Research Paper By Laura Cho Yee Swe Myint
(Career & Executive Coach, MYANMAR)
As the famous quote saying, “Give your team a solution, and you empower them for today; teach your team how to solve problems, and you empower them for a lifetime.”Employees who are coached to performance rather than managed to perform are more committed to and invested in the outcomes of their work and achievement of organizational goals.ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Building a coaching culture in the workplace provides a platform for continuous learning and development.
How is Coaching different from Mentoring?
Most think of coaching and mentoring as the same thing, and while they involve a commitment on behalf of both parties (manager and employee), the methods used vary. In mentoring, less seasoned employees seek out a more experienced employee or manager to offer them advice, guidance, and support when they face difficult situations or need training. Often these relationships have a long-term component to them, some spanning the length of a mentee’s career. In coaching, a lead employee or manager makes the effort to connect with employees on an individual and consistent basis but with shorter-term goals. Coaching often tends to be a more formal or structured process whereas mentoring styles can vary depending on the relationship established between the mentor and mentee.
Coaching itself does not serve to solve the problems of employees, but rather to help them become empowered and capable of coming up with their own solutions. Employees can focus on areas where they feel they are the weakest and are held accountable by their coach to follow through on any recommended tasks. Employees “own” problems, not the manager. Coaching can also take on a new dimension when there are groups of individuals being coached at once. Group coaching can take the form of masterminds, career direction, or professional development. Again, employees must take ownership of this process to get the most benefit from it.
What is a Coaching Culture?
Coaching in the workplace occurs when managers offer employees tools to learn new skills and become even more valuable assets to the company. It emphasizes regular feedback, training, and opportunities for personal and professional growth.
In a coaching environment, workplace leaders are empathetic and patient, and micromanaging gets the bench. Leaders help employees set goals, support them as they work and provide feedback on their performance along the way.
When a coaching culture aligns with an organization’s larger business strategy—which it should—it often produces a more enthusiastic, engaged workforce. So keep your company’s strategy and values in mind when staffing management roles. For instance, if you value an inclusive and open workplace, you’ll want people in upper management who are approachable, supportive and available.
Benefits of Fostering a Coaching Culture in the Workplace
Coaching in the workplace offers the organization numerous benefits, such as:
- Increased productivity
- Greater employee engagement
- Stronger workplace relationships
- Faster leadership development
- Better team functioning
- Increased job satisfaction
- More trust and loyalty
Steps to Build a Coaching Culture
In order to build a coaching culture in the workplace, there are four steps for the execution.
- Make the case for coaching by allowing key influencers to experience its power
Start by providing coaching sessions to senior leaders to experience the benefit of coaching. Then these influencers gain traction from being coached, they will open to learning and modeling the same coaching behaviors. Over time, a coaching culture will emerge.
- Integrate coaching as a core element of your talent and leadership development strategy
Before trying to embed coaching in your culture, start by integrating coaching in your leadership and talent development framework. Embed coaching in some of your leadership programs for targeted populations, like high potentials, senior managers, and senior experts. It’s equivalent to learning how to walk before you run. It also exposes your organization to a critical mass of adopters.
- Equip managers with coaching skills
The performance of the organization will always be determined by the effectiveness of every single employee. In this context, coaching can address 80% of routine obstacles in less than 20 minutes, as opposed to other forms of management that may force people to do things that feel unnatural or leave them pondering for weeks. The more that all managers can experience this and exemplify the benefits, the better it will be for the entire organization.
- Make managers accountable for employee performance
In the modern business world, a coaching culture includes accountability for employees and their performance — as it relates to management effectiveness. Evaluate the performance of teams based on managers’ abilities to coach them past obstacles and become better at their jobs. Have regular performance reviews of managers to make sure they feel adequately supported too.
There are different forms of coaching that can be done in the workplace for performance improvement.
1. Executive Leadership Coaching
Executive leadership coaching is an effective way to strengthen the performance of your most important leaders, assist them in making key transitions, and enable them to alter behaviors that may be hindering their performance.
Executive leadership coaching typically kicks off with a matching process to ensure a good fit between the coach and the participant, followed by one or more assessments and alignment meetings with key stakeholders.
During the engagement, the coach may help the executive understand and use information from assessments, create and work through a development plan, and address specific business and interpersonal challenges.
The personal, supportive environment provided by an executive coach can foster new ways of thinking, acting, and influencing to achieve significant business results.
2. Integrated Coaching
This approach embeds coaching sessions into — or wrapped around — a broader leadership development program.
For example, an organization running a development program for high-potential, mid-level managers might include a coaching element — or a series of 2–5 coaching sessions — designed to help participants deepen and apply what they’re learning from the leadership program.
Integrated coaching tends to be shorter-term than executive coaching.
3. Team Coaching
Team coaching is effective at all levels — from the C-suite to front-line teams. It’s used because even high-performing individuals struggle to work together effectively.
Team coaching includes a variety of methodologies and formats aimed at fostering healthy interactions and high performance.
These may be fairly structured and prescriptive, such as during a retreat where a coach has worked with the team’s leadership to create the agenda and then facilitates the meeting, possibly even teaching content.
Team coaching may also include methods that are less scripted, such as helping a project team interact more effectively or facilitating a process that evolves in unplanned ways. Sometimes a coach may observe a team in its normal work environment and provide coaching based on those observations.
How to be an Effective Coach?
An effective coach must do five things:
- Build relationships and open up a dialogue with employees
- Help people understand goals, strategies, and expectations
- Develop and grow the talents and abilities of individuals
- Provide accountability and feedback
- Ensure that the organization delivers on its value proposition to customers
If a coach can effectively do these five things, they will help any organization and team evolve, transform, and be equipped to sustain long-term success. This will ultimately translate into bottom-line results.
The future of work is racing towards us and everyone wants to be armed with the best skill set they can cultivate before it hits. Training managers in coaching skills and ensuring senior leaders are on board with your program are key to growing a strong culture of support. Cultivating a coaching culture involves more than simply providing lots of coaching. It focuses on shifting unwritten rules, values, norms, behaviors, and practices to spread a coaching mindset and coaching practices throughout the organization. The coaching culture in business is simply an organizational environment where employees feel supported in learning and applying their skills and becoming greater assets to the organization. It includes proper training, feedback, and communication of opportunities, and when done right, it produces an energized, engaged workforce.