The Magic and Myth of Coaching
Creating the Right Mindset on Coaching
The International Association of Coaching (IAC) defines coaching as a transformative process both for personal and professional awareness. The burning question in the coaching industry is: Are coaches and organisations aligned with this direction or do they have different beliefs, interpretation and practices?
Some organisations believe that coaching plans and the culture within are strongly aligned and embedded in business planning when there is a well-defined and long term coaching plan and strategy. This is then combined with a data and assessment-driven coaching approach as part of a well-established and solid coaching structure with metrics and dashboards in place. Besides that, there are scenarios and concerns where companies focus too much on KPIs and there is a high tendency to neglect talents and people in the organisation.
The need for coaching within an organisation has arisen due to the vacuum between the business strategy and the coaching plans. Also, there seems to be a misconception in some coaching programmes which focus more on the coach and the organisation’s interest than on the coachee.
Is Coaching the Right Answer?
Many may get a little confused about the difference between coaching and mentoring. I have personally implemented mentoring and paired Gen Y’ers and Baby Boomers for new hires also known as the “Buddy System”.
In order to make this a success, the efforts need to tie back to the ultimate objective of mentoring or coaching. In all my previous organisations, coaching was more noteworthy than mentoring as it was top-down driven by management and it played an important role in many business issues such as career development and talent retention. These are, after all, global challenges.
Embedding core values in the coaching practice and setting the right direction in your efforts matters a lot. Ultimately, coaching focuses on fairly specific needs within an agreed timeline and target. Most importantly, a coach need not be a subject matter expert although this has been open to debate.
But there are many more questions on coaching.
When do we embed coaching in business?
Is this more a push or pull factor?
What difference does coaching make to the business?
In which scenario can coaching help an organisation solve its challenges, whether these are in business, talent development or performance levels?
Coaching Benefits for Organisations, Internal Coaches and Coachees
Coaching propels employer branding, which is a key business element nowadays. This is especially relevant in a person’s career because coaching is quite closely related to their career progression. Success is also driven by word of mouth when organisations are able to successfully implement a coaching practice and then support it across the business – in career planning, recruitment, employee engagement and retention.
Businesses engage in coaching efforts for various reasons. For instance, it serves as a great platform to attract and retain talent in the organisation if it is seen as part of the organisation’s cultural pillar and beliefs.
I have seen organisations embedding coaching within through recognition and reward programs in order to motivate and engage employees. This can be a significant selling point for an organisation to position themselves effectively in the marketplace. This ultimately creates a win-win situation for all parties – the organisation, the coach and the coachee.
Would it be practical to say coaching isn’t a stand-alone skill but rather, forms a part of leadership competencies? Are we incorporating this into the leadership competencies and benchmark with a well-defined coaching practice and standards? I would agree that having these skills elevates coaches to greater heights.
From the coachee’s perspective, do employees get a chance to experience awareness and discovery? Are they able to achieve both personal and professional goals or it is merely a set of instructions given by the coach?
Challenges in Embedding Coaching Culture
The first hurdle to get through is the strategic implementation of a top-down approach where the management team should be driving this effort and leading by example. Often, it can be a big challenge to get senior management to walk the talk and become heavily engaged in coaching efforts. Is the management team ready to invest their time and effort to embed the coaching culture within?
Pairing the coach and coachee is also a challenge. Having the coachee accept the coach can also fraught with difficulty. Breaking the ice and establishing a professional bond is one area to consider when pairing coaches and coaches.
The worst case scenario is the session being permanently cancelled due to a lack of good relationship, trust and understanding. The organisation may consider having internal or external coaches or even both. The advantage of an internal coach is that he is familiar with the employees, the company values and the business. The advantage of an external coach is the perception of being an expert and neutral party and therefore, better able to obtain buy-in.
Measuring Coaching Success
How can we strategically implement a coaching culture in the organisation and measure its success?
Here are some tips. To start with, define what coaching success looks like. Then, consider what needs to be measured such as performance issues and engagement metrics. You may also regard it a success when you’re able to align coaching efforts and measurement to specific business goals and KPIs.
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