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Five ways to make coaching work for your organisation

According to the Institute of Leadership & Management, coaching is an essential development tool for driving organisational performance, but what does coaching entail, and how do we know that it works?

3rd Oct 2019
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a professional being coached at work
iStock/fizkes

Are you and the staff in your organisation always busy, with lots to do with little time? Do you want to be your best, but have little ‘headspace’ to think and plan? Working alongside a coach can provide the time and space you need to focus on your priorities and can be life changing.

As The Institute of Leadership & Management has righty identified, coaching can also drive success by boosting employee engagement and developing high performing workplaces.

It can support you and your workforce to get from where you are now, to where you want to be, far more effectively than if you worked alone.

Personalised learning

Everyone has different development needs and ways of learning. I’m sure you can think of a time when you’ve been in a training or learning situation and come away frustrated that you’ve given up your time with no new tools and techniques to show for it.

Coaching is a truly personalised approach that puts you and your people at the centre of the learning journey.

It’s an informal, relaxed one-to-one interaction between you and your coach, with potentially powerful results.

As such, it’s become an increasingly respected tool used by high-performing organisations.

According to research by The Institute of Leadership & Management (Creating a coaching culture, 2011):

  • 80% of companies surveyed use coaching as a development tool.
  • 95% of respondents reported benefits to personal performance.
  • 96% reported benefits to organisational performance. 

Coaching techniques help develop resilient, collaborative and inspirational leaders with lower stress levels, and also help to develop empowered, solution-focused staff.

Where’s the evidence?

How do we know that coaching really works? There have been few randomised, controlled trials of coaching, so the results of a robust study in 2016, set up to measure the effectiveness of coaching, specifically to tackle procrastination, are interesting.

The results revealed that coaching - particularly personalised, one to one coaching – is more effective in enhancing performance and helping people achieve their goals, than group training or self-coaching.  

Further still, the results from the 2016 International Coaching Federation Global Coaching Study, which surveyed over 15,000 people across 137 countries, showed that most clients reported improved work performance, better business management, more efficient time management, increased team effectiveness, and more growth and opportunities.

Coaching has really helped give managers confidence to make decisions, to be sensitive but assertive, as well as mindful of their own needs.

The same study found that people who had worked with a coach, noted greater self-confidence, enhanced relationships, more effective communications skills, better work-and-life balance and an improvement in wellness.

The vast majority of companies (86%) say they at least made their investment back.

In fact, almost one fifth (19%) saw an ROI of 50 times their investment, while another 28% saw a ROI of 10 to 49 times the investment.

From my own work, I have seen what a powerful impact coaching can have.

For example, in October 2017, I started volunteering and then working with the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice. There can be few jobs more demanding than working in a children’s hospice, it’s incredibly challenging on all levels.

Coaching has really helped give managers confidence to make decisions, to be sensitive but assertive, as well as mindful of their own needs.

In feedback, one manager has told me: ”I no longer avoid those awkward conversations, I face them head on in the knowledge I am being the best that I am able to be.”

Coaching does require a commitment in time and energy, but the results that I have seen, for individuals and organisations, are more than worth it.

How do you kick-start coaching in your organisation or business?

Here are the top five tips to help you establish who to put forward for coaching and how to find the right coach:

  1. Talk to your staff about what excites and challenges them the most. Don’t just focus on the senior leaders as it is often ‘middle managers’ that benefit most from having time and space to think.
     
  2. Use what you have heard, what you observe and what you know intuitively, to identify the people you will offer coaching to.
     
  3. Look for a coach whose values are congruent with the vision, mission and approach of your organisation.
     
  4. Work with your coach to identify how the value of coaching will be measured.
     
  5. Be open and transparent with all staff that some people are being offered coaching to test out the effectiveness of it and that if it is successful, it may be rolled out more widely.

What next?

If you and your colleagues want to find the ‘headspace’ to think and plan, then coaching is for you.  

Take time to think about want you want the outcomes of coaching to be organisationally and define individual outcomes co-productively with people. Consider how the outcomes of coaching will be measured so that there is an evidence base that it is driving organisational and individual performance.

Lastly, think about how you can naturally use coaching as a way of enhancing the value of other staff development policies and initiatives such as annual appraisals and performance reviews.

Interested in this topic? Read Ten fast tips for successful mentoring and coaching.

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