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Five key coaching skills

The idea of coaching in business is catching on. According to Drs. Jeannine Sandstrom and Lee Smith, the traditional command-style approach to developing a workforce falls short when compared to a more modern, coaching model. Coaching is the process of guiding employees through developing their skills and improving their commitment to themselves, their job and the company. This article outlines the five key skills that a coach should possess.

Why coaching?

Coaching in business has proven to be a very effective way to retain valued and highly skilled employees, develop leaders, promote creative solutions to problems, deepen employee's commitment, gain a competitive edge, and improve performance and profitability. It's about replacing the traditional manager-employee relationship with one centered on discovering and developing each person according to his strengths, and creating a work environment that is positive, flexible and professionally nurturing.

Key skills

Adaptability A successful mentor is highly adaptable to different personality types and is able to adjust his or her style in order to clearly communicate with each individual team member. The things that motivate one person will not necessarily work to motivate another. Becoming a coach means realising that each person has individual needs and it's only when these needs are met that their potential can be realised. Organisation Mentoring in business requires several traditional management-type skills, including organisation. Coaches keep detailed records of meetings, ideas, observations and anything else that may help the employee achieve their goals, whatever they may be. A coach works with individual employees to set goals and map out the paths they can take to achieve them, while monitoring progress and performance. For this much information, and even for the smallest staff, a finely tuned sense of order and planning is essential. Creativity Every individual is different, and so are the ways in which each person can be motivated, developed, or corrected. Creativity is perhaps the most often used coaching skill. Coaching is about designing individualised standards, methods and processes of development and a coach may have to deal with any number of issues ranging from business performance to personal problems. In each meeting, the coach must be creative enough in finding solutions that drive the employees' progress in the company forwards. Positivity Studies show overwhelmingly that employees in a positive work environment perform far better than those in stifled or oppressive workplaces. When approaching training or discipline, a successful coach can spin everything in a positive way. Approachability Fostering an open work environment has many benefits, including increasing the employee's morale and retention.

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