Coaching has become a critical element of team development and yet it is frequently misunderstood and often implemented poorly. Unlike regular training, workplace coaching involves a continuous relationship between a coach and an employee.
Coaching can happen in several ways, but ultimately it is seeking to empower the employee or employees to be the best possible version of themselves in their role. Typically, the coach is a more experienced or knowledgeable individual who aims to improve and evolve the employees’ performance. Though in order to be an effective coach, you don’t necessarily have to be better at the task than the person you are coaching.
The best coaching relationships not only educate and evolve the employee’s knowledge and skills but also improve their mindset and perspective, helping them to feel more capable and willing to do their job well.
With that said, coaching can be complex, and those in a coaching position should receive training on how to coach effectively, but to get you started, we’ve listed some of the key barriers that coaches face, and some tips to enhance your coaching technique.
So, what are some of the barriers to coaching?
Finding the right technique that suits both individuals in the coaching relationship.
As coaches train, they often focus on evaluating their approach. However, relationships are at the core of all coaching situations, meaning the style of the relationship must be set by both parties. There is no one approach fits all style of coaching! A coach is not a teacher, but more of a guide, meaning they must collaborate with the coachee in order to succeed.
In this sense, a coach will have varying relationships with different individuals, dependent on what works for each person. A good coach, therefore, has a strong set of communication skills, and the ability to adapt.
Keeping coachees engaged.
It can be difficult to keep individuals engaged in the coaching process. The above-mentioned communication skills are important here too. An effective coach can read the coachee well and recognise what style of communication to employ. This requires active listening skills, for example.
With good communication comes better trust, which boosts engagement.
Not having enough time.
A huge barrier to coaching in many workplaces is time. In most cases, both parties have a great deal of work to do, and a coach is often still a performing employee or leader in the organisation. Or, if they are a designated coach, they may have a high number of coachees.
Time management is crucial in this case, as each organisation, relationship and individual is different, meaning no coaching relationship is the same. Coaching as you go can be an effective approach in some businesses, others require more carved out time.
Measuring the success of a coaching relationship can be a challenge due to the number of variables involved and the qualitative nature of the practice.
In many cases, coaching can be measured at the performance level after a period of time, but a coach should be conscious of success metrics from the start of the coaching and should employ a needs assessment so as to establish specific goals and objectives that can be assessed down the line.
Tips for being an effective coach…
Expanding on the above approaches, below are 7 key tips for good coaching.
- Build trust and establish rapport
- Prioritise collaboration
- Listen and empower
- Maintain a positive outlook
- Commit to developing your own skills
- Guide the conversation
To build the aforementioned trust, coaches should endeavour to show their coachees the following qualities.
Finally, every effective coach has…
- Active Listening and other communication skills
- Emotional Intelligence
- Time Management
Ultimately, coaching is complex and challenging due to its very nature. Every situation is different and the most effective and successful coaches are adaptable and confident. The above tips are designed to set an individual up with an understanding of the core skills required to be a good coach.
However, like most skills, coaching can be learned and developed. Whether this is through direct training in coaching skills or developed slowly through training in different more specified skills such as active listening, any individual with experience and knowledge in their subject area or profession can learn to be a coach.