What are the 7 winning ways when working in an international environment and how can we embrace them?
August 24, 2017

Coaching and employee engagement

Many organisations recognise the need to increase employee engagement.  This is being increasingly recognised at the senior management level support by HR departments.  They are also starting to realise that traditional performance management processes are not producing the desired results.

88% of the organisations have a performance management strategy, yet 71% say their current approach to performance management needs improvement or completely overhauling.  (Brandon Hall Group’s 2015 research report ‘Performance Management 2015: Coaching for Development Needed’)

Employee engagement surveys are a good start but they need to be supported with action to create the right environment for employees to thrive and succeed.

Some good practice in making the link between employee and engagement include:

  • Agreeing clear goals and objectives
  • Creating SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/ Realistic, Timebound) action plans, in consultation with employees
  • Providing ongoing feedback rather than relying solely on formal reviews
  • Encouraging managers and peers to engage in coaching to improve performance, develop skills and build on employees’ strengths

Organisations with strong coaching cultures report higher employee engagement and revenue above average for their industry peer group.

Leaders and managers  have been lead to believe that a coaching style of leadership is the style that is the best to use with people as it enables and empowers them to unleash their full potential to everyone’s benefit.

However, they are not generally looking to become coaches.  Many leaders indicate that they don’t have the time with the pressures that they face for the slow and tedious task of coaching people and helping them grow.  Leaders feel the need to be strong, to take control and to take action.  But this is often an excuse hiding limited capabilities in coaching skills and an unwillingness to adapt.  These leaders frequently resort to the immediacy of the situation by telling and informing people what to do, masking it with a leading or directive question thus convincing themselves that they are continuing to coach!

Good, skilful coaching actually takes little or no extra time when done well.

Establishing trust, applying ethical standards and practising active listening are rated the most important coaching competencies for managers and leaders.

Training for managers and leaders to use coaching skills is an important component of building a coaching culture.

So, the basis for improved employee engagement and performance is effective communication. Training leaders and managers in coaching skills increases their ability to communicate by:

  • Teaching them active listening skills
  • Encouraging deep listening, taking time to really listen; to acknowledge and demonstrate understanding of the other’s point of view
  • Using an approach that is focussed on asking rather than telling to increase their capacity to move form a transactional style of management to a transformational style
  • Develop the skills and techniques in mindfulness required to pause, reflect and make effective choices in day to day management

Emotional intelligence coaching can incorporate behavioural and personality assessments that open up discussions to gain insights into self-awareness allowing for in-depth exploration without needing to spend hours in coaching sessions.

Of course, the best way for a coaching leader to develop coaching capabilities is to be coached themselves either by their leader or by an experienced qualified coach.  But their coach must have the right blend of self-awareness and questioning capability and know how to actively listen and so be able to demonstrate the right behaviours in action.

[Copy-right free image courtesy of Pixabay]