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Ian Ferguson: Employee Coaching Key To Firm’S Health

Coaching is used in a variety of ways to help employees solve their problems. No workplace is without its share of issues, and no individual is immune from personal and professional roadblocks. Companies that invest in Employee Assistance Programmes, and prepare their managers to engage in responsible employee coaching and counselling, become leaders in the marketplace.

We define ‘coaching’ as a method of directing, instructing and training a person or group of people, with the aim of achieving some goal or developing specific skills. It can be accomplished in both a direct or indirect manner.

Perhaps the first question we must ask is who needs coaching at work? The simplest answer is: Everyone. Everyone at some point in their career and life needs some form of coaching, counselling or intervention. Leaders need it, company owners need it, and employees need it as well.

To be more specific, we coach when:

  • Work performance is poor, and both individuals and groups need a boost or reminder of the need for excellence.

  • Attitudes on the team are poor, and individuals or groups need an adjustment in temperament.

  • There is stagnation of an individual or group, and something has to be done or introduced to help employees climb out of the rut.

  • The competition stiffens, and levels of productivity and efficiency need to be increased.

  • It is crunch time or before a major project/assignment, and the team needs to be revved up to meet the new challenge.

  • There are personal issues adversely impacting the individual’s ability to attend to their professional obligations.

The coaching and counselling support that companies give to their employees sometimes ventures into some personal areas of their lives, and employers must navigate carefully. Every good employer wants to create a work environment where employees are relaxed, comfortable and happy. A major part of this involves ensuring that emotional health and well-being is promoted.

When the physical or mental health of an employee is negatively affected by personal problems, such as bullying, sexual harassment, depression, relationships, a medical crisis, financial stress, workplace bullying, substance abuse or any other vice, employers must get involved and coach their employees back to good emotional health.

• NB: Ian R. Ferguson is a talent management and organisational development consultant, having completed graduate studies with regional and international universities. He has served organsations, both locally and globally, providing relevant solutions to their business growth and development issues. He may be contacted at tcconsultants@coralwave.com.

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