Encouraging Employee Participation in Business Coaching
Making Full Use of Limited Time
A business coaching session will be a much more productive one if both the business coach and the person receiving the coaching come prepared for it. A failure to prepare sufficiently by either side will likely result in a coaching session that is lacking in structure and direction, and will not make the most of the often limited time available due to the sessions having to fit in around busy working schedules.
Business Coaching Preparation
It is also often a good idea for the coach to forewarn those being coached when it comes to participation to give them sufficient time to think and prepare. The person is much more likely to come up with a comprehensive and detailed list of, say, the areas in which they feel they could improve, than if they were surprised and put on the spot and asked to come up with that list right there and then. Typically when questions are sprung upon a person, especially the personal and difficult ones which are likely to come up in a coaching session, they will often become flustered and struggle to think of a comprehensive and fulfilling answer. Only later when they have the opportunity to calmly reflect upon the question will honest and complete answers be realised. It is for this reason that asking such questions at the end of the session and letting the individual go away and think about them before the next get together will produce the most honest and useful answers.
Two-Way Interaction is Crucial
Just as with other forms of training and development, a person will acquire skills and learn much more effectively if they are encouraged to participate rather than simply being talked at for the entire duration. Business coaching is no exception, and it is imperative that the business coach encourages participation by using techniques such as asking questions, getting the person being coached to prepare and present a plan, get them to come up with ideas etc. Whatever it is, it is likely to be more beneficial to them than having the manager or coach rattle off a performance review and a list of areas they feel the person could improve in, as they will either switch off or become resentful without being given the option to discuss these pronouncements.
Not asking any questions is in some ways even worse than putting people on the spot and asking without providing any time for a considered answer. Despite business coaching and executive coaching sessions normally being provided on a one-to-one basis, it can still lead to a certain degree of switching off and concentration loss when that coach is engaged in a one-sided conversation by talking away and not allowing or inviting any input from the individual. We have seen in other articles that success in business coaching and mentoring depends upon the willingness and determination of the person to make the difficult changes which are necessary. Only by having them fully-involved in the planning and preparations will they get fully onboard with what needs to be achieved. If they are being dictated to and always told what they are doing wrong and what they need to do better, they will soon lose interest or become openly resentful.