Coaching to Improve Performance

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					                 Coaching to Improve Performance
In many organisations coaching is used effectively as a development activity and in
others it takes place on an informal basis with more experienced people helping their
colleagues to develop specific skills as the need arises.

Effective coaching programmes provide significant benefits for all involved and the
organisation because skill development is consistent with the needs of the individual and
the job.

What is coaching?
In its simplest form, coaching is directly concerned with helping individuals to improve
their performance through instruction. In many cases it is about helping them to learn
rather than teaching them. A good coach enables people to reach their full potential by
providing appropriate guidance and support.

There is no ‘correct’ coaching style. Effective coaches are flexible, adopting the right
approach for the situation and the levels of competence and confidence of the individual
being coached. Different styles include:

•   Directing - telling the person what to do, for example, “Do it this way” or “Watch
    how I do this and then you do it in the same way”. Useful when the person lacks
    ability and confidence and the coach needs to appear strong. Following completion
    of the task it is a good idea to let the individual assess their performance and
    evaluate progress.

•   Persuading - coaching the ‘salesman’ way. The coach is selling rather than telling,
    for example. “This is the best way to do it” and “Can you see why I do it this way?”

•   Encouraging – helping the individual to learn by getting him/her to think through the
    ideal method to complete the task. The person must feel ready and able to do this
    so a certain level of knowledge and skill is necessary. The coach must be available
    to help the individual to solve any problems encountered otherwise they may lose
    confidence. The coach may take the individual through the task and skill
    development process in small steps.

•   Delegating – briefing the person and observing progress closely to give support
    when requested. Be available to give support on how to solve problems but do not
    step in unless asked to do so. Debrief once the tasl has been successfully
    completed. The debrief is the time when learning is recognised, reinforced and
    consolidated as both coach and individual evaluate performance.

•   Counselling – enabling the individual to find the right way to do the task or raise
    performance by getting them to suggest different options and evaluate these for
    themselves. The role of the coach tends to become more of a mentor or ‘sounding
    board’ at times.

One key to success is to choose the appropriate style for the situation and to move to
another if the existing approach is not working. Many coaching schemes fail because
the coach tends to use the one style he/she is most comfortable with.
Successful coaching
Coaching to improve performance links the process to achievement of agreed workplace
goals which provide specific development for the individual. A coaching programme
usually operates as a stepped process as set out below:

Identification of what needs to be achieved:
• Assess current standards of performance.
• Agree coaching objectives.
• Identify learning needs to meet new performance goals.
• Determine how success will be measured.

Development of a plan
• Agree actions required to achieve objectives
• Determine the role of the coach and how progress will be monitored.
• Organise suitable learning resources and opportunities.
• Set activity schedule and time scales.

Action and instruction
• Instruct, guide and supervise learning.
• Provide feedback and review objectives.

• Determine how well performance goals have been met.
• Measure the gain in learning in the workplace.
• Celebrate success.

Successful coaching should result in higher levels of workforce competence,
commitment and morale.       However, opportunities to use coaching to improve
performance are not always recognised because of the need to concentrate on task
rather than people. Coaching can help to restore the balance and significantly assist
organistions to develop the skills they need to achieve current and future business

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