Humanising performance management: part 6 - coaching in the workplace

When we think of coaching we may think of sports and perhaps questions its place in the business world. But when you break it down, sports/fitness coaching really comes in two main part – physical and mental/mindset.

A popular phrase here at Kallidus is the growth mindset, which is a term used in coaching circles for both personal and professional development.

A growth mindset, put simply, is a mindset that allows someone to adapt to change, welcomes opportunity, and embraces mistakes and disagreements as an opportunity to grow. When it comes to coaching, a growth mindset it key as without it, the person being coached is unlikely to make it out of the gate.

So, what is coaching?

For our purposes here, it makes sense to look at two main types of coaching – professional coaching and life/wellbeing coaching.

It is a growing trend, especially during lockdown, for people to focus on themselves and put work into improving their mindset, mental health, and productivity. And that is no bad thing. The best part about coaching, is that no matter where you undertake it, it creates lasting behavioural change that can be carried in and out of the workplace.

First up, let’s look at personal and life coaching.

What is life coaching?

As much as it may seem just another part of the self-help fad, life coaching can be a hugely valuable part of becoming a healthier and happier human being. A lot of life coaching sits in the realm of your feelings and relationships.

Coaching in this sense is often question-led, similarly to type of talk therapy and CBT. It will be different for everyone depending on what they wish to focus on, but topics can include:

  • Self-worth and self-image
  • Confidence
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Relationship with oneself
  • Understanding and processing emotions
  • Dealing with shame and guilt

While this may seem a little negative, coaching is ultimately about understanding where you would like to go, what’s stopping you from getting there, and how you can train your mind to process things differently.

What is professional coaching?

Believe it or not, there’s a lot of overlap. Just like life coaching, professional coaching is very question led. It is a process by which the person being coached identifies things in the workplace or in their career that are bothering them. And through a series of questions and prompts, alongside their coach they learn how to overcome hurdles and see their own potential.

Topics that may come up in professional coaching sessions include:

  • How to ask for support
  • Interpersonal/working relationships
  • Managing workload
  • Establishing boundaries
  • Managing conflict
  • Career aspirations
  • Progress updates

And yeah, there may be some talk of internal politics, but in any workplace that is all part of managing working relationships and making your way onto and up the career ladder.

Why is coaching important?

Coaching, or using techniques from coaching, can be a vital step towards creating a more open and supportive environment in the workplace. Ultimately, coaching employees leads to higher staff engagement and greater business success.

Many workplaces will have a team member(s) who is a trained coach, or may hire a consultant. Some people may choose to hire a professional/career coach privately from the organisation they work at. But it is important to incorporate these ideas and find the balance between pushing and supporting your people.

The person being coached leads the conversation and trajectory of their sessions, so it can provide an important way of helping them to feel more in control of their future – vital to assuring self-confidence, faith in their own abilities, and trust in their place of work.

I really hope you’ve found this series helpful, and if you would like some ways to introduce coaching techniques and conversation topics into your check ins, have a look at our template below.

Download your performance and wellbeing check in template using the form below.

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