Opinion: Can coaching beat the recession?

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Flowerbox and watering canThe best way for companies to survive, let alone thrive, is to invest all they can in personal leadership and coaching for their staff, says Olivia Stefanino.

With more news coming in every day about companies hitting the wall, it's fair to say that even if we manage to escape a full-blown recession, it's going to be a pretty bumpy ride for the next few months, if not years.

So, what can organisations do to make themselves rececession-proof?

My personal credo is that "successful companies employ successful individuals" and in my opinion the best way for companies to survive, let alone thrive, is to invest all they can in personal leadership and coaching for their staff.

Photo of Olivia Stefanino"When times are hard, it's easiest to raid the training piggy bank first. But doing so has to be false economy."

Now, don't get me wrong, I know that training costs come out of profit not turnover and that when times are hard, it's easiest to raid the training piggy bank first. But doing so has to be false economy.

At the heart of any successful organisation is its key asset – its people. Developing people in terms of solely achieving the organisation principle objectives is no longer enough. It's only when those corporate objectives are aligned with employees' personal goals that the magic really starts to happen.

Most training run in companies focuses on improving skills but skills are only the tip of the iceberg.

Long-lasting improvement only comes about when habits are changed but this can only happen when staff learn how to tap into their own deep reservoirs of personal motivation.

Will-power alone isn't enough to change a habit. Motivation is the key. Personal motivation is where it's at if you want your company to increase profits, beat the recession - and boost employee retention levels.

To get a decent return on investment, every employee needs to understand themselves and their motivations properly. Employees only give their best when they have their own 'personal reason why'.

If a company is to grow and succeed, it must adopt a policy of enabling its employees to help themselves first. As we've already seen, habits are the key to staff effectiveness. Great habits need to be created before new skills are taught. But habits don't get changed unless – and until – there is the personal motivation to do so. All motivation is personal – and when training fails, it's because employees are neither engaged nor motivated.

"Personal motivation is where it's at if you want your company to increase profits, beat the recession - and boost employee retention levels."

Few organisations – or training providers for that matter – understand the need to put the correct building blocks in place, and in the right order. Putting the correct foundations in place means that employees need to undergo sufficient personal development in order to be able to articulate – and feel passionate about – their personal goals.

Worryingly, it's estimated that about 90% of the employed population have no personal goals. And yet organisations only achieve phenomenal success when employees are able to align their personal goals with those of their employer. It has to make sense, therefore, to ensure that the employee first has his or her personal goals in place.

People without goals or a 'personal reason why' naturally tend towards negative thoughts and negative behaviour. And like panic, negativity is contagious.

If negativity is the lock – motivation is the key.

But even helping employees find their 'personal reason why' isn't enough to safeguard a business against recession. Something else is needed. That something is maintenance. And that's where ongoing coaching comes in.

Coaching not only fosters a positive win:win relationship between an employer and employee but it also enables the latter to focus on achieving his or her personal goals. Good coaches – especially those whose services are paid for by the coachee's employer - know how to translate and link an individual's goals to the company's aims and objectives. And when companies and staff share objectives in this way, they become strong allies – and a force to be reckoned with in recessionary times.

Olivia Stefanino is the author of 'Be Your Own Guru' and has run leadership and coaching programmes within both blue chip organisations and SME’s over the last ten years. To download her free tips booklet '127 ways to harness your personal power' visit www.beyourownguru.com

The views expressed in the Opinion column are those of the author and not of TrainingZone.co.uk

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