What is Employee Coaching (and what it's not)?

If you are looking for a simple definition of coaching, it is defined as the act of instructing or training someone with the purpose of achieving a goal. The most important parts of that definition are the "someone" and the "goal". These two words are what define the type of coaching that is needed to achieve that definition. This is especially true for employee coaching.

In the business world, employee coaching is considered one of the first steps to improve performance within an organization. These programs are implemented to give employees the opportunity to develop specific skills to become more proficient when performing required tasks. Coaching gives employees the chance to learn skills needed to excel within their organization. 

The Benefits of Employee Coaching

Employee coaching programs are so effective that some of the largest companies in the world have implemented them. These companies, including Syngenta, Mayo Clinic, and Network Rail, have seen amazing benefits. These benefits aren't only for the individuals being coached, but also for the organizations. The benefits that you can expect to see when implementing an employee coaching program include:

1. Developing Your High Potential Employees
Implementing an employee coaching program gives you the opportunity to develop your high potential employees. These are the employees that you see as the future leaders of your organization. Coaches will access the leadership potential in your high potentials and determine what skills they need to develop to be productive. Developing these employees is crucial to maintaining your succession pipeline.

2. Creating a Stronger Leadership Team
 
Employee coaching is not exclusive to lower level employees. It's important that you get your leadership team involved in the coaching program to see improved employee engagement and retention.
Relationships between employees and leaders can often be strained. In fact, bad managerial relationships are often cited in the top reasons why employees leave an organization. Because employee coaching focuses on individual skills, your leaders can each develop the skills needed to effectively manage their team.
 
3. Developing communication skills

Communication skills are vital to productivity and profitability for your organization. In fact, it’s been revealed that an average of $62.4 million per year has been lost in large companies due to poor internal communication.

Employee coaching is a great way to develop communication skills across your organization. The skills needed to be a great communicator, including listening, clarity, and confidence, are easily learned through a coaching relationship.

 

Employee Coaching is Not Mentoring

When discussing employee coaching, it's important to remember that coaching is not mentoring. These two programs are often compared and it's easy to get them confused. While they are both career development programs that are great for your employees, the differences are very important to understand.

  • Length of Relationship: Coaching relationships are typically shorter
  • Focus of Goals: Coaching is used to achieve very specific goals that revolve around employee productivity and performance
  • Coach-Driven Relationship: It is the coach's responsibility to drive the relationship by setting tasks for the coachee to complete.
  • External Coaches: Coaches are usually hired from an outside source and are not actually part of the organization.
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