Understanding Coaching

… Chrsti Byerly

As an HR professional, you serve others, but why not also benefit yourself?
As a human resource professional, you’ve probably arranged for executives and managers to receive career coaching.
But what if you yourself could achieve the skills that top coaches have, that would allow you to accomplish your own career goals at the same time?

“Sometimes HR people are so close to their organisations, they forget about caring for their own careers,” says Christi Byerly, faculty at Coach Development Institute-Africa (CDI). “You provide so much value to your organisations, and it can help to get that outside perspective for yourself, to improve your personal brand and become a far more effective HR manager.”

Coaching is excellent for top performers

Some people mistakenly believe that coaching is used for improving an employee’s job performance, particularly if their performance is suffering. Today, only 15% of coaching us used to correct behaviours, while the top reason, at 38%, is to sharpen the leadership skills of high potential leaders, according to a survey by US-based Right Management Consultants.

“Working with a coach and receiving coach training can move an HR employee out of their comfort zone and allow them to stretch their skills and rejuvenate their thinking in ways the corporation will love,” Byerly continues. “Ideally, coaching takes you beyond your comfort zone, even if you’re already high-performing, and takes you to a whole new level.”

How does coaching work?

Coaches work in a bespoke manner to ensure that the offering is tailored to the specific client. Coaching relationships differ depending on the client’s goals, and so one person may prefer to receive coaching face-to-face in the coach’s office, their own office, or by phone or Skype. The engagement could be for three month, or for a year, depending on the outcome that the client sets as an objective. CDI trains coaches in this type of flexibility, to ensure the highest possible client satisfaction.

Normally, employers are pleased to cover coaching costs, because they recover their investment several times over. Usually, a coaching client, even if they were deficient in some areas, can become a rising star.

Finding a coach

Coaching value depends on the coach’s ability to create a strong, professional relationship, so it’s wise to find just the right coach. HR professionals can contact a local coaching school, such as Coach Development Institute, to find out which coaches are best suited to their specific needs. These schools know their graduates’ interests and skill-sets and can recommend the right coach. HR professionals can even interview two or three coaches before making their final choice.

The main pitfall is hiring people who call themselves coaches, but who don’t hold the credential or have the coaching skills needed. It’s highly recommended to ensure that the coach you select has studied at a school that has received its International Coach Federation accreditation, and that has certified the coach and can vouch for them.

Another approach, in addition to a careful credential check, is to depend on referrals. Choose a certified coach who has experience getting the type of results you are looking for. You will find glowing clients around the best coaches. You want to interview in the same way that you’d want an employee to show you how they will help you, and what methodology will be most effective. In addition, you want to really like the person, because you are entrusting confidential hopes and dreams to this person. Professional certification ensures that your coach will be held accountable to an internationally enforced code of ethics.

Your role as a client

To be effective, top performers being coached need to be committed to taking some risks, being honest, forthcoming and engaged in the process. “You need to open up the lines of communication so that your coach can help you engage and transform the sticky spots. Even the biggest difficulties become manageable with the help of a coach, ” says Byerly.

There is a certain rush that comes when engaging with a coach. The initial hesitations quickly fade as you start moving past the obstacles and getting a clear line of sight toward what you see yourself achieving.

Christi Byerly is a faculty member at Coach Development Institute-Africa, a Professional Certified Coach, a Certified Group Coach, Certified Workplace Coach, Master NLP Coach, spiritual director and founder of Awaken Coaching