Our own research revels that both in the U.S. and Puerto Rican locations, corporate demand for executive coaching, mentorship and leadership development has double since the early nineties. The reason is very clear. As companies seek to retain top performers at a time of aggressive competition for executive talent, their quest for developing key people has grown tremendously. True talent has become hard to find and costly to replace so many companies are using coaching to improve retention. The definition is simple: to instruct or train a subject; to prepare for increasing capability.
Executive coaching got its formal start, as a main task, in the 80s and grew dramatically in the 90s. As job markets have tightened and become so competitive for companies, they began to look for ways to develop their employees in order that they remain with the organization. The thing is that in the 90s competition is based on brains, minds, ideas and interactions. Retention of a good brain or mind is now a bottom-line concern since it has shown that to replace a superb executive or manager can cost as much as three times their annual salary. Of course, if it is not a great brain or mind you end better replacing itů
Coaching aims at working with individuals who are good at what they do, but are lacking in an area such as communications, teamwork or interpersonal skills. It is also used for developing top performers and for those in whom the company wants to invest.
For us as researchers, there is a direct relationship between coaching and profound management education. Development relates to learning to learn, learning to do, learning to work together and learning to be. Thus, the goal of coaching is to impart knowledge, advises, methods and techniques necessary for changing and modifying behavior, and for enhancing job performance. Without knowledge there can`t be sustained behavioral change. Like learning for life, coaching is an ongoing process whereby an individual works with a coach to develop and fine tune skills and behaviors. This requires long-term commitment and the involvement of other key people for that individual or the work team.
Coaching relates to mentoring and facilitation: where mentoring is the art of passing along the wisdom; and facilitation is a process in which a person who is acceptable to others, substantively neutral, and has no formal authority intervenes to help a person or a team improve its performance and/or behavior.
These days, coaching is being provided to the senior level, mid-level professionals and managers, or to anyone the company values. It is a process that requires great craftsmanship and customization. The temptation to use a one size-fits-all approach has to be avoided by all means. The chance to learn new skills and apply them in new arenas is an important motivator in a turbulent environment because it is oriented toward coping with the future. In a world of high technology, where people understand uncertainty, the attractiveness of a job or an organization lies in providing coaching, learning and experience.
Copyright 1998 QBS, Inc.