The word “coaching” immediately brings to mind athletes and sports, but then business discovered that the lessons of John Wooden, famed UCLA basketball coach, produced successful results whether on the court or in the boardroom. People need help getting the best out of the skill sets they already have within themselves. It is not the coach that makes the player better, it is self-awareness, understanding your piece as part of the whole, and committing yourself daily to being the best “you” possible. Mastering that equals success.
The International Coach Federation defines professional coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” I prefer the simple definition offered by Dr. Sackeena Gordon-Jones, PCC, Program Director for North Carolina State University’s Business Coaching Certificate Program and President of Transformation Edge Coaching and Consulting in Raleigh, NC: “When you experience a shift in thinking, it’s reflected in your actions and leads to transformation. Coaching is about transformation.”
It is important to spread the news within an organization that bringing in a professional coach can help alleviate costly mistakes, an idea that’s especially important for start-ups. Within the first two years, new businesses fail at a rate of between 50-70% or are barely surviving and not profitable. On a shoestring budget, they may be tempted to use short-term training as a means to move the business forward, but training is optimized when combined with professional coaching. Coaching emphasizes reflection, capitalizing on what you have and creating successful outcomes, elements that propel businesses forward regardless of size. According to prominent business coaching expert Dr. Jeffrey E. Auerbach, “The Xerox Corporation found that the impact of using follow-up coaching after formal training gave a massive 87% increase in the effectiveness of training when compared to training alone.”
Research of small, medium and large international companies has shown that coaching is effective for both senior-level managers and emerging leaders, the employees who most effect change in an organization. To help find solutions to business challenges, coaches ask leading questions and listen to their client, enabling the client to draw from their own skill sets and experiences. The coach’s role is not to diagnose or to fix problems; the coach simply guides the process. Transformation comes directly from the person being coached.
Coaching for business is not a new phenomenon. According to the January 2001 article “Maximizing the Impact of Executive Coaching: Behavioral Change, Organizational Outcomes, and Return” in The Manchester Review (McGovern et al), a study of Fortune 1000 companies actively using coaches revealed the following about their results:
- Productivity was up 53%
- Retention of senior staff increased 32%
- Profitability was up 22%
- Those who received coaching reported better relationships with direct reports and managers
- Team building improved
- Business relationships with clients improved.
Contracting with a professional coach is a smart way to maximize training dollars. Senior business leaders with growth mindsets understand that calling in help to clarify thinking and capitalize on potential is a proactive move. The results will speak for themselves in improved cohesiveness, productivity, retention and customer relations.
To find out more information about professional coaching, contact The International Coach Federation at coachfederation.org.