The Not-So-Soft Side of Coaching

Manager explaining products to workers - CMOEThe Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ran an article about a coaching program instituted at an Arizona construction company and in the title stated the company was making their managers “softer”.

Ed Batista, an executive coach and instructor at Stanford Graduate School of Business said of the WSJ article ,

“The business press uses such ‘soft’ terminology frequently when describing coaching – ‘soft skills,’ ‘the softer side,’ etc. – and I think it’s an unfortunate choice of words.  It suggests that the issues coaching seeks to address are less important and/or easy to tackle.  But is it accurate to say that interpersonal skills, conflict management, and motivating people are unimportant tasks?  Or that if you’re weak in those areas, it’s easy to remedy the problem?  Of course not.”

Coaching may be considered “the softer side” but the statistics show that the impact coaching has within an organization can hardly be considered soft.  On-line reports* have shown:

53% – 86% increase in productivity

22% bottom-line profitability

67% increase in teamwork

32% increase in employee retention

39% increase in customer service

The statistics on coaching aren’t “soft”, and your coaching program shouldn’t be soft either.  A well performing coaching program should provide managers with a process and tools that develop employees, reinforce strengths and success, elevate performance and create alignment to build commitment and facilitate change.

Additionally, a strong coaching program will help leaders recognize coaching opportunities and be prepared to coach in both formal and informal situations and reach employees at all levels to create the desired performance.

A coaching program that develops managers and helps them gain confidence in talking with employees and working through both the simple and complex issues is the program that will deliver those not-so-soft results and help your company develop a stronger, more competent workforce.

*Innergized Solutions and Produce Momentum accessed 6/19/2013

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About the Author

Polly Scott

Polly is an Assistant Vice President for CMOE and specializes in organizational management and executive coaching. Polly also has years of experience in sales and marketing, strategic leadership, leadership principles and execution. She is dedicated to listening and understanding the goals of clients.