According to a recent study by the International Coaching Foundation, there was a 33% growth in the number of coach practitioners between 2015 and 2019, and the number of managers and leaders within organizations that utilize coaching techniques has risen by almost one half, 46% over the same period.
In addition, a 2018 study by the Human Capital Institute (HCI) and the International Coaching Federation (ICF), “Building a Coaching Culture for Change Management” found that 83% of the organizations planned to expand the scope of managers and leaders using coaching techniques over the next five years.
Clearly, businesses now recognize the immense value of coaching training and development, as a leadership and management technique to integrate a coaching mindset into their organizational culture, and of internal and external coach practitioners as valuable resources for individual and team improvement.
However, what is coaching? How does it differ from leadership, management, mentoring, and training, and how are organizations using coaching to achieve growth? Let me answer these questions in turn!
What is coaching?
Coaching is a process that helps you identify and resolve problems you may have concerning your life. The coach acts as a “thought partner” to help you gain a better understanding of yourself as a person and in context with your environment. As a result, you become empowered to reach your full potential, personally and professionally. Your coach, as a partner to you, uses questions paired with reflective listening to help you “see” and interpret your thinking in a way that you’re not able to see on your own. You might compare it with using a mirror to see a reflection of yourself that helps you dress or shave better. One key concept of coaching is “sustainable change” – meaning that the client being coached learns from the process and the learning stays with them after the process is concluded.
Leadership and management training, facilitation and mentoring
While leadership, management, training and mentoring processes are all also extremely important, they differ from coaching in terms of the roles played by both the coach and the client. Coaching is, in the words of Myles Downey, “non-directive”: the client solves their own problems, identify their own course of action and way of working – according to their needs. The other styles of service are, to different degrees, “directive” and differ from coaching in that they focus more on:
· sharing information and ideas (suggesting),
· instructing and directing (telling),
· inspiring and motivating (selling)…
...as opposed to coaching where the focus is on:
· generating insights (reflective inquiry and powerful questions).
Each of these 4 communication styles has its own place depending on the situation, the skills, strengths and mindset of the client or client team.
However, leadership, management, training and mentoring can be delivered from a coaching perspective – integrating the coaching approach into leadership and management development; creating training and mentoring programs that use coaching methods to help make the learning “stick”:
· By integrating coaching with leadership and management training, you are able to support your team members’ personal and professional growth through impactful learning and development experiences that they will remember!
· In a similar way, coaching can be integrated with facilitation and mentoring in order to serve the client’s needs.
How organizations and businesses get value from coaching
At a business level, coaching creates sustained, positive impact and value in three different but connected types of service:
At the individual level, using coaching to help leaders and managers improve their own performance within the company and in balance with their lives, their personal situation. For example, this white paper, from the ICF (International Coaching Federation), concluded that: “the application of coaching skills positively impacts manager-employee relationships. Managers who exercise a participative style of management rather than a directive style enable better manager-employee working relationships. In turn, this can increase employee engagement—the connection and commitment employees exhibit toward their organization”.
At the team level, using team coaching – a relatively new form of coaching that supports a team to perform better by fostering greater understanding of the interplay between team members and between the team and the environment within which the team operates. One of the best sources of information regarding team coaching is David Clutterbuck and in particular his book “Coaching the team at work”. In that book he contrasts team coaching with more traditional team building activities: “Team coaching can negate the downsides of traditional approaches to team building by helping people understand and manage the social dynamics of the team, by introducing healthy doses of realism when appropriate, and by sustaining members’ curiosity about the task, each other and the environment in which they work together.”
At the organization level, using coaching as a methodology, integrated into learning programs that change the culture of the organization into a more participative environment with coaching integrated into the corporate values. One example of this can be read from a 2018 white paper Building a Coaching Culture for Change Management”, produced by the ICF in conjunction with the Human Capital Institute (HCI): An extract from the executive summary of this paper states: “When people experience change as something that is happening to them rather than something they are integral to, they become resistant to the change. Coaching is a powerful tool to develop the potential of employees, modify behaviors and drive business success. Because of this, it can help individuals, teams and organizations explore resistance, enhance communication and promote resilience in the face of change.”
These services are delivered by professional coaches, either employed by the organization or sourced externally.
Interested to learn more? Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the resources below:
The ICF White Paper
2020 ICF Global Coaching Study: https://coachfederation.org/app/uploads/2020/09/FINAL_ICF_GCS2020_ExecutiveSummary.pdf
Open Access Government pages:
Building a coaching culture for Change Management (ICF and HCI) https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.acmpglobal.org/resource/resmgr/ignitors/2018_bcc_for_change_manageme.pdf
Institute of Coaching and David Clutterbuck
When people experience change as something that is happening to them rather than something they are integral to, they become resistant to the change. Coaching is a powerful tool to develop the potential of employees, modify behaviours and drive business success. Because of thi“the application of coaching skills positively impacts manager-employee relationships. Managers who exercise a participative style of management rather than a directive style enable better manager-employee working relationships. In turn, this can increase employee engagement—the connection and commitment employees exhibit toward their organization”.