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Why do we need coaching?

Why do we need coaching? There are several obvious reasons why an organization may be keen to include coaching in a suite of human resource development interventions. It usually takes place in the actual work setting and so, not only does this avoid the expense in terms of time and money of the traditional classroom event, it means that coaching is rooted in a genuine 'live' situation. As I've described elsewhere, coaching is a learnt skill and so regular coaching sessions will also be developmental for the coach as well as the coachee.

Before we get into the detail of these and other reasons for coaching, let's consider some more authoritative views

The coaching literature provides a comprehensive list of the benefits of coaching for the organization. For example:

Improved performance and productivity - given that coaching brings out the best in individuals and teams

Improved relationships - since the questioning style he advocates clearly values the coachee and his/her answer

More time for the manager - based on the argument that those who are coached welcome responsibility and do not have to be chased or watched

Greater flexibility and adaptability to change - given that coaching is about being responsive as well as responsible

John Whitmore

Many advance this argument by suggesting that coaching produces results which are not only desirable, but an absolute necessity in today's environment:

'In a modern, high performance world, every organization requires highly competent staff, who frequently provide its principal 'competitive edge'. Without skilled, motivated and confident employees, few organisations will succeed in the long term. Training alone cannot hope to deliver this fully, especially since it is generally accepted that as much as 80 per cent of work related training is actually acquired on the job. Staff need to be encouraged, enabled, supported and guided to obtain such learning while working. This is what coaching should provide.'

Peter M Pay

It is worth noting that Pay goes on to point out that off the job training should not be abandoned but supported by good coaching so that development needs, large and small can be facilitated and met.

A further point is added to the benefits described above by Bernard Redshaw who claims that when good coaching is widespread, the whole organization can learn new things more quickly, and can therefore adapt to change more effectively. Furthermore coaching tends to be self-perpetuating in that people who are well coached readily become good coaches themselves. So the more coaches an organization has, the more it keeps on producing them.

Every piece of literature I have ever consulted in researching my books and programmes provides a number of benefits (mainly variations of those described above) with no suggestion anywhere that coaching is not a worthwhile activity.

I intend to follow this piece with further articles concerned with putting forward a detailed and hopefully compelling argument for coaching in organizations. I hope these points will help you convince both the skeptical coachee and the circumspect senior team - who will need to be convinced that coaching creates value if they are to release the resources needed.

About the Author:

Matt Somers is a coaching practitioner of many years' experience. He works with a host of clients in North East England where his firm is based and throughout the UK and Europe. Matt understands that people are working with their true potential locked away. He shows how coaching provides a simple yet elegant key to this lock. To get your FREE guide "Coaching for an Easier Life" visit www.mattsomers.com

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