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Is coaching the new black?


Is coaching the new black? In the latest newsletter from Helen Bouchami Consulting, Helen Bouchami suggests how coaching can avoid becoming just the latest fad and discusses the issues surrounding the use of executive coaching in the workplace.

Bouchami says that one-to-one executive coaching is at its most effective in changing behaviour of those in higher positions in an organisation, partly because it is most likely that behaviour rather than skills or experience are an issue for these individuals, but also because it can offer short, intensive (and confidential) sessions which suit those with a lack of time available to devote to this type of session. As behaviour change is a gradual process over time, not a one-off activity, a series of short sessions can be extremely effective in maintaining the momentum needed to create a permenant change.

Bouchami says that there is a potential danger with the over-use of coaching, particularly if it becomes associated with either successful individuals or those with problems. Using one of these approaches can either lead to coaching as a 'status symbol' which everyone wants, or as something which has a stigma attached to it.

Another potential shortcoming of the process is that the individual becomes overly dependent on the coach, and increasingly reliant on reliant on them to make decisions. This can lead to the process becoming a type of therapy for the individual, something which the coach is unlikely to be trained or prepared for. To avoid this, the coaching should have clearly-defined objectives, with regular progress reviews. The individual should be required to undertake some action to help their progress in-between sessions.

As the service is often an expensive one (due to the range of skills and experience the executive coach can usually offer, timescales involved and level of customisation), assessing the effectiveness of the programme is crucial but sometimes difficult due to its confidential nature.
Bouchami says that it should be remembered that the HR manager does have a legitimate interest in process.

Bouchami also offers advice on choosing a coach and on HR's role in implementing the process. More of this article can be found here


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