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Study identifies emerging direction for employee coaching

February 26, 2013

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

By Michael J. Burns

Lee Hecht Harrison, a national recruiting firm, recently published results of a study it commissioned on employee coaching. Coaching is a broadening field of employee development. We can define it as a professional engaging one-one-one with a key employee to further develop the latter’s leadership and management skills, or help overcome a weakness that is holding him or her back.

Coaching is broadening because it has expanded from the C- Suite down through the ranks, and firms are using it to not just to develop individuals but teams as well.

The Lee Hecht Harrison study showed that new “coaching cultures” are emerging – “cultures where leaders play a key role in the development of employees through coaching, mentoring and knowledge transfer,” says J.C. Heinen, SVP Global Leadership Development & Coaching for Lee Hecht Harrison.

He went on to say, “Coaching as a leadership skill has become vital as managers need to develop employees, retain key talent, build productive teams and influence change. In fact, 98% percent of respondents agreed it is important that coaching should occur regularly and informally between a manager and employees.”

This may sound very much like the mentoring programs of old. Mentoring programs were characterized by in-house managers assigned to guide subordinates from other departments, usually newer employees. Over time, some of those programs showed themselves to include unwanted dynamics, like in-house politics and/or untrained, unsupervised mentors doing as much damage to a career as the organization thought it would gain from the arrangement. Coaching by an outside, trained coach eliminated the perception (at least) that the coach could adversely impact a career through indiscreet use of information picked up during coaching, and/or just poor coaching methodology by the untrained mentor.

Whether or not the new model of coaching as another skill that the average manager needs to have in his or her toolbox will avoid the pitfalls of the older mentoring approach remains to be seen. But the concept of coaching as a key element of culture may be here to stay.

ASE has provided coaching services for several years and leadership development education for decades. In light of the broader concept of coaching, ASE is providing its clients a much more versatile use for the ASE coaching services. Coaching used to be strictly a one-on-one project. Now it is just as likely to be a small group or team leadership development project, where the coach is a teacher/instructor of leadership skills in a training setting for part of the project. Then the coach reverts to a one-on-one relationship for the rest of the project as the person being coached tries out the new or upgraded skills and practices in real time under the coach’s guidance.

For more information on ASE’s Leadership Development programs and Executive Coaching services contact Michael Burns at (248) 223-8039.

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