Coaching, is it reactive or proactive? If the word coaching is in your organization’s vocabulary then you need to answer this question. An article by Aubrey K. Wiete for the Human Capital Institute discusses coaching, how and why it is typically used. Aubrey points out that there is a general lack of clarity around organizational coaching and how it measured or assessed.
We agree with Aubrey’s comments. Coaching is a loose term that sometimes mimics “managing”, other times mimics “training”, and often times mimics “teaching”. In our world coaching means “leading”. Leading the horse to water (you know the rest of this), leading the employee to a set of values, or leading the team to a goal.
Let’s use an example of hiring a new employee and let’s for a moment consider that no employee is a perfect match for the job, ok except maybe Michael Jordan. The first question you have to ask yourself is “what do I need to coach my new employee on”? Hard skills or job specific tasks would be more like training so let’s eliminate those from the question. Now the question becomes harder to answer and this is where coaching starts to unravel. What do you coach your employees on?
How about understanding the employee’s behavior style and the behavioral style of the team as a whole? Maybe the new employee has been hired for a technical outside sales position that requires frequent interaction with people yet the employee seems a bit reserved in front of strangers. He / she got the job because of their technical expertise but not because of their outgoing personality. This would be a good example of a trait that is coachable. We’re not saying that you try to make the employee go from introvert to extrovert but rather coach your new sales person on how to identify and properly interact with other personalities, or put another way, differences in communication styles.
In order to best accomplish this, a set of job standards or benchmark as we call it, needs to be defined. The benchmark creates a way to assess a would-be employee to see if he or she is a poor, good, or great fit for the requirements of the job. After hiring these same standards now becomes the basis for a coaching plan and yes,,, a way to measure the results of the coaching.
Two things are a given with coaching, it needs to be proactive and it needs to be measured.