The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) 2004 UK training and development survey results highlight the widespread use of coaching in organisations. Almost four-fifths of respondents now use coaching in their organisation (79%). Use of coaching as a development tool has seen rapid growth in recent years – in fact 77% of respondents reported that their organisation’s use of coaching has increased in the last few years.
Coaching is part of the new performance-led culture of employment rather than the traditional employment model of job security. It is a process and a solution that suits our times. It is an effective mechanism for enabling an organisation to meet competitive pressures, plan for succession and bring about change. Here are some specific reasons for using coaching.
Benefits for the organisation
Benefits for the individual
The most common recipients of coaching are junior and middle managers.
Coaching can be delivered by trained external coaches, specialists internal coaches, line managers, peers, members of the HR department, and others. The survey revealed that most organisations are using a mixture of these groups to deliver their coaching activities.
A rapidly evolving business environment. Dealing with change is becoming an everyday challenge. The ability to learn and adapt is quickly becoming an essential skill.
The features of modern organisations. Flatter organisational structures, broader management roles and lower job security have also been contributing factors to the growth of coaching. Newly promoted individuals often have to make large step changes in skills, responsibilities and performance.
Lifelong Learning. Coaching has the adaptability to support different learning styles so may be able to support more employees than traditional training methods.
The need for targeted, individualised, just-in-time development.
The financial costs of the poor performance of senior managers/executives. Coaching provides organisations with an opportunity to undertake pre-emptive and proactive interventions to improve their performance.
Improving the decision-making of senior employees. A coach can be used to provide a ‘safe and objective haven’ to discuss issues and give support.
Individual responsibility for development. Coaching can help individuals identify development needs, plan development activities and support personal problem-solving.
Employee demand for different types of training. Research has frequently demonstrated that people are more motivated and learn best when they see that the training is relevant to their job. Coaching, with its focus on work issues and improving job performance, fits in well with this.
Support for other learning and development activities. Coaching is a valuable way of providing ongoing support for personal development plans.
A popular development mechanism. People enjoy participating in coaching.
The CIPD has identified some particular organisational situations where coaching may be particularly appropriate as a development intervention: -
Talent Shortages: When organisations are suffering from significant skills shortages, money may be better spent developing the skills of current employees through interventions like coaching, rather than spending a great deal of money recruiting external candidates.
Small or fast-growing businesses: People who initially set up small business don’t necessary have the skills to manage larger businesses and the growing number of people they need to employ. It’s also unlikely that they can be away from work for extended periods of time for development activities. In this situation, coaching can offer targeted, timely development on identified issues/areas that can be fitted into the individual’s busy schedule.
Coaching can deliver long-term performance improvement: Organisations should only invest in coaching when they think it will deliver significant and long-term improvements in individuals’ performance.
Behaviour must be changed in a short time: Organisations should only invest in coaching if they think that the issues that need to be addressed can be achieved in a relatively short time.
During times of organisational change: Periods of major organisational change can require significant shifts in the behaviour and attitudes of some employees in order to fit in with new structures or cultures. Coaching can help individuals make these necessary changes.
Changes in job role: Coaching can help individuals who are moving to a new job that requires different skills and abilities. Coaching can be a valuable short-term intervention to help people adapt and cope with their role change.
Supporting Expatriates: Coaching can offer support for expatriates who have to adjust to a new culture and country. These people often have very specific requirements and they need immediate support as issues arise.
Developing the skills of ‘valuable’ technical experts: Where certain employees have high levels of specific skills and experience (or critical relationships with contractors/suppliers etc), the organisation might have difficulty replacing its human capital. In this situation, it may be more appropriate to provide coaching to these managers to improve or develop some of their other skills (interpersonal/managerial) so that their careers can progress within the organisation.
Support for future leaders or senior executives: Senior managers or executives being groomed for leadership roles may be hesitant to attend training course, as they may feel that they should already have the skills, expertise etc. In this situation, coaching can be a suitable intervention as it is confidential, personal and ‘safe’ development option where the individual is using an objective, external person to help them with their development.
While coaching can be a very effective development tool, as with any learning intervention, it will be most effective when a genuine need for it is identified, and when it is the best development tool for the specific role.
With our MBA level experience and training in the psychology of change, Brefi Group coaches possess the unique combination of maturity, professional skills and human qualities required to work with top decision-makers and the leaders of the future, whether they be in commercial or public organisations or running a small company. Such key individuals have the maximum leverage for change – they provide the leadership and role models for the rest of the organisation. They are under the greatest pressure, and are more likely to suffer from stress and an out of balance work/home life.
We can also train managers as coaches and set up in-house coaching and mentoring schemes.
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To find out more about how Brefi Group could help you, use our contact page, or contact us by telephone on +44 (0) 121 288 3417.
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