Is your team missing its mark? Are the results disappointing? Are the performance graphs showing a sharp drop-off? It is clear that a sustainable business advantage can only be found through a team of enthusiastic and engaged employees. The basis of employee coaching is to identify the specific reasons for underperformance, as well as the exact steps to resolve the issue, and their implementation.
Employee benefit programs should include the opportunity of a telephone or in-person session with an external coach. The external coach’s role is to be independent and to create a safe environment for the employees, where the coach is bound by confidentiality rules and outside the company’s politics. This role is the opposite of an internal coach; employees often say that internal coaching did not work for them as they were unable to assure confidentiality. Moreover, the internal coach is usually not available to all employees – only the top three levels.
This is the main advantage of an external coach – employees can relax and be open with information and details that could be critical to improving their performance. The coach should be an objective and confidential partner who is not involved with the company’s everyday activities and has no prejudice against either the employee or the company. All of this can contribute to intense, highly energetic coaching, which can have significant results over a relatively short period.
Coaching gets results in both personal and professional life, but the extent to which a coach can help depends on the client’s openness and willingness to change, and the extent to which they are prepared to shift from feeling “trapped”.
I have seen clients who were able to reach a solution when they saw the way out, but who then immediately terminated the coaching. I knew they wanted to stay where they are and didn’t really want to change. And I respect this as a coach – it is the client’s decision. However, change is the only constant of life, so let’s not fear it.
Coaching is most effective when the client overcomes the fear of openness. In our culture, it is not customary for others to open up and talk about their deepest feelings. At the same time, we may feel uncomfortable when an unknown person is pressuring us to start answering tough personal questions. A coach needs to create a pleasant environment full of trust and respect for clients.
The question should not be “why introduce external coaching?” but “why NOT introduce external coaching?” The only thing that managers need to do is show courage – the courage to give employees the opportunity to talk about their situation without fearing the consequences.
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