According to my experience, coaching at work is important for inspiring and motivating employees, thereby heightening their performance. An optimal productivity on the part of employees is expected to enhance the company’s bottom line, which bodes well in the long run.
However, having said that, it brings me to a very pertinent question – Is coaching only limited to productivity? Far from it. Workplace coaching essentially creates a setting for constant learning and development. Indeed, there can never be any point in our lives when we can confidently declare that our knowledge storehouse and the scope for improvement are complete.
The keyword here is “growth”. Coaching concentrates on helping another person learn such that he/she can enrich himself and be more perceptive and efficient. It is only through coaching that employees at large can keep improving their skills and resources, which helps them to keep climbing higher on the learning curve. This, in turn, aids the fulfilment of not only organizational goals but also personal benchmarks.
Coaching also helps cement the gap between present and desired output levels and sets a greater standard of excellence throughout the organisation. It removes chances of stagnation, boredom, and lack of creativity at work, all of which are quick to come if inadequate attention is paid to the overall well-being of the organisation.
From a distance, the concept of workplace coaching may seem to be somewhat condescending. However, an in-depth perception reveals otherwise. Coaching is intrinsically a part of knowledge-sharing. And knowledge – which entails the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject or situation – empowers the staff to recognise different challenges that may arise and respond to them in a resourceful manner. It creates the base to be creative and motivated even during unknown situations. Therefore, coaching is caring as it helps in the human resource development of employees.
Over the years, I have learnt invaluable things from my experience in coaching as a manager. Some of these are as follows:
Developing a Rapport
It is of primary importance to build a rapport with employees before venturing to coach them. Only when a manager can win the trust of his/her employees and make them feel comfortable, can optimal coaching take place. It is a good idea to ask the employees to give inputs on solving a certain problem or improving productivity. This will increase employee involvement and make coaching an interactive process.
Showing Patience while Focusing on the Problem
A good manager is always calm and patient while focusing on the problem. The focus is on the particular behaviour or area of work that needs improvement, not on the person. Avoidance of any blame game or accusation and instead, discussing how the potential problem can be overcome is the ideal way to coach.
Being Supportive and Encouraging
Showing confidence in the staff’s willingness to resolve the issue displays the coach’s faith in their ability, which goes a long way in boosting them. The coach tries to understand the psyche and emotions of employees without judging them, and does not hesitate to commend them on their successes.
Setting Goals and Milestones
An effective coach motivates employees to achieve higher goals and milestones. He/she not only explains the desirable milestones but also identifies the particular behaviours that will help achieve them. Essentially, the coach encourages employees to be accountable for the goals.
The best reward for a manager is perhaps to see his/her coached employee turn into a coach for another. It is immensely fulfilling to know that the rich experience and knowledge are fit to be shared and passed on from person to person. A tendency to teach comes to us naturally, as seen in the parental inclination to teach a child. And therefore, knowledge-sharing through workplace coaching carries all its worth.
This can be aptly summed up in the famous American organizational consultant and author, Warren Bennis’ statement:
“Success in management requires learning as fast as the world is changing.”Warren Bennis
Vianney D. Lejeune is an end-to-end IT Service and Program Manager with over 10 years of experience in IT Consultancy, regarded as talented and result-focussed by his peers.
His company manages its own IT Services to deliver efficient and quality services related to the Internet for small businesses, and IT support for end-users.
Supported by chosen and skilled IT contractors, including off-shore support, the company is expanding towards other businesses on an international scale.
Further information and references are available on request.