There are times in our lives where at some point we have needed, or at least been on the receiving end of coaching. Whether it’s sports, homework or learning an instrument, most of us recognise the fact that sometimes we need someone to help us overcome a challenge.
This is no different in the world of business. Take a sales organisation as an example:
- Our research tells us that when managers use formal coaching techniques and processes, win rates improve by 20%.
- However, the same study showed us that only 24% of organisations actually have a formal coaching process.
So if it is so effective, why aren’t we doing it?
In our experience, the following elements typically get in the way; time, confidence and attitude.
In order to get over these barriers, organisations need to address the following;
- Definition: – People have different views on what coaching actually is; it is essential for organisations looking to develop a coaching culture that they coalesce around a common definition. That way they all know what it is, what it isn’t and importantly, how to identify coaching opportunities.
- Clarify the Role: – Make sure coaches know they are supposed to be coaching! It is amazing the number of conversations we have had with leaders/managers who have no idea that it is a key part of their role…
- Measure and Reward: – Ensure that coaches and those being coached are measured and rewarded for it. Because it is often ignored, coaching is frequently sacrificed on the altar of efficiency. If people are going to make time for it, they need to know that it is worthwhile…
- Confidence: – Give them the skills to do it well! We know that one of the key barriers to effective coaching is that the people tasked with doing it don’t feel comfortable having the conversation. How do I give feedback? What do I do if they disagree? By providing skills and frameworks, coaches can become comfortable having those conversations…
- Motivation: – With concepts such as ‘self-determination theory’ (Deci / Ryan) we have come a long way from a carrot/stick understanding of what motivates individuals to succeed. However it is still vital that we help coaches understand what drives their people. Otherwise they risk addressing the wrong needs, or even those that don’t exist.
- Positioning: – The perception of the person being coached is vital to the success of the activity. Frequently we see that individuals who are told they need coaching see it as a corrective measure, and as a result do not commit to the process. It is essential that people responsible for coaching convey a real sense of positivity, and a drive to help and support the individual concerned.
- Help Each Other: – When trying to create a coaching culture, it is important to note that coaching does not have to exist in the traditional ‘manager – subordinate’ bubble. Whilst that is often the most common environment, it doesn’t have to be, nor is it always the most appropriate. Peer coaching (when done properly) is extremely effective, as it can be in-the-moment, delivered by an operational expert, and in a non-hierarchical environment. It is important to note that the points above are just as important for peer coaching as for traditional coaching.
In a competitive marketplace it is becoming increasingly difficult for organisations to differentiate themselves, and gain a competitive edge. Through effective coaching, and the development of a coaching culture, companies can drive performance improvement that can have a real and immediate impact on results.