Why Coaching Is The Best Method To Professional Development

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As a people manager in any industry, the most critical thing, along with consistent growth, is developing your people.

How do you contribute to your employees' professional development?

Developing your employees means equipping them with the skills they need to handle change and dynamic situations.

In this fast-paced world moving towards a gig economy, each person wants to do what they're best at.

If faced with difficult roadblocks in such a situation, they must have the skills to navigate choppy waters on their own and resolve them.

They should be able to come to a place of clarity independently and to move forward with their decisions confidently.

When people become more productive, their performance improves, and it ultimately makes you look good.

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Coaching is the best method for professional development.

Developing employees also help in recruiting and retaining. Trained employees allow you to delegate so you can focus on where you will be best utilized.

Most importantly, it's rewarding because that's what leadership is all about — making a difference in the lives of others.

In this digital and VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Changing, Ambiguous) world, the best way to develop your employees is through a culture of coaching.

But what exactly is coaching?

In the professional context, coaching involves partnering with a person to help them come up with their own answers.

It requires you to be present, listen to them actively, and ask questions to help guide them through their own solutions. The most important aspect is that this process needs to be carried out without any judgment.

Coaching asks for people to believe that everyone knows their own situation best. Once a new perspective is gained through introspection and deliberation, natural ownership of any action arises out of this awareness and learning.

The answers in coaching lie heavily in asking and not telling. Coaching conversations can happen anywhere and can be short or long.

Training managers as coaches.

Organizations are transforming their culture to adapt to the new paradigm by training their managers as coaches. It's one of the many tools being used. It also helps in building trust with team members.

Once they realize that you're truly invested in their well-being and believe in them, it creates an environment of collaboration within the team.

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In their book Coaching, Mentoring and Organizational Consultancy: Supervision and Development, Peter Hawkins and Nick Smith suggest seven steps that are necessary for establishing a full coaching culture in an organization:

Developing external coaching provision.
Developing internal coaching capacity.
Leaders actively supporting coaching endeavors.
Developing team coaching and organizational learning.
Embed it in human resources (HR) and performance management processes.
Coaching becomes the dominant style of managing.
Coaching becomes how we do business with all our stakeholders.

It typically starts with the executive leadership team getting coached.

For this culture to penetrate, the senior leadership must believe in the coaching process and encourage it.

For any organization to thrive, it must develop its strategy faster than the changing world it's operating in.

The even more significant challenge for the organization is to sustain and manage its culture at the same speed as its strategy.

Culture change is not easy because it is pervasive. It takes time. Creating a coaching culture is not an end in itself, but a means to an end.

A coaching culture is a vital part of creating a more general culture of openness, collaboration, trust, and development.

All this will help enhance the capabilities and capacities of all the employees and the organization as a whole. High performance can create greater shared value for the organization and all its key stakeholders.

Coaching used to be looked at as a correctional measure toward improving behavior. However, now, companies are beginning to see it as the way forward to transform their culture to excel in the future.

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Bhavna Dalal is a master certified executive coach MCC ICF, speaker, and author of "Checkmate Office Politics" who helps people develop their leadership skills, such as executive presence, strategic thinking, influencing, and networking. To learn more about her work, visit her website or follow her on LinkedIn.

This article was originally published at Forbes India. Reprinted with permission from the author.