Coaching Human Resource Development -- Essay

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Coaching usually begins after a worker has received basic employee training. At this point, a supervisor assumes the role of a coach to assist the employees in employing as well as maintaining the skills that they have learnt. Both coaching and mentoring techniques are used to help employees in their career and personal development. However, there are differences between the two. Coaching is usually a time-bound activity focusing on the development of those work-related knowledge and skills which are related organizational performance. Mentoring, on the other hand, is not time-bound and can survive even if the mentor or the protege changes careers or locations. Mentoring is focused more on individual development than on both individual as well as organizational development. (Certo, 2005); (Lamb-White, 2008)

The origins of organizational coaching can be traced to the coaching style found in the world of arts and sports. Just like sports coaches, organizational coaches also egg on talented members to reach their highest potential. Some sports coaches like basketball coaches may constantly shout advices and suggestions to the players whereas others like gymnastics coaches hold back their advice until the event is over. Organizational coaches may also use a similar range of coaching techniques but they share the same objectives of desire and focus. Current coaching techniques also owe their origins to the "Human Potential movement" of the forties and fifties, an interest in human dynamics inside organizations, and a focus on client-centered orientation. (Lamb-White, 2008) Just like sports coaching, organizational coaching also involves providing guidance and directives to employees on ways and means in accomplishing a task so as achieve performance goals. (Certo, 2005) a number of studies conducted by researchers like Bolch, Thach, Luthans, Peterson, Wales and Wilson, have found that workplace coaching can prove to be extremely effective in enhancing employee morale, job satisfaction, productivity and profitability. Coaching within the workplace has come to be recognized as an essential attribute of leaders. (Whitworth; Kimsey-House; Kimsey-House; Sandahl, 2007)

A supervisor must include regular observation, teaching and encouragement as part of the process of coaching. Therefore, a supervisor facilitates the process of learning and development. A major part of this coaching is conducted in an informal manner to provide support to the formal employee training process. (Certo, 2005) a supervisor, as a coach, must attempt to break away from the traditional view of a supervisor as an "industrial police" who intervened only when employees "messed-up." Employees, who perceived supervisors as only being interested in controlling and communicating only when things went wrong, would never be able to contribute to a productive work atmosphere. Therefore, supervisors who don the mantle of coaches must be able to work together, not dominate over, with employees not just to improve performance but also to enjoy work. (Carter; McMahon, 2005)

Apart from daily observation of employee performance, supervisors must also give feedback. Supervisors, in the role of coaches, must provide encouragement in the form of praise when employees achieve or go beyond expectations. A supervisor must review mistakes that employees make and jointly come up with solutions to the problems which may involve further training, greater access to resources or a revised task. Supervisors must remember that coaching is not the same as instructing employees what to do in which situation. Coaching lays stress on actively learning about employees, recognizing and then harnessing their talents. Taking on the part of a coach is especially suitable for supervisors in companies which believe in allowing their employees to take part in team work and decision making process. (Certo, 2005)

Coaches may use a variety of tools to have a long-term effect on worker performance but there are some common strategies that can enhance the effectiveness of workplace coaching. Every coach must include a game plan which contains a clear-cut vision and a plan of action which helps to keep the entire team focused on the same organizational goals. The coach must associate this game plan with employee goals so that the employee remains motivated. Coaches must conduct drills or exercises to sharpen skills and develop talents. Coaches must place employees in suitable roles that can utilize their talents and aptitudes. Stress should be placed on utilizing the natural propensities of employees through discussion. Instead of filling open job designations, emphasis should be on filling talent voids in the company. In case, an employee is not suited for a particular task, a coach should not hesitate to assign new roles or responsibilities to the employee. (Walters, 2009)

Coaches must alter their communication content and style to suit the employee they are coaching. This may include alterations in personal space boundaries, word choice, voice tone and style of explanation. This leads to better rapport and understanding as well as long-term retention. Finally, coaches must not forget to celebrate the achievements of the employees whom they coach. This not only serves to reinforce expected behavior and motivate the employees for further learning but also serves to highlight the values that every employee brings to the table. One must remember that these six strategies are not absolute and can only serve as guidelines to coaches. Coaches must learn to innovate and improvise wherever possible in order to tailor their strategies to the specific and unique needs of the employees and organizations. (Walters, 2009)

A supervisor must remember that he is not a counselor or therapist but a process person and a coaching session will be quite different than a counseling session. Counseling usually takes place in a private and confidential environment and revolves around the exploration of a distress or difficulty that a client may be going through, or maybe an in-depth analysis of loss of purpose or direction, or a dissatisfaction that he may harbor in his mind. Coaching, on the other hand, is always focused on enhancing the skills required by an employee at work so as to be able to contribute effectively to organizational performance as well as increasing personal sense of achievement. An "Eight-Step Coaching Model" developed as a result of a comprehensive study places emphasis on the following steps: being supportive, defining problems and expectations, establishing impact, initiating a plan, obtaining a commitment, confronting resistance or excuses, clarifying consequences, and not giving up.( Miller, 2009)

A number of models and approaches can be used for coaching all sorts of employees at all levels at the workplace. These include the GROW model, the Skilled Helper Model, the Inner Game, Non-directive approach, Solution-focused coaching, Team coaching, and Co-active coaching. Out of these models, co-active coaching is an interesting model which does not focus only on work performance but also on client/employee fulfillment, process and balance. (Connor; Pokora, 2007) Coaching may be implemented at peer level, supervisor level, and also at executive level. (Ibrahim, 1995); (Bar-on; Maree; Maree; Elias, 2007) in the preliminary stages of coaching, supervisor coaching may prove to be more beneficial where the supervisor needs to be more experienced than the client. However, at a later stage, even peer-to-peer coaching can be equally effective. (Wilson, 2007) Employees facing similar types of difficulties or challenges can mutually coach each other. However, for this type of peer-to-peer activity, both the employees must be qualified, experienced and placed at the same level. (Ibrahim, 1995); (Wilson, 2007)

Coaching offers several benefits not just to the organization but also to the coach as well as to the employee. For example, a 2001 review on the impacts of executive coaching found that there was over 5-fold benefit "in terms of return on investment." Another study on coaching programs found that 11% of such programs were regarded as extraordinarily successful, 47% were seen to be very successful, 28% reasonably successful, and just 14% as slightly successful or unsuccessful. Both supervisors as well as employees mutually benefit from a coaching relationship. Since they form a close-knit team, their benefits increase when the partnership or team succeeds. Supervisors also get an opportunity not just to develop others but also their own skills like observational, analytical, interviewing and feedback skills through the medium of coaching. For the employee also, coaching offers tremendous benefits which often extend beyond his/her work life. The informal environment and the "anonymized 360o feedback" offers invaluable feedback which can help the employee overcome his deficiencies without being "ticked off" and becoming too conscious about the whole issue. (ASTD Staff, Cat Sharpe Russo, ASTD Press (Editors), ASTD, 2006); (Shaw; Linnecar, 2007)

Coaching also eliminates the "stigma of a formal disciplinary" action and the employee does not feel as threatened as he would have with other forms of reprimands. Coaching also improves communication between the employee and the coach. (Mader-Clark; Guerin, 2007) Coaching helps the employee to discover and develop new strengths which can be applied to a range of subjects which is much wider than the client may have previously imagined. It also helps employees to analyze situations and people in a much better way. (Shaw; Linnecar, 2007)


Business or workplace coaching can have a tremendous impact on managers as…

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