Let’s capitalise on potential of coaching

If coaching is becoming an unregulated, ill-disciplined business
intervention with few standards (Opinion, 21 May), it is a dangerous

But there is a solution that could work wonders for the HR community.
Coaching is a hot topic because – unusually – it works fantastically well.
Coaching has to be seen as an opportunity for HR. There is a vacuum in terms of
setting standards and operating procedures and HR can fill the void if the
nettle is grasped now.

We need to set the standards and process but, more importantly, understand
the value it adds when performed with skill, experience and sensitivity.

It is also critical that HR people become practitioners rather than
commentators. We need to be on the pitch, not standing on the sidelines shouting.
We need to get ourselves qualified, and then develop experience as coaches to
senior managers.

HR could add enormous value by using first-class coaching skills in our
everyday working. We all know there is an inexorable trend to split the function
into high-end value added activity, and low-end administrative work (most of
which will be outsourced over time). The ramifications of this are that those
HR people who remain employed have to step up to the plate in significant ways.
Essentially this means much better, more commercially focused and relevant
activity, driving transformation across the business.

A pre-requisite for this is a complex personal development agenda for HR
people – they will need to be tougher, more commercially adept, better strategists,
change agents and planners, while developing first-class behavioural and
emotional intelligence skills.

Almost all of the above can be released in people through coaching. Being
both a trained coach and coached myself, I believe the single biggest inhibitor
to success lies between the ears of the individual being coached. True
development is rarely about skill – it is about attitude, behaviour, fears,
hopes and dreams – and unlocking this is fundamental to growth and change.

I use three business coaches. They are people whose opinion I respect but
most of all they are great at making me confront my own development needs. This
can be seriously painful because facing up to one’s own need to change can be
hard – but it is enormously useful. The great thing about coaching is that its
very process demands that we work on things for ourselves and we all know that
this is the key to development.

If you don’t have a coach, get one. In these tight times if you spend just
one sum on development then spend it on your own business coach. It will
transform you, your business and possibly your personal life – and it will be a
key to releasing the talent within you.

By Chris Matchan, Vice-president of consumer practice, Korn-Ferry

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