Coaching remains high on many training departments’ agendas, but it’s not always seen as such a priority by individuals in the workplace. Too often employees complain of finding themselves too busy to spend time reviewing and developing their progress, while others struggle to find people within the organisation who have the skill and the will to work with them in a coaching relationship.
Yet many of the most successful people within organisations are not only benefiting by coaching direct reports and peers but are also accelerating their own careers and improving their personal effectiveness by working with coaches of their own.
Who needs a coach?
The successful 21st Century manager doesn’t simply view coaching as a task they need to perform with their employees, but as a way of life within the team, and as a valuable resource for themselves, offering a chance to discuss key issues and work on specific areas of development.
In some organisations, where personal power is valued above learning and improved performance, coaching may still be viewed as a remedial measure, not suitable for employees who are currently performing well, yet that image is changing fast as the correlation between coach utilisation and sustained high performance balanced with career satisfaction is recognised.
- your line manager doesn’t subscribe to a coaching style of management
- your manager is based in another location and difficult to connect with
- the buck stops with you and you have no manager
- there’s simply no one within your organisation that can fulfil a coaching role for you
then it’s not only tough for you to build your performance, but also difficult for you to improve your capability as a coach.
Who’s coaching who?
Increasingly organisations are recognising the performance, satisfaction, development and retention benefits that can be gained by offering access to external coaching resource to key employees and those identified as high potential employees of the future.
Coaches from outside the organisation can provide employees with a fresh perspective, and new insights based on their experiences elsewhere. This can be invaluable for individuals who have ‘grown up’ within the business, and are now in a very different role from their starting point, as they can focus on current development rather than past record and received wisdom about the individual’s strengths and weaknesses. External coaches can also work with individuals on a more open basis, allowing discussion and resolution of issues which may be politically difficult to address within a line relationship.
Who’s right for who?
Different people need different types of coach, one person may find they connect well with a coach and recommend them to a colleague, only to find that the colleague gains nothing from a meeting. A coach that works well with an individual on early career issues may not be the right match later on when the individual is at a senior executive level.
There’s no magic cookie cutter that will create the perfect coach for all ‘coachees’. Clear agreement about the objectives for a coaching relationship, the timeframes, and the individual’s learning style makes for a good start in selecting the right coach.