BusinessDay
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Workplace Coaching (WC)

I have been unwell and it is directly connected to my work chairs both at home and in the office. The chair vis a vis the desk, vis a vis the computer and all work tools is of tremendous importance. My posture went crazy and this led to a pinched nerve that has been trapped for two weeks now. The bottom line is that, in order to start healing, I had to buy an expensive chair, (strangely enough the most comfortable chair was not the most expensive, so you have to try it out) and also do pilates, a type of exercise that will help my body bone structure heal.

Today we are looking at Workplace coaching which is the process of equipping people with the tools, knowledge, and opportunities they need to fully develop themselves so as to be effective in their commitment to themselves, their work, and the company. Please note, coaching is more for the individual than the organisation, directly even though obviously this indirectly impacts the organisation.

This is focused on developing the employee to become their “best self” and to contribute their “best fit” and talents. The process creates quick sessions to draw out distinctions and promote shifts in thinking and behaviour.

Researchers have identified coaching as a critical leadership and management competency and employees are asking more and more for it. True coaching improves employee and organisational resiliency and effectiveness in change. Change is the only constant thing so we must always ensure our staff are always ready for it. There is no better time to change than now which is why we are looking at coaching today.

There are times we mistake some things for coaching. Coaching is not management skills re-packaged, even though it draws on certain management skills and competencies. It deals with employee growth, development, and achievement by removing roadblocks to performance and enhancing creativity. Management deals with supervision, evaluation and meeting objectives.

WC is not therapy or counselling, although it uses some of the same communication processes. Coaching is about creativity, performance and action, while therapy deals with resolution and healing of the past.

WC is not mentoring or consulting, although coaches will use their experience, diagnose situations and give opinions or advice at times. Coaches use all of one’s knowledge and experience to enable the person being coached to create and develop their own best practices, connections and resources.

Finally, coaching is not training. Coaches give information, but they support those they coach in developing their own skills, knowledge and final decisions.

As already stated, WC promotes creativity, breakthrough performance and resilience, giving organisations a competitive edge and an effective way to flow and operate within an environment of continuous change. Successful organisations have recognised that managers must be able to coach their employees and each other. Coaching has been included in their management/leadership development and has been identified as a critical leadership and management competency.

Clearly the traditional “command and control” style of management is no longer effective. We now require rapid response, leveraged creativity, resilience, and individual effort and performance in order to even remain competitive.

Retention is critical, and coaching supports employee career/professional development and satisfaction thereby keeping valued employees.

Coaching to performance rather than managing to performance produces more committed staff who are invested in the outcomes of their work and achievement of organisational goals. If you remember, it is like your performance in a favourite teacher’s course to the course of a task master, teacher.

On-going training is necessary to remain competitive, however without coaching, training loses its effectiveness rapidly, and often fails to achieve the lasting behavioural changes required. Training is an “event” while coaching is a process. Coaching is a valuable next step to training to ensure that the new knowledge imparted, actually becomes learned behaviour.

Moving forward. change will clearly be the norm and individual resilience and performance will be crucial to team and organisational success. Coaching leverages individual strengths and abilities for maximum performance.

Coaching provides for direct on-the-job learning as well as just-in-time learning tailored to the particular situation. By enabling behavioural shifts, coaching allows projects and people to move forward immediately and with less effort. True coaching supports people in quick shifts needed to meet changing business demands like in these covid19 times.

Successful coaching adds value to employees, who then add value to their organisations by giving their best. Employees want to be happy, productive and innovative, and coaching creates the enabling environment and also supports diversity by recognising every employee’s uniqueness. Just thinking of everybody as a suit no longer works.

Research and experience show that employees perform better when positively coached, rather than being constantly evaluated. Coaching fosters more positive employee attitude as a key component of development and enhances positive attitude through positive support. Staff with more positive attitudes are more likely to succeed in their jobs and careers.

Finally, coaching skills build and enhance team and work group performance, motivates sales production, improve’s management and leadership, and promotes diversity awareness. Human resource professionals have identified that in order to work well in the future, companies will need to hire employees for their fit with the organisation, rather than to fill job descriptions. Employee fit is assessed and developed through coaching.

Managers also coach employees to become more career self-reliant and to develop their careers more effectively.

Successful managers and leaders today are developing their coaching skills, in order to support and enhance employee performance and development.

Coaching provides a context for feedback and a process to support changed behaviour. The best workplace coaches are those who understand and develop their own coaching style, rather than following a one size fits all approach. Those who know how to “flex” their style to coach others, and who can use the coaching process and concepts effectively through understanding skill development.

Managers and leaders develop their competency in coaching by: Increasing their awareness of coaching and its benefits, and trusting the concept and process; Educating themselves on coaching concepts and tools; Identifying their own coaching style and skill level, and learning to identify others’ preferences for being coached; Practicing coaching using the best coaching tools and their own strengths; and continuously improving and installing their coaching competency through feedback and on-going coaching.

While some managers may “take to” coaching more naturally than others at first, many managers, leaders and clients enjoy and become effective coaches once they are supported by a model in finding and using their own unique coaching strengths. Coaching truly provides a win-win for both coach and employee.

Please look into coaching if you are not yet doing this. Again, we can help put a structure in place. Many people may already be coaching and not really know it and many more are doing all kinds of things, they think are coaching. As usual, have a great weekend. Keep social distancing with your mask on and together we will beat Covid-19. As they say in my indigenous language, what does not speak cannot be wiser than us.

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