Coaching in the workplace is a phenomenon that has seemingly crept up on us and now we talk about coaching as part of the work fabric.
And now many of us accept that it is ‘here to stay’ (A bit like when Uncle Albert came to stay with the Trotters!).
CIPD’s research ‘Making the case for coaching: Does it work?’ states the following 3 ‘Good News’ statements:
- Two out of three organisations use external coaches
- 92% judge coaching by external practitioners to be effective and
- When you manage coaching effectively it can have a positive impact on your organisation’s bottom line.
Unfortunately, there are some ‘Bad News’ statements that make the complete picture:
- Few organisations have a strategy
- Very little evaluation takes place and
- Confusion over terminology and standards.
Of course, we should expect this picture with a relatively new tool, like coaching. ‘Coaching’, or ‘Executive Coaching’, because, as the Harvard Business Review concludes it’s just about a better name, is here to stay and here are 7 facts that make the Case for Coaching In The Workplace and how to build on the good news and demolish the bad news.
1. There are 3 types of coaching in the workplace; Skills, Performance and Developmental
Grant and Cavanagh’s research in 2004 identified 3 types of generic job coaching:
- Skills coaching focuses on improving specific behaviours, such as Time Management or People Management.
- Performance coaching focuses on improving performance, such as setting goals, overcoming obstacles and monitoring performance.
- Developmental coaching takes a broader view, working with the coachee on more intimate, personal and professional questions, such as How do I improve my work and life balance? What do I want to achieve with my life? How do I improve my reputation at work?
Action: When hiring an executive coach for a member of your team have a broad idea of which type of coaching they will be needed to address, and ideally, specific behaviours to change.
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2. The Coach should maintain a regular dialogue with a Supervising Coach
The European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) states in its code of ethics that ‘A coach must maintain a relationship with a suitably qualified supervisor, who will regularly assess their competence and support their development.’ And in the CIPD paper titled ‘Coaching supervision – Maximising the potential of coaching’ they ask clients to ask their provider 4 questions;
- How often do you receive supervisory coaching?
- From whom? And what is their background, experience and qualifications?
- What are the benefits of the supervision you receive? And
- Can you describe a situation where supervision transformed your coaching?
The client should be looking to hear from their external coach positive answers that would look like:
- ‘At least every two months’.
- ‘An experienced coach with training experience’.
- ‘Can describe benefits for themselves, their clients and their client organisations. And
- ‘Demonstrates reflective practice, ability to receive challenges, and new ideas non-defensively and to apply learning’.
Action: Ask the executive coach that you hire to do corporate executive coaching about their coaching supervision using the 4 questions above.
3. External Coaching can deliver 5.45 times the return on investment
The Manchester Review launched in 2008 with the goal of publishing both well-known, established writers and new, relatively unknown poets and prose-writers. Nevertheless, it was in this online paper that ‘Manchester’ Consulting published a paper that turned into the strongest evidence that supports external coaching globally.
The details of the evidence were that between 1996 to 2000, an evaluation of the coaching of 100 executives–with 50% being with titles above Vice Presidents–took place. Two independent assessors conducted the evaluation and their findings were, ‘Thus, the executive’s company obtained 5.45 times its investment in coaching’. Interestingly, the research also identified the following barriers and contributors to effective coaching:
Action: Ask the provider of the executive coach in the workplace to share with your their evaluation method.
4. Managers who worked with a coach were more likely to set specific goals and to solicit ideas for improvement from their supervisors
These were the findings from research conducted in 2003 by Smither, London et al. A global corporation gave each of its 1,361 senior managers an opportunity to work with an external coach. And they concluded that the coachees were more likely to set specific goals and to solicit ideas for improvement from their supervisors using an external coach.
Whilst this might, on the surface, seem small, we know from Locke’s work on the goal-setting theory the importance of setting specific goals because they are much more likely to be achieved. And for a senior manager in a global corporation, this can be the difference between delivering a major new project or not.
Action: Ensure that the executive coach you hire understands Locke’s goal-setting theory and has examples of how they have made it work.
5. Significant improvement in bottom-line measures after the external coaching intervention
This was the conclusion from a study in 1997 by Olivero et al. And the research used productivity as the determining factor of success. In particular, productivity was measured before and after coaching and showed significant improvements in bottom-line measures after the coaching intervention.
Action: Hire an executive coach to be a business executive coach for a member of your team and measure the effect on their productivity.
6. Even the best need a coach to get even better
This is Usain Bolt, the fastest man on earth, with his coach Glen Mills. Of course, a picture says a thousand words and this picture says:
- Even when you’re the best you need someone to help you stay there and to help you get even better.
- You don’t need to be able to do what the coachee can do.
- A great coach has a great relationship with their coachee based on trust, chemistry and determination.
Action: Hire an executive coach to do senior executive coaching for yourself, not just for a member of your team.
7. The top 3 qualities to look for when hiring a coach are experience, clear method, and a quality client list
Harvard Business Review conducted a survey of 140 leading coaches and invited 5 experts to comment on the findings of coaching in the workplace. And the key findings were:
- ‘Coaching works’.
- The top 3 reasons that coaches are engaged in the workplace are;
- Develop high potentials or facilitate transition
- Act as a sounding board and
- Address derailing behaviour.
- More often than not a coach helps an executive deal with personal issues, though this is not normally why they are hired.
- The coaches were split on whether qualifications were important.
- Executives that get the most out of coaching have a fierce desire to learn and grow.
- A survey conducted by the University of Sydney found that between 25% and 50% of those seeking coaching have clinically significant levels of stress, anxiety, or depression.
- The top 3 qualities when hiring a coach should be experience, clear method, and a quality client list, followed by the ability to measure ROI.
Summarising the 7 Facts that make the Case for Coaching In The Workplace
- There are 3 types of coaching in the workplace; Skills, Performance and Developmental.
- The Coach should maintain a regular dialogue with a Supervising Coach.
- External Coaching can deliver 5.45 times the return on investment.
- Managers who worked with a coach were more likely to set specific goals and to solicit ideas for improvement from their supervisors.
- Significant improvement in bottom-line measures after the external workplace coaching intervention.
- Even the best need a coach to get even better.
- The top 3 qualities to look for when hiring a coach are experience, clear method, and a quality client list.
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