The most obvious way in which the people you coach benefit from the coaching you do is in an improved level of performance. If they are sales people, they’ll sell more. If they are themselves managers, they’ll manage better. If they are administrators, they’ll become better at administrating. If they are lecturers they’ll deliver more interesting lectures. I can’t think of any area of work that won’t improve with effective coaching. Of course, if your organization links such improvements to financial rewards then there’s an obvious carrot to dangle. However, as we’ll see later on, this may be a rather clumsy approach to motivation and I would suggest you stress some of the other benefits I’ll outline here too.
People who are coached report that they find there work more interesting. This is because coaching makes them curious once more. I once trained as coaches the managers who worked in a factory that made cosmetic components; the brushes and applicators for mascara and so on. How can I motivate someone who job is simply to glue bristles on to make up brush stems as they trundle pass on a conveyor belt? I was asked. My advice was to coach around interest and ask the person concerned questions like. How could this line be better organized? How could you increase throughput by 10%? How much wastage could be avoided? To answer such questions, the people we coach have to pay more attention to what they’re doing and as such even the most mundane of tasks become interesting and possibly even fun…
This leads to another benefit of increased confidence. The two ingredients to confidence are success and responsibility for that success. Let’s say our production line operator finds a way to increase throughput by 10%, and does so entirely on their own initiative. It may seem a small accomplishment in the grand scheme of things but could provide the employee with a real fillip from which we can build. In a similar vein, coaching leads to expanded comfort zones as people realize they’re capable of much more. Try this exercise: From a standing position, go into a squat until you just begin to feel a slight twinge in the thighs. Call this position 1 and hold it for about 20 seconds. Now squat further down until you’re thighs hurt a fair bit and it feels quite uncomfortable, Call this position 2 and hold for about 10 seconds. Now return to position 1. Doesn’t this feel much more comfortable (and a relief!) than the first time? When we try new things and achieve some successes and some learning with the help of a coach, our comfort zones at work expand in much the same way. I am regularly delighted by people I meet on training courses who stutter and mumble their way through the icebreakers only to make interesting and articulate flipchart presentations by the end of the course. It’s amazing what we can achieve when supported by people who want to see us succeed.
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