Why Innovative Businesses Offer Coaching for All Professionals

Coaching Has Power

Competition drives businesses to innovative—but innovation isn’t just for the products and services they market. Innovation also includes how companies get the product to market. With “people operations” being a large cost to the bottom line, businesses are looking for ways to reduce pay or get more productivity from their employees. With change comes opportunities as well as challenges. With a changing mix of generational work preferences and soft skills, business leadership should be asking how the increase in remote working, competition for talent, and managerial coaching will affect their profitability in the future.

Remote Working

In more recent history, the open-floor plan with cubicles and few closed-door offices exploded throughout corporate America, touted by consultants as the next best thing to sliced bread as far as office design went. C-Suite took their bait on the selling points of innovation and productivity. How that concept passed any reasonableness test still baffles me today, but it’s easily explained as a cost reduction exercise in rent per employee under the disguise of collaboration. Open floors drove people to mediate their circumstances by either working from their home office or donning headphones to block noise and distracting hallway conversations. I would argue that employee collaboration took a step back, as technology allowed employees to work more remotely and independently.

Some employees who enjoy the freedom of working from a home office express feel less connected from their co-workers. Without face-to-face engagement, relationship bonds can weaken, and in many cases, remote employees never forge a relationship with new employees. Remote staff have limited opportunities for casual conversations in the break room while grabbing a cup of coffee or in the conference room before a meeting. Connection is built in small interactions over time and keeps the team accountable to each other.

Generational Work Preferences

Technology has enabled people to isolate themselves while working remotely. Even when a boss requires an employee to work in a cubicle, email and SharePoint allow one to communicate without a verbal conversation. Need to learn something new? YouTube probably has an instructional video.

Effective communication requires one to use all parts: words, tone of voice, and body language. Did you know that words comprised only 7% of the message? How much is lost in translation when one primarily uses email and other forms of word-based technology to convey messages.

A teacher recently shared that with every incoming 4th grade class, the students resist more and more when asked to work in groups. They beg to do the assignment by themselves. What happened to the days when the teacher announced a group project, and the kids responded by raising their hands and pleading who they could work with. Are soft skills under attack and underdeveloped based on the technology advances?

Managerial Coaching

Technology has also shifted the responsibilities of supervisors by pushing more administrative duties onto their plates. Managers had to make room for these tasks, and in some cases, even added work assignments to the mix for the sake of increased productivity. What would you think was prioritized out of their day? If you answered, “time coaching their team and helping their direct reports be successful,” you’d be correct. Managers would like to spend 25% of their time coaching, yet many have no time left over other than to make sure the work gets done.

A Professional Coach Is One Solution

How will businesses respond to the changing work climate? They can certainly restructure work and put coaching at the forefront of a manager’s responsibilities. Given the prolonged impact of technology, some managers have never developed the skill of coaching or perhaps need a refresher. A professional coach can help a manager learn to be a better coach for his or her team.

A second option is to make business and leadership coaching available as an investment for all professional employees. In the past, coaching has been reserved for top executives, but the benefits of coaching can be leveraged at any level so long as someone wants to be coached. Many employees like the confidentiality afforded in a coaching relationship and feel less vulnerable asking for help from a coach as opposed to their direct manager.

Coaching Can Be Justified

Companies offer tuition reimbursement, training, and other educational options as a benefit to attract talent. Many also budget for personnel development. How much does your company spend per person on employee education and training? Coaching can be a value-add to this portfolio. Personalized coaching is a win-win and can be a company differentiator in attracting top talent, because it sends the message that we value you and want to invest in you if you are willing to invest in yourself.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

 

 

With an Emphasis on Recruiting Talent, How Can a Company Better Invest in All Its Employees?

Coaching Success ModelYou are probably familiar with the old saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease?” Based on my informal conversations around the coffee bar, this seems to be a more common metaphor expressed by long-term employees as it applies to their employers’ investment of time, energy, and resources in recruiting new talent in comparison to investing in their current employees.  Many frustrated professionals are asking, “What about me?  What about my future?”  They perceive they are being left behind as their companies appear to offer more support and opportunities to new hires because of the competition for top talent.

As a coach, I hear many professionals express disappointment in their current employers, whom they believe are not or are only superficially investing in them.  Many do not feel valued and appreciated for what they are or can contribute.  When I ask, “How could your company take greater advantage of what you can contribute,” common responses are: (1) provide me with stretch opportunities that help me grow, yet are still aligned with my abilities and interests, and (2) help me manage the cultural changes influenced by the waved of Millennials entering the workforce.

Saladhuddin (2014) described the four distinct generational cohorts and their identities which are Veteran/Mature/Traditionalist, Baby Boomer, Generation X, and Millennial/Nexter.  Most Veterans have left the workforce with Baby Boomers also rapidly entering retirement.  As of 2015, the estimated distribution of the three most represented workforce cohorts was nearly equal with Baby Boomers at 29%, Gen Xers at 34%, and Millennials at 34%, with the latter projected to increase to 50-75% of the workforce by 2025 (Woods, 2016).  Ten years from now, the Millennial worldview identity will likely have the greatest influence on the workforce landscape, but businesses will still need the skills, experiences, and talents of the remaining Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.

Historically, new employees acclimated to their company’s culture, now culture is adapting to accommodate rapid globalization and technology advancements as well as the influence of the Millennial work identity.  These factors are pressing American companies to rethink the way they do business, who they hire, and how their culture will have to change to position themselves for success.  A company’s cultural has never been more in question.  A recent Korn Ferry Institute (2017) study showed that executives believe the main reason that candidates join or leave an organization is because of its culture.  Millennials want to feel good about where they work and have a shared sense of purpose.  Gen Xers want to take their skills to a place where they can make an impact.

Strategic discussions on cultural change are more prevalent today as companies grapple with understanding their current culture, define a cultural vision, identify their cultural gaps, and act on a path to transform culture.  Organizational studies (Kanter, 2012) show that most employees resist change either because of the environment or personal motivations.  How can companies best help and empower their employees with cultural transformation without leaving them behind or having them leave?  I believe the answer can be found in access to a combination of formal personal, team, and organizational coaching.  In the past, coaching used to be reserved for senior executives and leaders.  In the current business climate, I believe most if not all employees can benefit from coaching, and those organizations, who are the trailblazers in how they leverage human capital, will make coaching services available to their employees.  An organizational and leadership coach can help employees find greater fulfillment, engage in cultural change, and meaningfully contribute to their organization’s strategy and goals.

Constructive opinions, viewpoints, and comments welcome on this hot topic.

  1. Do you feel valued at your company and believe management makes reasonable efforts to tap into your talents for mutual benefit?  If not, why do you think your company is not utilizing your full abilities?
  2. What thoughts do you have in how companies could better leverage the power of all employees across generational identities?

References

Kanter, R. (2012). Ten reasons people resist change. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2012/09/ten-reasons-people-resist-chang

Korn Ferry Institute (2017). The talent forecast, part 1: Adapting today’s candidate priorities for tomorrow’s organizational success. Retrieved from  http://www.kornferry.com/the-talent-forecast/the-talent-forecast

Salahuddin, M. (2010). Generational difference impact on leadership style and organizational success. Journal of Diversity Management, 5(2), 1-6.

Woods, K. (2016). Organizational ambidexterity and the multi-generational workforce. Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, 20(1), 95-111.


HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose/plans, business, finances, relationships, and premarital/marriage.  Contact: sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com