Coaching for performance

Coaching for performance

The use of coaching to enhance performance in organisations has grown significantly in the past 20 years. An article published in the Journal of Positive Psychology reports on a study to determine whether coaching works. It considers the impact of coaching on the performance of individuals in organisations, what benefits coaching provides and the factors that affect the success of coaching.

What is coaching?

Coaching is defined as a results-oriented, systematic process in which the coach facilitates the achievement of goals. A well-known approach is the GROW model:

 Goal set a realistic goal
 Reality assess the current situation
consider options and select a course of action to achieve the goal
 Will the coachee is supported to make decisions and have the willpower to commit to them

Results of study

The overall conclusion of this study was that “coaching has significant positive effects on performance and skills, well-being, coping, work attitudes, and goal-directed self-regulation.” Coachees are more resilient, more positive about their work and more capable of working autonomously to achieve goals.

Success factors

What conditions are required for coaching to be successful? The characteristics of effective coaches include understanding, encouraging and listening behaviours, suggesting that emotional intelligence is a key requirement for a successful coach. The “coachability” of the employee also impacts on the success of the process. Coachees need to be agreeable and open to the experience and motivated to achieve goals, in order to benefit from coaching.

The coach manager

How does coaching differ from traditional management approaches? John Whitmore addresses this question in his book Coaching for Performance – the following is a summary of traditional management behaviours and their impact on team members:

 Dicatate manager feels in control but upsets and demotivates staff
 Persuade manager tries to sell a good idea - staff feel they don't have a choice
 Debate manager is open to ideas but discussion can be time-consuming and result in indecision
 Abdicate manager leaves staff to get on with it - staff feel forced to take on responsibility and may make mistakes

By contrast, the coach manager supports team members to set their own goals and take responsibility for achieving them. Applying the GROW model, for example, the manager would use questioning and listening techniques to encourage the coachee to solve problems and commit to goals, in line with the objectives of their role. The coachee feels empowered and motivated because they have made their own decisions, with full support from their manager.

Posted: Monday 1 November 2021

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