Executive coaching, where the goal is to help develop abilities and behaviors that make for more effective leaders, is a well-established practice. It’s only natural that an organization would want to ensure that those at the top are strong and effective leaders. But what about the everyday workers who are seeking to grow in their careers? When it comes to coaching, why does the buck have to stop with executives? If anything, coaching on a wider scale can help businesses cultivate an intensely productive and motivated workforce, which can do just as much to improve a company’s prospects as executive coaching, if not more.
Up until recently, the primary reason that coaching has not been extended to non-executives has been budgetary. Executive coaching is expensive, no doubt. Another factor has been the question of applicability. Why coach people to be better leaders who aren’t currently in leadership roles? This is where a form of coaching, known as career development coaching, has begun to emerge that attempts to address both of these concerns.
Career development coaching has broad applicability and a big ROI
Please don’t confuse this with “career coaching,” which implies that an individual is being encouraged to leave the company. I’m talking specifically about career development coaching, where the aim is to empower workers to reach their full potential, to become more successful and to grow within their organization. With a career development coach, individuals do a dive deep into their mid- and long-term career goals, then create a plan of actionable steps for self-improvement that, if followed, will lead to greater fulfillment and success and make them more valuable to their employer. Career development coaching is not about finding a better job – it’s about self-actualization.
More options and greater reach for career development coaching
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a democratization of coaching in the workplace. New providers of career development coaching have entered the sector, making options plentiful for companies looking to support their workers. The crux of this growth is the incorporation of coaching apps and online platforms, which fundamentally provide greater accessibility and convenience. A coach can be just a call or message away, and the benefits are largely the same as they would be if meeting in-person.
Other advancements in technology are increasing the reach of virtual coaching. For larger organizations, AI can also support coaching providers by gathering data about an employee’s experiences and aspirations and recommending next steps. Chatbots can help to deliver content that contains insights and advice based on algorithmic keyword matching, which complement the individualized support that coaches give to employees.
These new options for career development coaching are empowering organizations to offer such services at a greater scale. As a company’s workforce expands, employers can be confident that their new cohorts will thrive as a result of the flexible, on-demand coaching solutions at their fingertips.
What career development coaching brings to employees — and their employers
The impact of career development coaching on this scale is clear as well. At the micro level, coaches give individuals the perspective they need in order to move forward.
Perhaps in order to achieve their goal, a worker might need to network more and connect with the right people. It could be that they need to take a class in order to learn a new skill. Or maybe they just need more experience in what they’re currently doing. Coaches provide this kind of valuable insight that point employees in the right direction, giving shape to goals that before may have seemed far-off or intangible.
Another important consideration for coaching is accountability. According to a study by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University of California, people with written goals and routine check-ins with an accountability partner are more than 70 percent successful in achieving their goals than those who keep goals to themselves.
Check-ins are a fundamental part of any career development coaching process, and coaches are a constant resource for support and accountability that can keep workers on track. After all, most people are already so busy. On their commutes, their first instinct could very well be to pull out their phone and browse social media or play a mobile game. When they get home, they might just turn on the TV and unwind till bedtime. But with a coach sending them messages to remind and encourage them, that person will be more inclined to spend that time investing in themselves.
Employees with clear visions of their goals and dedicated plans to achieve it are more motivated and productive in their roles — which, on the macro level, can significantly improve an organization’s bottom line.
A study by HCI/ICF revealed that a majority of businesses surveyed saw increased productivity, as well as higher levels of engagement and commitment; a third of the organizations also reported tangible cost reductions as a result. Another survey by the Institute of Coaching reported that 86 percent of participating companies recouped their investments on coaching.
It’s quite obvious that career development coaching leads to better employees and better organizations overall. And with coaching becoming more readily available to a larger consumer base, it’s a no brainer that companies should give serious consideration to offering this service to their workforce. When you empower employees to be their best selves, everybody wins.
Written by Darren Kimball. Have you read?
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