Leadership coaching has stolen the limelight from the traditional corporate training. From commanding, directing and teaching for a definite period of time to empowering individuals and relationship building. It has generated increasing popularity in the workplace for its capacity to address the need for a cognitive, behavioural and affective approach to workforce development in response to the fast-changing social and economic environment.
Never before have employees been subject to so much pressure to produce and perform better, to accomplish things faster without sacrificing quality and to be more creative to keep up with the changing demands. Technology has come to their aid but only as far as handling data and enhancing technical skills are concerned. It does not and cannot address the inner need of the workforce as human beings: the need to balance life and work, the need to know and work on themselves as individuals, the need to cultivate interpersonal relationships and social skills, the need for personal and career advancement. On the other hand is the need of the organisation to efficiently utilise their human capital: to enhance their potentials, to strengthen their commitment, and to develop leaders. These are critical factors that need to be addressed and to be put in balance in order to hold the organisation together and to make it relevant to the evolving community it serves.
In this context, what should leaders expect from coaching outcomes? Since leadership coaching is an organisational strategy to develop the potential of the workforce both professionally and personally, it naturally follows that coaching outcomes should reflect positive behavioural changes. Success of a coaching program can be measured against the extent to which positive behavioural changes are demonstrated. The challenge of coming up with a universal framework to measure coaching outcomes is the divergent and complex issue coaching attempts to address. One practical and widely accepted model that can be used to do this is the Cognitive-Behavioral-Affective model of learning outcomes conceptualised by Ford K. Kreiger et al., in 1993. This model’s framework categorises learning outcomes as cognitive, skill-based, and affective.
Studies have revealed that one of the defining outcomes of coaching is the development of intellectual skills and the acquisition of knowledge which includes its effective application in real life. It encourages creativity as it cultivates the ability to independently seek alternative ways to learn and to look at things from different perspectives. This leverages reflections to deeper insights and self-awareness that facilitate the discovery of weaknesses and strength.
Although behavioural outcomes partly concerns the acquisition and development of related technical and motor skills, they have one coachable aspect that pertains to relationship-building. Researchers have gathered hard evidence that coaching enables individuals to build and maintain productive relationships which is facilitated by an enhanced communication skill. They become more creative in connecting themselves to others and in building up mutually beneficial relationships— professionally and personally. Another is the capacity to set personal and work-related goals. Coachees are more confident in undertaking big assignments as they learn to break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks and to wisely prioritise the things that need to be done. As such, they are able to manage their daily activities effectively and improve on their managerial skills.
Affective outcomes are characterised by high morale, improved attitudes, development of good values, and a more appreciative disposition. Surveys indicate that being under a coaching program enhances the job satisfaction of employees as it gives them a sense of being valued by their company. Consequently, it improves their job performance and aids the organisation in retaining key and valued people.
Facts gathered by studies on the significance of coaching reveal that coaching helps link individual development to organisational success. Enhancing the individual competency for self-awareness produces the capacity to manage interpersonal conflicts which is key to developing and sustaining teamwork, team performance and to improving relationships. Development of good communication skills enables the smooth flow of communication from the top leadership down to the ranks and vice versa. Effective management of feedback gathered through this communication flow provides invaluable insights into the real issues and problems the workforce regularly encounters. This enables the organisation to be proactive and effective in addressing unmet needs. Enhancement of individual creativity reinforces innovation in the development of programs to meet the complex, fast-growing and fast-changing market demands. Acquisition of new values and a better outlook in life promote maturity, responsibility and accountability which translates to better job performance and increased productivity.
The standard for organisational success is getting higher while the necessity and demand for a balanced and healthy life becomes more pressing. This creates a tension that most, if not all, organisations are experiencing today. Coaching plays a vital role in easing this tension and in using it to benefit both the organisation and the individual. Although more comprehensive studies are still needed in the area of coaching outcomes, research data clearly indicates and proves that the positive impact of organisational coaching on the life and work performance of an individual workforce translates into organisational effectiveness and success.
Learn more on coaching through contacting the Australian Institute of Professional Coaches on 1300 309 360 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . We look forward to speaking with you soon.