Coaching is a person-centered, action-oriented practice that creates the space for individuals to discover their potential and figure out what they need to do in order to fulfill that potential. A great coach helps their client assess what they are capable of doing, what they might need help on, and where they might find that support. A great coach also keeps their client accountable for the steps they commit to and provides the space to figure out what might be standing in the way of them achieving their goals.
While we often think of coaching as something that people engage on their own, there is an increasing number of companies that offer life coaching within the organization to boost employee performance.
Since coaching is all about action and accountability and it’s no wonder that companies have seen its powerful effects on their workforce.
If you are wondering if your organization might stand to benefit from an internal coach (or two), here are 7 ways coaching can be a gamechanger for you.
1:1 Coaching brings your high performers from good to great
There are many opinions about coaching and some think that people only need coaches when their life isn’t going so well.
I beg to differ.
A coach can certainly help empower a person to effect changes in their life in order to get out of a rut and that would be a obvious reason to introduce an internal life coaching program as an employee benefit. Here’s another compelling reason: the very same skillset can elevate your high performers to reach their potential too.
The 1:1 is powerful. In working closely with the individual, an effective coach helps them solidify goals and identify blockers. A fantastic coach works with their client to craft realistic solutions to overcome these blockers and keeps them accountable for it.
Coaches can but are not limited to working with problems. The hallmark of a situation with good coaching potential is when a change needs to happen or if there is a gap between the current situation and the outcome one wants. And coaches work best with clients who are coachable. When a great coach meets a driven, motivated, and open individual, that’s when the magic happens. Because a coach doesn’t work with their own potential, they work with that of the individual.
So, if you have high performers in your company who are working on high impact projects or have potential that needs to be realized, a coach may just be the nudge they need to soar.
1:1 Coaching promotes greater self-awareness.
Coaching is a transformative and impactful experience, and one of the reasons it has such an impact is because coaches set up the space for reflection and invite their clients to think more deeply about what they think, why they think that, and how they would like to proceed with this newfound awareness.
By learning to deliberately think about how they are thinking, your employees would become increasingly sensitive and self-aware to their circumstances. Working with a coach who is skilled at empowering people to think for themselves, helps your employees become more self-aware in the workplace.
Self-aware individuals make for more self-aware collaborators and teams. In this manner, coaching not only benefits people in the ‘now’, but also sets them up for success in the future.
1:1 Coaching creates space to think
We’re often go-go-going in the workplace and focus on output can take most of our working time. Even when we carve out focus time, it is often for a productive purpose, to crack something or come up with a report and proposal that requires deep strategic thought. When we’re in work-mode, we often focus on what needs to be delivered and hardly give ourselves time to process how we are doing things.
Coaching in the workplace interrupts that.
It’s 50-60 minutes of time that your employee has to think about how they feel about whatever they are working on with a partner — their coach — whose sole objective is to help them unpack and unblock whatever is on their mind.
The coaching dialogue often catalyses and uncovers new perspectives that we are hard-pressed to do on our own, and can speed up the iterative process.
1 hour of coaching (and the accountability that coaches bring) beats 4 hours of attempts at focus time while attempting to ignore the siren call of the day-to-day.
Life Coaching helps your team feel like you value them as a human being
Internal coaching does not have to be solely focused on work matters. Arguably, it is wiser to offer life coaching in general if you are considering adding this as an employee benefit.
Offering to support your team by coaching them on their personal matters helps them feel like they are seen as full human beings and not just cogs at the machine.
Having the life coaching option signals to people that all the parts of them are welcome and supported; they are not just a means to a (business) end. This, in turn, builds loyalty amongst your team.
A company that cares about its employees’ wellbeing creates the foundation for its employees to care for its wellbeing.
Team Coaching accelerates your teams towards shared goals
Coaching isn’t limited to the 1:1 format. A coach may also offer to coach a cross-functional area or team of yours that is working on shared goals or common projects.
When kicking off projects or sprints, having a coach facilitate the early stages by asking questions and observing how the team collaborates can be helpful in recognizing barriers and crafting solutions from the very beginning.
The coach is a neutral third-party whose goal is helping the team achieve their desired outcome.
By calling some things into question and catalysing discussions about hard topics, an internal coach can unblock your teams and help them create alignment to see them through the project.
Along the way, coaching can also support the team during the process by helping them untangle messy bits and collaborate to identify the best solutions that work with the resources of the team and their individual capabilities.
Develop your people with Group Coaching
Just as 1:1 coaching doesn’t have to be restricted to work matters, the one-to-many coaching option can also be more broadly applied to groups in your company that may not necessarily be working together directly.
One great application of this is offering group coaching for self- or professional-development purposes. This could be in the form of coaching on career planning or public speaking. The coachees in such a group may not necessarily be collaborating on the same project, but a common goal makes group coaching a possible option for the company to support them at scale.
Just as offering life coaching on top of job-based coaching helps employees feel more valued, offering group coaching on developmental topics outside of one’s job scope communicates that the company cares about its people beyond just pencil pushing.
Coaching skills makes for more effective and empathetic people managers
While you do not need to send all your managers for professional coach training, equipping them with basic coaching strategies and skills can improve the overall quality of people management in your organization.
Coaches rely on a toolkit of active listening, powerful questioning, and direct communication to empower their clients to gain awareness and design impactful actions accordingly. Equipping your people managers with some of these skills makes for more effective and empathetic 1:1 relationships.
Coaching skills teach managers how to bracket their own opinions from the conversations so that the space is truly for their reportees to unblock challenges and move forward with their work.
By going into a 1:1 with a coaching mindset, your people managers will learn to carve out a space that is wholly employee-focused and that sets the groundwork for a strong long-term development-oriented relationship.
In coaching everything is about the client and all change comes from the client. That is possibly the reasons why coaching is so powerful. Coaching empowers individuals. Coaching teaches them to get things done in a way that is wholly authentic to them. The actions and strategies that they come up with come from them and not someone else.
Coaching catalyses change. It helps people feel heard and helps them believe that they can make the change in their lives.
Coaching at the workplace brings this appreciation for wholehearted, authentic humans into your work environment. Yes, coaching itself will be transformative for your employees at an individual level. But I invite you to take a step back and see if offering to support your employees in the fullest of their humanity might be how you want your organizational culture to be.
Is coaching something your organization might benefit from having? If it is, what is the first step you can take to make this happen for your team?