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Workplace Coaching Should Not Be Limited to a Few


Nearly every respondent to a recent survey of 250 UK companies said coaching in the workplace has helped individuals and their organizations. As I wrote in my previous blog post on coaching culture, they cited improved personal skills, better communication, higher confidence levels and greater motivation. With so many benefits, one might expect all companies to adopt coaching - and make it available to as many employees as possible. The Institute of Leadership and Management survey found that isn't the case. Only 68% of companies with 230 to 500 employees said that coaching is part of their development toolkit. For companies with more than 2,000 workers, the percentage rises to 90%. (Organizations with 501 to 2,000 employees reported using coaching 81% of the time.) But even at large companies, coaching isn't available to everyone. The ILM survey found that at 85% of the responding companies, coaching was targeted primarily at middle managers and those higher on the organizational totem pole. Only 63% of organizations make coaching available to non-managers, while just over half say it's offered to all staff. The reasons for limiting the availability of coaching are obvious. For one, it requires a significant commitment of time, money and personnel. All three are in short supply at many organizations these days. In addition, the most popular reasons for coaching are related to career progression. Management and leadership development was cited by 21% of the respondents while 19% reported the purpose was senior executive development. The ILM study shows that coaching produces results that would benefit everyone, not just those who have reached a certain level in their careers or those who are up-and-comers. Improved attitudes, stronger teamwork and increased motivation would help entry-level workers as well as the next CEO. There would have to be adjustments. A coaching program designed for senior managers wouldn't work for a line worker. But one of the greatest features of coaching is its flexibility. It wouldn't be difficult to design a programs for all tiers of the organization. That leaves money. Smaller organizations are struggling to find the resources to offer any sort of coaching. But the ILM numbers indicate that some (68%) manage to do just that. These organizations understand the importance of coaching and its benefits. They see it as an investment in both individuals and the organization, and find a way to make it work within their budgets. The coaching culture is exactly what's needed in today's economic climate. As companies and employees are forced to do more with less, coaching can help everyone - not just the select few - reach the next level of performance. It's an investment that will pay off for years to come. There are ways to institute coaching without breaking the budget. You could, for instance, tap your senior employees, managers and HR personnel to coach fellow workers. Local business schools also might have students who have been trained to coach and are looking for opportunities to practice. Is your organization using coaches to help develop your workforce? If so, who has access and who does not? Why? Please share your experiences below. Reference Creating a Coaching Culture (2011). Institute of Leadership and Management

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