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  • Writer's pictureben nathan

How can coaching improve organisational health?

Imagine a busy family home. A parent is rushing to leave the house while the youngest is slumped at the bottom of the stairs crying, frustrated that she can’t tie her shoelace. With the stress of leaving on time, the parent ties the laces and makes a swift getaway!

But what would happen if the parent stopped, sat with the child, asked which part was causing the problem and explored collaboratively how to do it better? The benefits are obvious but to co-create solutions demands our greatest currency, time. It also requires a desire to understand, emotional intelligence to empathise and a mindset of being present. And for the girl, the experience creates a feeling of empowerment that they can solve problems themselves, self-belief that they are trusted, and a sense of well being.

This is coaching in its purest form and we can see how if done right, it can be a mutually enriching, empowering and memorable experience. If we make time, we save time. As David Clutterbuck, a leading speaker on leadership and coaching explains, a coach’s real value is helping clients become “more advanced in their thinking.”

So, coaching develops not only empowered people but those who have the confidence to think more creatively than they did before. And in this hyper complex corporate world, creative thinkers will separate themselves from the competition.

Then what’s stopping leaders adopting a coaching culture if these are the advantages? Perhaps the short term demands of that board meeting or that deadline seem more important than the long-term investment of sitting down and taking time, to understand our people. Like the rushed parent who is focused on leaving the house on time, the leader’s challenge is also time management.

We know that coaching conversations make for employees who are more independent, more advanced in their thinking and as a result happier too. As Annie McKee (the best-selling author of “How to be Happy at Work: the Power of Purpose”) explains, “research with dozens of companies points to a simple fact: happy people are better workers. Those who are engaged with their jobs and colleagues work harder — and smarter.”

Clutterbuck, D. (2008) What’s happening in coaching and mentoring? And what is the difference between them? Development and Learning in Organisations: An International Journal, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp 8-10, Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.


McKee, A. (2014) Being happy at work matters, Article in the Harvard Business Review, Accessed 13th Dec 2019, https://hbr.org/2014/11/being-happy-at-work-matters

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