It feels a bit redundant to even mention the benefits of coaching, but in case you are still having second thoughts, let us persuade you.
As research shows, coaching does improve the organization as a whole in addition to helping every individual that takes part in it.
The end results and overall performance rises, as well as employee satisfaction and employee retention. But it isn’t enough simply to implement coaching.
After all, it has become a buzz word for the modern workplace.
It has various benefits, but the implementation has to be done in a way that creates no harm.
The way you do it plays a huge role. And it isn’t always easy to get it just right. Your employees are sensitive when it comes to their personal growth and the fact that they will be sharing some, or most, parts of their journey with someone else.
They need to trust you that you will protect them and create a safe space for them to grow. Coaching someone badly can create more harm than not coaching them at all. This is why we are going to give you a few helpful tips to get you started.
1. Find a perfect match – not everyone works well together
The relationship between a coach and the employee they are coaching is very delicate and fragile. The bond they create represents a foundation from which everything is built, and if the foundation crumbles, the whole structure goes down with it. The entire program could be jeopardized. Which is why your first step is to create matches that work well together.
It is a common misconception that your coach should be someone like you. Like-minded people reach similar conclusions and achieve comparable results. Your employees will grow much faster while working with someone who disrupts their well-established perception. However, do not take this too seriously, because if you match complete opposites, they might never find a way how to work well together.
The key is in the balance. They need to be different enough to complement each other, but not so different they have nothing in common. So, you know, good luck with that.
2. Establish a foundation of trust and build from there
Once you have found perfect matches for your employees, the coaches take on the entire weight of the responsibility. At the beginning of the process, they will make or break the entire process. It is the role of the coach to establish a relationship based on trust and to allow the employee to feel safe, secure and taken care of. That way they can start to open up and really allow their coaches to take a peek into their lives and careers and help them resolve the issues they are facing.
On those first few sessions, a certain rapport is built that becomes the foundation for the months to come.
It is easy to understand that trust is important, but how do you actually establish it?
Not in life, and not in coaching, it isn’t that simple to get someone to trust you, especially if you haven’t given them any reasons to. So, learn how to take it slow, one day and one action at a time.
Start with complete confidentiality, and don’t reveal the content of the sessions to anyone.
Continue with sharing some of your own struggles and don’t come off as a know-it-all that has never experienced hardship. And finally, don’t ever judge the employee you are working with for the choices they have made.
3. Never stop asking questions but learn when not to give the answers
A role of the coach is not to give flat out answers and be done with it. As you already know, more often than not, the coach doesn’t even work in the same industry. Nevertheless, as humans, we feel the urge to give direct answers, advice and our own take on particular issues. As a coach, you are going to find ways to stop that urge and to focus on the most important part of the process – which is asking questions.
Your role isn’t to answer the question – Should I do this? Your role is to make the employee question why is he inclined to make the decision that he is making. Is that aligned with their core values? Are they doing it out of convenience? Perhaps they are afraid of the outcome? Is it possible they are avoiding responsibility? All of that and many more questions should be in your arsenal.
Guide them through the process of coming up with a solution themselves and steer clear of questions that won’t help anyone.
4. Hire professionals and let them help you
We are not going to lie to you, coaching is not an easy task. It is quite challenging to really have such a significant impact on a person, and be sure that you haven’t caused them any harm, delayed their progress or in any other way impeded their career growth.
Even if you have a lot of executives and managers that are excellent at their job that, unfortunately, doesn’t mean that they will be good as coaches. The role of someone who is guiding, while never actually giving their opinion, is a very difficult one.
Which is why hiring professionals might be the best options for your business, your employees and yourself.
If you choose to hire professionals, make sure that you are partnering up with a company that shares the similar values as you do, and cares about your employees getting the best possible coaches as a result.
Question their methods of working, but rest assured you will be working with certified professionals that will easily adapt to new circumstance. Make sure that you have given them a lot of material to work with and allowed them access into your company and their way of working.
If you explain your needs and what has been stopping you from achieving your goals, they will be able to help you get there.
Guest article, written by Michael Dean.