‘Everyone Needs a Coach’ – Bill Gates

Expert Coaching Can Work for All

The Leadership Challenge

The challenge facing most organisation leaders today is how to provide the necessary guidance, direction and decisions in the increasingly complex and rapidly changing work environment. For the first time in our history we now have 4 generations coming together at the same time in the workplace. We have Baby Boomers – born between 1946 and 1964, Generation X – born between 1965 and 1980, Generation Y (Millennials) born between 1981 and 1996 and Generation Z – born after 1997.

Each generation has different expectations, motivations, loyalties, sensitivities, values and career ambitions. Each generation requires a different form of leadership to develop their purpose, grow their talent and maximise their contribution to their organisation. Diversity in the workplace, ethnic and cultural differences and gender equality adds a further set of complexities to the leadership challenge.

Each generation has to overcome ever more complex workplace challenges and to succeed they must learn how to navigate the many sensitivities of working within multi-skilled, multi-generation, multi-cultural and diverse teams. Each generation has its own unique set of skills, abilities and beliefs and when they do learn how to work together they can drive their organisations to achieve extraordinary results.

To answer the current leadership challenge, new approaches are evolving to augment traditional employee learning and development methods with closer one-to-one employee support and engagement. Advances in technology are energising forward-thinking leaders to create, at scale, a virtual and inclusive coaching and mentoring culture to reach beyond the normally exclusive purview of C-Suite executives. An inclusive coaching and mentoring culture enables a greater number of people the opportunity to identify and maximise their natural strengths and learn what it takes to succeed in the workplace.

By powering their hidden talent, unseen value and untapped energy, coaching and mentoring gives individuals a voice and a unique platform to be heard and engage.

Progressive organisations understand how inclusive coaching and mentoring programmes can expand talent pipelines and transform learning and development benefits to their wider workforce. Organisations choose to extend the scope of coaching and mentoring to include employees at all levels because they know it is a potent form of sustainable engagement that actually works and delivers demonstrably positive results.

What is Powering the Growth in Coaching?

For evidence that professional coaching works the PricewaterhouseCoopers 2016 Global Coaching Study conducted for the International Coaching Federation, showed that 86% of organisations saw a positive return on their coaching investment, and 96% of those who have been coached said they would engage again in a coaching programme.

The benchmark study involved 15,380 survey responses from 137 countries, and represents ICF’s largest, most ambitious industry research project to date. The study also showed the value of the annual global coaching market in 2015 reached $2.4 billion representing a 19% increase over the 2011 estimate and the demand is expected to grow annually by 6%.

Organisations and individuals are invested in professional coaching and mentoring because they know it works and it works at all levels in the workplace. A trained and experienced professional coach creates a unique enabling environment that supports, encourages and challenges their Clients and that builds trust and rapport.

Amongst the direct benefits of working with a skilled coach, Clients will discover insights into new thinking when they get stuck, uncover improved behaviours to enhance their workplace relationships, raise self-confidence when engaging others, enrich their employee experience with better career development opportunities and well-being support. Professional coaching also delivers intangible benefits including increased staff retention, higher levels of engagement, motivation and confidence of those being coached, improved communications and relationships with key stakeholders, increase in career opportunities and a greater work-life balance.

The Foundation of Expert Coaching

When skilfully delivered, professional coaching is at its most powerful when the following six factors are enabled in a coaching and programme:

Authenticity: This is the root from which trusted coaching relationships grow and it is self-awareness that provides the energy from which authenticity is established. Authenticity empowers us to vocalise our true thoughts, enhances our self-knowledge and powers our problem-solving abilities.

Authenticity and self-awareness enables us you to learn how we are perceived by others and to understand how key behaviours will either help or hinder our development. With authenticity and heightened self-awareness we can reframe our thinking in terms of our achievements to drive us forward and energise the belief we have in ourselves, in our potential and our determination to succeed.

Alignment: Coaching works best when there is clear alignment between the ambition of the Client and the needs of their organisation. It is also important to have the support, commitment and involvement of a sponsor such as the Client’s line manager or human resources partner to ensure a common understanding of the purpose, context and expected outcomes of a coaching programme.

Action: Creating measurable goals documented in a deliverable and measured action plan will provide the road map for achieving expected outcomes. It will also provide the reference of the Client’s situation preceding the coaching programme as well the reference for measuring progress toward the anticipated situation post-coaching.

Accountability: By design, a professional coaching programme creates the enabling conditions for Clients to take responsibility and be accountable for their own development and growth. Since the Coach, and where appropriate the Client’s Sponsor, will check on progress towards the agreed action plan from each session, the coaching programme has in-built accountability.

Acceleration: The power of professional coaching in action is its ability to accelerate individual growth. The challenges a leader has faced alone for some time without resolution will be overcome more quickly and with better, sustainable outcomes when a skilled Coach is involved. Almost all human endeavours are really hard to achieve when doing them alone and with the support, encouragement and challenge from an expert Coach, Clients will grow faster than doing it alone.

Conclusions

  • The leadership challenge comes from the growing diversity in the workplace with 4 generations coming together simultaneously for the first time with different skills, needs and expectations.
  • Technology is changing faster than ever before, replacing traditional jobs and the roles of tomorrow are probably not yet known.
  • Accelerated learning is needed to combat knowledge decay and to anticipate the advance of diversity, new technologies, new markets and changing Customer needs.
  • New leadership models are developing the capabilities needed to inspire the evolving workforce demographic, maximise its potential, optimise its skills and recruit, retain and grow its diverse talent.
  • Forward-thinking leaders are using virtual technology to extend the scope and access to professional coaching expertise by the wider workforce.
  • No leader on their own can overcome the scope, volume and diversity of the challenges they face or push their capability beyond current limits.

Great leaders focus on their strengths not weaknesses and with the advantage of professional coaching, the priority is not on ‘putting in what is missing’ (because that’s really difficult if not impossible), it is on ‘drawing out what is already in’.

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