The way professional coaching is perceived and experienced in the workplace has significantly changed in the last decade.  It used to be an intervention reserved for either top leaders working on certain areas for development, or hi-potentials preparing for more senior roles. Add to that, the confidentiality and high costs involved in coaching back then, and naturally the whole process was something that few “regular workers” neither understood nor had the possibility to access.

Several factors have since brought about the change in the image of coaching at work.

With the advancement of technology, a bigger population of the workforce is doing less manual/clerical labor and performing more complex roles involving thinking, strategizing and decision making, even at staff levels.  Average costs per coachee have gone down, with a higher volume of trained and credentialed professional coaches compared to before; plus the arrival of several coaching-on-demand platforms.

One of the biggest factors that drove a spike in awareness for the need for coaching was the pandemic.  With people coping with the transition of remote work, companies were more willing to invest in coaching for their teams and saw how it helped develop a faster, more agile, creative, independent and resilient organization.  It has become clear to everyone how integrated one’s personal and work life actually is and how important it is to support the total person, not only upskilling them for work related competencies, but also promoting well-being and personal growth.  

Today, coaching in the workplace has become imperative to cope with the speed of change and foster a thinking, learning organization. There are many ways to approach introducing coaching in the workplace.  The most common involves hiring an external coach to work with a specified number of individuals in the organization.  The second is to train key individuals within the organization to become certified professional coaches, so that they can do internal coaching for whoever needs it.  In both cases, the company is involved and usually wants to see specific, measurable outcomes, so the coaching goals need to be made clear among all parties, with agreed metrics, a progress check and a post-coaching assessment. A third option is to provide external coaching as a company benefit to individuals for their personal development, where the company does not get involved in the goals of the individuals, rather wants to provide its employees with support in whatever they want to work on.  And lastly, another option is to train leaders all across the organization for coaching skills so that they can apply coaching principles and skills daily with their own teams. All options are effective and perfectly viable, and the best and most lasting results occur when a company decides to use all of these methods, or at least a mix of them, to maximize the use of coaching and makes it more accessible to everyone in the organization.  

The superpower of coaching is that it helps people discover that they are creative, resourceful and whole regardless of their level in the organization and go from being order-takers into thinkers and problem-solvers. Imagine if that superpower were unlocked for everyone in the company, not just a few handpicked ones…how many more brilliant solutions would be discovered?  How much time, energy and money would be saved, and how engaged would team members be knowing they are contributing to the organization and bringing it closer to its goals?  Given today’s fast-changing, hybrid, complex business environment, there is no better time than NOW to introduce coaching in organizations to unlock the potential of its workforce.

Julius Ordoñez, MCC, ACTC

Julius Ordoñez is the President and founder of Benchmark Consulting. He has over 20 years of experience in organizational, leadership and team development, executive coaching, management consulting, business management and mentoring.

He is the Philippines’ first ICF Master Certified Coach and among the world’s first to receive the ICF Advanced Certification in Team Coaching.  He was also the President of Asia Pacific Alliance of Coaches and the founder of the ICF Philippines Chapter.

He has worked with the senior leadership teams of top multinational and multi-cultural organizations across the globe, helping them attain their critical goals and realize their fullest potential. He has personally trained and mentored more than 500 professional coaches based in 22 countries; trained thousands of leaders on coaching skills; and helped numerous companies build a coaching culture.

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