Unlocking the Power of Coaching Skills for HR

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 13 March 2024
Marie Ferris
Thrive Coaching and Development
Issues covered: Coaching Techniques, Active Listening

There has been a lot of research about the impact of leaders and managers using a coaching approach in the workplace, with coaching now clearly evidenced as a powerful tool for driving employee development, engagement, and organisational performance.

There’s much less research about the benefits of HR staff adopting a coaching approach and using coaching skills. And yet, it’s clear that the role of HR professionals has changed, just as much as (maybe if not even more than) leaders and managers. In today's dynamic, fast-paced, post-Covid, evolving work environment HR are expected to act as partners, facilitators, and influencers/enablers of organisational success. They have become the champions of employee wellbeing, organisational culture, employee engagement, talent management.  In research by Sage, 91% of HR and C-suite leaders say HR’s role has changed dramatically over the past five years, and around a third of HR leaders, and 40% of the C-suite, said they don’t think these drastic changes will slow down anytime soon either.

In this context, coaching skills are emerging as a powerful tool for HR staff to navigate these changes effectively.  Coaching skills can help you:

Strengthen Partnerships:

Coaching skills enable you to build stronger relationships and partnerships with leaders and managers across the organisation. By adopting a coaching approach, you can effectively support managers in addressing employee performance issues, navigating difficult conversations, and developing their leadership capabilities. This strengthens your role as a strategic partner in driving organisational success.

Empowering Employee Development:

With coaching skills, you can play a pivotal role in empowering employees to reach their full potential. By providing coaching support, feedback, and guidance, you help employees identify their strengths, set meaningful goals, and develop essential skills for career advancement. This fosters a culture of continuous learning and growth within the organisation, ultimately enhancing employee engagement and retention.

Facilitating Organisational Change:

Organisational change initiatives often require HR involvement in facilitating communication, managing transitions, and supporting employees through periods of uncertainty. Coaching skills equip you with the tools and techniques to navigate change effectively. By providing coaching support to employees and managers during times of change, you help minimize resistance, foster resilience, and drive successful outcomes.

Enhancing Conflict Resolution:

Conflict resolution is a common challenge in HR roles. Coaching skills enable you to facilitate constructive dialogue, promote understanding, and find mutually beneficial solutions to conflicts. By adopting a neutral and empathetic approach, you can help resolve conflicts in a manner that preserves relationships and promotes a positive work environment.

Nurturing Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a key driver of organisational performance and success. Coaching skills enable HR staff to build stronger connections with employees, understand their needs and aspirations and actively involve them in decision-making processes. By fostering a culture of open communication, trust and collaboration, HR professionals can increase employee engagement levels and create a more positive and productive work environment.

What does that look like in practice?  As an HR professional what can I do to get started using and benefitting from coaching skills?

  • Practice Active Listening: Focus on truly understanding employees' perspectives and concerns by practicing active listening during conversations.
  • Ask Powerful Questions: Rather than jumping in with advice and guidance, try to encourage reflection and problem-solving by asking open-ended questions that prompt deeper thinking.
  • Provide Constructive Feedback: Offer feedback that is specific, timely and focused on development rather than criticism.
  • Lead by Example: Demonstrate coaching behaviours in your interactions with colleagues and encourage others to do the same.

Is that not what I am doing already?

Coaching skills and behaviours can seem easy; deceptively easy.  When we facilitate coaching courses, many of the participants often start by saying they think they are already coaching or using coaching behaviours.  Inevitably, though, once they become more familiar with coaching and the depth of skills needed, and more aware of their own approach, they start to understand that most of their behaviour was really actually more about telling, guiding, advising, fixing, rather than asking, listening, facilitating and coaching. 

If you are not convinced, at your next meeting, try to tune into your approach a little more and ask yourself a couple of simple questions:

  • How much time did I spend listening, rather than talking?
  • How many open questions did I ask?

By leveraging coaching techniques, HR professionals can enhance their partnerships with managers, empower employees and navigate organisational change effectively. That all starts with asking more questions, listening more and telling less.  Try it and I guarantee you will see the benefits.

Legal Island Training Resources for Your Staff

Managing and Motivating Remote Workers | eLearning Course

Are you responsible for overseeing the implementation of training for all employees in your organisation?
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations have offered office-based workers remote working options on a permanent basis. Therefore, it is necessary that managers are trained to optimise team performance. They also need to protect the wellbeing of each team member, whether they all work remotely, or some are based in the office and are part of a hybrid team.
Legal Island has created an eLearning course in partnership with Think People Consulting that will provide managers of remote workers with the tools to manage and motivate their teams, optimise performance, and achieve organisational goals.

Click here to view our course on managing and motivating remote workers.

This article is correct at 13/03/2024

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Marie Ferris
Thrive Coaching and Development

The main content of this article was provided by Marie Ferris. Contact telephone number is 07729435208 or email marie@thrivecoachingdevelopment.com

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