Mentoring and coaching in the workplace provide a multitude of benefits for both employees and organisations as a whole. The right initiatives can provide your employees with the skills they need to perform to the highest of their abilities. They can help you nurture more productive, efficient, and autonomous teams, and create the right culture and environment for everyone to flourish. What’s more, according to Deloitte, coaching employees in the workplace is crucial for preparing your organisation for the changing nature of work, something that has never been as relevant as it is now.
In this article, we are going to break down what coaching in the workplace is, some coaching skills, the importance of coaching at workplace on professional development, and what an impactful coaching process looks like.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
What is Coaching in the Workplace?
As Bill Gates said in one of his famous TED Talks:
“Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player. We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”
So, what does this mean in the business world?
Coaching in the workplace, also known as workplace coaching, employee coaching, and business coaching, is when one person, usually a manager, helps an employee grow and develop their skills. It forms a part of a company’s learning and development programme, usually tied into an individual employee training program.
The main aim of workplace coaching is to promote two-way communication between an employee and their coach in order to identify areas for improvement, reinforce strengths, and further develop their performance. This is usually done by focusing on specific performance objectives, skills and goals.
It’s all about empowering employees to be the best performers that they can be.
Although mentoring and coaching in the workplace often go hand in hand, there is a distinction between the two concepts. Coaching focuses on improving specific skills and performance issues. This might be learning how to present data or developing SEO skills. In contrast, workplace mentorship is more targeted at cultivating professional skills and boosting an employee’s overall development.
Benefits of Coaching in the Workplace
There are numerous benefits of implementing a coaching programme and instilling a coaching culture in your business, including the following:
- It’s an effective way to set up your employees for success. This is because your primary aim is to provide them with the tools that they need to increase their knowledge and improve their skills. This therefore leads to continuous career development within your company, reducing your turnover rate and the costs associated with it.
- The right coaching programme can motivate your employees to improve and take pride in their work, leading to higher job satisfaction and increased productivity.
- To coach employees means to validate, support, and empower them, improving employee engagement and commitment levels.
- Studies have shown that executives who received coaching in the workplace were perceived by their peers as being 55% more effective. Coaching also has a positive effect on team effectiveness and productivity.
- One-on-one coaching sessions can help you foster a culture of learning and development that has a positive effect on the entire organisation.
- Coaching encourages communication, reflection and self-correction. This helps your employees become more autonomous so that they can take ownership of their work. It also helps you develop a more confident workforce, as people believe they have the right skills to perform.
- Finally, when employees are more aware of their strengths and weaknesses, they are more equipped to take on challenges and further their development.
How to Coach and Mentor Employees
There are many tried-and-tested strategies to help you design a programme that gives you all the benefits we have just seen.
Identify Development Needs
Before you can begin coaching and mentoring employees, you should establish the need for workplace coaches. This means conducting a clear training needs analysis so that you can build a solid foundation for your coaching programme.
Who should you offer coaching to? What knowledge and skills are lacking? Which development opportunities would have the biggest impact on performance? Do your employees understand the purpose of coaching in the workplace?
Factorial’s skills matrix template is a great tool for this. With this template, you can see how team members have developed, assess their level of interest in learning particular skillsets, and compare learned competencies with overall objectives.
Define Coaching in the Workplace Goals and Timeline
Once you have identified coaching opportunities in the workplace, you need to define clear goals and a clear timeline to meet your objectives. This means creating an effective training and development program for employees with clear goals and expectations.
Set deadlines and establish clear benchmarks so that your employees know what they should be working towards. Help your employees structure their time so that they can manage their learning and development without feeling overwhelmed.
Find the Right Coaching Styles and Techniques
Another important step in workplace coaching is finding the right styles and techniques for each individual. This might be visual, kinesthetic, or auditory.
Ask each employee which techniques would help them get the most from their coaching sessions in order to understand the coaching leadership style that would most suit their needs. You can also try these five training methods within your learning and development programmes.
Sometimes, you might struggle to find the right fit internally. In these instances, you could consider finding an external coach with the necessary technical skills to provide coaching and drive employee development. It might take a few tries to find the right person to develop a professional-helping relationship with your employees!
Active Listening & Open Communication
One of the most important pillars of any coaching style is encouraging active listening and open communication.
Encourage each workplace coach and mentor to create connections and develop safe spaces where employees feel secure enough to give honest feedback. This feedback is ultimately what should be guiding your coaching sessions, so it’s vital that your employees don’t hold back, and that your coaches engage in active listening skills at all times.
Monitor Progress & Encourage 360 Feedback
Make sure you monitor the progress of your coaching in the workplace programs and encourage 360 feedback on a regular basis. And make sure you follow up on feedback and address any issues that are raised.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, celebrate the accomplishments of your employees and remind them that each achievement represents a step forward. This will help them build their self-confidence so that they are motivated to further develop their skills.
Examples of Coaching and Mentoring in the Workplace
Here are a few scenarios in which you may benefit from coaching your employees.
Developing New Skills
The first and most obvious example of coaching in the workplace is developing new skills. Coaching and mentoring can help your employees develop skills they may be lacking. This might be when a new employee joins your team, or when the requirements of their position change. It might also be useful if there have been any changes to your work processes (such as updating technology).
Improving Job Performance
Successful coaching is also a great tool for improving employee performance. For example, if an employee is underperforming and not meeting their objectives, a few coaching sessions might help them identify what’s preventing them from being as productive as they should be. The employee can then work together with their coach to monitor and improve their performance. Staff appraisal can also improve employee performance.
Promotions & Succession Planning
Finally, coaching in the workplace can be a very effective strategy for supporting employees as they transition into new roles within your company. The right coaching can give them the right tools to prepare for their promotion and help them establish new performance goals.
Effective Coaching and Mentoring Processes
As we have seen above, effective coaching and mentoring involve planning and implementing a number of processes.
- Firstly, you need to identify skill gaps and development needs and create clear goals and objectives.
- Secondly, you need to pick the right coaches and decide which employees would benefit from the initiative.
- Thirdly, you need to decide how you will roll out your workplace coaching. Will you focus on one-on-one coaching? Job shadowing? Roleplay activities? How will you collect feedback and monitor the process? And what incentives will you use to encourage your employees to embrace coaching in the workplace?
Above all, for it to be truly effective, you need to focus on developing a culture that supports coaching. This means fostering a learning culture that aligns all your employees with the vision, mission, and values of your organisation.
Ultimately, you need to create a safe environment where you encourage all your employees to develop their knowledge and skills. You need to offer them the right learning and development opportunities to help them perform at their best.
Make sure they have the right tools, support, and resources. Show them that you support both independent and shared learning. Teach them the value of reflecting on their work and striving to continuously develop and improve. Show them the benefits of embracing coaching in the workplace.
This won’t just help your employees perform to the best of their abilities; it will also help your organisation grow and boost the bottom line of your business.
Optimising Coaching with a Training Management System
There’s a reason that Amazon are pouring $1.2 billion into training and coaching for their employees. It’s an essential part of boosting engagement and retention. But for workplace coaching to be impactful, you need to keep an eye on how employees are doing over time.
By using a Training Management System like Factorials to centralise all essential employee coaching processes in one user-friendly place. It’s a one-stop-shop to see how employees are progressing, if they’re completing necessary training, and whether it’s helping them to perform better. You can even adapt the software to your company’s needs and create your own training system that tracks:
- Course details
- and more!
Watch the video below to learn more.