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A resilient business starts with a coaching culture

Businesses today are in a constant state of disruption. But those that instil a culture of coaching, create a resilient workforce that can adapt nimbly and efficiently to the changing environment. In addition, coaching increases employee engagement which brings additional benefits to the organisation. This is supported by research findings from the Human Capital Institute (HCI) and the International Coach Federation (ICF), which identified that organisations with strong coaching cultures are more than twice as likely to be labelled as high-performing organisations. Further findings state that these organisations report revenue growth well above their industry peer group (51% compared with only 38%) and significantly higher engagement (62% compared with 50%).
Image source: Narintorn Pornsuknimitkul –
Image source: Narintorn Pornsuknimitkul –

Traditionally, organisations offered coaching as a benefit to leadership and management teams. However, by creating a plan to support individuals with situational learning as soon as it is needed, organisations can increase the likelihood of success by building organisational resilience, ensuring readiness, and strengthening accountability. As such, for workplace coaching to be effective and drive results for the business, it must be made available to all employees across the company and echo throughout the company in every employee interaction.

While companies with robust coaching cultures tend to have senior executives who are personally invested in their coaching programmes, often leaders can feel overwhelmed trying to coach a diverse range of work styles and development needs. This means that often coaching gets pushed to the back-burner. However, with various coaching options available, companies should not overlook this tool that has significant benefits for both the organisation and its employees. These include:

Help teams build resilience and readiness

Being resilient does not mean eliminating stressful situations. Rather it helps people to learn how to adapt to challenges as quickly as possible. These agile teams enable more autonomous problem-solvers who are prepared to take responsibility for their decisions.

A strong coaching system offers a fresh perspective and helps members to understand their motivations, think differently about their roles and priorities and helps with big picture thinking, removing them from the rut of daily problems, leading to faster problem solving and better outcomes. This, in turn, leads to faster and smarter decision making even during the most disruptive of times.

Preparing the talent pipeline and future leaders

It is tempting to think of talent management as a luxury to be set aside during times of crisis when businesses are focused on bigger issues like profitability and security. However, with the recent global shift to remote work, the need for employee training and development has escalated as distance and lack of face-to-face interaction create challenges and also opportunities.

While leaders often tend to view employee conversations as “challenges” rather than as “opportunities”, however, if they improve their ability to connect, engage and navigate with colleagues at every level of the organisation, and communicate with humility and vulnerability it will improve their credibility and build trust which is essential for leading an engaged team.

Even leaders need feedback

The higher up the leadership chain, the less likely employees are to hear criticism about their performance, even if it’s constructive. Today, many CEOs do not feel like they can turn to their senior leadership teams for honest feedback. However, according to Warren Buffet, one of the world’s most successful businessmen and philanthropists, feedback is a valuable gift that should be welcomed.

This is where coaching comes in. A strong coach will tell leaders what they need to hear, rather than what they want to hear and what they often do not get to hear from their peers and employees. That honest feedback needs to be met with reflection and action.

Coach to build confidence

Basing leadership on problem-solving and communication skills alone, without strong self-confidence, is like building a house on a foundation of sand. The exterior may look fine, but it will ultimately be shaky at best. Confident leaders can tackle issues more quickly to reduce disruption, and they tend to increase inclusiveness and creativity.

When leaders exhibit and inspire confidence, they are easier to trust, and that increases team commitment. Coaching can provide valuable insights that help executives move beyond second-guessing and defensiveness to confident leadership.

For companies and leaders that are looking for ways to boost employee engagement and improve leadership skills, coaching helps individuals build the leadership skills necessary to tackle any challenge and move careers forward.

About Lyndy van den Barselaar

Lyndy van den Barselaar is the MD of Manpower Group South Africa.

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