Can coaching work at all levels in an organisation?

The short answer is absolutely. Coaching in South Africa has been around a lot longer than most would think, however it has been the special reserve of executives in multi-national organisations. There is a movement in forward thinking organisations such as L’Oreal, Dimension Data and smaller organisations such as Future Packaging and CFR Freight to give coaching to teams and selected management.

Some are still not clear on the difference between coaching and mentoring. I am talking specifically here about coaching not mentoring, which has been around as long as management has. A useful definition can be found in Marius Meyer & Leon Fourie’s – Mentoring & Coaching, as follows

Definition of Mentoring 

Mentoring can be described as a dynamic and reciprocal relationship in a work environment whereby a more advanced and wise career incumbent (mentor) helps a less experienced person who had development potential (mentee – which is not his direct subordinate) develop in some specified capacity.

From this definition certain key elements are apparent:

  • The mentoring relationship is dynamic, i.e. it is not static.
  • It is reciprocal – it comes from both sides.
  • The relationship takes place in the work environment
  • The mentor is a wise career incumbent.
  • The mentor helps the mentee to develop
  • The mentee is less experienced but has development potential.
  • The mentor is not the direct supervisor of the mentee, but a third party such as a manager in a different department.
  • The mentee is developed is some specified capacity, in other words there must be a clear purpose and focus for development through mentoring.

Definition of Coaching

Coaching is systematically planned and direct guidance of an individual or group of individuals by a coach to learn and develop specific skills that are applied and implemented in the workplace, and therefore translates directly to clearly defined performance outcomes that are achieved over a short period of time.

From this definition we can identify the key components of coaching:

  • Coaching is a systematic planned process of guiding individuals towards goal achievement.
  • The coach provides clear and direct guidance.
  • The individuals learn and develop specific skills.
  • Skill are applied and implemented in the workplace.
  • There are clearly defined performance outcomes that are achieved over a short period of time.

Coaching can drive change through a far deeper level of engagement, than mere training or development programmes, working on the level of application of the human being, such that they have powerful insights about themselves. Coaching will also enhance their performance and how to optimise it in a sustainable & productive way. This is because the coaching engagement is personal, honest and works with the real person not the superficial corporate persona. An example is that in normal training employees can disengage as the training is thrown at them as opposed to challenging them to come up with solutions themselves and to own their behavioural patterns. This is one example of the impactful approach coaching can bring.

I am referring specifically here to the latest forms of coaching such as “consciousness coaching”, ontological coaching and some other ICF accredited formats where accountability & ownership is firmly at the feet of the client. The coach is skilled as a guide, facilitator and real reflector of what is so (actuality); presented in a gettable way that empowers the client to make powerful choices that support forward moving growth.

If you believe there may be a need within your organization to look at either of these valuable service offerings don’t hesitate to contact us and we will arrange an appointment to discuss your requirements in more detail.