What’s so good about coaching?
Quite often when the word “coaching” is used in an organisational context, it can lead to some confusion on what it actually is and what the benefits of workplace coaching can be. So in this blog I want to share with you the key aspects of coaching, how it differs from training and mentoring and, of course the benefits in relation to leading your teams. Let’s start with considering what each form of development is;
Training is an…
“Organized activity aimed at imparting information and/or instructions to improve the recipient’s performance or to help him or her attain a required level of knowledge or skill.”
Training involves telling the recipient how to do something and what to do, it involves showing and demonstrating what to do, and it is usually short term whether “on the job” or on a formal training course.
“off-line help by one person to another in making significant transitions in knowledge, work or thinking”
(Clutterbuck, D & Megginson, D, 1999 pg 3)
Mentoring is a professional friendship where each person receives some benefit and learning from the relationship. It is based on sharing ideas with each other and making suggestions that may help. As this is a relationship that is mutual, mentoring tends to be long term in nature and may last as long as a professional career is in place.
So now we understand what training and mentoring is, what is coaching?
“a process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve. To be successful, a Coach requires a knowledge and understanding of process as well as the variety of styles, skills and techniques that are appropriate to the context in which the coaching takes place”
(Parsloe, 1999, pg 8)
Formal coaching is a relationship which is instigated by a sponsor (usually the organisation or management) and involves objectives that can/should improve performance. As there are usually performance based objectives, coaching can often be short term dependent upon the number of objectives to be achieved.
Put simply, coaching is a process that aims to improve performance and focuses on the ‘here and now’. The coach is a facilitator of learning as they don’t teach the coachee but they help them to learn. In coaching, fundamentally, the coach is helping the individual to improve their own performance.
There are a number of Coaching models that can be used
but when using we should consider that:
- Models are a useful tool to “hang” a conversation around
- The application of a model shouldn’t restrict the natural flow of a 2 way conversation
- Flexibility should be allowed to revisit sections throughout the session
One of the models I want to explain to you is known as GROW (John Whitmore,1980)
GROW consists of 4 headings under which questions are posed:
Goal – setting for the session (as well as longer term) –should involve SMART objectives – What do you want? What are you trying to achieve?
Reality – exploring the current situation (90% of your conversation should be spent in reality) This involves self-assessment – What is really happening right now? What, if anything, have you done to address the situation?
Options – alternative strategies and courses of action – What could you do? If you had a really wise friend, what would they do in your shoes?
What is to be done, WHEN, by WHOM and the WILL to do it – are there any barriers and strategies – What will you do? What is the first step you will take?
So what’s so good about coaching in the workplace?
Well, none of this is rocket science – coaching is really about spending quality time with your staff and asking the right kinds of questions that will get them thinking for themselves. We are so focussed as managers and leaders in trying to help our teams that often we will give them the answers to performance problems, but who’s to say that our solution is the best solution? Most of our staff will have their own solutions to improve their performance which will be better than ours, more effective because they own it and will be more challenging as they believe they can achieve it. So go ahead give “coaching” a go, it doesn’t have to be a formal session as these techniques can be used in your daily interactions and will naturally lead to more developed and high performing individuals – what’s stopping you…?
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