How to develop coaching skills in the workplace

If you are a manager looking for additional progression or have managers working for you that you want to develop, the blog post below will give you information to create the 4 pillars which create the foundation to develop coaching skills.

 In many businesses today, managers who are responsible for a team of people are encouraged to use coaching as an approach.  If you want to understand more about the history of coaching, have a look at a previous post what is coaching?

 How does coaching help at work?

Coaching creates an environment of empowerment, where people are responsible for their own actions.   A coaching style is based on development, meaning people feel acknowledged and engaged with the company.  This can lead to a greater level of trust in senior management and the company, a challenge felt by many companies in the current climate. 

 The relationship between a manager and their team is a crucial one to get right. What happens between these people affects the performance of individuals, teams and ultimately the business.   Evidence by the CIPD suggests this relationship is one of the biggest influences whether an employee stays or leaves the organisation.  Coaching through its nature generates opportunities to work on a one-to-one basis with employees.  These interactions are more likely to generate a positive increase in motivation and job satisfaction.

The 4 pillars   

1. Time

Coaching can require time away from operational tasks; does your business support this?  If not, you’re not alone.  It has been shown that organisations will forego learning opportunities if it is has an impact on short-term performance, with other recent studies showing that staff are frequently deemed to be too busy to make time for training.  

2. Culture

Sometimes in organisations, the ideas are present, but the commitment to carry out the ideas is lacking. A culture that promotes coaching and personal development needs actions to uphold it.  Some managers report that they are measured on people skills, but find the same emphasis is not placed upon them in comparison to more task-focused measurements.  To thrive, coaching needs a supportive culture that allows for a slower but more sustainable growth, a culture that allows for mistakes and, consequentially learning.

3. Skills

Has any training been given?  The question of whether a coach can be trained is an ongoing debate in the coaching industry.  What is clear is that managers do benefit from training showing them how to use coaching skills.  Including coaching skills training in the induction period not only helps new managers understand the benefits of coaching, but also helps to set expectations of their role.  Research has shown that insufficient money is spent on newly recruited managers, leading to possibly more costly problems in the future.

Coaching skills are like muscles they need to be used to work.  After the initial training, it is really important to have opportunities to practice and reflect.  Peer support groups have been proven to be effective as an environment to improve and further develop coaching skills, but also as a place to answer concerns and share experiences.  Buy-in from senior managers to have coaching as part of their performance daily/weekly conversations will encourage practice and reinforce the importance of coaching within the company.

4. Confidence

Having the opportunity to practice and then to receive feedback is crucial to self-confidence levels.  Feedback doesn’t have to be formal, but it does have to be constructive because it is this feedback that allows people to view coaching as a skill that is increased and developed over time and with practice.

Building in time for reflection will also help to increase confidence.  The time spent reflecting allows opportunities and improvements to become visible and gives a feeling of control, affecting confidence.

Coaching in the workplace is a powerful tool when used in the right way, for the right purpose.  How do you use it?

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