Coaching for business success
When most people think about coaching, they imagine an individual (a senior executive?) having one-to-one chats with someone who supports them as they work towards their personal development goals. Broadly speaking, fair enough. But this vision also carries the implication the benefits of the coaching process will also be mostly individual.
Not so. The main purpose of coaching may be to develop individual capability and realise potential, but there is a great deal of evidence and experience that indicates coaching also drives business performance and improves employee engagement.
What the individual gets from coaching
Of course, the direct recipient of the benefits of coaching is the coachee. And while they’re working towards their coaching goal (promotion, a new skill or role, etc.) they are also developing key leadership, teamworking and communication skills as a by-product. The nature of the coaching process means that…
- listening to understand,
- asking questions that move the conversation forward,
- communicating in a way that has the greatest positive impact,
- facilitating effective decision-making,
- working collaboratively with others is enhanced,
…are all enhanced for the coachee.
However, such skills all involve interaction with others and thus, as the individual’s skills grow so does their positive impact on the people around them.
What the organisation gets from coaching
In other words, the business benefits not only by having a more effective employee but in a wider sense too, as their improving performance helps drive wider improvements.
Better collaboration and teamworking
A consequence of the coaching process is that coached employees become much more aware of (and expert at) listening to understand and the value it brings to teams. Asking questions that move the conversation forward become second nature. As they change and improve the way they communicate with their peers, colleagues and customers, the quality of their collaboration improves. A Stanford study found that people “primed to act collaboratively” were more motivated, sticking at a task 64% longer than solitary workers (they also reported better engagement, less fatigue and a higher rate of success).
Better employee retention
Given the cost of recruitment, when you hire a talented employee you want to hang on to them. And that means investing in them and their development, and not just wringing every last drop of productivity out of your latest ‘human resource’. Among many otherings, making people feel invested in is what coaching does, as it helps them achieve their goals. A study from Harvard Business School found that the top motivator of the modern employee is not their compensation package but their progress (and coaching is ALL about making progress).
What’s more, interestingly, given shifting workforce demographics, a Deloitte study from 2016 noted that Millennials who were planning to stay with their employer for more than five years were twice as likely to have a coach or mentor.
It’s reasonably accepted that coaching improves skills but sales? In fact, the link between coaching programmes and higher sales stems from an 80s study of 35,000+ sales in 20 countries. The headlines are as follows:
- Frontline sales managers with coaching skills have a direct impact on overall sales performance, showing a greater ROI compared to other training investments.
- According to a recent study by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) of more than 160 sales execs, almost nine-tenths of organizations will provide coaching skills training to sales managers this year.
- Furthermore, a 2012 study by the CEB also found that successful sales reps adopt a coaching approach to challenge their customers’ thinking, using targeted questions to lead the customer towards their solution. Effectively, this is the salesperson coaching the customer to faster, more considered decision.
- Finally, Executive Council research found that organizations can increase their revenue by up to 20% by focusing development activity on salespeople interact with prospects and customers.
Coaching carries great personal benefits for the coachee, and managers with coaching skills get more from their teams. Taking a step further, the proven impact of coaching and coaching skills within an organisation have been shown to have direct impacts on business success, including collaboration, workforce retention, and sales.
If you’d like to explore further the idea of a coaching programme for your business or developing coaching skills in your managers, check out our website for details or give us a call on 01582 714280.