“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 that he may need to access or acquire coaching skills to deal with certain problems he was having in his workplace.
Well…I have news for you Sir: As a Small Business Leader you need coaching in your business!
In today’s competitive environment, with technology leveling many playing fields and the accelerated speed at which you must respond to the challenges you face, it is becoming apparent that your small business will grow and thrive when 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.
Increasingly, you will be required to possess leadership skills which add value to your business, and that means being able to measure performance.
This will set you apart from the competition and help you to attract and keep quality employees. It will also enable you to increase productivity and guarantee you profitable growth.
Can coaching help with this? You bet it can!
What is coaching?
It's a process in which a person helps an individual 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 merely 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 stimulate experimentation and continuous learning, helps employees deal with work-related emotions 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 accelerates increased productivity and 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.
Coaching enhances your performance as a team leader, helping 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 goal?
Well…ahhm…reluctantly…I have to answer “yes.”
You see, coaching is not a quick fix. Rather it’s a process to create solutions which results in sustained change. This means that coaching often lack some of the key ingredients for success and hence can sometimes fail.
Here are some of the common reasons why your coaching attempts might fail:
• Your employees do not trust you/your manager
• You/your manager have not sufficiently convinced your employees that you know what you’re doing
• The coaching atmosphere which is created is threatening and not conducive to open discussion
• Employees do not believe that the applicable performance expectations and how they’re going to be measured have been properly communicated to them.
• Employees do not believe that the feedback from you/your manager is accurate and objective
• You/your manager only concentrate on what the employee needs to improve and doesn’t praise things done well.
• You/your manager cannot identify the specific training to correct the problems thrown up by coaching
The big question is whether you are going to compromise the profitability and growth of your business or are you going to get some coaching skills in your business fast.
Doing it yourself vs outsourcing
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 coaching in your business.
- 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.
- The “mentoring” approach
This is where we invite you to select your key supervisors/managers and along with you, they get to look over my shoulder or one of our other coaches as we coach your employees in the areas which you have identified you need coaching. When we are through, we hand over to your team.
- The “consulting” approach
Some of our clients have taken a hands-off approach to coaching for many reasons. The result is that they have out-sourced their coaching to us and we act as their coach on a long-term basis.
We encourage you to choose the approach you believe is right for you and then we work with you to make it happen for you.
So Yes! Small business leader you need coaching in your business! Your success will not rest only on how much 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 and grow and manage these so that you can achieve more results with fewer resources.
That new way is coaching.