Coaching is a style of management primarily characterised by asking workers questions to help them fulfil their immediate responsibilities more effectively and advance their development as professionals over time.
It is a systematically planned and direct guidance of an individual or group by a trained and skilful coach to learn and develop specific skills that can be applied in the workplace and therefore that which is learnt translate to clearly defined performance outcomes that are achieved over a short period.
A significant process before coaching is done should be mentoring of the individual to enable him/her perform to the optimum as required by the workplace.
Coaching is otherwise taken as a plan for the development of skills of an individual to have an insight of how he/she can apply and operationalize and help maximise the potential of the organisation.
Coaching is an essential component of HRM which helps individual/groups to achieve their maximum best. Every organisation that provides services and produce goods must have a succession plan/ mentoring and coaching plan which is intended to support people with knowledge and capacity to fill the future leadership gap.
How should coaching be done?
In coaching, the coach does not dictate how things should be done, but rather applies an appreciative inquiry. A coach in the sense of developing the Human Resource asks open ended questions to get the coachee to respond and own answers that are correct.
The emphasis on asking questions is noteworthy when we consider that conventional leadership roles typically position the leader as the expert, someone who provides answers and whose domain knowledge is one of the foundations of her authority. In contrast, when a leader acts as a coach, she needs to adopt a different mind-set and add value in different ways.
The coach must be alive to the sensitivity of the conscience of the coachee and enable him/her work conscientiously without supervision.
Many senior managers and Human Resource Management executives have come to view coaching as an investment in high potentials or as a perk for stars. Others still see coaching mainly as a corrective measure for underperformers.
However, coaching goes to the heart of management and leadership development and helps in achieving career development and succession planning and skills transfer.
When done properly, coaching support increased performance management as the coachee is empowered to meet his/her target.
Some of the skills for successful coaching include high leadership skills in the region of people management. The coach must be someone who can go beyond familiar boundaries and understands how to engage and lead people to brainstorm, generate options and lead them into reaching a consensus.
He /she must have tremendous knowledge of facilitation processes and must be at senior management level.
A coach must have excellent communication skills, and the process should be deliberate and purposeful as the coach listens for direction and orientation of the person, paying attention to the content, process and response; and look out for the key words, thoughts, feelings and experiences of the person being coached in order to harness the hidden potentials for maximum benefit.
Coaching is best when interwoven with mentoring to get the full benefit of its impact within the organisation.
Some key benefits organisations derive from the process include:
- Long-term development of leadership
- Aligned organisational strategy
- Planned succession
- Increased productivity
Some benefits the coachee derives also includes
- Career growth
- Learning focus on specific skills
Instead of gambling on future leadership, an organisation’s financial success can be facilitated by creating a coaching and mentoring culture that is structured to deliver specific results. The structure ensures that both the coach and coachee are carefully identified and matched based on their past and current performance, their interests and expertise and their desire to participate in co-creating a prosperous future for the organization.