The purpose of coaching within the workplace is to improve working performance and therefore being able to identify coaching needs is essential. Like a stereotypical sports coach, a workplace coach takes the existing skills of a team or individual and builds on them, enhances them and gets the very best from them. They will also introduce new skills and give them the knowledge and ability to use them.
The coach is a leader who provides guidance and instruction. When done well coaching can increase productivity, bring a greater sense of commitment and loyalty from team members as they feel more connected and valued, this will also work towards reducing stress and tension as staff feel supported and heard and will improve overall communication.
There are some simple ways to identify your coaching needs in the workplace:
Within your workplace, are you getting the best out of all your staff? Do they think for themselves and present new ideas, do they show initiative, can they problem-solve? Or do they do as they are told and wait for instructions, for someone else to solve their problems?
In a classic manager/ employee set up it is natural to fall into an authoritarian relationship. The employee looks to the manager to solve the problem, tell them what to do. In a coach/ employee set up the relationship is more collaborative. Instead of ‘fixing’ problems, the coach encourages the employee to seek solutions themselves. The coach empowers the employee and cultivates an atmosphere which encourages free thinking. By asking questions such as, “what do you think?”, the dynamic is shifted. This allows employees to bring their unique, individual qualities to the forefront and quickly reveals the capabilities within a team.
Individuals may share similarities, they may even do the same job, but no two people are the same and this shift in approach allows individual skills and abilities to shine. We all react in different ways to certain situations and something that gets the best out of one person won’t necessarily work for another. Coaching will reveal these strengths and weakness and work with them.
How do your staff handle their workload? Is it possible that they could be doing more? Perhaps they would achieve more if they were focused in another direction or perhaps if they did less their output would be of greater quality? Are they in a comfort zone? Could they be challenged?
It is easy to get caught in the same old routine in the workplace. Coaching would tease out details regarding how team members work and how to bring the best out of them. If you don’t challenge your staff how do they and you know what they are capable of and improve? In our environment of trust, a coach can encourage staff to try new things, knowing they are allowed to make mistakes.
Patterns of behaviour
Like workload routines, individuals have patterns of behaviour. By taking notice of these you can begin to identify if they are constructive or if they are detrimental. For example, an employee may work best in the morning, or they may work well with some projects/ products but not others. Alternatively, they may be making the same mistakes repeatedly. What are the mistakes? Why are they making them? A coach can work towards identifying and understanding these patterns and begin to get the best out of your staff by working to their strengths.
These are not easy skills to master so any organisation considering using these techniques should consider training courses before implementing workplace coaching. Appropriate training will:
- Identify the difference between learner and coach centred behaviours
- Explain how to help learners work out their own solutions
- Introduce new tips on coaching skills that would take your team to the next level
- Differentiate between learner and coach centred techniques
- Use learner-centred behaviours to “pull” the process forward – showing understanding, drawing out through questioning, helping the learner work out their own solutions, asking the learner for feedback
- Use coach centred behaviours to “push” the process forward – giving advice, sharing experiences, giving feedback, stating expectations
- Understand what skills need to be developed to become a great coach.