Staff coaching is becoming an ever more important part of employers' strategy
Effective coaching involves unleashing an individual's potential and expanding the capacity of employees to stretch and grow. This is extremely important in a country like South Africa, where differing levels of education and backgrounds may hinder finding the right skills.
Businesses today face countless challenges. The way they identify these challenges and bring them under control can be the difference between success and failure. While a company cannot control most external challenges, internal challenges can present opportunities to revitalise, inspire and stimulate both staff and the organisation itself.
Successful organisations like MCI, IBM and Hewlett Packard have recognised that coaching promotes creativity, resilience and good performance, giving organisations a competitive edge. These.companies have identified coaching as a critical leadership and management competency and included it in management development, instead of only as an intervention with troubled staff.
In some cases, coaching is still geared towards correcting problems such as poor communication skills, failure to develop subordinates and indecisiveness. More often, it is used to sharpen the leadership skills of individuals with high potential. Coaching can also help ensure the success or decrease the failure rate of newly promoted managers.
"People are in a legitimate state of doubt about technology, globalisation, heightened competition and increased.complexity," says Warren Bennis, who teaches leadership at the University of Southern California.
These people need someone to help them face these challenges. Timely coaching can make the development and implementation of a business strategy less daunting — especially in an environment that is highly competitive. External and internal facilitators can add value with insights and provocative lines of enquiry that can increase personal development and accountability. Coaching people to break bad habits, stimulate creative thinking and establish integrated processes — setting clear goals to achieve sustainable results and increased profits — is essential to strategy development.
A MetrixGlobal study for Merrill Anderson on the impact of coaching showed that coaching produced a 529% return on investment and significant intangible benefits to the business. When the financial benefits from employee retention were included, coaching boosted the overall return on investment to 788%. These insights into how to maximise the business impact from executive coaching are too significant to be ignored.
Many organisations depend on recruiting motivating and retaining talented people. The battle for talent means that organisations that do not look after their workforce will find that they cannot attract and retain the people they need.
Adapt to context
How internal coaching is experienced by people in organisations is not always clear. The experience can depend on whether the coach is perceived as independent or not. Through coaching employees may feel supported and encouraged by their managers and the company and experience pride and satisfaction. While formal training is an 'event', coaching is a process that ensures that new knowledge becomes learned behaviour. People who want to accomplish great things often get stuck along the way. Quite simply, coaching helps them get 'unstuck'. The current economic climate is tough and South Africa has the added challenge of racial and cultural diversity, where the underlying concepts or mental models that a person uses to create meaning and the assumptions and beliefs that determine behaviour may be different from the expected. Good coaches know that no two assignments are the same and that while models and frameworks are important it is actually the quality of the relationship that has the greatest impact on success.
Focus on people
Different generations have different attitudes to work. People in generations X and Y are looking for more meaning in their jobs. Unless they find it, they will move on. Potential recruits have more choice than they had in the past and are more aware of the ethical and environmental stances of large companies. People are the resource around which business success revolves. No business strategy will work unless you have the right people, skilled and motivated in the right way and supported by the right leaders. Four competencies of emotional intelligence emerge as the strengths of star performers. Not one of them relates to technical or purely cognitive strengths. These abilities distinguish managers who are leaders and whose growth in revenues and return on sales put their performance in the top 10 to 15%:
- The drive to achieve results.
- The ability to take initiative.
- Skills in collaboration and teamwork.
- The ability to lead teams.
Susi Astengo is the Managing Director of CoachMatching