Management & Leadership

The Value of Coaching in the Workplace

Jul 16, 2020 | By Saranne Durham
The Value of Coaching in the Workplace

A good leader needs to maximise the potential in their team, by ensuring that each team members has the freedom and motivation to do what they do best. Workplace Coaching is an excellent way to do this.

Enthusiasm from team members can make or break the efficiency and effectiveness of a team working together. The role of a good team leader is to harness each team members’ skills and ensure that they have the freedom and motivation to do what they do best.

“Workplace Coaching focuses on inspiring performance, achievement and creativity.”

Workplace coaching is an effective way for a team leader to help equip team members with the knowledge, tools and skills to utilise the opportunities presented to them along the course of their work.

Workplace coaching places emphases on an employee’s growth and development. This is done through upskilling and better enabling accomplishments by removing performance barriers and allowing increased creativity. Workplace coaching therefore focuses on inspiring performance, achievement and creativity. It is not remedial or therapeutic in purpose.

Harnessing your team’s creative skills

Creativity is an infinite resource, but not one that can simply be mined with a pickaxe. It is generated by people, and people need the right conditions in which to thrive.

As a team leader these are Six Workplace Coaching tips which encourage Innovative Thinking:

  1. Allow Mistakes
  2. Provide Motivation
  3. Balance Skills within a Team
  4. Create the Right Environment (office and remote working)
  5. Brainstorming Techniques

1. Allow Mistakes

Mistakes are a necessary part of the creative process, and without the freedom to make mistakes, people will not be willing to take the risks required for innovative thinking.

“Mistakes are a valuable part of the creative process.”

Fahima Marissa Anwar, former director of influencing and marketing strategy at dubdub.com and current member of the communication council at Forbes, highlights the importance of being allowed to make mistakes when she advised: “Understanding that not all creative ideas are going to be wins creates a comfortable environment to brainstorm ideas and walk through new concepts.”

2. Provide Motivation

According to John A. Steinert, chief marketing officer at TechTarget, a powerful method for motivating creatives is to link the task at hand to something they are interested in. “From basketball to music to science, when the team starts with what they personally care about, they create whole new avenues for interesting content.”

Admittedly this is often the biggest challenge a leader can face, especially when needing to encourage creativity. It may not always be obvious how to do this, but finding different ways to think about problems is a key part of the creative process. In this case, you need to find an angle that inspires the team by requiring them to delve into their own personal interests.

“Encourage motivation by linking a task to something personally cared about.”

3. Balance Skills within a Team

One needs people who are creative within a team – however a team full of just creatives will not get much done. In an article in Harvard Business Review, psychologists Reece Akhtar, PhD and Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic discuss the need to surround creatives with people who complement their abilities. These people will be good at things that creatives are traditionally not, such as implementation, networking, and detail-oriented project management.

“Match skill sets to tasks.”

As with any kind of team-building, the leader needs to accept that each individual within a team is better suited to certain tasks, and will perform better when assigned to those tasks. Expecting everyone to be able to do everything is not conducive to good teamwork. Therefore, being aware of the need to balance skill sets within a team will assist the team to be efficient and effective as well as creative in their approach to a task.

4. Create the Right Environment

The importance of interior design should never be underestimated, as the layout of the space affects the mood and psychology of its occupants.

Rows of claustrophobic cubicles, where employees crouch over their desks, are a relic of the past. Instead, a modern office should inspire employees by creating an open, brightly lit space where members of the team feel free to bounce ideas off each other.

‘The layout of an office impacts mood and Psychology within a team.”

Jennifer Best, director of digital marketing at ArmadaHealth, suggests that the office be open and inviting, and include an innovation area designed specifically for team collaboration.

Teambuilding amidst Social Distancing and Remote Working

With so many people working from home and the need for social distancing, if you do go into an office, team building is both a challenge. No more tea and coffee breaks together or water cooler discussions, means that the usual ways of finding common ground with someone you work with are lost. Developing cohesion and connections in a team is even more necessary now than before.

A great connecting activity, that can be done in person or over zoom, is to get one person for 10-15 minutes every week to share a hobby or something that’s non-work related; but could be useful for others to know. For example: A basic overview of what you need to fix a broken water pipe to delay a plumber visit until after emergency call out hours. Perhaps some photos of an enjoyable holiday or pottery creations. At the end of their sharing, open things up for people to ask questions. Once the balls rolling, you’ll be surprised at how diverse and creative your team is. As well as how a snippet into one person’s passion creates positive connections in a team.

“Developing cohesion and connections in a team is important.”

Zoom fatigue is a real issue. So rather than extending or adding another meeting, think about doing a teambuilding activity on its own and in place of a regular meeting.

5. Brainstorming techniques

According to Robert B. Tucker, President of Innovation Resource Consulting Group: “brainstorming is a tool with staying power”. Many companies have pitched up at conferences claiming to have the next big innovation tool. But good old brainstorming remains the method of choice, even in the high-tech hub of Silicon Valley.

“Use brainstorming to stop analysing and get creative juices flowing.”

The key to a good brainstorming session is to free team members from the burden of analysis. It’s about quantity over quality. A quick barrage of ideas within a short space of time. Sort out the good ideas from the bad ideas later. Few things pose more of a barrier to creativity than persistent analysis. The point of brainstorming is just to get the creative juices flowing.

Creativity requires creative leadership

Answering the challenges of leadership requires creativity of a different kind. This is particularly important in a time when corporate environments are often designed to promote efficiency but actually risk killing creativity in the process.

The work of professional coaches involves encouraging people to break down barriers and unlock their inner potential. If you are interested in pursuing a career in coaching, SACAP offers a range of coaching courses, including part-time and full-time as well as online options. For more information, enquire now.

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