Three Reasons the Modern Workplace Requires Leadership Coaching

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Developing talent within your modern workplace 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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

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Lori Mazan

Co-Founder & Chief Coaching Officer

Lori Mazan is the Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer of Sounding Board, the preeminent global leadership development enterprise platform changing the face of leadership development through innovative technology for leaders at all levels of an organization. Lori is a seasoned executive coach who has guided hundreds of corporate executives through 1:1 coaching focused on business outcomes and developing critical leadership skills. Client companies advanced by Lori’s expertise include Fortune titans such as Chevron and Sprint as well as high growth and public companies like Intellikine, and Tapjoy, plus 10XGenomics, which became a public company in 2019 while top executives worked with Lori and the Sounding Board team.
Lori has spent the last 25 years coaching C-Suite executives to leadership excellence. Many of those public and private company CEO’s expressed that they would have liked this caliber of coaching earlier in their careers. Inspired by these experiences, Lori joined with Christine to launch Sounding Board as a feedback-driven, cloud-based leadership coaching platform that could maintain best-in-class leadership coaching while lowering costs to make it affordable and scalable for leaders at every level of their careers.
Before founding Sounding Board, Lori received her Masters’ in Adult Educational Psychology/Counseling from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelors’ in Psychology from the University of Virginia. Lori is an educator and has spent over 10 years as a professor of social psychology and group dynamics while acting as the interim Dean of Students at Holy Names University, She is certified by the industry’s gold standard, the Coaches Training Institute, and is a founding member of the Genentech Preferred Network of Coaches. Sounding Board is one of <3% of sole female founded startups receiving venture funding. In 2019 Sounding Board was selected as 1 of 7 startups (out of 100+ applicants) as part of SAP’s HR tech cohort, a group that represents the rising stars of the next-gen HR ecosystem.

Christine Tao

Co-Founder & CEO Sounding Board, Inc.

Christine Tao is the co-founder & CEO at Sounding Board, a Silicon Valley startup redefining how organizations are developing their leaders. Her extraordinarily rapid career growth to executive management in the media, mobile and tech sectors of Silicon Valley became her inspiration for founding Sounding Board. As she began to manage larger teams and be responsible for growing revenues, it became clear that she needed a “sounding board” to coach her on the development of her leadership skills. That’s where her Sounding Board co-founder, Lori Mazan came on the scene. A seasoned executive coach focused on leadership development, Lori coached Christine on real-world leadership skills that had a direct impact on business outcomes. Based on her positive and impactful experience with leadership development, Christine was driven to make leadership development coaching accessible to people at all levels of the organization.
Christine advises several startups, is a budding angel investor and is also a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, a foundation dedicated to investing in the success and sustainability of women entrepreneurs.
Prior to co-founding Sounding Board, Christine was a Senior Vice President of Developer Relations at Tapjoy, a venture-backed, leading mobile advertising & publishing network. She led the growth of Tapjoy’s publisher advertising business from 0 to over $100 million in revenues in less than 3 years. Prior to that she led e-commerce partnerships and strategy at YouTube. Christine holds an MBA in Marketing & Operations from Wharton and a BA in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.

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