Business Coaching and Professional Development
The rise in popularity of business coaching since the start of the new millennium has created a radical shift in the way that managers approach the issue of training and developing their employees. Business coaching is now being utilised both instead of and in conjunction with training courses and other methods of professional development.
The Need for Development
Managers have always known that their employees require developing to improve their skills and effectiveness within the workplace. Very few, if indeed any, employees commence their time with the company being perfect in the role and unable to improve upon their effectiveness in any way, shape or form. Even if they somehow miraculously are perfect in the job when they start, many skills can be lost with the passage of time if they are not regularly refreshed.
Changes to factors such as market conditions, working practices and legislation for instance can all facilitate the need for workers - and indeed managers themselves - to alter the way they conduct themselves and approach various tasks. They may have been perfect when they started, but a change in conditions may now mean that they need to develop to take these alterations to conditions into account.
Frequently this involved enrolling upon a training course where a tutor delivered relevant information, often relying heavily upon textbooks and slideshow presentations. Whilst they could (and still do) provide a great deal of useful information, large amounts of it could be repeating knowledge to attendees which they were already aware of and did not need refreshing. Plus an open training course which needed to cater for delegates from various different industries could contain information on the syllabus which was not applicable to the person and was consequently a waste of their time, not to mention that of their company who were having to do without them for the duration of the training course.
This is not to say that training courses do not have any place today when it comes to employee development; far from it. Not only are they vital for teaching new information to managers on topics including leadership and delegation for example, but certain subjects such as health and safety demand specific knowledge to be taught. One of the most popular health and safety courses like the NEBOSH General Certificate for instance has a lot of detailed knowledge on the course syllabus which needs teaching. Just visit the NEBOSH General Certificate courses page at Associated Training to see the full NEBOSH General Certificate course syllabus and the type of specific information which delegates are taught and need to learn. Whilst business coaching may be extremely beneficial to an employee at removing barriers and increasing their effectiveness at work, it is no substitute for training when there is specific information which must be learnt such as in the health and safety example just given. Although not desirable, a manager or employee can get away with underperformance with little negative consequences, but in the case of health and safety it could result in serious or even fatal accidents to befall someone.
The Rise of Business Coaching
Business coaching provides a more personalised touch to professional development, focusing on the needs of the individual rather than a one-size-fits-all training course approach. A qualified and experienced external business coach can work with an individual to identify the metaphorical barriers which are holding that person back from being the best that they can be in terms of their job role effectiveness. By identifying these issues and working with the employee to create an actionable plan to make positive changes, the employee can make significant progress in a short period of time, which is why business coaching is so attractive to managers looking to get the most out of the workforce.
Along with increasing skills and effectiveness at work, business coaching and mentoring sessions are also highly successful with regards to managing change or coping with pressure. It can be provided to individual workers, particularly those being prepared for a step up to management, but more often than that refers to coaching for managers and executives who have tremendous responsibility upon their shoulders for managing and guiding the company through an often turbulent business climate. Managers and executives are expected to know everything and make the correct decision every time, which means they have little support and make many decisions in isolation, keeping the burden for its success or failure entirely upon themselves.
Executive coaching is business coaching for senior managers and directors, and provides an excellent forum for the executive to talk through issues, as well as their own personal feelings, with an experienced business coach who has coached others through similar circumstances.
Unlike training courses which are nearly always provided for a number of people at the same time, business coaching sessions are typically provided on a one-to-one basis.
When business coaching is provided, the purpose is to reach positive solutions to problems so that they can be overcome, not to dwell unnecessarily on determining who is to blame.
Unless the company adapts to changes in market conditions and other variables which may come about in the future, it is likely to find that it soon sees a fall in demand.
Uncommitted or de-motivated employees can be a major headache for company managers, creating a metaphorical weight which drags down those around them.