Coaching: it’s a mystery for many in HR and learning and development

Coaching remains a mystery for many HR professionals, according to a recent survey.

Coaching: Misunderstood, a report from Beech Consultancy, said 25% of HR professionals surveyed “are challenged by understanding what coaching is”, while a third of them feel there is a blurred understanding between coaching and mentoring.

“Some participants feel that there is no clear distinction between coaching and mentoring within their organisation,” said Beech. “Others felt that coaching is purely task-oriented and is intended for informal use by line managers in every day activities, while others use mentoring as part of a formal scheme.”

Beech said such confiusion should “ring alarm bells” as “the definition of coaching needs to be clearly defined initially so that anyone who is looking to buy coaching understands what they’re buying.”

Myles Downey, founder of The School of Coaching, said: “coaching is the art of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another. A mentor is someone, usually more senior or more experienced, who is appointed to help and advise another employee.”

The report said 70% of organisations polled engage in coaching, and 87% of HR and L&D professionals surveyed said that team leaders, middle managers and senior managers could benefit from coaching.

Of coaches polled, a quarter said regulation of the coaching industry would raise coaching’s standing and profile.

The report was based on an e-mail survey of 500 HR and L&D professionals, coaches, and decision-makers within organsiations, split evenly between the three groups. It was carried out between December and February. The results are similar to a recent CIPD survey on coaching.

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