In this era of digital and new economy, the business environment is evolving at a fast pace. And it can be difficult to put up with the changes. However, not facing reality can present more challenges. So, if you want to concretely and quickly respond to the issues that managers and executives encounter, the ideal answer is business coaching. What if getting coached in your professional life became a reflex ?
What is Business Coaching?
Business coaching is personalized support aimed at responding to specific needs or problems encountered. With a gentle blend of knowhow and interpersonal skills, it allows you to gain autonomy in situations where practicality, speed, and managerial posture are essential. In other words, business coaching helps in the development of your ability to deal with new and unexpected situations. These can then be an event crisis, a strike, a business transformation, conflicts, a product launch, or a burn-out.
Let’s consider an example. Marc, an entrepreneur of an SME, decides to launch a brand new product. However, he feels alone in the mission and struggles to have a strategic vision of the whole professional project. Stress begins to drain him gradually. To manage the stressor and take change of his professional choices, Marc calls on a certified professional coach. Using coaching tools and techniques, the coach and the coachee then defined short-term business objectives as well as the resulting action plan.
What are the Benefits of a Business Coaching Program?
The successful marriage of training and coaching
We owe the success of business coaching to the successful marriage of coaching and training. On one hand, we find the posture of the business coach to remove the setbacks and limiting beliefs. On the other hand, the contribution of theoretical training anchors the concepts and accelerates the rise of competence. Thanks to this magic formula, we can promote the development of soft skills, which are key skills in the age of automation and digitization.
Training and coaching work hand-in-hand. While employees obtain knowledge and techniques for skill development through training, coaching helps to instill the associated skills through appropriate implementation at work. If conducted appropriately, coaching reinforces what has been learned by employees through training as well as creates room for improvement that might not be realized through constant feedback.
Coaching is also observed as a process that promotes better learning among employees. This is because it is an individualized process that is tailored towards the person receiving it. Furthermore, coaches and the coachees always head in the same direction to achieve the same goal. The shared training offers a ground for effective coaching on all milestones that a company should accomplish.
It is important to recognize the difference in coaching vs training. With training, the success is dependent on how clear the goal is as well as the ability of the course and the instructor to engage the trainees in the discussions and understanding of the materials. On the other hand, the success of coaching is reliant on the willingness of the coachee to work with the coach so as to meet their personal and professional goals. Organizations that invest in both strategies have long-lasting results.
Digital as a means of democratizing professional coaching
Thanks to the power of the digital era, it is now possible to democratize professional coaching and access almost instantaneous dissemination of the act of coaching. Regardless of the place or time, a coachee is able to speak with a professional coach to address any leadership or management issue. This presents an opportunity for the two to take a step back from a situation by exposing the conflictual relationship with an employee, a dysfunction of time management, or an apprehension on how to delegate tasks. This can allow one to bounce back without any delay, all while integrating the professional environment.
With digital coaching, employees can choose the best coach they believe in, regardless of the location. In an international company, for instance, an employee can consider a sales coach based in the UK or the US. The strategy also offers flexible coaching techniques, with different coaching sessions depending on what the coachee needs in the digital world.
Furthermore, digital coaching is generally affordable compared to in-house training. Not only expensive because of the time taken away from work, but also the price of the courses and the commuting fees. Furthermore, those working in remote areas are able to utilize online coaching at the comfort of their home.
Business Coaching, a Chance to Support Transformation
Today, human and behavioural skills are at the centre of individual performance. Managers are, thus, expected to be experts on leadership and agility, as well as be able to adapt and learn quickly as they create team cohesion. The company has no other choice than to change its training and professional support methods. Coaching of managers and executives helps to achieve this goal as fast as possible as it enables a personalized approach to deliver experience. In such cases, coaching results in real progress as well as gaining credibility and legitimacy.
The real power of business coaching can be observed when employees adopt new behaviours, which become part of the organizational culture. The scalable, flexible, and individualized tool leads to turnaround organizational performance, conflict management, improved client management, crisis management, reduced attrition rates, and engaged workforce.
How can Coaching Lead to Transformation?
There are different ways in which coaching can aid in the process of organizational transformation:
- During a change, there are a proportion of employees that will be impacted by the proposals. This can result due to their changing roles or they have to start facing their own colleagues or customers on a daily basis. These individuals have to be trained on how to suppress their concerns and fears to remain positive towards the change.
- In order for a change to occur, it must involve behavioural changes and several beliefs and assumptions changed as well. These beliefs could be so deep-rooted, and may make it uneasy to understand and accept the reason behind the change. A positive change management would, therefore, involve allowing employees to explore their understanding of the world and integrate their perception of the organization in it. The assumptions and beliefs could then be articulated in the change process, thus reducing cases of resistance against the proposed change.
- Employees may fear for their work when information is hidden from them. In a corporate world, this can cause a lot of stress, which hinders productivity. By creating an environment where individuals can express themselves and be heard would help them during a transformation process. The employees should be able to express their fears and be brought to the light whenever a change is to be made.
So what does a coaching program for transformation look like?
A professional coaching for transformation can be represented in five steps, namely:
- Engaging and contracting
This involves establishing the goals and objectives of coaching, as well as the background to the needed transformation and the personnel to be included in the coaching sessions. Contracting involves setting terms of engagement as well as duration for the coaching process.
- Assessment and feedback
This step involves getting clear background on the employees involved in the scope. This may entail getting structured feedback from them to get a wider perspective on how to conduct the coaching.
- Coming up with a coaching agenda
A coaching agenda helps to determine how the coaching program is to be facilitated. Personal chemistry and understanding remains crucial to coaching since the coaches must have an experience of business transformation in order to build a rapport with the coachees. The agenda should also include making sure that the participants will be available, more so when they are executives or managers of the organization as they will experience time constraints due to multiple chores.
- Delivering the coaching program
Depending on the availability of the coachee and the type of coaching, the number of sessions may vary. One session can be impactful, but often 3 or 4 sessions make a significant impact.
- Review and evaluation
By reviewing the coaching process, managers are able to offer appraisal of the results against the initial goals set for the overall transformation. There should also be follow-up after coaching to ensure that individuals actually benefited from the program.
Building a Culture of Coaching
The future of learning and development lies at the center of the workplace. As leaders realize the significance of transitioning to a learner-led model from a trainer led environment, you will be able to gain benefits, including increased motivation, business transformation, and collective intelligence.
To create a strong coaching environment, leaders must be able to encourage their employees to continue reflecting on their situations and that of their teams. This can help to create trust in management as well as constant improvement. A workable coaching culture positions employees to improve their productivity, decision making, and goal achievement.
Coaching begins with the identification of employees that have the needed experience or skills in a certain area. These teams would then be empowered and properly supported to understand the coaching techniques, which they can then use to guide their colleagues towards competency and success.
As leaders, it is important to acknowledge and validate followers or employees in order to make sense of coaching. Most often, managers and leaders just want to be heard. Start by using welcoming phrases such as “I understand that you are frustrated…” or “it sounds like…” or “what you are saying is.” Realize that you are not just agreeing with whatever you are being told, but you are validating and paraphrasing employees’ feelings based on the way you understand the events.
An effective coaching is a result of execution, reflection, and evaluation. Great coaches are consistently driven to understand ways of delivering results, and promote retention and motivation. An environment that coaches, rather than manages employees leads to investment in outcomes and commitment towards achievement of the organization’s goals.
Business Coaching in the Business World
Research shows that 70% of executives believe that their experience has greatly exceeded their expectations. In another survey by CoachHub involving 3,500 sessions carried out, it was found that 93% of participants admit to being satisfied or very satisfied with coaching. And in another CoachHub survey carried out with 40 Human Resources departments of major accounts, it became clear that up to 100% of HRDs would recommend professional coaching to their peers. These findings indicate that business coaching is unanimously preferred among the beneficiaries, therefore making it a new marker of the ambitions of in-company training.
Despite this plebiscite, the implementation or consideration of business coaching remains largely scarce in France. The beneficiaries remain majorly top executives or those in challenging professions. In fact, only a quarter of line managers or business leaders who already have recourse to business coaching. Yet, up to 65% of managers express their desire to access coaching support.
As a leader, you need to learn to be a coach through professional coaching. To develop coaching skills, you must be persistent, courageous, and dedicated. It involves taking time and being patient to develop a culture of transformation and growth. The bonus of this is that once the coaching art becomes part of the organization, everyone will leverage it as strength.
In question, the often prohibitive factors are cost and the considerable time to plan and ensure the sessions of coaching are conducted face-to-face. However, digital coaching offers the perfect solution to these problems. To understand distance coaching, it is important to consider time management because the certified and coached coaches are able to suit a niche in the office, at home, or any other place. Additionally, e-learning training is an affordable process compared to face-to-face learning.
So, why are you delaying accessing a certified professional coach that would benefit your company?