“Coaching!? You are an idiot! This is not a football game, this is a workplace!
Whew! This onslaught was the result of a gentle suggestion to one of my small business clients. Poor me, I had simply suggested that he may need to access or acquire coaching skills. I went on to add that they would help him to deal with certain problems he was having in his workplace.
Wuhloss! I had no idea I was putting my life on the line!
Well…I have news for you Sir: As a Small Business Leader you need to understand the need for coaching in your business!
Let's look at today's competitive environment, with technology leveling many playing fields and the accelerated speed at which you must respond to the challenges you face. In such an environment, you will stand out in the crowd, and you will scale your business hen you can effectively manage your people.
This “management of people” can no longer take the form of issuing instructions which you expect your employees to follow blindly. You have to transform your workplace into a continuous learning environment, focused on developing employees’ skills and building their character.
As for you, increasingly, you will be required to have leadership skills which you must use to add value to your business. To be sure that this is happening, you must be able to measure performance. In this way, you will attract and keep quality employees.
And guess what? Coaching help with do all these things!
What is coaching?
It's a process in which a person helps another person or a team, to do the best job that they are capable of doing. It includes aspects of teaching and training, as well as observation and feedback.
Coaches do not manage tasks but facilitate the functioning of work teams. They should provide resources, remove barriers and facilitate the well-being of work teams to enable them to learn, solve problems and improve their effectiveness.
Great coaching helps people to feel safe to experiment with new ideas and engage in continuous learning. It also helps employees deal with work-related emotional issues and support them as they cope with the demands of the learning process.
What is the purpose and benefits of coaching?
Just as in athletics or sports, coaching in the workplace serves many important purposes.
It serves as a communication tool – letting employees know what they have done well and what they need to improve. This strengthens relationships and improves communication.
Career development is another one of the functions of coaching. It teaches employees how to improve, providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their jobs and in their careers.
Coaching supplements and reinforces the more formal aspects of any training program which you implement in your workplace. This speeds up and increases productivity and also improves the quality of work.
It also guides and advises employees, showing them the steps they need to take to improve performance and become stronger, more effective workers. This helps to identify and correct performance and behavioral problems.
Coaching recognizes and builds on employee accomplishments as well. This boost enthusiasm and morale.
And if all this is not enough, coaching enhances your performance as a team leader. It helps you to better understand whether you have a “football” team or an “athletics” team and how best to coach each one. This improves teamwork, builds trust and enhances loyalty.
Can coaching fail to achieve its goals?
Well…ahhm…reluctantly…I have to answer “yes.” Not only because I want to be honest and upfront with you, but you see, coaching is not a quick fix.
One way to describe it is as a process to create solutions which results in sustained change. This means that your coaching process must become a good "marriage" between the Coach and those being coached.
And there in lies the problem.
Like all good marriages, you have to be aware of the pitfalls so you can more of the benefits.
Here are some of the common pitfalls you want to avoid:
1. Your employees do not trust you/your manager
2. You/your manager have not sufficiently convinced your employees that you know what you’re doing
3. The coaching atmosphere which you create is threatening and not conducive to open discussion
4. Employees do not believe that the stated performance expectations have been properly determined
5. Employees do not believe that the feedback from you/your manager is accurate and objective
6. You/your manager only concentrate on what the employee needs to improve and do not praise things done well
7. You/your manager cannot identify the specific training to correct the problems exposed by coaching
Which approach will you use to implement it in your business?
Once you decide that you're not going to compromise the profitability and growth of your business, you now need to get going fast.
But there's something stopping you, you do not know where to start. While I believe that many small businesses need coaching in their business, I don’t think they have to acquire all the skills themselves.
At ITDS, we take three approaches to helping you to get the coaching you want in your business fast.
Let me share them with you.
The "train the Coach" approach
In this approach, we train small business leaders and their key managers in aspects of coaching, usually in a small workshop. This workshop is practical and hands-on, requiring the trainees to practice with the skills and receive feedback. This guarantees that what you learn in the workshop is easily and speedily transferred to the business.
In addition, we oversee the implementation and assist you in working out any kinks that show up on the job that we did not cover in the training. We are also available on request if you have any queries or problems.
The “mentoring” approach
This is where we team up with your business right from the beginning.
We work with you to identify the areas where coaching will help your business. Them you select your "coaching team" and we're ready to go. The process begins with my team doing the core coaching and your team looking over our shoulders, learning all they can.
At the end of the specified period, we hand over to your team who will continue from there.
The “consulting” approach
Maybe you want to take a hands-off approach to coaching for whatever reason. In this scenario, you outsource your coaching to us and we act as your coach on a long-term basis.
This is usually many reasons. The result is that they have out-sourced their coaching to us and we act as their coach on a longer-term basis.
We encourage you to choose the approach and the service provider that you believe is right for you and then work with them to make it happen for you.
Your next "coaching" steps
So there you have it...the case for why you need coaching in your business.
I've shown you the benefits, I've opened up and shared why it might not work. But I didn't stop there, I gave you 3 options you can use to implement it.
Let me remind you, your success will not rest only on how much of the latest technology you have in your business.
You also need a new way of working with your employees which starts with the skills and attitudes they already have. From there, you will grow and manage these so that you can achieve more results with fewer resources.
Yes, I'm telling you that coaching can be a tool to help you scale your business rapidly.