14 Apr Values, Benefits and Cost of Coaching and Mentoring
Coaching and coaches can add an enormous amount of value to organisations and employees, touching every facet of work, behaviour and leadership. Knowing where and how coaching can benefit organisation and employee alike can add significant support to conversations with stakeholders and decision makers when it comes to implementing coaching programmes and coaching.
Benefits – individuals and teams
|Improved performance and productivity||Coaching brings out the best in in individuals and in teams, something that training doesn’t even aspire to do, so how could it?|
|Employee development||Creating long-term learning and behavioural change, not sending people on a short more skills based training, which may or may not be the issue.|
|Improved learning||Retention rates achieved through self-discovery and coaching are far greater than training alone or e-learning. Coaching focuses on learning to enable application to the work place.|
|Improved relationships||By asking questions shows they are valued. By gaining their input and opinion they feel included.|
|Improved quality of life for individuals||Improved relationships and success gained through coaching will change their perception of themselves and the workplace.|
|A life skill||Once a person undergoes coach development, it is a skill that they have for life and can transfer to their social and family lives.|
Benefits – organisations
|More time for the manager||Employees who undergo coaching become more responsible in finding their own solutions, having less dependency on their line manager.|
|More creative ideas||A coaching culture is naturally more creative and focuses on options and opportunities, people will not fear sharing thoughts or ideas.|
|Better use of people, skills and resources (potential)||We all have hidden resources and abilities, coaching encourages these to the fore, contributing to problem solving and greater application of skills.|
|Greater employee engagement||People undertaking coaching will feel valued and invested in, as someone is giving their time and expertise to help them. Coaching helps people discover their own motivation as it taps into their core values.|
|Culture change||Coaching principles underpin a management style that leads to a high performing culture. Coaching is an enabler of cultural change.|
|Better able to deal with organisational change||Organisations who have coaching in their organisations are better able to approach change and have mechanisms to enable change to be explored and embedded.|
|Greater skilled workforce||Higher general level of skills and behaviours in the organisation.|
|Leaders with wider leadership styles||Leaders who don’t simply use directive as their only approach. Leaders who coach are developing other continually.|
|Reduced development and training costs||Once coaching is established as a development opportunity, will reduce need for external development and costs.|
|Employee Value Proposition||Advertising that your organisation uses coaching, can be advertised to attract new employees.|
Similarly with mentoring benefits can be significant at various levels
- Provides impartial advice and encouragement outside of immediate line management
- Develops a longer term supportive relationship
- Assists with problem solving especially around leadership or career development
- Improves self-confidence
- Offers professional development
- Encourages reflection on practice
- Opportunity to reflect on own mentoring approaches
- Enhances job satisfaction
- Develops professional internal and external relationships
- Enhances peer recognition
- It uses your accrued experience, making it available to a new person
- Develops your understanding of the organisation and the way it works
- Enables you to practice and enhance your interpersonal skills
- It provides personal satisfaction through supporting the development of others
Costs and investment in coaching
Unfortunately coaching is not free, at least not at first. To set up coaching programmes to develop internal coaches costs time and money to achieve. Those undertaking the development may require 2-3 days training and then practice their coaching skills on a handful of learners, keeping records and then the actual time commitment to the individual coaching sessions. This is even before the coaching becomes part of the organisational culture.
Time is often cited as one of the main reasons where coaching is perceived to not be practicable – time to get people trained, manager not having sufficient time to coach, or time to give people to have structured coaching sessions. We can’t get away from the fact that yes coaching does take more time than traditional directive approaches to getting things done. The key difference is that in coaching and to some degree mentoring, learners are learning to do things differently and more permanently. Learners go through a thinking process that embeds changes that can be repeated. A manager who tells an employee how to do something, impedes the learning by their well intended ‘spoon feeding’ of answers. Each time the employee has an issue their natural inclination will be to return to the source of their answer – their manager, rather than necessarily learning for themselves.
There is also the element of the time the coach is required to coach or mentor their learner, or the manager away from their operational tasks and roles. It must be noted that there is huge value to both the coach and manager by undertaking a coaching approach. There is significant learning for them around communication skills, relationship building, understanding their team, developing awareness of their emotional intelligence of themselves and their team. The physical act of devoting time to someone will impact upon their wider motivation and organisational engagement.
There are two main areas which need to be addressed in relation to the financial investment onto coaching – use of external coaches and developing internal coaches.
The use of external coaches or executive coaches can be expensive. Several coaching sessions might be up to a couple of thousand pounds. If this cost is seen as an investment which can be directly applied to the workplace and people then the cost should be more naturally seen as an investment in the entire company. There is plenty of evidence that those who undertake coaching apply a greater percentage of their learning than those who undertake training alone. Coaching is about behavioural change, behavioural change can lead to cultural change. Training is unlikely too. Also if someone can do the job but for some reason they aren’t the cost of using an external coach if appropriate is certainly cheaper than having to recruit a new person in to do the role.
The majority of people have the fundamental skills to develop into effective workplace coaches. But to make that step requires further training of skills, practices, processes and behaviours. Time away from the working environment immersed in a purposeful coaching programme where people can safely practice has huge advantages. Coach develop requires awareness and learning of deeper communication and relationship skills being able to practice, reflect, be provided feedback and re-practice takes time and investment. Getting the right organisation in to deliver this training is an investment. From this company though employees will get great insight into coaching and their whole confidence in the field will change.
Whilst investing in training is a cost, coaching is quite unique in that the skills learnt can be transferred and applied to any conversation, relationship, project or team. This makes coaching quite unique. In this way the investment should be seen as an investment in the wider organisation too, therefore the costs more readily explained and justified.
Being able to align coaching outcomes and goals to business objectives and plans will more effectively demonstrate the role and added value it can bring. Many organisations are very focussed on the return on investment of any training and development, being able identify the tangible value through clear objectives to both the training and coaching will always demonstrate business thinking to your coaching argument or strategy.
Costs always need to be considered when coaching, but with careful research, knowledge of the organisation and stakeholders it is possible to use a strong business case for its use. As more leaders experience the benefits of effective coaching and mentoring so the recognition of its business value and therefore the preparedness to invest can only increase.