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What Coaching Brings to a Company's Bottom Line

12th November 2015 | Gillian Jones

Why is Coaching Effective? What Can It Bring to a Company’s Bottom Line?

50 Top Tools for Coaching (9780749473440)There’s an old saying: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

If someone is experiencing a particular problem, solving that one incident – like the man who’s hungry but who doesn’t know how to fish – will only help in the short term. The man eats his fish, his hunger is sated, but the next day dawns and he’s in the same situation. By teaching him how to fish, and therefore instilling skills and knowledge within him that he can use in that situation whenever it occurs, he never needs to feel hungry again.

That analogy fits coaching perfectly. If someone has a problem, solving the issue for them won’t teach them anything nor stop it reoccurring. By getting to the root of the problem, and equipping the coachee with the right mindset, knowledge, and skills, the issue is unlikely to escalate again. It will be nipped in the bud, in a calm, effective manner, before it even has chance to raise its head.

Coaching is a tool that enables a solution, i.e. answers aren’t given by the coach. The coach asks specific yet open and effective questions that draw out the correct answers and the best approach from within the coachee. If they can’t see the wood for the trees, a coach is the equivalent of a lumberjack.

So, how can coaching make a difference in business?

As a tool, coaching helps people move forward, and frees them of the paralysing, static state indecision or a lack of skills/knowledge can bring. When people are clear and focused about what they need to do, their enthusiasm soars, their productivity levels rise, their morale lifts. The knock-on effect of a switched on, happy employee is reduced absence, a happier working environment, and an increase in staff retention. A positive, effective internal culture can even attract people to a company. Every single one of these elements can improve the growth of an organisation, whose biggest asset is its people.

The impartial nature of coaching offers an effective sounding board to the coachee with a problem. Certainly, careers is one area where decisions have dramatic effect on our lives….the importance of which job role to accept if offered more than one, of whether a certain career is actually what the coachee wants to do with their lives, whether a particular organisation is fulfilling all their needs - it can be overwhelming in these scenarios to reach the right answer. A good coach offers clarity, and allows coachees to explore their deeper thoughts and preferences in a safe manner.

It’s amazing how negative beliefs and habits are collected as we go through life, which can inhibit decision-making, and convince us that it’s better sticking to what we know – even if we can see that change is necessary and it will be good for us. That’s another thing a coach helps create: motivation. The fisherman may have been perfectly happy being fed by someone else every day, for example, but could he rely on being fed? At least taking action to learn the skills himself guaranteed he’d never be hungry again.

Once a decision has been reached, coaching helps ascertain the right steps or plan to make something happen. People react to change differently, and whilst some embrace it, others may need a lot of reassurance and support to act and move away from their comfort zone.

Because coaching is as unique as the person being coached, it’s not as effective is self-administered. Everyone is different, and a one-approach-fits-all will never work. We’re often the creators of our obstacles; if that’s the case, how can we hope to abolish them on our own?

Coaching is an extremely effective tool in the workplace. It delivers outcomes and helps people look at the bigger picture. Because what’s the point of moving forward or making changes if we don’t understand why things are happening, or what we want to achieve?

About author: Gillian Jones is co-Managing Director of Emerge, an organizational and behavioural change consultancy specializing in coaching culture strategy. Gillian has worked both as an executive coach and consultant for over 15 years, supporting organizations to transform their business and empower teams through creating a coaching culture. She is co-author of How to Create a Coaching Culture and 50 Top Tools for Coaching, both published by Kogan Page.

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HR, Organizational Development & Coaching

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