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How a Coaching Culture Attracts, Retains and Improves Staff
With job tenure in Australia averaging 3 years and 4 months across industries, job mobility is higher than it has ever been. The introduction of easy to use job seeking tools, greater access to education and upskilling, and a more flexible employment market has meant that people are somewhat less motivated to remain in the same job for a significant length of time. This creates a unique problem for employers – how do I retain my staff?
An important addition to the training and development catalogue for many progressive companies is coaching, where traditional one-way training sessions or seminars are replaced with slightly less formal, two-way communication sessions where the employee has the power to steer the conversation. Techniques and models such as I-GROW are gaining traction in an effort to provide valuable in-house training to employees, whilst employers gain value by investing in their employees and thus improving their workforce.
Knock-on effect of coaching
The most tangible upside to coaching, especially when compared with traditional training, is to empower staff. Embedding a coaching culture into business allows everyone to have an important role to play in knowledge sharing, whilst providing employees with learning opportunities that are employee-guided rather than directly administered. In the sessions, employees are encouraged to share difficulties and issues they are facing rather than hide or ignore them. Coaching allows the employee to explore many options that they have derived themselves, rather than being told what to do. This distinction highlights the fundamental difference between training and coaching, and why it appears to be more beneficial for all in the long run.
The “I-GROW” model is a framework for coaching that helps to guide following five steps: Issue; Goal; Reality; Options; What’s Next/Wrap Up? The model allows an employee to delineate issues they currently face, visualise all possible outcomes, and then fill in the steps they should take to get there. The employee can then decide on which course of action they wish to take. When employees are able to take the floor in a coaching session and have their issues heard and addressed, the odds of those problems being solved is vastly improved and engagement is high.
Regular sessions and follow-ups
The introduction of coaching into a workplace shouldn’t be a one-off exercise. Holding regular coaching sessions between employees and their superiors, and following up on those sessions, is crucial in embedding a workplace culture that values knowledge sharing and constant improvement. Having coaching notes available to the employee after a session is a practical way to do this, as is diarising a recurring meeting to hold the sessions. It is important to remember that the employee drives the frequency of meetings
Preparing for the future
Ideally, a coaching culture within a business will breed the next round of values-based leaders. Employees who are conditioned to take problems on as they arise, share information, and develop others have all the tools required to grow into compassionate and effective leaders down the line. Promoting the company’s values and cultivating an inherent growth mindset are two of the best reasons to begin coaching.
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