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Article: Smart Coaching

In this article, Janice Caplan discusses the challenges facing HR in making sure that their organisation realises the potential benefits of coaching.

 

Smart Coaching

Coaching has been ‘the hot topic’ for HR professionals in the UK for about ten years and shows no signs of losing its place. On the contrary, a recently published CIPD survey1 shows that 78% of the 500 respondents use coaching as part of their learning and development activities. This represents a 51% increase in the use of coaching in UK businesses over the last few years and a 42% increase in the use of buddy and mentoring schemes. The survey also finds that individual performance, skills and development are the main objectives of coaching activity and concludes that “coaching is a valuable feature of a modern organisation’s learning and development strategy”.

 

The evidence in favour of coaching is persuasive and unequivocal. In the CIPD survey 99% agree that ‘coaching can deliver tangible benefits both to individuals and organisations’. An article in La Repubblica 2 cites research by the International Personnel Management Association that estimates the return on investment of coaching being in the order of 500%. Surveys by The Manchester Review3 and by MetrixGlobal4 reveal a return on investment of a similar order of magnitude.

 

The appeal of coaching is that it is a bespoke solution: it provides individual-centred learning and development at a time and a place and of a duration to suit the learner; it is private and confidential; and the individual can chose their own coach, their own methods and the mode of delivery, such as face-to-face, telephone or even online. This is all in marked contrast to learning in the training room, which has exactly opposite characteristics. The International Personnel Management Association research, as above, shows that coaching achieves an 88% increase in organisational productivity against 22% as a result of classroom training.

Coaching also has a significant appeal as a management style. A number of surveys show that there is a direct link between how people are managed, their satisfaction at work and productivity and profitability. A recent study ‘What Really Works’5, a five year study of the management practices that produce superior business results, indicates that companies will have a greater than 90% chance of sustaining superior business performance if they excel in a number of factors, including “encouraging management to strengthen its connections with people at all levels of the company and keeping...

 

Janice Caplan, Coach the Coach May 2005, Fenman UK

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People in business today want outstanding learning and development, when they need it, at a time that suits them, and delivered in a manner that fits their learning styles and preferences. Businesses need people to come to grips with new challenges quickly. There is no time for catch up and it is vital to quickly decide which strategic opportunity to take advantage of, and then be able to act quicly. This requires a deep understanding of your people, and who has the potential and the aspiration to take on a particular challenge. It requires a workforce that is constantly learning and developing in line with the business needs on the horizon.

 

For the first time, businesses have several generations working side by side in the workplace, with different styles and perspectives. The standard approach to training and development is no longer appropriate. In its place, it is vital to have a range of tools and programmes that individuals can personalise, and make their own.

 

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