What is Coaching?
Coaching is a developmental skill where a coach or leader helps a person or coachee achieve his goal through a facilitation process. The leader facilitates by evoking awareness with the coachee on his potential and interference, enabling him to achieve his goal. This process include building trust, listening, asking powerful questions to create awareness.
As a result, this process helps the person:
- Clarify his thoughts, ideas, assumptions and challenges
- Self-discover his own customised solution
- Feel empowered and accountable for his actions
How does it differ from Mentoring, Training & Counselling?
There has been a lot of confusion in the industry about the difference between coaching and other skills like teaching, mentoring and counselling. If we were to ask leaders in many organisations today, they would say that they are coaching their employees. Unfortunately, many leaders are actually teaching and/or mentoring their employees. It will be helpful to differentiate the various types of skills:
- Teaching – Teaching is about imparting knowledge or know-how to someone. Whether it is product or process knowledge, the leader is telling or giving factual information to the employee. Pretty much what consultants do – giving solutions to resolve issues for clients.
- Mentoring – Unlike teaching, leaders mentor by sharing their experiences or their wisdom. A mentor is usually someone who has more experience. As such, he is able to share his thoughts based on past situations he has faced.
- Counselling – Counselling is generally associated more with therapy. The goal is to help the client resolve emotional or mental pain. A trained counsellor tend to work more with the client’s past issues to understand the psychological or physical symptoms.
In coaching, the leader avoids sharing his knowledge, opinions or experiences to the coachee. The leader exhibits curiosity and open-mindedness to help the coachee uncover his strengths, create awareness for the coachee to overcome challenges and helps him take the responsibility to achieve the outcome.
Over the last three decades, the coaching industry has evolved. It was started in 1995 by the International Coach Federation (ICF), a global organisation that sets the standards and guidelines for the industry. Initially, the focus for professional coaching is on helping individuals or executives develop their personal or leadership skills.
As the world becomes more VUCA i.e. volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, organisations are becoming more aware that this skill is not just for the executives. For that reason, organisations are realising that all leaders need to have the fundamental coaching skill to succeed. Research has shown that the trend for coaching will continue to evolve.
In recent years, organisations have started to equip all their leaders with the fundamental skills to coach their team members. As a younger generation of millennial enters the workforce, today’s leaders can no longer instruct the employees to perform. Consequently, they need to learn how to empower and bring out the best from these creative and resourceful employees.
Emotional Intelligence Coaching is increasingly becoming important for transformational leadership. Facilitating change among employees is a huge challenge amidst the fast changing economy. Because of today’s interconnected world, leaders would also need to manage their own emotions as well as others. Therefore, EQ Transformational Leadership is definitely a skill that is growing in importance.
The last two approaches are important skills for leaders to help individual team member perform. However, how can a leader collectively transform an entire team to perform and achieve the organisational results? Certainly, one would have to consider the intricacies when it comes to managing all the stakeholders within and outside the organisation. Hence, that is where we believe Team Coaching will become the next big trend.
Ultimately to thrive in the VUCA world, organisations would have to build a coaching culture. A culture where leaders exhibit openness in guiding their employees to innovate and change. Moreover, leaders need to empower employees to deliver the performance and expected results. Research has shown that:
” A robust coaching culture has been linked to higher employee engagement: 65% of employees are highly engaged in strong coaching culture organizations compared to 52% of employees in other organizations. Organizations with a strong culture also report greater financial performance: 60% report being above their industry peer group in 2013 revenue compared to 41% of all others.“– Source: Building a Coaching Culture (ICF).
We all know that changing culture is not easy. The fact is that culture is not build overnight. Moreover, it is a long process which involves the participation of every employee from all levels. Firstly, one would have to perform an Organisational Culture Assessment, which is understanding the gaps. Next, the organisation would need to conduct change culture workshops. Subsequently, it’s putting in place learning actions that involve everyone in the organisation. Therefore, building a coaching culture will definitely be a long term trend in this industry.
Benefits to Organisation
As coaching becomes more prevalent, companies are recognising the importance of building a culture within their organisation. This involves employees at all level with the intent of growing their skills to help them achieve their professional goals.
A few years ago, there was a research conducted in partnership between International Coach Federation (ICF) and the Human Capital Institute (HCI) on Building a Coaching Culture. It examines the ways in which companies and leaders establish and support the culture and to further identify the motivation, application and outcomes of such practices today. The video below shows some of these findings.