Coaching

by Jeremy Cassell and Tom Bird

What’s the point of coaching?

Coaching is all the rage at the moment. So why has it gone from being seen as a US-led fad to a mainstream management style in the UK? What has coaching got to do with effective modern management?

Recent studies show business coaching and executive coaching to be the most effective means for achieving sustainable growth, change and development in the individual, group and organisation.

Human Resources Monthly

If you are going to engage with this whole subject, or you want your organisation to embrace coaching, you’ll want to be convinced that coaching can really make a difference.

  • Why should you spend time investigating the merits of successful coaching?
  • What’s in it for you?

There are some real changes and challenges facing UK business right now, including the following.

  • More virtual and remote teams
  • Businesses with less hierarchical responsibility
  • Fewer people having to achieve more
  • Non-stop focus on results
  • The difficulty of retaining good people.

Coaching can help in all these areas and many more.

Between 20 and 40 per cent of Fortune 500 companies use executive coaches, according to the Hay Group, an international human resources consultancy. A survey by Manchester Inc, the career management consulting firm, showed that six out of ten organisations currently offer coaching or other developmental counselling to their managers and executives. Another 20 per cent of companies said they plan to offer coaching within the next year.

In many environments nowadays, it is not enough just to manage effectively. There is a growing expectation that managers must gain competence in the art and science of coaching to truly make a difference in the development of their people.

Organisations that have embraced coaching and stuck with it have noticed remarkable results. Coaching, done well, can be a powerful tool in implementing change, increasing motivation across teams and addressing individual performance issues, thereby harnessing the potential for improving results. Many organisations that have been hardwired for consistency and control have seen themselves transformed into learning, change and creativity cultures.

The result can be an organisation that is more profitable, better equipped to beat the competition and more likely to be able to build long-lasting relationships with its customers.

Now that more managers are adopting coaching as a way of thinking and leading, the impact coaching can have on individuals, teams and organisations is becoming clearer. Research tells us that good coaching can have a positive impact in the following ways.

Improving performance

Think of your people doing more, hitting more targets, responding to customers’ queries more promptly, improving productivity and achieving new performance heights.

Encouraging responsibility

Imagine your people taking the lead in developing new ideas to meet business demands, sorting out their own problems and becoming more self-reliant and confident.

Increasing loyalty

Do you have an issue with retention? Today’s labour force no longer has a ‘job for life’ mentality. You need to give employees good reasons to stay with you. Helping them realise their potential and take greater responsibility can positively impact on retention. Coaching can reduce attrition rates and increase loyalty to you, your team and the organisation.

Freeing up time for you, the manager

For most managers the week is a blur of meetings, telephone calls, reacting to issues that arise and dealing with ‘problem’ people.

What would it be like to have more time to devote to important tasks that seem to be always part of your to-do list?

Would that make you feel more comfortable about your job?

When a manager like you is truly making a difference with coaching, you will improve the confidence and competence of your people, ensure that you have a highly motivated team and create a ‘can do’ culture. You will, in short, be demonstrating a key and critical skill of modern leaders. In fact, some argue that good leadership is coaching.

Have a look at some of the other pages to find out what really works in coaching and how to get the best out of your people.

I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching process to draw out the skills or talents that were previously hidden within an individual, and which invariably find a way to solve a problem previously thought unsolvable.

John Russell, Managing Director, Harley-Davidson Europe Ltd