Not surprisingly, leadership coaching improves the bottom line. Areas typically addressed include how to . . .

  • develop a more effective leadership style or manner

  • engage in succession planning and management

  • improve interpersonal or communication skills

  • speed up personal development

  • develop “superstar” workers

  • manage “difficult” people

  • find a work/life balance

  • expedite priority setting and time management

  • enhance presentation and networking skills

  • engage in career development and planning

  • have crucial conversations

  • deal with conflict and learn conflict-management skills

  • manage upwards

  • recognize and implement effective staff development

  • strengthen self-confidence, assertiveness, and well-being

Coaching for leaders tends to fall into two main categories: developmental coaching, andcoaching to resolve problems or risks. Developmental coaching is intended to improve skills and knowledge, provide frameworks for effective work-life balance, and develop sound emotional intelligence. All of these are indispensable for great leadership.Coaching to resolve problems or risks is intended to prevent career wrecks. It helps reduce stress or other emotional factors that get in the way of effective performance. It might also involve reducing conflict between team members or helping resolve issues with company politics.The personal benefits of coaching are as wide-ranging as the individuals involved.Coaching provides an invaluable space for personal development. For example, the research has shown that managers frequently encounter employees with low confidence. A traditional approach would send them to an assertiveness course and hope this addresses the issue. The employee would likely learn some new communication strategies which may temporarily improve confidence. It rarely produces a sustained increase in confidence. External behavior may change, but unless it is supported by internal thought processes, it will not lead to long-term changes.Never underestimate the impact of coaching on people. It frequently leads to a fundamental shift in their approach to their work. Increased self-confidence enables employees to bring more of themselves into the workplace. This changes everything!

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