Coaching is a widely used development tool and performance management technique – it can be used for a number of purposes: one-on-one developmental coaching, team coaching, executive coaching and business coaching.
The structure and techniques of coaching may differ based on the manager's personal style; however all techniques will have one unifying feature: the coaching approach will predominantly be facilitated by the coach asking questions and challenging the coachee to learn from his or her own resources.
The coaching process is underpinned by established trust in the coach. This two-way trusting partnership will assist an employee to achieve growth. Coaching utilises the work situation as a learning opportunity. It focuses on developing a person's skills and knowledge to improve job performance.
Coaching is effectively 'learning by doing' under the supervision of an experienced person. By undertaking a task on-the-job and under the direction of the coach, the coachee acquires skills and knowledge required for their job role.
The coach is generally one of the following:
- The coachee's direct line manager or a supervisor with considerable expertise in the relevant field
- A dedicated internal coach who may be a line manager or a human resources (HR) specialist
- An external person specialising in coaching. The selection of the coach will be dependent upon the coaching need.
The coachee is a person who has been identified by the line manager, supervisor or HR practitioner as having a learning need to improve the knowledge or skills required to perform their job.
Purpose and benefits
The primary purpose of coaching is performance improvement. Coaching provides a number of benefits to the organisation, the coach and the coachee. The organisational benefits of coaching include the following:
- A low-risk, cost-effective strategy for developing employee capability
- A means of attracting employees to the organisation, motivating employees and retaining high potential employees
- A learning and development technique that can be used to support employees and enable them to continuously learn new skills and knowledge
- Can assist in promoting organisational values and desired behaviours
- Enables employees to take on additional tasks and promotes an expectation of high performance
- Consolidation and reinforcement of training through coaching back in the workplace.
Benefits for the coach include:
- An opportunity to share skills and knowledge in the work environment
- Role modelling of desired behaviours
- An opportunity to provide feedback to improve performance
- Identification of high performance staff members.
Benefits for the coachee include:
- An on-the-job means of acquiring skills, knowledge and additional job responsibility, thereby increasing job satisfaction
- Building confidence and capability in undertaking new job tasks
- An opportunity to respond to job challenges under the guidance of an experienced member of the organisation.