We often get asked: what Is the main reason to coach employees?
In short, it’s to impact productivity, wellness, and engagement with your business through personalised development.
In the past, coaching was associated with low performance. A coach was brought in to deal with a problem employee as a remedial step before they were shown the door. It was a losing battle for any coach, and gave coaching a reputation amongst employees as a disciplinary tool. In many of these cases, the employee either didn’t have the skill required for the role, or was a cultural misfit - in which case this was a hiring problem - or had deep rooted lifestyle or personality issues that required a therapist, rather than a coach. In some cases, the issue was actually the boss or team, but the individual was the sacrificial lamb, and coaching was an optics exercise to demonstrate fairness and due process. Through years (now decades!) or hard work by coaches and HR Partners, this scenario is thankfully now changing.
Coaching is a benefit to top performing, aligned employees with high potential to impact the business, either through innovation, ambassadorship, or leadership. It’s a method of enabling the best outcomes for the individual by giving 1:1 attention to their goals and development needs. Let’s delve deeper:
The ICF (2009) reported that 80% of people who receive coaching have an increase in self-confidence; over 70% have improved work performance, relationships, and communication skills; and 86% of companies report that they more than recouped their investment on coaching and more (source: Harvard Medical School Institute of Coaching).
There is still a lot of research being undertaken to determine HOW this is done. Are there certain coaching techniques that have stronger outcomes in performance than others? Undoubtedly yes! The most research evidence leans towards a cognitive-behavioural approach. However, is there something to be said for the simple fact that coaching is delivered 1:1 or in small groups, and therefore the needs of the individual are being addressed? Yes. The hyper-personalised nature of coaching allows flexibility to delve into the aspects of performance that are unique and important to the individual, and this is where we see the method having its greatest power.
After 2+ years of COVID, including working from home with the pressures of supporting kids, avoiding or dealing with illness, and of course social isolation, companies have had to quickly find ways of offering support to employees that could reach into their homes. Several recent studies, including one conducted by Jaroz. J (2021) at the University of Silesia, Barcelona, demonstrate that coaching has enhanced the well-being and performance of managers AND their teams, where it has been offered during the pandemic. This may be attributed to companies and managers showing a genuine concern and interest in their employees wellbeing, as expressed by the offer of coaching, and also through the goal-directed nature of coaching which helped to engage employees through waves of varying motivation and apathy during lockdown and ongoing pandemic conditions. This research shows that coaching is not only valuable during pandemic, but through any period of challenge in an individuals life where personalise support can be extended.
REFERENCE: International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring 2021, Vol. 19(1), pp.4-27. DOI: 10.24384/n5ht-2722. The impact of coaching on well-being and performance of managers and their teams during pandemic. Joanna Jarosz (Department of Social Sciences, University of Silesia, Barcelona, Spain.)