On Leadership and the Promise of Coaching

Professional Coaching

In the last twenty years a new profession of coaching burst upon the scene. From the local workout gym to the main street workplace; from the boardwalk to the boardroom, professional coaching has made inroads in many facets of life.

In 1999 Frederic M. Hudson said this in The Handbook of Coaching:

“Adult coaching is a new career area. Whether it will become a stand-alone profession has yet to be decided.”

Profile of a Coach

According to the International Coaching Federation, the average coach is between 46 to 55-years old, has coached for 5-10 years, and 53 percent of them have earned an advanced degree, either a masters or doctorate.

While professional and executive coaches tend to carve out a niche for themselves, most of them tout the benefits of coaching to individuals as well as to businesses.

Benefits of Coaching

An example of the benefits of coaching from Donna Karlin’s 2010 A Better Perspective:

Main benefits of coaching to recipient:

Generates improvements in individuals’ performance/targets/goals: 84%

Increased openness to personal learning and development: 60%

Helps identify solutions to specific work-related issue: 58%

Greater ownership and responsibility: 52%

Developing self-awareness: 42%

Improves specific skills or behavior: 38%

Greater clarity in roles and objectives: 37%

Corrects behavior/performance difficulties: 33%

Main benefits of coaching to the organization

Allows fuller use of individual’s talents/potential: 79%

Demonstrates commitment to individuals and their development: 69%

Higher organizational performance/productivity: 69%

Increased creativity/learning/knowledge: 63%

Intrinsically motivates people: 57%

Facilitates the adoption of a new culture/Management style: 39%

Improves relationships between people/departments: 35%

Bonus Edition

I would add four more benefits of coaching for the organization to Donna Karlin’s list:

  1. Reduces workplace conflict
  2. Improves employee retention
  3. Lowers costs and increases profits
  4. Increases the company’s professional standing

The Promise of Coaching

While the use of coaching is increasing among businesses in an effort to address workplace stress, many leaders remain in the dark, seemingly content with a bygone command and control structure that fails to motivate workers today.

The top three causes of workplace stress are healthcare costs, workplace safety, and absenteeism.

Increasingly, companies are providing life-coaching for employees in an effort to retain them and lower costs. (Business News Daily)

WHY LEADERS REJECT COACHING

The promise of coaching is enormous but many business leaders, managers, and bosses remain skeptical or unconvinced of the benefits of coaching in their workplace. Based on these benefits, what business leader would not employ professional and executive coaches?

Here are some possible reasons:

  • Leaders fear of loss of control
  • Leaders are educated and experienced in a command and control system
  • Leaders fear of personal accountability
  • Leaders are unaware of the discipline of coaching and its benefits

Before the profession of coaching can live up to its promises and benefits, many more business leaders, CEO’s, and managers must be educated. Some leaders view the coaching profession favorably after they personally benefit from being coached.

TWO SCENARIOS

Here are two examples of employee outcomes:

Opting for Coaching

Joe has worked for a medical office for seven years. He is seen by leaders in the large private medical practice as a fair employee. He does good work when he is at work, but Joe has a lot of absences.

Over time some of his fellow employees discovered the Joe was stressed by excessive debt of his own making. He had finally reached a point where he suffered from stress induced depression which began to show in the quality of his work.

The leadership discussed what might be done and someone suggested hiring a life coach to help reframe Joe’s priorities and help him get back on track. Additionally it was suggested that the company help him get clinical help for his depression.

While some managers balked at the suggestions saying that the company had never done this before, the CEO decided to take a chance on Joe.

Turn the clock forward a year and Joe is now considered to be one of the best employees. His positive attitude is contagious, his productivity is markedly higher, and the company saved thousands of dollars despite the costs of hiring a coach for him and helping in his depression treatment.

Now, that company has retained the services of a life-coach who has helped several other employees avoid termination, increase their productivity, and saved the company money.

Opting against Coaching

Cindy has worked for a small wellness and fitness company for five years, but recently the company manager and CEO discussed terminating her. She had performed her duties well for several years and seemed to be in line for a promotion to manage another store.

Recently Cindy began arriving late and leaving early and the quality of her work decreased. Upon confronting her in the office, she revealed that she was going through a divorce, her baby had been sick, and she had experienced difficulty getting appropriate child care.

While Cindy begged for another chance to get her life in order, she was terminated.

Consequently, the company spent the equivalent of 150% of Cindy’s salary to terminate her and then hire and train her replacement. (The Real Cost of Retraining Employees)

Coaching is Compassionate

Do an internet search of “how to terminate an employee” and you will get over 15 million results.

Now do a search of “providing coaching instead of termination” or “coaching instead of termination” and you will get from 2 to 5 million results with only a few of them relating to the real subject of your search terms. Is this an indicator of the “lost promise of coaching?”

The sad fact is that unrealized potential is no potential at all, but developed potential realizes reward for all involved.

Coaching is not only cost effective but it is also a compassionate way to respond to the ups and downs experienced by everyone. It is an investment in the most important aspect of business—human capital.

What are some additional benefits of coaching to the individual being coached? What are some additional benefits of coaching to the company? I would love to hear your thoughts!

——————–
Dr. Tom Cocklereece
 is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
He is an author, pastor, coach, and leadership specialist
Email LinkedIn Twitter Web Blog Book

Image Sources: thekeystocanaan.org

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4 Responses

  1. Tom,
    What an excellent article! Thanks for your terrific work!

  2. Excellent article, thank you for sharing.

  3. [...] What are some additional benefits of coaching to the company? This article was originally written by Dr. Tom Cocklereece and posted on Linked2Leadership blogazine. http://linked2leadership.com/2011/07/26/the-promise-of-coaching/ [...]

  4. There’s definitely a ‘stigma’ attached to coaching in some circles. It’s seen as admitting weakness and recognising we’re fallible because we’ve got skills or knowledge gaps (blind spots) – something a lot of ‘leaders’ are reluctant to accept.

    I think some of the best coaching I’ve received is when you don’t realise you’re being coached – it comes from friends and peers in the form of ‘friendly advice’.

    Hopefully coaching can become “mainstream” and we can start to realise the potential that lies dormant in many of us through an objective third party helping us.

    Loved the article, thank you.

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