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Five Benefits of Coaching for your Organization

Do you wonder how your organization can benefit from coaching? In this article, we discuss five ways to create a competitive edge for your organization through coaching.

1. Talent Development

In today's competitive business environment, does your business need an edge, and how can you get it? One of the secrets is to start at the beginning- with your people. You have probably heard of the statement 'talent is everything'. As Richard Branson once said,

 "Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients." 

Every business fantasizes over how to win customers, and keep them happy. How to derive customer lifetime value. We innovate day and night to develop better products for them. When we lose one customer, we spend sleepless nights figuring how to remedy the situation.

For your business to be competitive in today's environment, you need to treat your staff as king, so that they treat your clients as queen. Perhaps you are wondering how you can do that. One way is to develop your staff. To hold the belief that when your staff grows, they will grow your business.

How do you grow your staff? Through talent development, which can be achieved by coaching. Have you done talent mapping for your business? Do you know where your business needs to go? Do you have the talent to take it there? Are you developing the staff you have to become that talent, even as you hire others from outside?

Remember talent is not just about performance but also about potential. Can you plot each employee's potential to lead on a scale of 1 to 5? How do you develop those who score 4 and above to lead the next phase of growth in your company? Coaching is one amazing way to grow your talent. 

If you want your company to be a leader in your field, lead with talent.

2. Improved Performance & Productivity

You have fairly good talent. Your people are above average. But something does not add up. Your profits are not as good as you would like and you are not making as many sales as you envisioned. What can you do? While some will jump into performance plans (PIPs) despite their negative connotation, winners know that there are better ways.

Coaching is one of them.

The best leaders, those who lead companies that win and keep winning year in year out, coach their staff. In those organizations that truly last, coaching happens all the time.

The weekly and ad-hoc meetings between the leader and members are coaching conversations. The regular team meetings are coaching conversations. People listen to one another. They ask challenging questions premised on psychological safety.

They hold each other accountable. There are no egg shells to walk on. There are no dangerous cards under the table. Organization politics die a natural death. Above all, they support each other through affirmations and authentic pats on the back. That is coaching.

Contrary to popular belief, coaching does not have to be formal, with an external coach. It is best when the organization adopts a coaching culture. But how can that happen? The secret is simple. Train your managers and leaders to become coaches.

The last century's command and control leadership style is like comparing the gramophone record player with the iPhone. If you want to kill an organization, try command and control. In the first few months or if lucky years, things appear to work. But death comes fast - when it does. And it is usually does.

If you have not yet trained your leaders to be coaches, find a performance or leadership coach. Better yet, get a team coach.

3. Increased Innovation & Adaptability

Innovation. Adaptability. Disruption. Well - the usual fads! Everybody says it. 'We need to innovate'. We even quote Charles Darwin's theory that "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."

For the human species to be here today, we have needed to innovate like crazy. By changing ourselves, disrupting ourselves, our genes, our behaviors, our diets, our everything. Humans are born innovators. If you don't believe it, observe an eight month old baby. Babies learn by using their senses and doing. Learning by doing, naturally.

The best innovation is natural. It happens when we relax and connect with ourselves and the world - our customers and potential customers. Think of the last innovation in your company that led to genuine gains in your bottom line.

Where did it come from? Was it from the mega-innovation workshop at the holiday resort? Or was it from your front-line staff who observed customer pain points and without a budget (or with peanuts) devised a new way of doing business? Maybe the leadership or the organization initially resisted the change. 

Innovation is a habit. A way of life, a style of work , of thinking. It needs to be in the DNA of your organization. But in your DNA first. How can you change the DNA from less innovative to innovative?

That is where Charles Darwin's theory comes in. Give freedom to your staff to try things based on observations they make. Declare that failure while trying new methods is excellent.

To evolve to an organization with the innovation DNA, change your culture. Deepen psychological safety. And it will happen. Naturally. And when you spot it - celebrate it. And more will happen. Learning by doing. Just like the eight month baby who falls as they try to walk, failure is part of innovation. 

What is the place of coaching in innovation? Coaching is one of the tools you can use to change your organization's DNA. More specifically, it can inspire a change of DNA.

Systemic team coaching works particularly well to transform culture. The other word for DNA is culture , and innovation is about the culture of your organization. 

4. Enhanced Engagement, Wellness & Happiness

How happy are the people on your team? How engaged are they? To what extent do they truly care about the mission of your organization? How satisfied and happy are you in your job? How would you rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 5?

Does your team need a Chief Happiness Officer? Did you know many companies, including Google, Airbnb, and Salesforce, have such a position? The officer focuses on creating a fantastic employee experience - premised on culture. 

While you don't have to create such a position, ask yourself what the best companies know that many others do not. The secret is embarrassingly basic. Keep your employees genuinely happy, and they will go over mountains and valleys and even cross seas to keep your customers happy.  

So, what irritates your staff? What do they hate? Is it the unfairness in your team? Or burnout? Are leaders micromanaging team members? Have they stagnated in their careers, and nobody cares?

Play this game in your mind. Randomly, think of any one staff in your team right now. Imagine you asked them this question - 'Which of these represents how you feel as you work in this organization?

(a) Hungry and thirsty donkey pulling a cart on a hot day, with the boss whipping it to deliver;

(b) Happy well-nourished horse galloping across the plains, with the leader cheering. 

If they answered 'b,' well done, and keep it up! If they answered 'a', do not panic. Work with your HR colleagues, line managers, and all staff to commence a culture transformation journey.

Systemic team coaching is a good place to start. But the leader must lead by transforming from the whipper to cheerleader. If, as a leader, you need to work with an executive coach, find one on Monday morning.

5. Improved Team Leadership

Winning is a team sport. Do you believe in this statement? What is a team, and is teamwork overrated? We don't think so, but we believe it is often misunderstood. Remember the last team-building exercise you had. Do you remember sweating yourself crazy as you competed with your team members to win the games?

Whether you won or lost doesn't matter. But what did you and your team learn? How functional is your team today? Are team members still playing dangerous cards under the table? Do they feel psychologically safe?

Do they admit mistakes and learn from them without fear of unfair punishment? Many team-building exercises fail because they are not based on psychology.

As you know, from the day a team is formed, the clock begins ticking. A team goes through four stages. Formation, storming, norming and performing. And some will have a final step - adjourning - for project teams when the project ends. Winning teams are those that play in the performing stage. Think of your team. Which stage is it in?

Many teams stagnate at the storming stage. It is the work of the leader to help the team navigate to norming and performing. That is why team leadership is usually not a walk in the park. Because storming can be raw. It is all too easy to tell team members to stop behaving like children and grow up.

But winning teams are often made of adults who retain childlike (not childish) qualities - including meaning well, innovating (learning by doing), and excellent interpersonal relations.

Teamwork is psychology at play.  Think of the leaders in your company. To what extent are they equipped to midwife teams from forming to performing? To what extent are they willing to nurture childlike behaviors in their teams? Do you see any gaps? You can do several things if there are gaps as part of talent development.

You can look into more challenging job opportunities, coaching, and training, among others. If you opt for coaching, think 'leadership and executive' coaching for your team leaders. Even better, train those who are willing to become coaches. 

We wish you well as you embark on a journey to transform your organization or team. If you would like to share your experiences or challenges, we will be happy to hear from you.

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