Who is more valuable, an untrained or a trained employee?
Clearly, a staff member who is fully trained in their job responsibilities is more valuable and more reliable that someone who is not. In traditional terms, training consists of showing the employee what tasks need to be done and the proper way to do them, so the job gets done correctly and on time. But meaningful training involves much more than processes and procedures.
“Many industries, including credit unions, have discovered the added importance of coaching,” said Tobi Weingart, instructional design manager at CUNA. “As opposed to training, in which each person who holds a position is given basically the same directions, coaching is a highly individualized process. It depends on both the motivation and personal skills of the person receiving the coaching, and the coach's knowledge, skills and abilities. Coaching is a way to develop an individual’s skills, performance and even career.”
In a study done by James Cook University in Australia,114 industry professionals who had experienced the coaching process responded to a questionnaire about whether they found the coaching effective, and if so, why. The results suggested that, not surprisingly, the coach is the most important component. Coaches need to be trustworthy, have good communication skills and have credibility in the field they work in, the coaching recipients said.
Aside from the obvious benefits of coaching, here are some others you may not have considered:
Make coaching part of the day-to-day environment and expectation. It starts at the top, where even the executives understand that they can benefit from coaching—perhaps even from someone outside the organization. This allows top leaders to understand how coaching empowers someone.
Another way to create a coaching culture is to communicate frequently and directly with employees about both successes and failures. An employee who is asked how they achieved a desirable goal feels appreciated and valued, while someone questioned about what went wrong—instead of blamed—can view it as a learning experience instead of a reason to be fearful. The coaching leadership style makes employees feel that management is invested in their success.
Providing employees a chance to have success and even advance within their organization helps to retain talent for the long haul. Employees who can’t realize those perks where they work now tend to leave in search of another company where they can experience personal and career growth. No company wants to deal with a churn of staff, and that is one reason for the recent steady growth of coaching.
Coaching frequently results in an employee’s approach to their work changing significantly. As they become more self-confident, they allow more of themselves to shine through in the workplace, and they slowly lower the mask they use to protect themselves against being unfairly judged. This confident attitude allows them to become more decisive and adaptable to unfamiliar or changing circumstances.
Tim Hagen, founder of Process Coaching, addressed this topic recently in a podcast, using the effect of coronavirus (COVID-19) as the backdrop.
“What do we do when we don’t know what to do?” Hagen said. “We do nothing. There is an old notion that motion creates emotion,” he added. “When we just sit and wait, when we mindlessly watch TV, when we mindlessly do nothing, what we’re really creating is a mindless mentality,” Hagen said.
When confronted with a crisis, people tend to “go into a bunker,” as Hagen put it. People who are in this state are mentally paralyzed, and the only way out of it is through conversation to open their minds.
Coaching helps to open the minds of employees to new and different ways of handling workplace situations. So instead of saying to themselves, “I don’t know what to do,” they can call upon the coaching they have received and react confidently and decisively.
An analysis of 17 coaching studies involving more than 1,700 participants was done recently by researchers in the UK and published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. The results: organizations that have a coaching component perform 14% better than organizations that do not. And, measurement of performance of employees who measurably learn from training and apply it on the job increases by 39% with coaching.
If you have not initiated a coaching component to your interactions with employees and direct reports, perhaps now is the time. Attendees of CUNA Coaching Leadership Virtual School will learn how to build an effective coaching culture at their credit union and design personalized coaching conversations to elevate staff performance. Learn more and register at cuna.org/cls.