COACHING -are you getting the results you deserve?

Coaching is often promoted as a "less costly", "more targeted" and "highly flexible" training approach. It is no wonder therefore that at DBA we're receiving more and more enquiries about coaching skills training. And indeed we have many customers who have benefited from the implementation of a coaching programme. However, in our experience, coaching needs careful handling if it is to deliver the promised results.

Why is there such enthusiasm for coaching?

The major changes we're experiencing in organization structure and culture are resulting from situations which require:

  • line managers to take responsibility for the development of their own staff and
  • individuals to become more involved in making decisions about their own personal development.

As a consequence, the role of the training manager is changing and there is now an increasing requirement for trainers to provide flexible, cost effective and individually targeted alternatives to grouped based training. Coaching is being hailed as the solution to these changes and requirements.

What is coaching?

Coaching is a continuous, ongoing dialogue about the job performance of the individual concerned. Its purpose is to ensure that the individual can perform the tasks required of them to the best of their ability. More often than not, coaching is carried out by line managers. Increasingly in DBA clients, we are also seeing peer coaching used effectively on team work.

There are a number of models available to describe the coaching process. Most of these are broadly similar to the Slater Packard model which we have successfully used with our clients. The model identifies the following key stages which occur within a continuous cycle.

So what can go wrong?

The two most common problems associated with coaching are misuse and skill deficit.

The first of these, the misuse of coaching, arises through a misunderstanding. It occurs when coaching is identified as the sole solution. You may have met the member of the senior management team who in a sweeping reform removes all other methods of development, because they have heard that the latest word in training is " coaching". Or the budget driven manager who sees coaching as an economical way to deliver a lot of training. In practice, while coaching is a less costly, highly targeted, and flexible method of training, it is only truly effective when used to complement rather than replace other training methods. Coaching should be used as a considered part of the total training mix.

The second most common problem we see with coaching is a skill deficit: those who are required to act as coaches either receive inadequate training or no training at all - after-all the cry goes up, "who needs to learn to coach!" Sad, but true. And what is also true, is that as a result of these two problems, coaching could very easily acquire a bad reputation and be quickly dismissed as another "fad". Make sure this doesn't happen in your organization. With our clients we have proved beyond question that coaching is a vital part of the training mix. To make sure you benefit from all that it has to offer, educate your organization on the true role of coaching and train your coaches to do the job well. Everyone benefits.