HRM Five: Coaching employees to success

Employee coaching is a key strategy to support employees to grow, learn new skills, and become innovative problem-solvers.
By: | August 5, 2018

Yamini Chinnuswamy offers five important points on everything you wanted to know about HR practices today, but were too afraid to ask. Check out previous editions of HRM Five here.

During the 2018 Learning & Development Conference, several leading practitioners from the region talked about how coaching has become a more significant part of the development curriculum in their respective organisations.

Coaching is a way to support your employees to grow, learn new skills, and become innovative problem-solvers.

Here are just a few tips if for any HR teams wanting to get started with coaching with their own employees.

1. Get the definition right

“Coaching is about helping people discover next steps and solutions. You don’t give them the answers; you channel them towards answers,” says Prakash Santhanam, President, International Association of Coaching, Malaysia Chapter.

2. Understand the difference between internal and external coaching

An internal coach can be a great everyday resource for minor issues. But for more hands-on, intensive coaching – for example, during a time of great change in the organisation or for the specific employee – a trained external coach will likely be the most effective.

Do note that coaches do not need to be subject matter experts – they function as guides, not answer-providers.

3. Formalise it

Coaching needs some amount of structure to be effective. Ideally, coaches and employees will be able to set their own timelines, but to begin with, you might need to distribute templates for action plans and set up dates for follow-up meetings.

4. Use a top-down and cascade approach

As with anything in the corporate world, the success of coaching in an organisation is a matter of leadership buy-in or bust.

Begin with the leadership – explain the importance and benefits of coaching to the business, explain how and why it is a long-term effort, and maybe even have them trained as coaches themselves (if they aren’t already).

They can then cascade it down to their direct reports, who can take it to their respective departments, and so on.

5. Implement a success measure

Without an established outcome, coaching will likely fail. If nothing else, because employees might be tempted to think of it as merely paper exercise.

On the other hand, having them fix it to one of their already-established KPIs will help them find the relevancy and better quantify the work they have done with the help of coaching.