For a process as focused upon the individual as coaching, we wouldn’t usually think of organizational coaching. However, corporate coaching is possible, and it works the same way as individual coaching- within the company setting, a small group of individuals within a team or key people in management roles can undergo coaching.
In organizations, there is scope for seismic shifts, and we do mean that in a good way.
When a whole group of people working on a common goal undergoes a transformation, the system stands to benefit. Indeed, over time, coaching itself becomes a culture, and it wouldn’t be rare to see seniors mentoring their team or the presence of an in-house executive coach. Can you imagine how successful such an organisation would be? We can!
An old saying goes like this- If you want to feed a person for a day, give them fish. If you want to feed them for a lifetime, teach them how to fish.
And so it goes with coaching. As a process, it encourages a mindset of learning, problem-solving and lateral thinking, all of which are necessary skills in a workplace today but are rarely taught or implemented as structured courses.
Organisational coaching allows your team to learn how to fish- to acquire some of these core skills that can further help them solve everyday challenges as they arise in an independent, time-sensitive manner.
Outlining The Coaching Process
While the needs of every company differ and therefore their specific programs, coaching for companies follows this approach, in broad terms:
• Workshops, meetings and brainstorming sessions with the senior management help us gain a perspective on what individual issues are contributing to organizational problems. For example, in some companies, there is no culture of following up or communicating, which would have been okay when the team was smaller but is a hindrance now.
Identifying specific problems helps us understand what specific skills we need to build in the individual.
• The top management is often the first to undergo coaching since their actions have a lasting impact across teams. Individuals in these positions are asked to set goals for themselves that they believe would contribute to the growth of the entire ecosystem. In other words, they are encouraged to work on gap areas they perceive in their approach and to fill these gaps. The gaps are identified from within, through introspection and self-awareness and not to fit some checklist of behaviours that are rewarded. This makes it personal and meaningful.
Coaching is a longer engagement than a typical training. Hence, the goals set by the top management need to reflect changes they wish to see over a more extended period. Immediate response to market forces, or trying to deal with a crisis, is not in the scope of coaching. Instead, the aim is to reinforce the system from within to build a lasting organization that is ready for any and all challenges.
• As with every process, evaluation is a key part of organisational coaching as well. Those who have undergone the program are encouraged to take standardised assessments and also to note their learnings as a way to implement them in the future.
• Coaching is then extended to teams and mid-management. In this process, two types of mentors are available. The coach maintains focus on individual goals and aiding positive movement. The coached top management steps in to help set an organizational context and mentor their coachees in a manner that supports both them and the company.
In larger firms, this coaching rollout may be carried out over a period of time, starting with the low or medium impact teams first.
How can companies tell that they need coaching? We would consider a safe bet to say that all companies have aspects they can work on with the help of coaching. Thus, it is better to take the call now than to wait for an actual crisis situation. In any case, coaching is a tool for betterment and not one for fixing problems as they arise, and every organization can do better by being better!
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