Developing Your Talent

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Why You Should Make Coaching Part of Your Learning & Development Strategy

By Kristen Leverone on February 7, 2014

Is your organization using coaching as a method for learning and development? If not, you’re missing out on one of the richest—and most cost-effective—methods to improve performance through the transfer of knowledge, skills and behaviors.

Many organizations still view coaching as a high-ticket item. A recent HCI/LHH research study found that 78 percent of respondents cited a “lack of resources or funding” as the biggest impediment to establishing a coaching culture. If your organization wants to enhance its learning and development strategy, you may want to consider building the coaching and mentoring skills of your leaders as an affordable means to develop talent across the enterprise.

A leader as coach or mentor is a partner who offers career advice; facilitates the exchange of skills, ideas and information; provides introductions and networking contacts; offers insight into the company culture; and delivers constructive feedback. Here are three types of mentoring that offer the benefits of coaching at minimal expense:

  • Traditional mentoring.  An employee meets one-on-one with an assigned senior member of the organization via a combination of communication channels: in person, video conference, email or telephone.
  • Group mentoring.  A single mentor or a rotating group of subject matter experts address the shared developmental needs of a small group of employees.
  • Reverse mentoring.  A less-experienced employee acts as a mentor to a more senior member of the organization offering younger workers insight into management decision-making and the more experienced partner an infusion of fresh and diverse viewpoints.

A properly executed coaching and mentoring program forges a strong leadership pipeline, bolsters employee retention and engagement, and helps identify and develop high-potential employees. That’s coaching that justifies investment.

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