9 Facts About Coaching

Coaching is now firmly established as a discipline but, the term “coaching” is often associated with a number of definitions. Some of the more widely known ones define coaching as:

  • A process providing an individual with feedback, insight and guidance on achieving their full potential in their business or personal life.
  • A strategy used to help individuals reach their fullest potential and to achieve their goals.
  • A set of practical skills and a style of relating that develop the potential of both the individual being coached and the coach.
  • A professional relationship in which you work together with your coach to clarify your options, set goals and develop action plans to achieve those goals.

The notion of coaching originated from sports, but nowadays the two main types of coaching are: business (corporate) coaching and life (personal) coaching. We will concentrate here on the former.

Benefits of Corporate Coaching: Organizational Development

  1. Increase in performance. This is the main advantage: coaching develops the best qualities of people and teams and enables the use of those qualities at work for the benefit of the organization. Using management coaching techniques significantly increases staff productivity.
  2. Improvement of relationships at work. Questions asked during the coaching process add value both to the person being asked and to the person asking the questions. An atmosphere of mutual respect and trust is being established; good relationships at work provide the fertile ground for improved staff productivity.
  3. Staff development. This aims to unlock the inner potential of the company’s employees. Coaching allows the employees to develop themselves directly in the workplace, thus increasing their efficiency.
  4. Flexibility and adaptability. Improving competitiveness on the market requires such skills as flexibility and adaptability. Coaching can assist us in quickly adapting to every kind of change, which is an important attribute in today’s fast-moving business world.
  5. Staff motivation. Nowadays people work under their own will, not under constraint. Coaching helps people to fully develop their potential, increase their self-esteem and raise the quality of their work. At the same time, people also become motivated to be productive and to work efficiently.
  6. Life quality improvement. The most important constituent of a person’s quality of life is emotional satisfaction. When using coaching, apart from improving relationships, every employee gets higher emotional satisfaction from their work, which in turn leads to greater motivation for staff to perform at their best, in and out of the workplace.
  7. Creativity. Coaching itself and the working environment created by it, encourages employees to make creative suggestions. At the same time employees aren’t afraid of being laughed at or rejected. Moreover, they are motivated to put forward their suggestions to improve business processes; generally, one creative idea, when properly evaluated and accepted, generates lots of additional new ideas.
  8. Fast and effective response to critical situations. If people feel an atmosphere of respect and recognition, they are always ready to stand up for the company’s interests in critical situations. Working overtime and temporary changes to the working environment won’t be a great problem for them and will be accepted with understanding. Moreover, the employees will do their best to avoid such a situation, and will handle it themselves, without any direction from management.
  9. Unlocking hidden resources and potentials. Coaching creates an atmosphere of trust and confidence, where a person discovers inner resources that they didn’t know about earlier. The coach’s questions help people to identify ways of achieving their goals. Coaching helps a person to find their inner ‘assembly point’, from which the way of approaching goals becomes clear.

Conclusion

Today, coaching is one of the most effective personnel management tools. Coaching is not a theory; first and foremost it is a practice, not difficult to master, but at the same time extremely efficient. To see results of your own, why not try it for yourself in your home or workplace today?


Managing Upward

How can you get the most out of working for your boss?

For the purposes of this article, we shall be adopting the colloquialism of ‘boss’ to describe the person who you directly report to; in terms of company hierarchy, we will assume that you are not currently in the ‘top job’ in your organization.

With this in mind, we must recognize that in challenging times, sometimes your boss’s behavior becomes erratic. They may over-manage or under-manage you and your work.  Equally, they may lose sight of all the things you are working on and you may not be sure what your boss’s priorities are as they may appear to change daily.

There are many costs associated with this unfortunate situation, including: missed deadlines and opportunities, working on unimportant tasks, avoidance, frustration, the appearance of incompetence, stress, and burn-out.

What can you do to ensure you are working with your boss rather than against him or her?  

There are three key options you should consider in terms of positioning your relationship with your boss:

Option #1: Get in Front

Take time to understand your boss. How does he or she consider the following:

Goals – what are his or her aspirations and how can you help your boss to achieve them?

Problems – what common problems prevent your boss from being more effective? Are any of your boss’s problems your strengths? Can you take responsibility for meetings, communication, planning, follow-up, etc?

World – describe the world from your boss’s perspective. Who are the players?

Pressures – what pressures are placed on your boss? How might these pressures affect him or her? How might they affect priorities? How might they affect your job?

Personality – what kind of a boss does your boss work for?  How might this affect them?

Consider proactively approaching your boss with ideas about how you can help solve one of his or her problems.

Option #2: Get Behind

Recognize that your boss is in his or her position because of past successes and demonstrated competence.

Attitude –  are you supportive or do you complain?

Ego – do you really have a difficult or incompetent boss or does your boss have difficult or incompetent employees?

Support –  show support and encouragement; be specific in your positive reinforcement and always provide constructive feedback in person and in private.

Success –  recognize that your relationship with your current boss is critical to your future success.

Option #3: Get Alongside

Understand and work with your boss’s style:

Doer –  give the “doer” boss results and do not waste time.

Speaker – support the “speaker” boss’s intuition and need for recognition; provide assurance.

Listener – accommodate the “listener” boss’s need to talk things out before getting to business.

Thinker – present the “thinker” boss with logic and detail.

Teamwork – recognize that your relationship with your boss is a relationship of mutual dependence by two human beings with strengths and weaknesses. Identify the strengths and weaknesses that exist in both of you.

Management – if your boss comes to you with a crisis, remain calm and collect pertinent information: what is really wanted; who needs the information; when is it needed and how will it be used?

Communicate – be clear about what you are doing, especially information that may impact your boss (customer problems, project slippage, etc.) Your boss should NEVER be caught by surprise resulting from your failure to communicate.

Resolutions – when raising problems, come with alternative solutions and your recommendation already identified.

What is BIG’s main tip when it comes to managing upward?

Always be honest and dependable. Be the employee that you would want your employees to be. Model the behaviour YOU would expect from YOUR employees.


Career Progression

Are you keen to progress in your chosen business career?

Over the years we have all met people (and on occasions may even have been those people ourselves) who have stumbled into a particular job only to find that we lack the skills or, in some cases, the inclination to do well in that particular area of business. It is at times like this when we feel as if we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. But, instead of recognising this and doing something about it – whether that be seeking further training or even finding another job – we often remain where we are as inactivity is often perceived as being easier than coping with the turmoil brought about by change.

Earl Nightingale, the broadcaster and motivational speaker who co-founded in 1960 the Nightingale Conant Corporation, had a perceptive grasp on business and believed that many people simply look upon their work in the wrong way:

“The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else. Job security is gone. The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: jobs are owned by the company; you own your career!”

In one of his many personal development programmes, he also went on to explain:

“We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.”

With this in mind, the first step to a successful career must surely be to find that area of business in which you are most drawn to. Of course, that is not to say you cannot be successful in a job you dislike but let us not forget that success can be measured in so many different ways; it is not just about rising through the ranks of a corporate ladder or about how much we are paid in exchange for our time.

What steps should you take to improve your career prospects?

Assuming that you have found a business in which you wish to excel, BIG offers the following tips to help you become successful:

  1. Identify what success really means to you – identify the steps needed to take you from where you are now, to where you would like to be. Set intermediate goals to guide you there.
  2. Always be willing to learn – accept from the outset that you do not know everything and proactively seek opportunities to learn more.
  3. Seek constructive feedback – people like to be asked their opinion and you can learn so much about yourself from the way people see you; always thank people for their feedback.
  4. Become an expert – find a niche within your profession, learn your subject and then share your knowledge with others; become a mentor and people will look to you for help and advice.
  5. Maintain a positive and professional attitude – especially when the ‘chips are down’ and things are not going your way; by thinking positvely you are already part-way to turning a negative situation positive.
  6. Communicate, negotiate and compromise – act clearly, fairly and ethically to gain and maintain the trust and respect of those around you.
  7. Look out for new opportunites – put yourself forward even if actions take you outside of your personal comfort zone; this will help you to grow and to stand out from your colleagues. Go where the work is, if it takes you closer to achieving your personal goals – this may mean moving geographically within an existing company but could equally mean finding employment with another, in order to progress.

This is not a comprehensive list; neither should it be regarded as a sequential plan. However, hopefully it will help to generate ideas that you can then tailor to your own needs and circumstances.