In 2009, there was a famous research report published in the Harvard Business Review (January Edition) where they presented a myriad of contradictions and controversies about the profession of coaching. Fortunately, the domain has evolved very quickly and the situation is not as paradoxical today as it was back then. For the trained and certified coaching professional, there is more clarity on what are some of the ways to successful interventions and more focus on the outcomes, process and method of coaching. Self-styled coaches need to put their methodology and process under the scanner and look at benchmarking against professional standards set by the likes of International Coaching Federation. There is a range of competencies and knowledge that defines excellence and professionalism in coaching interventions, and these are the ones that separate the professionals and amateurs.
Coaching is not just a word in the dictionary
There are millions of HR professionals all over the world who think of coaching in loosely held semantic ways as though it was a term that encompasses any one-on-one dialogue with people and employees, ranging from a casual conversation to a formal dialogue intended to correct and rectify. An off-the-cuff understanding of coaching includes a hazy understanding of ambiguously executed OD interventions that are likely to miss the purpose. The real coaching boundaries are very different from advisory sessions, mentoring sessions, consulting sessions, and so many other forms of one-on-one engagement with experts and advisors.
The coaching frame is about positive sponsorship, results and solution focus, visualization, self-directed learning. It is a facilitative frame that is set up in these sessions with the role of the coach being one that encourages the coachee to explore his universe and use his innate capabilities and intelligence to discover his path to a positive and successful future.
Coaching interventions in organizations are now becoming an effective way to harness potential and develop human resources. In a world that is over-saturated with training calendars full of workshops and seminars and an audience that has overdosed on PowerPoint presentations and lectures, it is now an effective way to get learning across in a way that engages and is individualized to each participants learning style.
What coaching can deliver
Coaching is not just another old wine in a new bottle. The fact is that many organizations today are adopting coaching based HR interventions and this methodology is now mainstream OD practice. If done right, coaching benefits everybody. The organization gets a good takeaway by way of more engaged employees, leadership talent management, building a preparedness for change, and a host of other learning and development objectives achieved. HR gets to see true results in the form of a managed agenda at the level of the individual. Employees get the benefits of bringing their talents for a self-directed agenda for growth and fulfillment of visions for the future. Coaches are generally more passionate about change for the better, and they get to see the value addition with each coaching session, and the intrinsic rewards are gratifying indeed. The bottom line is, that if its done right, coaching is the way to transform leadership, enhance employee engagement, and build organizational culture and much more.
Coaching deliverables can be any or all of these:
- Performance oriented coaching, which aims at enabling employees to meet the organizational goals and targets.
- Development coaching, where coaches engage with their own learning agenda to take them to the next level.
- Problem solving coaching, which is intended to resolve difficulties faced in projects, processes, teamwork, interpersonal aspects
- Transformational coaching, where the life coach actually encourages and handholds the coachee through periods of internal and external change.
The key to a successful coaching intervention lies in the convergence of the values and vision driving the effort, the design and execution of the processes, and in the magical chemistry that the coach-coachee interaction produces. All these are possible to be worked with and need to be fostered with passion and care. Benefits are sure to come.
This blogpost is the first of a series of five or six where coaching interventions in organizations are demystified, from the viewpoint of the practicing HR Professional. Keep on reading and come back for the next one soon.