Research Paper By Shauna Vassell
(Leadership and Career Coach, CANADA)
There are a few key reasons most employees leave their careers, these include, but are not limited to frustration from not being engaged, the organization culture, and career advancements. According to the career psychologist,
over 60% of workers are not truly engaged in what they do and given the chance to [change] one thing, 25% of adults would choose a new job above anything else. If 86% of companies report that they recouped their investment on coaching and more (source: ICF 2009),
why not coach to get better engagement and results? It’s been noted in many different arenas that coaching empowers employees and brings awareness, that encourages development and improves their contribution to the company overall.
While working with clients and interacting with many different people in the workplace. Understanding the concepts that support coaching in the workplace it impacts on development and how it can be used in the coaching process with clients remains a very important component.
Before getting started, it’s important to really understand what coaching is. Coaching can be best described as part of the workplace toolkit that,
blends the best concepts from business, psychology, philosophy, sports and spirituality. (ICA, What Coaching is?)
So how do coaching support performance, productivity, and engagement? Before exploring that point, it’s important to understand the origins of work, performance, productivity and the integration of coaching in this process and how it affects employee engagement.
Coaching in the workplace has had a significant amount of impact over the years on performance, productivity and engagement that there is a significant amount of correlation with how it supports clients and empowers them to take action. Therefore, it is important to explore how this shows up in the workplace and how it places a holistic approach to career growth and transition to help employees and potential clients. In today’s market, coaching shows up in a few areas, whether it’s the job search, building the confidence to take on new challenges or to become an industry leader, or subject matter expert in the organization.
Coaching spans horizontally and vertically across the organization, hence its application is not limited to just the employees within the workplace. This paper is limited in scope to the workplace coaching for the employees, with a more focused scope on workplace optimization.
According to the Market Business News, (2018),
productivity refers to the rate of output per unit of labor, capital or equipment (input). We can measure it in different ways. [It is] how long it takes to produce a specific good. (What is productivity?).
Productivity is influenced by everything related to the manpower and/or labour hours that went into the processing of the product or service, hence if the person has had skewed results in terms of performance, it can really affect what the overall outlook of the company will be.
Donohoe (2019), describes employee performance as,
[involving] factors such as quality, quantity and effectiveness of work as well as the behaviors your employees show in the workplace.
Essentially, performance is the display of how employees show up and do the work that they are required to do based on their roles within an organization.
But why is coaching a great part of the workplace toolkit?
According to the ICA,
the underlying philosophy behind coaching is that we are resourceful and creative with energy, wisdom, ability and genius waiting to be set in motion.” This essentially roots us in the notion that we can be the captain of our own ship and as such, “ we can create the life we want faster and more easily by partnering with a coach who helps us utilize these resources to facilitate change and realize our potential. (ICA, what is coaching?)
In today’s economy and the shrinking, changing, reactive time to market, it is difficult to only rely on the innate “fit” of the employees within the recruitment process. The biggest gold mines are within the employee’s ability to stay connected, stay engaged and translate this into high performance and productivity. However, while this seems a mechanical process, and perhaps may follow that in most organizations, it’s not. The connection required to stems from a true place of trust, empathy and listening to create the culture that coaching can thrive. As a result, in the workplace, one of the biggest benefit coachings brings to the employee, is feeling supported. Coaching allows employees to be more confident and have better clarity to perform at a higher level by doing one or all of the following:
- Increases employee and staff engagement
- Improves individual performance and
- Helps identify and develop high potential employees
Coaching has been identified by these organizations as a critical leadership and management competency (What is workplace coaching?). The big shift for most organizations is in the realization that according to What is workplace coaching, “the “command and control” style of management is no longer effective in today’s environment, which requires rapid response, leveraged creativity, resilience, and individual effort and performance in order to remain competitive.”
There is no more room for one head making all the decisions, organizations can’t afford that. Organizations need to stay nimble and grow, and that requires all hands on deck to make a true impact in the marketplace.
Coaching and performance
People are the biggest expense on the balance sheet and can make the biggest impact on the balance sheet. Therefore, developing and driving managers who deal with performance issues is essential to business growth and profitability. (Long)
So, what does it mean from a coaching perspective?
Performance coaching can help identify an [employee] growth, as well as help [them] plan and develop new skills. (Performance Management Cycle)
While experience and skills are important, it’s the innate talent in people – the naturally recurring patterns in the ways they think, feel, and behave – that predicts great management performance (Schwantes, 2017).
In fact, in the workplace, there has been a substantial shift to coaching to build awareness and engage employees to have optimal performance. This includes getting employees to develop skills, feel more confident and getting over any limiting beliefs. In most organizations, managers can use performance management coaching to help employees be more effective contributors to their roles. The benefits are not only in employee development but also reduces turnover costs related to employees leaving the organizations.
Coaching and productivity
Coaching for productivity is one of the most common ways to engage and mobilize employees to be better contributors to the organization. For companies, a productive workplace ensures that your business objectives are being met effectively. This ultimately reduces costs and increases your profitability. According to Donohoe (2018),
productivity in the workplace relates to how efficiently your workers accomplish your company’s goals and produce goods or services for customers.
The flip slide of low productivity translates into low employee morale.
How can coaching help? Donohoe (2018), highlights that the
workplace can suffer from low efficiency if employees lose sight of their role in helping the company meet its goals and are unclear about expectations.
This she mentions fosters the behaviours where employees don’t feel supported and instead feels undervalued.
Schwantes (2017), highlights that in the Gallup survey done, 52 per cent of employees sleepwalks throughout the workday, and the other 18 per cent display some poor behaviours because they are unhappy.
Since 1987, according to the career psychologist,60% of us were content with our job, and 40% in 2010. Today this number continues to slip. Yet if the number is purely looked at from an engagement lens, that’s a significant number. Taking into consideration that in the workplace employee engagement is all the rave and how to find, retain and develop them is at the forefront of every leadership conversation. In most cases, there is a direct correlation to staff not feeling supported, feeling like they are in the right job, or a “fit” which leads to disengagement. Then the question becomes, what is the best way to retain talent is to engage them? The world and its view on human capital have shifted significantly. “Traditionally, career has been linked with paid employment and had been connected to a single occupation. The tide has changed in current situations. Today, career is seen as a continuous process of learning and development which is anticipated to enhance acquisition of values that foster employee development.” (p.40) Over the years, coaching has evolved from just a performance enhancement tool in the workplace tied to a metric, to a deeper conversation on how to connect with teams and employees. Engaging employees is no longer limited to the auspices of the employee and employer relationship. Therefore, employers are left to engage employees through other means that allows them to connect, build trust and insight action within their teams. This is how coaching has enabled the workplace to not only connect with the employee but bring the awareness, the trust and the connection that allows teams to not only form a bond but also identify and address issues in a non-judgmental way.
Coaching is not a new fad to the workplace, in fact, to attract and retain great talent, reduce costs and improve their overall productivity, organizations have started to move away from the “command and control” approach to organization development. Employees are not only pieces in the process, but they are also the keys to the process. Workplace culture and coaching are so intertwined,
without checking in to learn a bit about people’s personal lives, how can we truly support them? (Crudo, 2019)
The role of coaching in the workplace has had a significant amount of impact over the years on performance, productivity and engagement, and it has highlighted its correlation with how organizations bring employees awareness, motivate and empower them to take action. From this, it’s important to not just make a profit and loss perspective, but a holistic approach to people potential. This approach is not only invaluable to the employee but to the organization on a whole where changing markets rely on the agility of the workplace workforce, not the leadership team or the organization.
Career Change Statistics. 2010. Taken from: https://www.thecareerpsychologist.com/career-change-statistics/. Taken on October 21, 2019.
Crudo, Ben, 2019. I wanted to be friends with all my employees. Now I have 100. Taken from: https://www.fastcompany.com/90424402/i-wanted-to-be-friends-with-all-my-employees-now-i-have-100. Taken on: November 1, 2019.
Donohoe, Ashley, 2018. What is workplace productivity? Taken on October 31, 2019. Taken from: https://bizfluent.com/info-7972229-workplace-productivity.html
Donohoe, Ashley, 2019. What is workplace productivity? Taken on October 31, 2019. Taken from: https://bizfluent.com/facts-7218608-employee-performance-definition.html
Gyansah, Samuel & Guantai, Kiende. Career Development in Organizations: Placing the Organization and Employee on the same pedestal to enhance maximum productivity. 2018/05/20. P.40 – 42.
Jennifer, Long. The Difference Between Managing Performance and Coaching. Taken from: https://www.td.org/newsletters/atd-links/the-difference-between-managing-performance-and-coaching. Taken on October 27, 2019.
Performance Management Cycle. Taken from: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/performance-management/performance-management-cycle/developing/performance-coaching-and-feedback/. Taken on: October 30, 2019.
Schwantes, Marcel, 2017. Research: Why 70 Percent of Employees Aren’t Working to Their Full Potential Comes Down to 1 Simple Reason. Taken from: https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/research-why-70-percent-of-employees-arent-working-to-their-full-potential-comes-down-to-1-simple-reason.html. Taken on Nov 1, 2019.
What is productivity? Taken from: https://marketbusinessnews.com/financial-glossary/productivity-definition-meaning/. Taken on October 31, 2019.
What is workplace coaching? Taken on October 31, 2019. Taken from:https://www.integral.org.au/about/resources/why-workplace-coaching-and-why-now