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The analysis of the case study (See App. Case Study) was conducted to reveal practical aspects of the implementation of coaching in the real life situation in the real business. The case study involved the Standard Bank of South Africa. The company has proved to be quite successful but, in recent years, the company has faced certain difficulties with the provision of customers with services of the high quality in minimal time. To put it more precisely, the Standard Bank of South Africa faced the problem of transactions delay because of the ineffective use of the available information system and system of electronic payment by the personnel of the bank. The problem threatened to the position of the Standard Bank of South Africa in the market because its rivals outpaced the bank due to the effective use of modern technologies, including the development of e-banking and wide use of modern telecommunication systems to make transactions faster and more convenient to customers. In such a situation, the Standard Bank of South Africa had to close the gap with its rivals. To meet this goal, the Standard Bank of South Africa had two options. On the one hand, the bank could employ new professionals, who had the higher qualification than employees that were currently working at the bank. Alternatively, the bank could organize the coaching of employees to improve their performance through training to use technologies available to them in the bank. The Standard Bank of South Africa employed new coaches, who were experienced in the field of coaching and training employees to use new technologies. Coaching was conducted within the bank without involvement any other companies or agencies for coaching bank’s employees. About 40% of employees were involved in training in the course of the first year of coaching. The individual performance of these employees has improved since the beginning of coaching and the effectiveness of their work increased by 5% at average, whereas the next year the effectiveness of their work increased by 8%. In contrast, employees, who were not enrolled in coaching, failed to improve their individual performance consistently and the increase of the effectiveness of their work comprised 1-2% at average within two years. In such a way, coaching has proved to be quite effective and, what is more important, coaching helped the company to meet its goals and to maintain a stable marketing performance. On the other hand, the company failed to realize the full potential of coaching because only a part of employees were enrolled in coaching. Remarkably, it is trained employees, who improved their individual performance, whereas individuals, who were not involved in coaching, failed to make improvements in their individual performance. Nevertheless, the company extended the coaching program to enroll all employees into the program. The improvement of the individual performance of employees involved in coaching allowed the company to improve the organizational performance as well but the improvement of the organizational performance was likely to be more significant if a larger number of employees were enrolled in the coaching program.
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5. Analysis of the results
5.1 Success factors of coaching
The interviews and questionnaires conducted in terms of the current study have revealed the fact that the impact of coaching depends on the environment in which coaching sessions take place and condition in which employees work. What is meant here is the fact that conflicts at the workplace and poor organizational culture were defined by specialists, including managers and coaches, as well as employees as major risk factors that influence the poor outcome of coaching. In contrast, favorable conditions at the workplace and the friendly ambiance within the organization can increase the positive impact of coaching on the improvement of the individual performance of employees. Specialists (Reeves & Bednar, 1994) argue that coaching should take into consideration specificities of the organizational culture and structure to be successful because different organizations may have different problems and different needs. In such a situation, it is hardly possible to speak about the universal coaching model, which can be applicable in any organization and which can bring a tremendous success, regardless of the context in which this model is applied. At the same time, as it has been already mentioned above, there are a lot of coaching models which can be used by modern organization in terms of coaching. In such a situation, it is important to define factors that may influence the effectiveness and success of coaching. In this respect, specialists (Hawkins & Smith, 2006) distinguish several key factors that may determine the success of coaching in regard to the improvement of the individual performance of employees. Some specialists (Hawkins & Smith, 2006) define the following top five success factors:
First, the strength of the senior leadership team. In fact, the leadership is traditionally very important for the effectiveness of coaching because a coach should have not only the formal authority but he or she also needs to be a true leader, a person whose leader employees are ready to follow. The strength of the senior leadership team facilitates consistently the work of a coach with clients because the latter feel confident in the power of the coach and his or her ability to help them.
The second factor is the organization’s ability to attract and retain quality people. At this point, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that quality people often perform the role of models for the majority of the personnel in organizations. At the same time, quality people are more successful in coaching because they perceive easily the message sent by a coach to them. Therefore, they get training easily, they acquire new knowledge, develop new skills and extend their professional experience easily that naturally leads to a consistent improvement of their individual performance (Neal & Tromley, 1995).
The third factor is the organization’s ability to adopt a disciplined approach to the business including working “on” the business to create plans and align the employees to execute the business plans. In fact, coaches are more successful when an organization has a clear business plan and strategy and employees are aware of this strategy. In such a situation, employees understand that coaching is important for them and they need to follow the lead of a coach to reach strategic and business goals of their organization. They feel responsible because they understand the importance of the business plan and strategy for their career. In fact, the successful implementation of the business plan and strategy imply the improvement of their position in the organization. Therefore, employees develop a positive attitude to coaching that facilitates coaching and leads to the improvement of the individual performance of employees.
The fourth factor refers to technologies. In actuality, high performing companies made strategic use of technology. Coaches should use the full benefit of technologies to reach goals of coaching. What is meant here is the fact that coaches can reach positive outcomes of their work if they used advanced technologies that facilitates coaching and perception of the message conveyed by a coach to individuals. For instance, the use of modern means of telecommunication facilitates coaching and increases its effectiveness. Moreover, the use of technologies in the course of coaching teaches employees to use technologies in their regular work. In this regard, specialists (Hawkins & Smith, 2006) argue that the use of technologies can improve consistently the individual performance of employees.
Finally, it is necessary to take into consideration such factor as external relationships of organizations. To put it more precisely, high performing companies developed relationships with trusted outside providers such as attorneys, finance and accounting professionals, and insurance professionals (Five Secrets of High Performing Organizations, 2010). The external relationships are very important for the successful work of a coach because the coach should use not only internal forces within the organization but also external ones to help employees to tackle their problems, which prevent them from the consistent improvement of their individual performance. For instance, the existence of some external threats to the organization can make employees feel uncertain about their future in the organization. Therefore, their performance can deteriorate, whereas a coach can change the attitude of employees to their work and improve their individual performance by means of the coaching session.
Furthermore, the case study conducted in terms of the current research has revealed the fact that coaching can be effective and lead to the improvement of the individual performance. Moreover, under certain conditions, such as the enrolment of the overwhelming majority of the personnel in coaching, coaching can lead to the consistent improvement of not only the individual performance but also of the organizational performance at large. The case study proved that the organization using coaching can increase the effectiveness of the performance of its employees. On the other hand, it is still important to create favorable condition for the effective implementation of knowledge, skills and experience acquired by employees in the course of coaching.
5.2 Core coaching competences
The organizational culture and the relationships within the organization are not the only factors that have a significant impact on coaching and its consequences. The interviews and questionnaires conducted among manages, coaches and experts, have revealed the fact that organizations using coaching to improve the individual performance of their employees need to take into consideration the competence of coaches. In such a context, it is quite noteworthy that the case study analyzed in the current dissertation reveals the fact that the Standard Bank of South Africa also reached certain progress in coaching after the employment of new coaches. Therefore, it is important to dwell upon competences coaches should possess to reach positive outcomes in their work. In fact, managers, coaches and experts distinguish several core coaching competencies.
First of all, it is important to emphasize knowledge as a key factor of coach’s success. Basically, coaches need to know what the coaching process involves. They should understand all the stages of coaching and the essence of the process. In addition, they should be acquainted with different models of coaching which can underpin their role as a coach. Each coach may have his or her favorite role and he or she should not change the role if he or she feels uncertain about outcomes of such change. At the same time, coaches should know personal and professional capabilities the coachee needs to develop. In fact, this information is essential for the definition of goals of coaching. Otherwise, coaches would never know where to direct coaching process to and what goals they have to achieve to improve the individual performance of employees. In the course of coaching, coaches should understand how to manage the coaching relationship effectively. The establishment of positive relationships with coaches is crucial for the overall success of coaching. On the other hand, coaches should be able to set boundaries, which they should not overcome because, in such a way, they can put under a threat the coaching session and its positive effects. At the same time, coaches should be good educators and psychologists and they need to know how people learn and how to adapt to different learning styles. In such a way, coaches can maximize the effectiveness of coaching.
Along with extensive professional knowledge, coaches should develop specific professional skills, which should make coaches able to perform basic activities which are essential for the success of their job. In this regard, coaches should be able to listen to their clients. This skill is very important because, while listening to a client, the coach obtains the basic information about the client on the ground of which he or she can build up coaching program and strategy. At the same time, coaches should be able to communicate at different levels because employees can hide some information from coaches and coaches should be able to get that information using different levels of communication. To meet this goal, coaches should also be able to ask searching questions with the help of which they can get the full information about the client’s problem. On the other hand, coaches should remember about ethical issues and avoid offences of their clients by all means. In fact, they should give feedback without causing offence to their clients that will encourage clients to cooperate with the coach. In addition, coaches should be empathetic to make their clients trust and be confident in coaches. To meet this goal, coaches should also demonstrate confidence in oneself and also the coachee.
At the same time, coaching is a two-side process that involves the interaction between coaches and coachee. In this regard, coaches should facilitate goal setting for their clients. Clients need to set goals on their own because as they realize the problem they should set goals to achieve and coaches just help them to set and to meet these goals. Furthermore, coaches should be challenging to keep clients being willing to prove that they can work better. On the other hand, coaches should be compassionate, if they feel their clients need their support and compassion. Anyway, coaches should always act with integrity and in the best interests of the coachee. In such a way, they can maximize the positive impact of coaching on the individual performance of employees.
Finally, coaches should pay a lot of attention to their behaviour to reach positive outcomes of coaching. In this regard, coaches should encourage self-discovery because they need to improve their own qualification and keep progressing to be able to coach other people. At the same time, coaches should act as a role model. Clients need positive models of behaviour and coaches should grant them with such models. On the other hand, coaches should stay neutral and be non-judgemental in relation to their clients. They should not evaluate them as good or bad, they just perceive clients as they are. If possible, coaches should use humour appropriately to facilitate coaching and to make clients feeling at ease. While working in a diverse environment, coaches should illustrate that they value diversity to show that they are free of biases and absolutely objective. In addition, coaches should show tact and diplomacy to avoid offences of their clients. At the same time, they should always maintain confidentiality that is one of the key issues of professional ethics of coaches. In the course of coaching, coaches should seek to build client’s confidence and self esteem to help them to develop a positive attitude to their job. In fact, coaches should show other sources of support to client and critically evaluate their own effectiveness. In such a way, they will increase the positive effect of coaching on the individual performance of employees.