By allowing businesses to impart new skills to their workers and raise talent from within, professional coaching can help companies polish their most valuable asset
We all know how turbulent business is. Economic fluctuations, Brexit, general elections – there may be little companies can do about these other than weather the storm. But there is one tried and tested way to cement a better future: by strengthening the existing workforce.
Millennials now make up an increasingly large proportion of the workforce and 52% of them say opportunities for career progression are the most desirable quality in the workplace. A CIPD survey conducted last year stated that more than one in four workers (27%) are dissatisfied with the opportunities to develop their skills at work. This is also reflected in the 36% of employees who say they think they are unlikely to fulfil their career aspirations in their current organisation. It’s no wonder that employers are having to up their game if they want to keep their talented staff.
With economic uncertainty, budgets get tighter and there’s a solid business case for looking internally rather than externally for workforce development. The rise in the number of businesses looking at staff training has increased significantly over the last few years. Where once businesses would look at hiring externally, it has now become much more commonplace to look at skills within the existing workforce when it comes to plugging gaps. This mindset of focusing primarily on developing and promoting from within is one many organisations have embraced. As a result, it is now often an expectation that staff will be open to training and development opportunities; it’s often a primary question when interviewing for a new position. In-house development processes are varied, from sending staff on training courses to training them internally by shadowing existing staff or offering other types of continuing professional development (CPD) or coaching. Coaching is an alternative way forward to formal training and, as it provides sterling results, is now seen as one of the most cost-effective methods of staff development.
How can businesses do this?
Unless you’re the head of a large corporation that has the means to provide in-house coaching, you’ll want to look at external sources. The demand for coaching for staff has seen the number of service providers multiply over the last decade. Designed to help businesses develop their talented people, coaches are focused on getting the best out of staff by improving leadership and management performance, which, in turn, helps the business in question.
What is professional coaching?
Coaching is a creative process designed to inspire workers and motivate them to be their absolute best at work. Aiming to help them fulfil their potential, which is incredibly important in today’s uncertain working environment, coaches support the development of each person’s skills in order to create a stronger, more robust version of that individual. Essentially, the process helps improve professional and personal outlooks while nurturing leadership skills to unlock untapped potential.
Professional 1:1 coaching focuses on the individual. Specific goals will be set, outcomes will be created accordingly,and personal development will be just that – personal. The coach’s job is to clarify each person’s goals, encourage them to achieve those goals themselves, help them identify solutions for issues to overcome roadblocks and enable them to hear critical feedback and be held accountable for any mistakes that may occur.
Is it for everyone?
Coaching has become one of the most popular ways to harness potential in the workplace. To be sure it’s right for your company and staff, you need to be clear what you hope to achieve.
Coaching will not offer a recognised qualification, nor will it plug a huge gap in your company and create a stellar manager overnight. It will, however, allow existing staff to blossom: by pushing them out of their comfort zone, strengthening their confidence and enabling them to release their potential, coaching will then feed back into the business.
How long does coaching take?
Coaching can take from as little as a few months to up to around a year, depending on the individual; it all depends on how the individuals respond and how quickly their confidence builds. Seen as a wise investment, this low impact form of training and development has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from business leaders and their employees alike.
How will I know it’s worked?
Workers who undertake coaching generally feel happier and more content in the workplace. Knowing they are an integral part of the company, workers are often left feeling more satisfied and content in their role. After coaching, the individual may receive positive performance feedback during an annual appraisal or secure promotion. Together with the boost to confidence, business leaders may notice improved customer satisfaction and increased revenue.
This article comes courtesy of the Academy of Executive Coaching (AoEC), the consulting, training and coaching company with a difference that has trained over 11,000 people across 75 countries.