Democratizing Coaching in the Workplace
By Julius Ordonez, MCC, ACTC
*As published by ICF Philippines on their website in May 2023
The way professional coaching is perceived and experienced in the workplace has significantly changed in the last 10 years. It used to be an intervention reserved for either top leaders needing to work on certain areas for development, or hi-potentials needing to prepare for a more senior role. Add to that the confidentiality and high costs involved in coaching back then, and naturally the whole process was shrouded in a kind of mystery that few “regular workers” neither understood nor had the possibility to access.
Several factors since then have brought about the change in the image of coaching at work.
With the advancement of technology, a bigger population of the workforce is doing less manual/clerical labor and performing more complex roles involving thinking, strategizing and decision making, even at staff levels. Average costs per coachee have also gone down since, especially with a higher volume of trained and credentialed professional coaches compared to before, plus the arrival of several coaching-on-demand platforms in the market.
But perhaps one of the biggest factors that drove a spike in awareness of the need for coaching was the pandemic. With more people needing support to cope with the transition of remote work, companies were more willing to invest in coaching for their teams and saw how it helped in developing a faster, more agile, creative, independent and resilient organization. It has become clear to everyone how integrated one’s personal and work life actually is and how important it is to support the total person, not only upskilling them for work related competencies, but also promoting well-being and personal growth. In a coaching study commissioned by Benchmark Consulting in 2022 by Kantar, one of the world’s leading research institutions, results indicated that participation in coaching among the sample size approached had grown from 3% to 6% in the last 4 years.
Today, coaching in the workplace has become imperative in order to cope with the speed of change and foster a thinking, learning organization. There are many ways to approach introducing coaching in the workplace. The most common involves hiring an external coach or coaches to work with a specified number of individuals in the organization, whose coaching engagement is sponsored by the company. The second is to train key individuals within the organization to become certified professional coaches, so that they can do internal coaching for whoever needs it. Usually this role is integrated with another role (learning and development or succession management, for example) and is treated as an expansion of scope, so that the coaching resource is readily available. In both cases, the company is involved and usually wants to see specific, measurable outcomes, so the coaching goals need to be made clear among all parties, with agreed metrics, a progress check and a post-coaching assessment. A third option is to provide external coaching as a company benefit to individuals for their personal development, where the company does not get involved in the goals of the individuals, rather wants to provide its employees with support in whatever they want to work on. This is usually the category where online coaching-on-demand services fall. And lastly, another option is to train leaders all across the organization for coaching skills so that they can apply coaching principles and skills daily with their own teams.
All options are effective and perfectly viable, and the best and most lasting results occur when a company decides to use all of these methods, or at least a mix of them, to maximize the use of coaching and makes it more accessible to everyone in the organization. It is also very important that for all of these options, companies ensure that there is continuing education so that coaching methods in the workplace are kept dynamic and evergreen.
Over the years of leading coaching initiatives across different organizations all over the world, I have personally witnessed many stories of transformation and growth as a result of these programs. Line leaders have come up to me to tell me that their subordinates now do not simply bring problems to them, they also bring solutions and options with them, so the leaders just help them process their thoughts and help them determine which solutions are the most viable. HR leaders report a marked increase in employee engagement and commitment to goals. One HR business partner shared that the increase in their engagement measure went from 81% to 92% in one year since they launched a coaching culture in the company. In another company, their happiness index increased by at least 30%– employees were happier when their leaders applied coaching methods in their conversations because they felt that they were finally being heard. Leaders gave us feedback that they have overcome the fear of failure and impostor syndrome that used to hold them back. Yet another company told me that they had saved so much money on fixed costs because one of their workers in the shop floor came forward with an incredibly simple but effective solution to a persistent problem that they were planning to spend a huge amount on to upgrade the machines. Interestingly, in the same coaching study commissioned by Benchmark consulting, participants of coaching in the workplace reported that they not only achieved the initial objective that they set out to work on, but also achieved multiple other outcomes as a result of the coaching engagement. A whopping 97% reported that they have been able to sustain the impact of their coaching engagement even several months afterwards.
That is the superpower of coaching—it helps people discover that they are creative, resourceful and whole regardless of their level and role in the organization, and makes them go beyond being just order-takers into thinkers and problem-solvers. Now imagine if that superpower were unlocked for hundreds of people in the company, not just a few handpicked ones…how many more brilliant solutions would come out of your team? How much time, energy and money would be saved, and how much more engaged would team members be knowing they are truly contributing to the organization and bringing it closer to its goals? Given today’s fast-changing, hybrid, complex business environment, there is no better time than NOW to introduce coaching in organizations to unlock the potential of its workforce.
Toolkit: Harnessing Success in Organizations with Professional Coaching
Some of the best-known benefits of Professional Coaching in Organizations include:
1. Enhanced Leadership Skills: Professional coaching provides a tailored approach to leadership development. Executives and managers can work closely with coaches to identify and strengthen their leadership skills, such as communication, decision-making, and strategic thinking. This personalized guidance empowers leaders to navigate challenges effectively and inspire their teams.
2. Improved Employee Performance: Coaching doesn’t stop at the top; it extends to all levels of an organization. Employees benefit from targeted coaching to enhance their skills and overcome professional hurdles. This individualized support contributes to improved performance, increased job satisfaction, and a more motivated workforce.
3. Increased Productivity and Efficiency: Through coaching, individuals learn to set realistic goals, prioritize tasks, and manage their time more effectively. This, in turn, leads to increased productivity and efficiency across the organization. Employees become more adept at handling their responsibilities, resulting in a positive impact on overall organizational success.
4. Enhanced Communication and Collaboration: Communication breakdowns are common in any organization. Professional coaching helps individuals refine their communication styles, fostering better collaboration among team members. Improved interpersonal skills lead to stronger relationships, reduced conflicts, and a more cohesive work environment.
5. Adaptability to Change: In today’s dynamic business landscape, adaptability is key. Professional coaching equips individuals with the mindset and skills needed to navigate change successfully. Whether it’s adapting to new technologies, market trends, or organizational restructuring, coached individuals are better prepared to embrace change positively.
6. Talent Development and Retention: Investing in professional coaching signals to employees that the organization is committed to their growth and success. This commitment fosters loyalty and can contribute to talent retention. As employees see a clear path for their professional development, they are more likely to stay with the organization, reducing turnover costs.
7. Strategic Goal Achievement: Coaches work with individuals to align their personal and professional goals with the organization’s overall strategic objectives. This alignment ensures that everyone is working toward a common purpose, contributing to the achievement of broader organizational goals. Professional coaching acts as a catalyst for strategic success.
Professional coaching in organizations goes beyond individual skill development; it transforms workplace culture, improves communication, and propels the entire organization toward success. By investing in coaching, organizations foster a growth-oriented mindset that permeates every level, creating a workplace where individuals thrive, teams collaborate seamlessly, and the organization as a whole achieves its strategic objectives.
Speaking of Coaching in Organizations: Benchmark Consulting is proud to introduce Benchmark CoachLink, the Philippines’ first online, on-demand professional coaching service for companies. Want to know more? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some Statistics About Workplace Conflict
With those numbers, do you still think it’s ok to sweep conflict under the rug and hope it goes away by itself?
What if you had a tool that could tell you specifically how people react and behave towards conflict, what triggers it, and how to manage it more effectively in your team? That’s what the Conflict Dynamics Profile (CDP) can do.
Benchmark Consulting is the only licensed facilitator of the CDP assessment in the Philippines. Get in touch with us at email@example.com to learn more.
Benchmark Consulting has trained close to 600 Professional Coaches over the years, and it’s no secret that they are among the best in the country. We present 9 stories of our Coaching Alumni — how they discovered their calling to become a coach while working in different functions and industries, what niches they specialize in, and how coaching plays a highly important role in their lives.
If you’ve ever wondered about becoming a coach, if you’re a coach seeking inspiration or thinking of specializing in a specific area, or if you want to work with a professional coach, these stories make for a great read.
Accelerated Coach Training Program
Our next Accelerated Coach Training Program (ICF Level 1 Certification Course) is scheduled to begin in February 2024! Visit our website for more information and to register for the program.
Exclusive for Benchmark Coaching Alumni
Don’t miss the following alumni events!
November 29, 2023
Event: Always Learning Session on “Unlocking the Potential of Gen Z” led by Coach Laurice (Auie) Macapaz
Time: 6PM-7PM PH Time via Zoom
January 11, 2024
Event: Movers and Shakers: The Benchmark Coaching Alumni 2024 Kick-off party!
Time: 11AM-12PM PH Time via Zoom
February – May 2024
Event: UP Coaching Hub (Year 2)
For any questions or to get the links to these events, email Mia Zamora at firstname.lastname@example.org.