How to design effective coaching sessions in your workplace

Want to have effective coaching sessions with employees? This article outlines several best practices.

Arnold Rogers

Published on 

August 24, 2022

Updated on 

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Workplace coaching is essential for many individuals to develop themselves for various organizational needs. Studies suggest that 80% of individuals who receive coaching experience increased self-confidence, and more than 70% benefit from improved communication skills.

Companies looking to improve their employees’ productivity and increase profit can look into workplace coaching to achieve these goals.

Is coaching and mentoring in the workplace effective? Are there any benefits to coaching employees? In what ways can the management conduct effective coaching sessions?

This article discusses the effectiveness of workplace coaching and its positive effects, including fostering an environment conducive to professional growth and mentorship. The article also lists how managers can become useful workplace coaches to benefit employees and the organization.

Just How Effective Is Workplace Coaching?

Coaching in the workplace has numerous potential benefits for organizations and individuals.

For example, findings from a health-based coaching organization suggest that a coaching program structure, paired with a coach’s attributes, may be effective in delivering hoped-for results for stress management and health-related savings.

These results can help employers craft policies to help improve occupational wellness and reduce costs due to illness.

Researchers also suggested that over 70% of employees would benefit from coaching by improving work performance, communication skills, and relationships. Furthermore, 86% of companies stated that they recovered their investment in coaching and gained more out of that investment.

These outcomes indicate that managers should not underestimate how coaching can impact employees, as this activity can create a fundamental shift in how employees approach work.

For example, when employees have increased self-confidence, they can become more assertive and resilient in the workplace.

With such benefits, employees can become more productive and gain an opportunity to improve their financial awareness. Individuals seeking professional assistance for wealth management can visit this site for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Despite these advantages brought by workplace coaching, there is still a need for a more straightforward approach to evaluating the return on investment (ROI) of workplace coaching.

Managers and other decision-makers are likely to be interested to know how coaching can ultimately benefit the organization in terms of productivity, revenue, and cost savings.

The Benefits of Workplace Coaching

What benefits does coaching in the workplace provide to the organization? The Institute of Coaching of McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, lists these benefits as follows:

  • Encourages individuals to take responsibility
  • Increases engagement among employees
  • Motivate and empower individuals to excel
  • Improves the employees’ performance
  • Helps identify and develop promising employees
  • Identifies the strengths and developmental opportunities of the organization and the individual
  • Demonstrates the organization’s commitment to developing human resources

Aside from organizational benefits, coaching also provides personal benefits to individuals. Clients report that coaching impacts their careers and lives positively in the following ways:

  • Establishing realistic goals and taking action towards achieving them
  • Becoming a more self-reliant individual
  • Contributing effectively to the organization
  • Achieving more satisfaction at work and in life
  • Becoming a more effective communicator
  • Taking responsibility and accountability for commitments and actions
  • Working more efficiently with peers, bosses, and direct reports

How Can Managers Conduct Effective Coaching?

You can attribute a successful coaching session to a well-designed mentoring plan and the coach’s supervisory capacity. Thus, managers coaching their employees must have the necessary skills to conduct a coaching session effectively.

These coaching skills, when applied, should allow managers to perform the following:

Coach employees according to their development needs

Coaching can help discover an individual’s challenges or areas for improvement. However, some coaching programs use only one generic action plan for different employees.

Thus, coaches should be mindful that a single approach may not be practical for everyone. Instead, the coach should assist the employee in formulating action plans for the employee and making sure that these plans are reasonably doable.

Reinforce a continuous approach

Coaching should not only be a one-off session or something you can schedule weekly or monthly. Instead, managers and employees should engage in coaching every day.

Coaching needs not to be done in a formal setting. You can conduct this activity through a team meeting, one-on-one, quick huddle, video conference, or catch-up session.

You can consider all these meetings as coaching as long as they provide an opportunity for managers and employees to address possible improvements.

Focus on the individual’s future performance

Coaching should not focus too much on past performances and make guesses about what could have been.

For instance, coaches should not dwell too long on what could have been a better result had the employee performed better in the past.

Instead, coaching should utilize the information from such performances to help determine what employees should improve on moving forward.

Implement two-way communication between the coach and employee

An ideal coaching session is one where the coach or manager is not doing all the talking. While the coach is there to help moderate and assist employees, communication should not be one-sided.

Instead, employees should provide a significant part of the input while the coach guides the session’s direction. This guidance can make the employee realize their areas for improvement.

Identify SMART goals

After identifying these areas, the employee can develop an action plan. The coach’s role is to assist the employee in determining whether or not the plan is a SMART action plan.

What is SMART? The University of Massachusetts defines SMART as an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

Specific: Having a specific goal has a better chance of being accomplished than a general goal.

For example, a general goal is saying something like, “Increase sales.” However, a specific goal can be, “Increase product A’s sales by 10% at the end of the month.”

Measurable: Establishing tangible criteria for measuring progress can help you stay on track for attaining each goal you set.

Having measurable goals also means you have a method to determine your target dates. This measurement can help you experience a sense of achievement that can push you further to exert effort to reach your goal.

Attainable: Identifying goals you believe are most important to you can help you think of ways you can make these goals come true.

Having attainable goals means you develop the skills, attitudes, and financial capacity to accomplish those goals. You also start seeing opportunities you previously overlooked to bring yourself closer to achieving your goals.

For instance, suppose you want to achieve a 200% production increase this year. You can think of ways to hire more employees or improve manufacturing efficiency so your production line can manufacture more units.

Realistic: Having a realistic goal represents an objective on which you are willing and able to work.

Your goal is likely realistic if you truly believe you can accomplish it. To know if you have a realistic goal, recall if you have accomplished something similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions should exist to accomplish this goal.

For example, being the next chief executive officer (CEO) within five years might be too wishful for a newly hired clerk in a large company.

However, saying you will increase your processed documents by 20% within five months is more realistic.

Timely: Establishing a timely goal should have a well-grounded time frame. If you do not establish a goal with an appropriate deadline, there will be no sense of urgency.

Suppose you want to hire 100 employees. You can probably achieve that goal anytime. However, hiring 100 applicants in six months means the organization likely has plans in the immediate future to utilize those individuals.

If you work in an organization and feel it needs to establish or improve its coaching sessions, consult your manager or a human resources (HR) personnel.

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