Coaching Goes Mainstream: Harnessing the Power of Coaching as a Talent Management Tool

Coaching can be an important tool for equitable access to opportunities, career paths, and employee retention.

Coaching in the workplace has become mainstream. Nearly 80% of the largest American companies, according to LinkedInare now investing in the coaching of their employees.

The application of coaching as a social benefit is not new; its roots go back decades in the world of executive style management coaching. But what was once the preserve of the most successful and highest-paid employees of the Fortune 500 is increasingly being offered as a broader employee benefit. Recognizing that coaching can be an important tool for equitable access to opportunities, career paths, and employee retention, employers are now offering coaching at scale.

These coaching sessions have the added benefit of creating a community of learners, which helps employees develop their network, feel less alone when faced with their career challenges, and broaden their vision of possible careers with their employer. Here’s what talent and HR managers need to know about these new forms of scalable coaching.

Integrated into the working day

It turns out that workers have little time in their day to devote to activities like coaching. In fact, a Deloitte study found that the average employee can spend just one percent of their work week to professional development.

In a typical 40-hour workweek, that’s less than five minutes a day. Fortunately, today’s forms of coaching are not limited to rigid, time-consuming counseling sessions. Advancements in technology allow coaching to take many flexible, virtual forms, from a 20-minute video call to a quick round of text check-ins.

Coaching should be focused, focused, and easily integrated into the existing workday. It should feel like a natural part of the job, not an extra chore or after-hours obligation.

Closing the soft skills gap

Employers have long said they struggle to find employees with the right skills for the jobs they’re hiring for. But they don’t just mean technical skills.

According to LinkedIn 2019 Global Talent Trends report, nearly 90% of recruiters say that when a hire doesn’t work out, it’s primarily because of a lack of soft skills. Employers are increasingly looking for employees who possess skills such as teamwork, collaboration, leadership, problem solving and flexibility.

While it’s certainly helpful if employees can present themselves with these attributes from day one, employers can also take matters into their own hands and develop the team members they want to see in the world. Employers should invest in the potential of their workers, not simply expect them to come to the office fully developed.

Coaching enables talented employees to develop the soft skills they need to succeed in the workplace. Ultimately, coaching is about self-control, helping employees set goals, identifying the obstacles that get in the way of achieving those goals, and striving to remove them.

A DEI imperative

In the wake of the 2020 protests and demands for racial justice, employers have continued to step up their efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion. More and more companies have made it a priority not only to hire more people from diverse backgrounds, but also to ensure that these workers have clear paths to advancement.

Researchers to have found Mentoring and coaching programs are among the most impactful DEI initiatives a company can pursue, with these programs increasing racial diversity at the leadership level by up to 24%.

They can help workers acquire the skills they need to move up to higher levels, as well as increase their sense of belonging within the organization. Unfortunately, few people of color receive this type of coaching. More than half of black workers, for example, claim never to have a mentor. Virtual success coaching is finally helping to bridge that gap.

Coaching is an effective way to improve retention, diversity and the overall health of a company. It helps unlock new skills, new relationships, and new avenues for growth.

Investing in accessible and scalable forms of coaching can help meet the needs of the modern workforce and ensure that employees receive the guidance they need to reach their full potential at work. Employers are quickly learning that coaching is not only beneficial to employee well-being, but is ultimately a strategic investment in business success.

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