I’ve been in the Information Technology field for almost 19 years, 12 of which were in management in various organizations. Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work for a couple of great managers who coached and mentored me.
Over the last seven years, I’ve been focusing on developing talents. I realized that for our organization to succeed we must continuously develop the talents around us. One way of developing talent is through coaching.
What is coaching? Coaching is a process in which a manager helps someone (an employee) learns how to deal with a situation and solve a problem. Why is coaching important? Like children, we have to develop some of our core competencies in order to succeed in our careers. By developing those core competencies, we enable ourselves to improve our ability to deal with situations and come up with effective solutions. I compare coaching to teaching people how to do a task instead of doing the task for someone. By letting the person do the work, he/she will slowly develop the ability and improve upon prior experiences.
A coach can be directive or non-directive. This varies based on the experience and competency of the employee. Ideally, the coach should not offer the solution, but rather guide the employee in coming up with the right solution. When the employee is new, the coach can guide him/her in think through the problem and guide him/her in coming up with the solution. The coach can also provide the solution, assuming the employee’s solution is not feasible. When the coach provides the solution, he/she needs to offer the rationale behind it. This will allow the employee to understand how the coach derived the solution.
What are the critical factors for coaching to be effective? There must be open and honest communication between both parties. The coach must be interested in developing the employee. There should be no hidden agenda on either side. Lastly, the coach must make the employee feel that he/she can be trusted. Therefore, the coach and employee must maintain confidentiality.
Now more than ever, the need to develop talent around us becomes more important because of economic conditions. With fewer resources to work on our projects, we must come up with creative ways to get things done. By coaching and developing talent, we are investing in our employee’s future. In the end, it is a win-win situation for the coach and the employee.