Business experts

Expert opinion: The business benefits of coaching

Written by Barrie Smale.

Barrie SmaleThere are many ways in which people can be developed in order to improve their capability. These include well known activities such as training courses, professional qualifications, on the job instruction, job shadowing and mentoring. These, and many others, all have their place in the right situation.

I want to focus on one-to-one coaching which is about helping someone find their own answers for a successful way forward. A good coach understands how to use questions skilfully in a conversation that will help someone think through a situation where they need to find their own solution. A good coach will also understand how to constructively challenge someone’s thinking and how to commit someone to action.

In my view, coaching is a core competency for effective management & leadership. Like any skill, it needs to be learned, practised and finely honed. It is no accident that the number of professional and academic coaching qualifications has grown significantly in recent years; this has been driven by increasing demand as more and more individuals and organisations recognise the benefits of coaching.

A recent ILM survey reported that 84% of employers say that coaching should be part of every organisation’s management development programme.
To develop coaching competence across a management & leadership team is undeniably a significant business investment that has to compete with other budget priorities. Like any investment, there needs to be a business case.

So, what will be the return on investment?

Managers who have been trained as coaches often report increased confidence through having an additional skill that helps them flex their leadership style and effectively develop and performance manage their individuals and teams to achieve results.

People who have been coached well (this is crucial, it must be done well) often report that they feel more valued, better motivated, empowered and have increased confidence and capability in their role.

Organisations who have invested in coaching often report improvements in important areas such as staff loyalty and retention, creativity and innovation and positive working relationships.

In a previous article for Business Biscuit, I stated that the benefits of professional qualifications can be measured if you set out to do so from the outset. The same applies to coaching.

The simple, correlation we’re all looking for of course is the improved capability of people through coaching conversations contributing to the achievement of required business results.

Barrie Smale is director of inspired2Learn in Devizes, providing CMI and ILM professional qualifications www.inspired2learn.co.uk