8 Benefits of Coaching in the Workplace

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8 Benefits of Coaching in the Workplace

 

Introduction

Corporate Coaching is increasingly being used in the workplace because of the wide ranging benefits it offers employees and businesses.

Often coaching gets confused with mentoring. Whilst there are similarities, in that they are both concerned with development (Benabou and Benabou 2000), coaching is a distinct activity in its own right.  A coach helps drive performance, learning and growth  and guides people through a process of change, where it seeks to ‘facilitate’ the learning process (Olivero, Bane, Kopelman, 1997) using specific techniques. 

The coach does not necessarily need to be a subject matter expert, rather the coach is the expert in facilitation of learning, providing feedback on behaviour and how this impacts others (O’Neil, 2000).  In contrast, mentoring is usually a hierarchical relationship where the more senior experienced mentor passes on domain specific information to junior staff to enhance learning through transferral of knowledge and skills (Kanter, 1977, Kram 1985). A barrister and their pupil or consultant physician with a junior doctor would be good examples of mentoring relationships. 

In this article you will learn about the benefits of coaching and the different ways coaching can be used within the workplace.  You will also gain insight into how to implement coaching and the various approaches where coaching can be applied.

 

Benefits of Coaching in the Workplace

 

Enhanced Leadership Skills

Coaching is an excellent way to develop leadership capability within the workplace. It provides a unique opportunity for leaders to develop themselves, where the coach acts as a powerful ‘sounding board’, enabling the leader to hone their leadership skills in a safe environment. The coach provides feedback allowing the leader to reflect on their behaviour and how it impacts others.

The skill of the coach is to strike a good balance between support and challenge. Coaching also helps the leader to think about how to inspire and motivate their teams to achieve their goals, and incorporate a coaching leadership style. Coaching is also a powerful way to build self-awareness where leaders can identify their strengths and development gaps through feedback so they become impactful, inclusive leaders.

 

Increased Employee Engagement

Another important benefit of coaching is the opportunity to foster a culture of engagement. This is achieved by empowering employees to take more ownership for their development journey. As people learn to set meaningful goals, this increases satisfaction and motivation which in turn has the advantage of increasing loyalty and staff engagement.

 

Improved Team Collaboration

The third benefit on our list is team collaboration. Through team building exercises, coaching is an excellent way of fostering open communication, which builds trust and mutual understanding amongst the team. This helps team members to appreciate each other’s strengths, with the net benefit of improved co-operation, synergy and productivity.

 

Enhanced Problem-Solving Abilities

Another benefit of workplace coaching is the opportunity to develop a ‘growth mindset’ and valuable problem-solving skills.  Growth mindset (Dweck, 2006) is a term which describes how employees learn from mistakes and build the confidence to put themselves forward and solve problems by themselves.  This is achieved by the coach asking powerful questions and challenging assumptions, where over time employees develop their critical thinking and analytical skills to develop effective strategies for problem solving. If you’re interested in developing your mindset, then be sure to have a look at our mindset course!

 

Enhanced Adaptability and Resilience

With change becoming the ‘new normal’, the pressure for people to adapt to change has never been so intense. Coaching is a superpower here, helping staff build resilience to cope more effectively with the uncertainty of change. This has a positive impact on stress where coaching helps employees learn how to bounce back from setbacks.  Coaching builds self-awareness and enhances employee’s ability to thrive in dynamic environments. 

 

Effective Performance Management

The sixth item on our list of the benefits of coaching is the ability for coaching to support effective performance management. Coaching is a powerful mechanism which guides, tracks and helps improve performance. Through continuous feedback, setting clear expectations, and identifying development opportunities, the coach works collaboratively with employees to establish goals, track progress, and provide guidance for improvement, resulting in increased performance and job satisfaction.

 

Facilitates Professional Development

Another useful benefit of coaching is the facilitation of professional development. Coaching helps employees create career pathways where they identify career aspirations and goals and uncover specific strengths and areas of growth that will support them to achieve this. Coaching provides a clear structure where employees create personalised development plans (PDPs), acquire new skills, and navigate through their careers, which ultimately, leads to enhanced job satisfaction and long-term career success.

 

Promotes Diversity and Inclusion

Coaching is a helpful mechanism which can promote diversity and inclusion by raising awareness of unconscious biases and fostering inclusive behaviours, which creates a safe space for communication.  The coach plays a crucial role in encouraging individuals to embrace diversity, respect different perspectives, and build inclusive teams. This leads to an overall better and more innovative work environment.

 

How to Implement Coaching in the Workplace

 

Create a Coaching Culture

The first important step towards implementing coaching in the workplace is to create a coaching culture. This involves support from leadership to prioritise and promote a coaching culture that values continuous learning, growth and development. 

To embed a coaching culture, it is crucial that leaders recognise the importance of coaching as a supportive and transformative process throughout the organisation.

 

Train and Develop Internal Coaches

Another crucial step towards implementing coaching at work is to invest in a robust, evidence-based training programme to develop internal coaches who can support their colleagues’ growth and development.  Developing internal coaching capability through a comprehensive internal coach training program ensures coaches have the necessary skills and knowledge to coach others.

 

Provide Coaching Opportunities

A good way to implement coaching is to offer coaching programs and opportunities to all employees, ensuring accessibility and inclusivity. This can be achieved in several ways, including:

  1. One-on-one coaching: This is often provided to more senior members of an organisation.
  2. Group coaching sessions: This is highly effective for team coaching.
  3. Peer coaching programs: This facilitates peer to peer support, where peers learn to support each other using coaching techniques
  4. Virtual coaching sessions: This can be delivered as an automated, self-coaching program or through a live facilitated session where larger numbers of people can join a coaching programme which uses a structured feedback format.

 

Foster a culture of providing feedback and taking accountability

Coaching is a powerful way of establishing a feedback-rich environment where coaching conversations are encouraged and valued. This fosters a sense of accountability by setting clear expectations and holding individuals responsible for their growth and development.

 

Evaluate and Measure Coaching Effectiveness

Whilst evaluating and measuring coaching effectiveness is complex (Gale, Lijenstrand, Pardieu and Nebeker, 2002) and from an evidence standpoint still in its infancy, there are many reasons why regular assessment and evaluation of the impact of coaching programmes should be encouraged.

Collecting evidence through feedback from participants and measuring KPIs ensures standards and quality are maintained and provides much needed evidence to support data driven decisions which ultimately improves coaching effectiveness. 

 

Continual Improvement and Adaptation of the Coaching process

As coaching becomes embedded within the workplace this should become a continuous journey of improvement and adaptation, where coaching programmes are regularly reviewed and refined based on feedback to ensure ongoing success.

 

Conclusion

Workplace coaching offers a wide range of benefits, from enhancing leadership skills and employee engagement to fostering collaboration and problem-solving abilities.

By implementing coaching strategies and creating a supportive coaching culture, organisations can unlock their full potential, drive success, and create a thriving work environment. Embrace coaching in the workplace and witness the transformative impact it can have on leaders, general employees and teams.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr Jodi O’Dell

Jodi is the founder and driving force behind Engage. She is an occupational psychologist and executive coach with a PhD in Coaching Psychology, who for over 20 years has dedicated her career to helping people thrive and be the best version of themselves.

As a leading expert in coaching, she has worked globally with blue chip clients. She combines this wealth of experience and passion for human development with the scientific rigour of evidence-based research which underpins the Engage toolset.

 

REFERENCES

Benabou, C., & Benabou, R. (2000). Establishing a formal mentoring program for organizational success. National Productivity Review.

Olivero, G., Bane, K. D., & Kopelman, R. E. (1997). Executive coaching as a transfer of training tool: Effects on productivity in a public agency. Public Personnel Management, 26(4), 461–469.

O’Neill, M. B. (2000). Executive Coaching with Backbone and Heart: A Systems Approach to Engaging Leaders with Their Challenges. Jossey-Bass.

Kanter, R. M. (1977). Men and Women of the Corporation. Basic Books.

Kram, K. E. (1985). Mentoring at Work. Scott, Foresman.

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Random House.

Gale, J., Lijenstrand, A., Pardieu, J., & Nebeker, D. (2002). Coaching survey: An in-depth analysis of coaching practices from background information to outcome evaluation. Unpublished Manuscript

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