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Blog : How important is coaching as part of leadership?


How important is coaching as part of leadership?

Call it whatever you like; coaching, one to one meetings, coffee chats. It doesn’t really need a label. A leader taking time to sit down with people and have a chat is surely one of the most important skills when it comes to managing performance. Yet strangely up until recently, many organisations haven’t encouraged a coaching culture, instead favouring traditional training courses or hiring and firing as a way to deal with performance.

The good news is the concept of coaching is growing. In 2014 the CIPD reported that nearly 90% of organisations used this method to enhance performance. And 51% considered coaching a key part of learning and development.

Certainly in my experience having a coffee and an ‘off the record’ chat with my line manager has been a regular occurrence. And with every different manager there has been a different approach to these chats depending on the current circumstances, where I was in my career path and what I required at the time.

In my recent experience this ‘coaching’ time is always best spent asking questions to understand someone’s values and making sure the role and organisation is well aligned to these values. Subtle tweaks to someone’s role can often make a huge difference, both in terms of engagement and performance. Taking time to discuss and share information, providing timely feedback and encouraging the need to drive development and growth.

It strikes me that promoting coaching within an organisation is a great place to start when looking to improve performance management process. Encouraging managers to invest time in their people is a quick win for anyone wanting to see an upturn in outputs. Reminding managers how to question, listen and give feedback is a great place to start. And then once this has started to impact results there are many tools and technologies out there to help position and drive coaching.

Wherever you are with coaching, if it’s something you would like to do more of there are some very useful tips in this Harvard Business Review blog

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