Just as in coaching with sports, coaching in the workplace empowers the individual so that they are performing at their best. As competition has increased in the corporate society, employers are struggling to find ways to keep their best employees. One way that has caught on is to coach the employee instead of giving direct commands, allowing the learner to take the lead in their own progression. Research by the UK Industry Society has shown that coaching is likely to become the “most sought-after management skill in the next decade.” (Duff)
So, how do you incorporate coaching into the workplace? An easy way to begin is to follow these three steps: recognize the employees likes and dislikes, verbalize by letting them know you notice, mobilize and be prepared to take action.(Coaching on the run) Along with these steps, never forget coaching is a long- term commitment which can bring about much needed changes in a company, as well as a more productive workforce.
Knowing an employee’s likes and dislikes will allow the coach to set up clear standards and expectations. Gaining these intrapersonal skills is essential in gaining trust and respect from the employee. Allowing the employee to use creative and critical thinking, as opposed to directing them in every move they make will allow them to feel like they are a vital part of the team and that they have a sense of job stability. Setting the ground rules from the start is essential in coaching. Within the initial meetings, the coach should go over an employees strengths and weaknesses and set a plan of action for improvement and advancement. This will show the employee that the coach has their best interest at heart and is willing to help them move forward in their career.
There are many ways a coach can show the employee they notice their actions, most importantly is through performance feedback. Bringing an employee in and letting them know where they stand shows respect and encourages the employee to continually strive to achieve at a greater potential. Observing their performance on-the-job also shows support. Whether recognizing excellent performances or addressing areas for improvement, coaching can encourage two-way communication. This allows for motivation and inspiration, not an authoritative and leader/follower mentality. Finally, a coach can mobilize or take action by providing guidance and opportunities to pursue goals. By helping an employee develop their own self- improvement plan, the coach can continue to allow the employee to take the lead in their pursuit of excellence. Although the employee is clearly planning their own means for improvement, the personal attention given by a coach for moral support and guidance is essential. An employees plan for the future becomes an integral part of the company’s plan. It allows the company an easy way to check on the “status of short and long term objectives” (Schwartz) by reflecting on the employees goals and their means for improvement.
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“A good strategic plan is a set of directions you want to take. It is a roadmap, lightly filled in, so that it gives you plenty of room to maneuver.” You get specific when you are deciding the action part of the plan, whether you link people with managing change or decision making for the effectiveness of the team.” (Bossidy) Many managers over-emphasize what employees’ value in their workplace, such as good benefits, a raise or good working conditions. Instead, what they are seeking is trust-building, coaching, opportunities to be included in decision making and a leader who can strategically lead them through a difficult time or change in the work environment.
So how does a manager strategically lead their employees when dealing with change? Change often requires a break with the past. Leaders need to avoid romanticizing the past and focus instead on the future. Turning one’s back on the organization’s heritage is often necessary for meaningful change...
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