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After nearly two decades immersed in leadership development, company culture, and enhancing employee capabilities, I started coaching in 2020. This transition stemmed from recognizing coaching as a powerful and effective tool for workplace development.
So, why is coaching particularly effective in the workplace? In our daily lives, we’re in a constant process of advancement—be it in a work project, aiming for a promotion, personal growth, or nurturing relationships. Coaching becomes a valuable support system for navigating this continuous journey.
Workplace coaching empowers employees to reflect on key questions, such as:
- What is my goal?
- What actionable steps can I take?
- What obstacles might hinder my progress?
- How will I measure success?
- What’s the plan for ongoing growth and improvement?
What is workplace coaching?
Coaching embodies a collaborative, solution-focused partnership between professional coaches and clients. In a workplace context, the purpose of coaching is to assist employees in achieving personal and professional goals.
While coaching has traditionally found a place in professional development, it’s now widely understood that coaching benefits employees at all levels, providing support for those facing challenges personally and professionally and fostering personal growth.
For example, consider an early-career employee needing help navigating various work dynamics effectively. A coach can collaborate with the employee to define goals, identify necessary skill sets, and negotiate the delicate balance between work and personal life. This proves especially beneficial when managers are pressed for time to mentor every employee under their purview.
Conversely, I often hear from executives that it’s lonely at the top. Despite steering the company’s vision, they also require support. Whether aligning a team on a complex issue or strategizing, a coach aids in clarifying goals, devising a roadmap in harmony with values, and propelling them into action.
Coaching as a lynchpin for employee engagement
Coaching is a strategic connective point as HR and benefits leaders contemplate the most effective ways to support their employees.
Let’s say a company invests in employee well-being and mental health benefits. Those benefits are successful when employees participate and engage with them in meaningful ways. By introducing coaching with well-being or mental health benefits, individual employees can collaborate with their coach to leverage those benefits in meaningful and practical ways in their lives and work.
All of this has a direct impact on ROI. While coaching outcomes are measurable, it’s important to acknowledge that the benefits may manifest in diverse ways. When employees are continuously learning, growing, and content within their organizational role, they excel in their tasks and contribute positively as team members, reducing the likelihood of turnover.
Benefits of coaching
Coaching is a valuable solution to address employee disengagement, burnout, and daily workplace stress. Providing employees with a personal coach to navigate their personal and professional aspirations fulfills the human desire for growth, preventing them from disengaging.
Additional advantages of coaching include:
- Addressing retention, burnout, and presenteeism: 94% of employees are committed to staying longer in a company that invests in learning and development
- Career development
- Personal development
The coaching process
Coaching is most successful when a coach-client pair navigates through the stages of the coaching process.
1. Assessment and goal-setting
Coaches initiate conversations with their clients by exploring the client’s aspirations and reasons for seeking coaching. This results-driven dialogue distinguishes coaching from discussions with friends or mentors about goals.
Clarity regarding goals and their context—including potential facilitators or obstacles—and understanding the motivations driving action are essential to fostering tangible and meaningful changes in a person’s life.
2. Planning and strategy development
Following the exploration of individual goals, often in their aspirational form, the focus shifts to breaking them down into tangible and achievable steps.
Anticipating potential challenges, we proactively discuss how to navigate them. This involves considering questions such as:
- Reflecting one year from now, how would you guide yourself through this challenge?
- If your mentor or a trusted advisor faced a similar situation, what advice would they offer you?
- What is the simplest step you can take in this situation?
This proactive approach aims to prevent individuals from getting stuck, ensuring a continuous forward movement even in the face of inevitable challenges.
3. Coaching sessions
Maintaining a focus on the individual’s overarching goals, coaching sessions serve as a practical forum where we systemically break it down and guide them through each step of the process. Often, this simplifies identifying the immediate next step they can take.
In a workplace coaching scenario, feedback is crucial in supporting the individual participating in coaching. Throughout the coaching journey, they might reflect on:
- What successes are worthy of celebration?
- How can they continue to make progress?
- Which conversations or strategies proved instrumental in reaching their goals?
- Were they able to obtain their desired objectives?
5. Program evaluation
For the organization implementing a coaching solution, evaluation may involve assessing:
- The impact of coaching on organizational goals
- Improvement in employee well-being
- The perceived utility of coaching by employees
An example of coaching’s effectiveness
I’ve collaborated with numerous coaching clients struggling with task management and follow-through. Specifically, one client in a customer service role faced challenges with swiftly responding to customer inquiries, leading to a sense of overwhelm and a dent in confidence.
We worked together to build new work routines tailored to her needs, and diligently implemented these changes. Going beyond, we devised proactive strategies for engaging with key customers, addressing their needs before they arose, and streamlining processes.
Throughout our collaboration, she earned a promotion and developed a heightened confidence in her capabilities as an employee.
Coaching unites personal growth and workplace performance
While companies dedicate substantial resources to achieving business goals, there often needs to be more intentional space for employees to contemplate their role in reaching these objectives and the path to get there.
Fundamentally, work involves a daily process of goal setting. Every employee carries tangible expectations as they step into the office or log in, striving to meet and exceed these goals.
Coaching provides vital support, enabling employees to produce tangible outputs related to work goals, personal performance, and well-being. This integration harmonizes the human and workplace performance elements.
Get your copy of Spring Health’s latest coaching white paper to explore the differences between coaching and therapy, impactful coaching specialties, existing limitations, and key factors for selecting a coaching solution.