You may have a few questions about coaching applications by now. Does coaching fit in the workplace? How can a coach have influence within a company?
Coaching at work
Business organizations are structures made up of people who are constantly developing and advancing.
If we look at business organizations with an eagle’s eye, we can clearly see their evolution throughout history. Not so long ago, we could see how one of the biggest innovations in this regard was the assembly line, an evolution created by Henry Ford; we can see this caricatured in the movie Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin. Nowadays, we are talking about globalization, and it’s more and more common for jobs where mechanical skill is not so important but intellectual skill is.
There are many authors who have analyzed this change over the past few years. Peter Drucker, Gary Hamel, and Rafael Echeverría, to name a few, have written countless books on this topic.
It’s commonplace to hear terms like agile methodologies, collaborators, managers, mentors, and of course, coaches. I want to emphasize this last concept to highlight the importance that the figure of the coach is having within organizations, their influence on development for people, teams, systems, and the entire value chain within a business organization in general.
In his book The Emerging Business, Rafael Echeverría looks at today’s business’s type of worker and how constant innovation must be in the DNA of every company.
According to Rafael Echevarría, the current company employee:
- Worker who works with contingencies. A manager who has to look at each case and think about how to solve the problem. This would be somewhat similar to the figure of “Mr. Wolf” in the movie Pulp Fiction.
- An innovative worker who’s focused on detecting new opportunities to generate interest and value.
- A worker with conversational competency skills: language, emotionality, and corporeality.
All these new skills that the workers of today’s companies develop require training and accompaniment. That’s where that the figure of the coach stands out.
The coach works with each collaborator, doing individual and executive sessions where the objective is for the person to grow, get organized, and develop as a professional. They could also work with teams accompanying them in their development and in acquiring practical skills for their work. The latter would be team coaching.
What does a coach help us with?
A coach helps us:
- Move from fear to confidence.
- Make the employee responsible for their potential and invest in a job well done with confidence and efficiency.
- Accompanying the client at all times in their difficulties. Asking them questions without advice or action.
- Supporting each individual in their difficulties.
- Facilitating a personal evolution that makes us better professionals and more reliable.
These are some of the skills that a coach brings within a business organization.
What does the future hold for us in these organizations?
I don’t have a crystal ball, but the evolution and innovation of companies undoubtedly come from the people who work at them and their ability to improve themselves every day and at all times. These are precisely the skills that a coach works on and which bring value to each person so that they can contribute and create value wherever they are.
In my opinion, a coach gets people to evolve and develop, thus making organizations evolve. This is an indispensable figure within a company, bringing interest and value.
I’d like to move from theory to practice and present a real case of how a coach can help a person and, by extension, a company.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, we coaches work by the Code of Ethics, and we cannot share our clients’ personal information, but we can, as a teaching tool, discuss a topic in a general way.
In this case, I’m going to tell you “Lola’s” story (not her real name). She came to sessions to progress in her professional career and have a better, more solid position, looking toward growing in her work.
In a few sessions, I realized that Lola was very demanding of herself, and that same demand was extrapolated to others, so no one met her expectations. The problem was that this made her someone colleagues preferred not to work with.
No one was up to her standards, and she saw her peers as “lazy.” I had the feeling that, in order for work to go well, I constantly had to lead her by the nose.
In our sessions, we gradually worked on this self-imposed demand. We worked on her personal profile first, where we saw things like the distinction between demand and excellence. This way, she realized that higher demand did not necessarily lead to better results.
We also worked on the emotion of joy to learn that, in order to work excellently, she needed to “have fun” with the things she did in her daily life.
That personal work then led us to work on her professional profile, where she was able to realize how she was perceived by her own colleagues. As this situation didn’t seem right to her, she put an action plan in place, moving toward being more approachable and friendly. To do this, she did simple things like going for coffee with her colleagues and briefly disconnecting from work; leaving work at the end of the work day and spending more time on other passions, taking a week off to relax at home to see her family during the summer.
This work took us several months, but in conclusion, I can tell you that Lola has now been promoted to head of her department and has become a Teaching Chair. She is a highly valued professional who’s considered responsible for improvement and innovation in her workplace.