Investing in human capital is investing in an organisation’s most valuable resource – it’s employees. Recent years have generated interest in coaching in the workplace as researchers strongly indicate that it enhances employees’ commitment and development. As a manager you play a critical role in this area which is to assist your direct reports to grow, to enhance their capacity, and if necessary to develop additional skills to meet not only organisational goals but also personal aspirations. Coaching opens to them an avenue for empowerment and for discovering, maximising, and utilising their potential. This empowerment and motivation generates improved performance in the workplace.
What is coaching your direct reports?
Coaching your direct reports is a collaboration that is founded on mutual trust, commitment and communication. It’s a day-to-day partnership and a hands-on process that is not focused on your authority but on your direct reports’ values, personal needs, strengths, weaknesses and career development. You aim to bring them to the point of owning their self and career development as you creatively inspire them to maximise their personal and professional performance.
It is a situation where you act more as a facilitator than as a director as you help them grow in their self-awareness. That is, you ask rather than tell. You stimulate them to think rather than show them how. You inspire rather than demand.
Your direct reports are very much involved in their learning. You assist them in knowing themselves more through creative probing and thought-provoking questions You lead them to act on their discoveries and aspirations. Rather than focusing on your setbacks, you put more effort into facilitating behavioural change that will empower them to set and accept challenging goals.
What are the benefits of coaching your direct reports?
To keep pace with the fast-changing market place and stay ahead of the competition, managers need to focus on preparing and building up their teams in the area of adapting to and implementing changes. In the coaching process direct reports are made more aware of the reality of change and the need to innovate in implementing reforms.
Statistics have shown that employees of organisations that advocate coaching express greater job satisfaction and as a result they have a higher retention rate than those organisations which don’t. As employees’ competency increases their performance gets better which provides a good basis from which their careers could grow.
Organisations which struggle with workers who lack the initiative to improve on their performance will benefit very much from coaching. Your direct reports will develop their self-awareness, make them less dependent, will encourage them to hone their skills and utilise their strengths. Since coaching affords them an environment to participate in discovering opportunities and planning for development, the employees will feel more responsible for their career advancement and personal development.
Financially, coaching your direct reports is far less costly than training them formally and is oftentimes more rewarding. Improvement in their performance, alone, can already bring your organisation to higher outputs and revenues.
How do you go about coaching?
First, you need to develop your relationships with your direct reports and know them well. Make them feel your genuine concern for their development and be true to your commitments. Make sure that your role as a coach is clear to them.
Second, follow a coaching model to help you get started. The model you choose will depend on your organisational context, workplace culture, where your organisation is headed and the skills it needs to arrive there. To be able to coach successfully do not go through a model as if you are going through a checklist. Build your confidence by being clear about your purpose and by honing your coaching skill. Take it to heart and make it part of a well-meaning, honest and open conversation. Productive and successful coaching is anchored on these principles. Also, you have to intentionally give time to the process. Make it consistent for eventually, it will take root.
The following is a synthesis of a number of coaching models which will give you a bird’s eye view of the coaching process.
1. Picture employees’ reality by assessing the current situation. Join them as they examine their
present situation from their perspectives. Help them see a clearer view of where they currently
are and where it would be bringing them.
2. Creatively explore with them realistic alternatives. Help them realise what can be done better
or what can still be done.
3. Specify goals and discuss how to achieve them.
4. Suggest options.
5. Evaluate options together and consider exceptions.
6. Discuss possible actions on the evaluation.
7. Verify the plan.
8. Validate an Action Plan.
9. Encourage/start the momentum in executing the plan.
Find out more about Leadership Coaching and the benefits that it can bring to your business or team by contacting the Australian Institute of Professional Coaches on 1300 309 360 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .We look forward to speaking with you soon.