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The Importance of Coaching in the Workplace and How to Do It

The goal of every business organization is to have a highly effective and productive workforce. Without this, the organization may plunge into loss-making, or worse still, it may close shop.

A report by Gallup on the American workplace shows that the old management ways of annual reviews and forced rankings no longer work in 2021.

So, what’s the way forward for managers? The simple answer is coaching.

Coaching is invaluable if an organization is to achieve its goals. It should be part of the continuous employee performance management by managers to maximize the potential of the employees.

Failure to coach employees leads to an unproductive and disengaged workforce. At worst, it can cost your organization money.

There’s an urgent need for HR directors to act swiftly to ensure their organizations remain in the competition. They can effectively achieve this by accessing some of the best training programs for both managers and employees.

We’ve curated for you the most effective coaching techniques in 2021, their importance, and how to carry them out. Here is all you need to know:

What is Coaching in the Workplace?

Alt: A coaching session in an organization

Workplace coaching is the process of equipping employees with the knowledge, tools, and opportunities necessary for them to be effective.

It involves a professional helping relationship that focuses on the needs of the employees and the goals of an organization.

We can further define workplace coaching as a leadership strategy that aims at addressing workplace objectives. It also empowers employees to meet the same goals.

Please take note:

  • Although it makes use of specific management skills, coaching isn’t a repackaging of management skills. Coaches handle employees’ growth and development, unlike management, which deals with supervision.
  • Although it uses some of the communication processes, workplace coaching isn’t counseling or therapy. Coaching entails creativity, action, and performance, while counseling involves listening to and empathizing with an employee.
  • Although coaches will use their experience, workplace coaching isn’t mentoring or consulting. Coaching goes a step further to enable employees to create their practices and resources.
  • Although coaches give information, workplace coaching isn’t training. Coaches support employees to develop their skills and knowledge.

So, who does workplace coaching?

Coaching can occur in two different ways — 

Leadership style: Here, coaching occurs internally. Managers and leaders engage their employees in either formal “sit-down” coaching sessions or informal “on-the-run” sessions.

Intervention: According to (Grant, 2017),  intervention is when coaching happens externally. In this case, organizations bring in an external coach to work with the leaders.

Great and successful managers and leaders are putting forth consistent efforts to enhance their coaching skills. These efforts aim to support and improve employee development and performance.

Managers with coaching skills also do peer-to-peer coaching in the workplace. With this, they support and guide each other in challenging environments.

Either way, workforce coaching should focus on:

  • engaging employees
  • making employees aware of company objectives
  • helping employees reach organizational goals independently

The best workplace coaching isn’t just for providing a context for feedback. It goes further to offer support for changed behavior.

The best workplace coaches aren’t those who follow a cookie-cutter approach. On the contrary, they understand and develop their coaching style.

The Growing Importance of Coaching in the Workplace

The business field has become highly competitive.

Successful organizations such as IBM, Hewlett Packard, MCI, and others have put in place ongoing coaching of their workforce to remain competitive.

As many large organizations are discovering, the traditionally used “command and control” management style no longer works in today’s environment.

The current environment calls for quick response, resilience, leveraged creativity, individual effort, and performance. These aspects are what will make an organization remain competitive.

Coaching is the key to retention, which is critical in any organization.

Workplace coaching ensures employees gain career or professional development and satisfaction. In return, it helps to retain the most valued employees.

Coaching employees in the workplace to performance, rather than managing them, makes them more committed to their work. They are also more dedicated to the achievement of organizational goals.

According to the Gallup report, the American workforce has over 100 million full-time employees. Unfortunately, the report paints a bleak picture of engagement of workers as shown below:

Engagement statusPercentageDisposition
Engaged33%Love what they doMake their organizations and country great
Disengaged16%Miserable at their workplaceDestroy what the engaged employees have built
Not engaged51%They are just there

Why is coaching critical now and in the future?

For organizations, change will be the norm moving forward. Likewise, team and organizational success will be dependent on individual resilience and performance.

The essence of coaching is that it leverages individual abilities and strengths for maximum performance.

Coaching is critical because it provides just-in-time learning tailored to the particular situation. It also offers direct on-the-job learning.

Coaching promotes behavioral changes, which makes it easy for people and projects to move forward with ease.

Today, business changes require swift shifts into entirely new models. Workforce coaching prepares employees for such shifts necessary to meet changing business demands.

Thus, managers and leaders must coach their employees to become career self-reliant. They should also encourage them to engage in continuous career development.

Benefits of Coaching in the Workplace

Alt: Employee training in the workplace

A coaching culture in an organization fosters the following benefits:

Engages Employees

We can almost use “coaching” and “engaging” interchangeably. The two go together like peanut butter and jelly (or whatever your favorite combination is).

Coaching is an excellent way of engaging employees in an organization. Organizations thrive more with engaged employees than with unengaged ones.

A study by Gallup on the effects of engaged employees on an organization shows that on such organizations, there was:

  • 10% higher customer metrics
  • 21% more sales
  • 41% lower absenteeism
  • 20% more sales

Are these not the kind of results any manager would want to see in their teams?

Coaching makes employees feel more connected to the company. Consequently, this creates a sense of loyalty and trust.

Decreases Employee Turnover

Employee retention is one of the greatest challenges facing many organizations today. In today’s recovering economy, small and large organizations have made employee retention their priority.

One of the best ways for any organization to retain its best talent and maintain productivity is to focus on job satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty.

A manager can create an engaging environment with his employees by spending time coaching them.

Employees engaged through coaching tend to stick around longer. According to the Gallup report, organizations that engaged their employees through coaching reported less than 59% turnover.

Employees interpret coaching by their managers as a sign that they are cared for. They feel valued and necessary in the organization. Such employees desire to stay longer in the organization.

Increases Productivity

Engaged employees and lower turnover rates lead to increased productivity, both individually and corporately.

When you engage your employees, they get direction, purpose, and goals to work towards. Employees also become more confident as you help them reach the set goals.

Remember, the accomplishment of goals equals greater productivity.

Similarly, employees who remain in an organization for long become more competent in their roles. Their competency gives you room to improve their skills instead of hiring and training new employees.

Coaching, therefore, is an effective tool in engaging employees, decreasing turnover, and increasing an organization’s overall productivity.

Creates Stronger Bonds

Workplace coaching helps create stronger bonds within teams in an organization. Coaching helps employees become more comfortable with their leaders and thus feel free to seek help in case of problems.

According to a study at Stanford University, working together boosts employee motivation.

Another advantage of bonding with team members is that it creates opportunities for positive communication and feedback.

Are you a manager wondering how to be a better coach? You can consider Quantic training, which you can do at scale and is more practical.

Benefit of Coaching in the Workplace for Managers

Stepping into a managerial position comes with numerous responsibilities. Managers need to acquire new skills that are critical for leadership.

Leadership coaching is critical for managerial success. Its benefits will also trickle down to the entire workforce.

The benefits of workplace coaching for managers include:

Better Management Skills

Coaching for managers provides them an opportunity to hone their skills, especially those related to management.

Some critical skills for a manager include being a better communicator and learning how to provide high-quality feedback. With these skills, managers are in a better position to support and develop their teams.

Managers can acquire new skills by themselves. However, having a leadership coach accelerates the process and provides first-hand knowledge.

Improved Productivity

As a new manager, you may find it challenging to balance all your new responsibilities. A manager’s responsibilities range from holding one-on-one sessions to attending strategic leadership meetings.

As a manager, you need to know how to manage your time well. Failure to do this may result in a struggle to be productive.

It may also lead to dissatisfied team members who feel that you are not effectively attending to their needs.

Coaching helps a manager to know how to balance the responsibilities. A coach will teach you better time management skills and how to prioritize responsibilities.

Researchgate carried out a study on the effects of executive coaching. In the study, 31 managers had one-on-one managerial training that involved:

  • Goal setting
  • Practice
  • Collaborative problem solving
  • Feedback
  • Supervisory involvement
  • Evaluation of results

The one-on-one training increased productivity by 22.4 percent, thus clearly indicating that leadership training is key to improved productivity.

Coaching in the Workplace Examples

Atul Gawande and Medical Coaching

Dr. Atul Gawande realized that his growth as a surgeon was on a plateau. Determined to change this, he decided to hire a coach to observe him in the operating room.

This coaching set him back on a progressive trajectory in his career. Having rekindled his progress, he further created a program that has coached doctors in Uttar Pradesh, India.

Coaches also played an instrumental role in helping doctors to execute the steps of child delivery. This coaching has helped save many lives.

You can catch the full story on this TED Talk.

Saba Mathieu and Workplace Coaching

Saba Mathieu is a specialist workplace coach. She specializes in creating coaching cultures within her clients’ organizations.

She focuses on three critical needs for employees:

  • Autonomy
  • Relatedness
  • Competence

According to Saba Imru, meeting the three needs gives employees satisfaction at work. In addition, they become more productive for their employer.

You can check out more on her approach in this TED Talk.

When to Use Coaching in the Workplace

If used in the right situation at the right time, workplace coaching makes the life of a manager easier.

On the flip side, it can be frustrating if a manager tries to coach employees whose problem doesn’t require it.

A manager should recognize situations that call for coaching and those that require a different approach.

For example, an employee may have the necessary skills and ability to complete a task. However, this employee may be struggling with motivation, confidence, or drive. Here, coaching can help.

Struggle among employees is usually because of three things:

Skills and abilities: They lack the ability or skill to do the current work (aptitude).

Themselves: They lack focus, motivation, commitment, or the confidence to complete their current work (attitude).

Outside factors: Employees get affected by external things that are out of their control, such as a lack of resources and changing market trends.

For an employee who lacks specific skills and abilities, coaching is not necessary.

Coaching vs. Counseling in the Workplace

The difference between counseling and coaching is how both are time-driven. Whereas counseling is past-oriented, coaching is future-oriented.

Counseling takes care of behaviors and thoughts that affect performance and productivity.

You can recommend counseling for an employee after they have received a disappointing performance review. Here, counseling will involve listening to the employee before deciding on how to help them out.

You can also recommend counseling for an employee dealing with personal issues that are affecting performance and productivity.

Some of the common issues include:

  • Substance abuse
  • Health issues
  • Divorce

Effective Coaching in the Workplace — 5 Steps 

As an HR manager, effective coaching will ensure your team is prepared to achieve the set goals.

The following steps will help you achieve effectiveness in coaching.

Decide What You Want to Accomplish

Be clear with what you want your employees to accomplish before you go to them.

Coaching can either be about improvement or training on a new process. Whatever the reason, keep your focus on how the result should look.

Be clear about your expectations with your employees right from the start. Let them have a clear picture of your intended result.

Choose the Right Path

Set specific criteria for achieving the set goals and a timeline for the same.

Ensure there is a continuous flow of communication before, during, and after the coaching process.

You can determine the best approach if you know your employees’ skill sets and areas of expertise. In most cases, some employees will require extra instructions on some topics than others.

Don’t forget to inspire your employees as you move towards the desired direction.

Stay on Top of the Process

Always come back to check progress and encourage employees. However, avoid micromanaging your staff.

Guide, instruct, and offer encouragement, but give them space and autonomy.

Correct without using a negative tone and keep measuring the employees’ progress against the timeline.

Give Feedback

Ensure you give straightforward feedback by:

  • Avoiding being vague
  • Providing examples where necessary
  • Being clear on what the employees didn’t do right
  • Showing them how they could do it differently
  • Being clear on why it should be done in a certain way

Combine Coaching With Education

Lastly, make your coaching effective by combining it with education. Our Quantic programs are currently the best go-to education programs.

The programs allow you to educate your workforce at scale. They are very pocket-friendly. Moreover, at Quantic, we utilize active learning, which makes our programs very practical.

Take action now and book a call with us today.


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