If Coaching Is The Answer, What Is The Question?
Quick SummaryThe importance of anchoring coaching to business strategy and goals
Companies usually retain coaches because they have one or more specific 'problems' in particular areas which they believe coaching can help solve; and/or they want to improve the general culture of the organisation and create improved performance and satisfaction (employee and customer) across the board.
Certainly coaching can help in both these situations, but due to the way it is often applied - as something separate to other internal processes - it often results in short term 'quick fixes', or little overall change. There are a number of reasons for this:
Coaching tends to act as a funnel for focus, encouraging individuals to look inside themselves to find answers. What this means is that the individual being coached tends to focus on their own interests, role and agenda. Their coach may encourage them to consider other issues and 'the bigger picture' but they tend to be limited by their own perspective.
Coaching methodology often is not applied to helping groups and individuals think freely and widely enough. Those being coached tend to be held back by what they perceive as 'reality' which means that outcomes do not fully reflect the overall potential available.
Coaching is often viewed as a sticking plaster rather than a stimulant - something which will fix existing 'situations', rather than encouraging organisations and individuals to focus on whether there might be 'a better way'.
Relatively speaking, coaching in the UK is still in its infancy so there is little research available on outcomes and benefits, although a recent report from the University of Central England 1 is enlightening. From their findings they concluded that ". there is clear evidence that a more systematic and structured approach to the use of coaching will contribute greater value".
This point underlines what many companies and coaches themselves often fail to adequately recognise and acknowledge: coaching is a tool, not an end in itself . To generate maximum benefits in a business environment, coaching needs to be closely linked to the needs of the business, not just the needs of the individual(s) being coached. Performance in respect of those business needs must be measured as part of the coaching process.
The key point however is that it is the coaching providers who should be introducing this structure, not the client companies themselves who are unlikely to have the experience to fully understand the true nature and potential of the process. In short, any sound coaching programme should incorporate a means of helping businesses get to the heart of what matters to them.
Ideally then, coaching in an organisation should be a four stage process, requiring management and employees to focus on a number of questions:
How can we do what we do better?
What should we do to make that happen?
How can we implement it at every level?
How will we know when we are succeeding?
Over-arching this, no matter what the issue, problem or desired outcome, the really BIG questions everyone should be asking and measuring are "What really matters to us?", and "How can I - or we - make a difference?"
Used in this way, coaching can provide a very worthwhile and valuable answer.
1 The Coaching Study 2004 UCE/Origin Consulting Ltd
Your thoughts matter to others - more than you can imagine.
More Articles published by Dianne
4 Free | Ad-Free | Full-Text Business Papers
Personal DevelopmentHere's how to become the best you can be 50 | 2.52 K | 4 min
Sales - GeneralSales managers and executives face a continuous battle to not only meet their targets, but exceed them. 52 | 5.53 K | 11 min
Performance ManagementWhether you believe you're a great company, or you believe you aren't, you're probably right 50 | 2.52 K | 4 min
InspirationalEvery great action begins first as a thought 60 | 6.39 K | 10 min
More 'Coaching' Articles
13 more Articles that may interest you, too...
Ask anyone to define the word coach and you will get a wide variety of responses. Some will say coach is a sort of tutor or instructor, but others will say it's a large, multi-wheeled railway carriage. Unfortunately, the second definition is about as helpful as the first in deciding what coaching at work is all about.3.08 K | 50
"Coach me? If I wanted counselling I'd ask for it thank you!" This article examines the confusion between coaching and counselling and how we can make our intentions clear to avoid statements like this.2.72 K | 50
These are difficult times. Commercial organisations are faced with empty order books, lack of cash or capital and shrinking markets. The public sector too is finding its resources shrinking as there is simply not the finance expected even a year ago.2.99 K | 50
By Francis T.
Leading edge thinkers are thinking about BCS (Business Coaching Sessions). If the world is really about faster, cheaper, better, then BCSs are a perfect response to this question: How can I get more out of the increasingly limited time I have to invest in personal and professional development?6.79 K | 50
Rapport is a somewhat exotic English word derived from the French verb rapporter, meaning to bring back, to refer. The English meaning, a relation of harmony, conformity, accord or affinity, indicates the importance of rapport to communication and consequently coaching. This article examines what coaches need to know.3.06 K | 50
By Graham Y.
Some differences and grey areas where Coaching or Mentoring overlap3.17 K | 60
Continuing his series of articles on the importance of motivation to the coaching approach, Matt outlines how the complexity of motivation can be broken down and made managable and how different types of motivation may be classified.4.09 K | 50
By Allan M.
There continues to be massive coverage in the press just now about how effective the skill of coaching can be both in the workplace and in people's personal lives. Can a manager employ coaching skills to further the performance and general motivation and morale of their employees?3.61 K | 50
It has been said that there is no such thing as difficult employees, only ineffective managers, but I've yet to meet anyone who believes that's true. In the end, if people want to be difficult that's there choice, but recognizing that the way we manage such people is part of the mix here's a selection of tried and tested techniques:9.81 K | 56
The comparing of coaching to other forms of workplace development that my previous articles have dealt with has helped us understand coaching relative to other approaches, but this article seeks to refine our understanding of coaching in absolute terms.2.89 K | 50
By Jon E.
Human capital and organizational development strategies that systematically use developmental coaching to uncover and nurture latent and potential capacity can provide a better means to cultivate organizational futures.4.24 K | 50
It is widely agreed that coaching is a much-misunderstood concept and it is perhaps not surprising that many myths have sprung up around the subject. Can you see any truth in the following for example?2.94 K | 50