Research Briefing: Embedding Coaching Skills in the Workplace


The interconnectedness of people management practices is often underestimated. Take, for example, recruitment, retention and coaching.

While there is much attention drawn to the challenges around recruitment, the axiom that the easiest form of recruitment is keeping the talent you have can sometimes go unheard. In addition to a comprehensive compensation and benefits programs, one of the most cited reasons employees leave their current employer is lack of career development or promotional opportunities. In today’s economy with tightened budgets and close scrutiny on the return to the organization for any spend, learning and development is often hit hard.

In spite of the decreased expenditures on the learning function, organizations are also faced with tougher competitive pressure, increased regulations, and a potential leadership void as more and more senior management prepare for and take retirement.

What can organizations do to develop their workforce in a cost effective manner to meet the challenges ahead? Are organizations equipped to mentor their future leaders?

Embedding the responsibility to teach and mentor among senior leaders is critical for every organization no matter what its size. As a result, many organizations are looking to increase the coaching skills of their senior leaders. Research shows that effective coaching can increase work-related goal attainment, enhance solution-focused thinking, develop greater change readiness and leadership resilience (Grant 2009). 

In their work, Developing the leader as coach: insights, strategies and tips for embedding coaching skills in the workplace, Anthony Grant and Margie Hartley found eight key organizational factors that increase the likelihood of embedding coaching skills in the workplace.  The authors found that when these factors were in place, coaching efforts generated a more positive culture, a 40 per cent increase in coachees goal progression and a 70 per cent increase in the coaches’ confidence in being able to deal with the presenting issue.

The eight factors outlined in this Research Briefing, when implemented with structure and rigor, are vital for any organization priding itself on developing its employees. And, when integrated with an effective human resources plan, will increase organizational effectiveness. Commitments such as developing employees for future opportunities will contribute to retaining the right employees for the organization.

Read the full briefing.

Research Briefings are a service from BC HRMA’s research group. Our aim is to make it easier and quicker for HR professionals to find and apply the latest and best people management insight to their challenges and projects. This paper contains a concise and practical summary of a recent academic finding that should shape your HR practices.

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