What is Coaching and tips for Effective Coaching ?

The function of a coach in the corporate environment is to provide a development and training process that is customized to the needs of the individual.

Coaching can be an extremely rewarding and motivating exercise. Modern organizations are beginning to see its use and effectiveness. Apart from the known advantages of transfer of knowledge and skill, it builds strong bonds of respect and affection within the organization. Unlike training where the individual is exposed to a general development process along with so many others. Coaching enables the entire knowledge transfer process to be customized to the specific needs of the individual.

The Human resources department has a pivotal role to play in the introduction of coaching or mentoring in any organization. This is partly because coaching is a long term process unlike conventional training which is conducted over a specific period of time. An important objective of the HR department is to build an effective system of coaching in the company the coaching process should be voluntary. It should not be forced down on any body. A friendly and comfortable environment needs to be created wherein the individual is able to approach the coach for his coaching needs.

Apart from coaching, the coaching system must help the people who are getting coached receive feedback. This feedback can be from everyone associated with them. It can be from superiors, subordinates and from peers (360 degrees feedback)

Coaches should be people with moral authority rather than people with “raw power”. In the majority of situations, the coach will not be the direct superior of the individual and hence the control that the coach has over the individual is minimal. In these situations, factors such as the perceived competence of the coach, his approachability and his amiable disposition are the ones which make the person who is coached to approach the coach with his queries.

Experts feel that more than providing straight forward answers, a coach needs to help the employee arrive at the solutions. This make the employee look at the solution as a solution he developed and makes him own up to it. If the coach were to provide the answer and the employee is not full convinced, he may still follow the advice due to a sense of obligation. He may perceive the solution as being thrust upon him.

Some tips for Effective Coaching are

- Acknowledgement that the coach is not in control i.e. the goals and the pace of the coaching are determined by the individual and not the coach 
- The coach should be a good listener. 
- Be polite in enquiring about the motives behind a particular decision. 
- Be a guide who helps the individual reach solutions

Being a coach involves developing a relationship of trust and assurance. People approach the coach for assistance when they do not know the answer. Sometimes, the help of a coach is solicited before making critical decisions. Coaches may find themselves receiving questions that are difficult and which may have more than one answer. This is known as “targeted assistance”. When ambiguous and difficult questions reach the coach it is natural that the coach may not have answers to all the questions. In situations such as these, the coach needs to be frank enough to admit ignorance and sincere enough to find answers to the questions.

It would be a great mistake if the coach were to provide evasive and vague replies in an effort to conceal his ignorance. This causes great damage to the coach’s reputation and credibility.

Coaching is a method of transferring knowledge, methodology and skills in a manner that is more effective and personalized than training. If effectively planned, coaching can be a strong motivating force that not only increases employee confidence and competency, but also creates relationships of lasting respect and goodwill.