Thanks to a major shift in career and professional development, coaching has transformed to become an essential tool for career development. Post Covid-19, and the accompanying effects of lockdowns - the coaching 'industry' has experienced a tremendous uptick in interest and growth. Some of the reasons for this demand are quite illuminating.
Let's take a look at how coaching has been generally approached and what we can do to make it work more effectively.
It is not uncommon for a sponsor or manager to contact a coaching provider for supporting the development of a struggling staff member. This kind of request is necessary if there is a clear indication of the 'coachees' potential to succeed, but they need a bit of help to step through potential hinderances. There is nothing inherently wrong about this coaching assumption. In fact, it is often the lever which moves the needle in professional performance.
Tip: It is best to ensure that the coachee understands that you have their best interest at heart and want them to succeed, before signing them up for said coaching.
Many an organisation, however, still seem to use coaching as a tool for 'punishing' a non-performer. This method sends the erroneous message that: when someone is earmarked for coaching, they are 'sent to the principals office'. As a result, coaching is often viewed in a negative light. This may lead to a fruitless initiative, because the coaching client (coachee) approaches it with a defensive stance. In these cases, no one wants to be sent for coaching, if it may feel like your'e being scolded or worse, exposed as lazy or underperforming.
Tip: When a team lead identifies a staff member for corrective support, they might want to turn to a mentor within the business to assist the staff member, before embarking on a coaching journey.
Less frequently, coaching clients are recommended, because the organisation is finalising an exit strategy for an employee. In many of these cases, coaching is used a tool to augment the dismissal process. What this may communicate to the rest of the team, is that you may be allocated for coaching, because you are on your way out!
Tip: Organisations can avoid negative associations around coaching for dismissal, by clearly defining how the coaching is linked to the grounds for dismissal. A constructive approach to this kind of coaching, would be to provide the employee with #PowerSkills to support their further development. In this way, said employee and colleagues create a positive brand association with your company and may even recommend others to join it.
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In the end, what really matters is communication. Effective communication creates clear guidelines and expectations. It facilitates growth and enriches the workplace.