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How to implement coaching in the workplace

Unlock the awesome power of employee coaching and development.
Published 23 Mar 2022
7 min read
Two colleagues discussing offboarding

Do you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset?

With a fixed mindset, you believe that your skills and talents are set in stone. Your current skill set is your only skill set, and there’s little point branching into other areas that don’t fit your ‘innate’ abilities.

With a growth mindset, you believe that skills and talents are expandable. Even if you’ve never tried something before, you have the potential to master it in time. You’re open to learning in fields that are currently unknown to you.

In our rapidly evolving world, a growth mindset is key to success. The World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates that 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025. By then, an estimated 85 million jobs will fade into obscurity due to technological advancements, and 97 million more will emerge to meet the demands of future tech.

If we drop the future-focused lens, we can also recognise that a lifelong relationship with learning can make you a happier person. Learning can make you feel connected to what’s happening around you, and build self-confidence.

When we learn at work, we prepare ourselves for what’s coming next. We create an environment that’s fertile for new ideas. It’s all about taking up those everyday coaching opportunities.

What is coaching in the workplace?

Coaching in the workplace is the active role that leaders take in training, developing and encouraging their teams. We see coaching as an umbrella term for all things learning and feedback.

Just as an athletic coach organises training for their team and provides after-race advice, employee coaching covers everything from helping team members to complete courses to providing constructive criticism on a piece of work. Throughout their development, employees know their coach is cheering them on.

Will Ferrel cheerleading
Big supportive energy.

Implementing effective coaching strategies can create a ‘culture of coaching’, where two-way feedback and shared knowledge moves around the business. Workplaces that master this can develop as a team faster and open more doors to innovative thinking.

What are the differences between remote and in-person coaching?

Employee coaching is just as applicable in remote working environments as it is in person. One thing that applies with any kind of remote management, however, is the need for a greater sense of intentionality.

When you’re working in the office, spontaneous opportunities often arise. A team member might have the opportunity to sit in on a meeting, or watch on as someone demonstrates a task. This isn’t the case for remote teams.

Remote coaching can still be highly effective, but it’s worth remembering that it might take a bit more planning to make it work.

What are the benefits of workplace coaching?

1. Bring new skills into your workforce

We’ve already mentioned that the WEF is predicting a mass upskilling between now and 2025. When you honestly evaluate your business, do you have the internal skill base to weather these big changes?

Your team’s knowledge base is your business’ greatest asset. Without a highly-skilled workforce, it’s unlikely that your business will be able to compete with other innovators in your industry. If you start the ball rolling now with employee learning, who knows where you could collectively be by 2025.

2. Create development pathways

Do you have that member of your team who’s just a powerhouse of company information? We’re willing to bet that they’ve been with your business for a while.

The best talent that stays with a team doesn’t do so without a reason. Most of the time, they’ve been nurtured in their roles and have followed development pathways.

When you have an effective coaching relationship with your employee, you can tailor their development pathway and support them on their journey down it.

Erin from the Office cheering
We’re THIS excited about career development.

3. Reduce turnover

How likely are you to look for a new role when your current business is committed to developing you?

A natural result of the development pathway is a reduction in turnover. The more that employees feel invested in and valued, the more likely they are to feel job satisfaction and stick with you for the long haul.

The Work Institute estimates the cost of turnover at between 33% and 200% of the departing employee’s salary. Anything you can do to make an employee stay with your business is worth its weight in gold.

4. Adaptability

Knowledge growth triggers a positive loop. The more you learn, and see the benefits of new skills, the more open you are to further learning opportunities.

We’ve spoken about 2025 being the next big skill shift milestone, but the demand for upskilling won’t stop there. If we reflect on the last decade, some of the most prominent occupations today – like social media manager, app developer or content creator – barely existed.

We predict that adaptability, with an ability to rapidly embrace technological and social trends, will soon become one of the most highly regarded skills an employee can have.

5. Attract the new generation of candidates

According to LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report, 76% of Gen Z learners believe learning is the key to a successful career. That’s a big chunk of the incoming workforce who are prioritising a coaching culture.

Coaching opportunities can be a great addition to your Employer Value Proposition (EVP). Demonstrating your commitment to coaching can be a huge green flag to get eyes on opportunities within your business.

How to build a coaching culture

Unlock a growth mindset within your team by exploring these different coaching methods and tools.

Implement one-on-one meetings

It’s no coincidence that one-on-ones (1:1s) are the first strategy on this list. One-on-ones are a double whammy of being both, a type of coaching session, and a tool to help you identify areas for coaching.

Feedback and performance discussions shouldn’t be saved for annual performance reviews. It simply doesn’t make sense for a manager to hold their tongue when they can coach their team members right now.

1:1s are a confidential meeting between a manager and their direct report that occurs weekly or fortnightly. They are the best opportunity to give regular feedback to members of your team. In a supportive environment, the manager can coach the employee through their current workload.

1:1s can also illuminate larger gaps in an employee’s knowledge, or start discussions about their long term goals. They are a fantastic space to discuss bigger coaching options.

Meryl Streep cheering and saying 'YES'
Three cheers for supportive managers.

Identify coaching opportunities around the team

There will be times when coaching needs to be outsourced, like if you’re sending your team to an academy or for a specialised course. There will also be opportunities to link people up within a business to achieve specific goals.

For example, you could link up two employees in different countries to help each other better understand their local markets. You could link someone in marketing to someone in engineering to learn a different approach to project management. When you start mapping out needs and internal skills, you’ll be surprised at how many matches you can make.

Remember, coaching is not just for junior team members. Sometimes you have to coach the coach. Executive coaching is a critical part of business success. Learning should be happening at every level in your business, so don’t be afraid to seek external services to make it happen.

Run ‘Lunch and Learns’

Lunch and Learns are one of our favourite peer-to-peer coaching methods. This team coaching involves an employee sharing a presentation about their area of expertise – over snacks! It’s a great way to bring people together, over a shared objective of growing knowledge.

Once a month, seek out the experts you have in-house and ask them to run an informal lunchtime training session or presentation for the team. Don’t forget to incentivise this one, reward your expert colleagues for their time, effort and generosity.

Explore coaching styles

When you’re building a coaching culture, it’s important to remember that people have different methods of learning that work best for them.

Some might need visual references to help them absorb information, some might want written feedback or instruction, and some will learn best through active listening.

Did you know that there are four defined learning styles?

  • Kinaesthetic learners prefer a hands-on approach to learning. They learn most effectively when they perform the task themselves and enjoy sessions that include group-based participation.
  • Visual learners understand tasks and content by watching something prior to trying it themselves. They respond well to visual stimuli and learning materials, and use visual elements they’ve seen to recall information.
  • Auditory learners understand information when it is explained in a step-by-step format. They learn best when they talk things through with others or actively listen to others speaking, either through a lecture, discussion or presentation.
  • Read and write learners learn by reading content or instructions and then writing it out in their own words. They’re well organised, avid note-takers and digest information when they write down and re-read the information.

It’s not possible for every part of your coaching strategy to cater to each learning style. They can be worth considering, though, and even testing. Could you try a few different options that align with different styles and ask your team to evaluate what worked best for them?

Ron Weasley eating and reading a book intensely
Learning intensifies.

We can help you create a powerful coaching process

Employment Hero is tailor-made to help you get your coaching plan in motion. Don’t rely on good intentions alone, our suite of employee engagement tools can help you make a coaching culture a reality. Across the platform, we’ve prioritised performance and communication tools to help you cheer your team on.

Learn more about our powerful Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) tool, our robust Learning Management System and our helpful 1:1 Meetings functionality.

Interested in going deeper into employee coaching? Download our guide on how to coach and develop employee potential.


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