Business coaching or mentoring is a type of human resource development. It provides positive support, feedback and advice on an individual or group basis to improve personal effectiveness in the business setting. Business coaching is often called executive coaching, corporate coaching or leadership coaching.
The coaches help their clients advance towards specific professional goals. These include career transition, interpersonal and professional communication, performance management, organizational effectiveness, managing career and personal changes, developing executive presence, enhancing strategic thinking, dealing effectively with conflict, and building an effective team within an organization.
Many organizations expect their team leaders to coach their team members to reach higher levels of performance, increased job satisfaction, personal growth, and career development. Research studies suggest that executive coaching has a positive impact on workplace performance. Some outside business coaches simply refer to themselves as consultants, which implies a broader business relationship.
Here are a few suggestions that will be helpful when you assume a coaching role:
Specify what was said or done and why it was or was not effective. Specific positive feedback is sincere. It energizes and encourages people. It also clarifies what actions to repeat and when and why it’s important to do so. Specific feedback for improvement is hard to resist. When you specifically compare current performance to goals, people can see what adjustments they need to make to succeed in the future.
Give timely feedback. Provide feedback when the details of the person’s or group’s performance are fresh in everyone’s mind. You’ll both be able to discuss the situation effectively by relying on the facts. Your comments will be most relevant to the work the person or group is currently doing. They will able to repeat effective actions for continued success. Or they will be able to make adjustments before facing similar situations.
When offering feedback for improvement, suggest alternative actions the person can take. By providing alternatives, you help the person know what to do with your feedback. You help him or her develop a plan to improve performance. Explain why the alternatives should lead to enhanced performance and you’ll encourage the person to carry out your suggestions.
Provide a balance of positive feedback and feedback for improvement. If possible, try to provide more positive reinforcement than suggestions for improvement. Your positive feedback will be more worthwhile and sincere if you also take opportunities to provide feedback for improvement.
Listen with full attention to the feedback people provide. Listening carefully to feedback shows that you trust and value other people’s ideas and suggestions. Focus more attention on understanding their perspectives and suggestions than on defending your actions or behavior.
When receiving feedback, ask for specific details and suggestions. So you’ll know what to continue doing and what to change, ask for clear examples of what you said or did and why it was or wasn’t effective. Ask for suggestions on how to improve and for an explanation as to why the alternatives would be more effective. Be sure to clarify any feedback you don’t understand.
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