Developing talent within your company means more than the feedback given in an annual performance review or building a company culture that nurtures a strong executive team. While these things are important, they won’t compel your employees to stay at their jobs and become leaders in your organization.
According to Gallup, when employees make the decision to advance their careers, only 7% do so with their current employer. Many companies struggle when it comes to keeping their best employees engaged, but making an investment in their development could provide a significant advantage when it comes to retention.
What is leadership coaching?
Leadership coaching provides opportunities for individuals to work with a coach to develop professionally through a long-term, one-on-one model that is tailored to their specific goals and development needs.
Coaching is a highly personalized form of professional leadership development with an action-oriented approach. Coaches partner with coachees to increase self-awareness, generate insights and level up thinking that can lead to a lasting mindset and behavior shifts with impact on company performance. Coaches may use a combination of questions, tools, frameworks and content to personalize the learning experience for each person.
Traditionally, companies engage a coach when a CEO or other high-level executive needs to work on certain leadership skills, such as understanding how they are perceived by colleagues and direct reports, how to communicate more effectively, setting strategy and driving alignment among teams. Most often, they come away from the engagement a more capable leader.
However, due to these three primary shifts in workforce trends and technology, leadership coaching is increasingly becoming the go-to model for development at all levels:
- The workforce is younger and hungry for growth
Millennials, who have the largest share of the U.S. labor market, view their place of employment as a source of professional and personal development. They are less motivated by money and more by finding a sense of purpose in their jobs and careers. They want to work for companies that offer a mission-driven, people-first culture rather than some place where they can put in their 9-to-5 and cash their paycheck at the end of the week. A Gallup report found that 59 percent of Millennials seek career opportunities that will enable them to continually learn and grow, compared to just 44 percent of Gen Xers and 41 percent of Baby Boomers.
This means companies that want the best talent need to put their people first and invest in their employees’ personal and professional growth, or risk losing them.
A good coach not only addresses how to become a better manager, but also how to grow and evolve as a leader and an individual. They offer new perspectives to shift a person’s entire way of thinking, leading to greater self awareness, better habits, and closer interpersonal relationships.
- More mid-level employees are being placed into management roles
When companies grow quickly, they promote and hire new talent to keep up with the demand, but often forget to provide the necessary training and guidance for new managers to effectively lead teams.
Promoting employees from within is not only cost effective, studies show their performance is better than that of external hires and they’re less likely to quit. Also, because they already know the company and are a proven culture fit, onboarding and new hire check-ins aren’t necessary.
However, a recent study showed that 44 percent of new managers felt unprepared and 87 percent wished they’d had more training before becoming a manager. New managers often face challenges such as resolving issues between teammates, motivating and evaluating employees, and finding the right resources to support them.
Coaching can address the problems a new manager might face by providing a neutral thinking partner who can help them work through these issues. Conflict resolution can trip up even the best managers, and a coach can help by working with the new manager to roleplay for tense situations such as when a team member gets promoted over her peers.
- The workforce is more distributed than ever before
The modern workforce now has the option to work from home and enjoy more flexible schedules. According to a Gallup survey released last year, 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely, a statistic that continues to increase over time. “Gallup consistently has found that flexible scheduling and work from home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job,” the polling agency wrote in a report on those and other workplace findings.
With employees enjoying this perk of working from just about anywhere and at anytime, they remain connected to the workplace through technologies such as chat, video-conferencing and cloud services, enabling them to keep up with their responsibilities while enjoying the freedom to work on their own terms.
Gone are the days when a professional coach came to your office for a face-to-face meeting. No one has time for long, in-person meetings anyway. The technology that is used to help an employee be effective from home is the same technology that can provide a platform for scalable, one-on-one coaching on demand. Coaches are now able to provide coachees with advice via video conferencing, mobile apps or even over Slack. Think of it as a “coach in your pocket.”
Regardless of whether you need to keep Millennials engaged, support your new managers or ensure your remote workforce remains accessible, the bottomline for any organization looking to hold on to its most talented employees is to invest in their development. Employees at all levels can benefit from personalized coaching, and with the latest technology it’s possible to make this once exclusive perk available to everyone.
To learn more about Sounding Board and our proven approach to leadership development through 1:1 coaching visit our website.