Is business transformation hard? Well, few would argue that it’s easy. But how much harder is it when a company doesn’t adapt as fast as it should? In a world that’s rapidly evolving, inertia in the face of advancing technology, competitive pressure, customer demands or changing business conditions can have painful consequences. Coaching is an invaluable change management tool that can make the difference between a smooth and timely transformation and one that’s… not.
What’s behind successful business transformation?
Business transformation is a team sport. From the C-suite and strategists to the back office and front lines, successful transformation requires people across departments at all levels of the organization to work in harmony to effect lasting change. The desire to embrace a business transformation rests on how engaged employees are with the company—their involvement and enthusiasm for their work and their workplace. Unfortunately, the American Psychological Association (APA) found that 59% of employees lack interest, motivation or energy at work. Even the wildly-optimistic-by-comparison numbers from Statista—65% engaged in 2021—means that one-third of your people just aren’t that into you.
How lack of engagement affects the bottom line
Disengagement isn’t merely a lackadaisical attitude toward change. Even before you embark on a business or digital transformation journey, complacent employees are working against you. It is widely recognized that there is a direct correlation between employee engagement and profitability, productivity, safety, quality, retention and customer loyalty, all of which are markers of a company’s financial health and long-term viability. As you can imagine, it’s quite costly when 59% of employees aren’t really interested in their day-to-day responsibilities (much less the company as a whole). Some quick math: Iif you have 100 employees who make $50,000 per year and 59% of them aren’t engaged, that could be costing you almost $3 million per year in salary alone. Even if those disengaged employees are contributing at full tilt 50% of the time, it’s still costing you $1.5 million.
Develop a coaching mindset to accelerate business transformation
Disengaged employees top the list of business and digital transformation challenges, and there is a good reason to tackle the problem sooner rather than later. Overall, CoachHub estimates that return on investment from coaching ranges anywhere from 37% to 560%, with even the smallest estimate showing significant impact.
There is no silver bullet for improving morale and motivation, but coaching can strengthen the manager/employee relationship and have a significant impact on engagement. The coaching mindset is about developing strengths and potential by:
- Empowering people and encouraging them to take responsibility
- Identifying individual strengths and using those as a springboard to further development
- Motivating and empowering individuals to excel
Note that “fixing deficiencies” isn’t on the list. While there is a time and place for that kind of performance improvement guidance, focusing on the negative isn’t likely to improve how someone feels about themselves, their manager or the company. On the other hand, coaching for development is a powerful way to effect change. According to the International Coaching Federation, more than 70% of people who’ve received this type of positive coaching benefit from improved performance, stronger relationships and more effective communication skills, and 80% report higher self-confidence. All of this enables people to work more easily and productively with others. That’s a winning combination that can accelerate business transformation.
Inspirational Managers Coach People to Succeed
Learning how to bring out the best in people through developmental coaching lays the foundation for fully engaged, high-performing teams—a boon to companies in fast-paced and competitive industries that are undergoing more-or-less continuous business transformation. The Institute of Coaching identifies several skills that are inherent in developmental coaching, including:
- Active listening enables coaches to gain a true understanding of what someone is saying—and what they mean by what they’re saying—through their words, tone of voice, emotion and body language. The key elements of active listening are: paying attention, showing that you’re listening through body language and gestures, providing feedback by asking clarifying questions, deferring judgment, and responding appropriately and respectfully.
- Identifying saboteurs—those little voices inside people’s heads that tell them what they can’t do or achieve—and helping people overcome limiting beliefs is a powerful aspect of developmental coaching that opens up all sorts of possibilities. Saboteurs can drive people’s choices and decisions based on old ways of thinking or assumptions that may be flat-out wrong.
- Appreciative inquiry helps people move beyond a problem mindset to one of curiosity and opportunity that enables them to appreciate what is best about themselves and the company and discover/create more of what is good. This positive approach encourages them to take an active and collaborative role in the business or digital transformation journey.
Skillful coaching enables people from all walks of life to recognize, nurture and lead with their strengths in any discipline, any department and at any level within the corporate hierarchy. It gives them the confidence to contribute ideas and roll up their sleeves to help—even if that just means embracing change or encouraging others to—no matter how complex the transformation or the organization.
Build a strong coaching culture to continually move an organization forward, faster
Coaching for business transformation needn’t stop at the manager level. CoachHub research found that a strong coaching culture increases employee engagement by 56%, because it moves coaching from an elitist, for-executives-only professional development privilege to a true tool for change that everyone can tap into to build their own coaching skills that:
- Improve the way people interact with each other
- Make giving and receiving feedback less scary and more productive
- Enable people to challenge, support and stretch ideas in a positive way
- Enrich conversations with customers and potential clients
With business transformation and digital transformation happening on an ongoing basis, developing a coaching mindset and creating a coaching culture can help companies build a highly engaged workforce that enables them to innovate and evolve at the speed of change.