Learn key information about this discipline, which in many cases is fundamental to a company’s success.
Business coaching is a discipline that has taken off in the last 20 years. Many companies believe it is essential to incorporate these techniques into their daily processes.
But what is it? How can you identify a suitable business coach? How do you know if this process is working for your organization?
Sharon Marcano, who leads the Aware Talent Group firm in the United States, explains that business coaching is focused on guiding and leading people and organizations to maximize their performance.
She explains that this happens by understanding the origin of the company, identifying situations that represent obstacles for the business, the leader, or for its teams, and –using this– developing a process through which those difficulties can be overcome.
She said that business coaching is about developing someone’s competencies, identifying the mental models that people have adopted and the way in which they handle their emotions, reviewing their linguistic competence, and also how they relate to other people.
“We also observe their emotions and thought patterns. This allows us to generate processes for action coordination, conflict management, and work team management. The aim of all of this is always to identify areas of opportunity for improving personal and organizational performance,” says Marcano.
Mario Sandoval, founder of Academia Mexicana de Formación Integral (the Mexican Integrated Training Academy) explains to Tec Review that business coaching is the confidential process of guidance between coach and coachee on creative and reflective processes, which encourages them to achieve their goals and objectives within an organization.
“It’s a process focused on connecting what the company requires of them with their own life goals,” said Sandoval, who has been a coach for more than eight years.
Sharon Marcano says that a key way not to be fooled when searching for or hiring a business coach is to find out whether the candidate has been certified by a school registered with the International Coaching Federation.
She adds that another key factor would be that the candidate is able to mention both their strengths and their weaknesses.
Marcano says that many people will oversell their strengths, but it is also important for them to be honest about the topics they don’t have as much knowledge or experience of.
“If a Portuguese company asks me to coach them, I’ll tell them that I’m ready to support their needs, but I’ll have to admit that one of my weaknesses is that I don’t speak Portuguese. Therefore, that may place a limitation on the communication process. Being open about this will help both parties to make better decisions,” she explains.
She adds that some coaches specialize in teamwork and others don’t. They have to mention this so that clients can make better decisions and get support tailored to their needs.
Mario Sandoval, who is certified in instruction and evaluation of competencies focused on personal development and changing organizational culture, shared some tips on how to identify a suitable business coach. He said that, as you would when acquiring any product or service, it is always important to do some research and find out about the experience, training, career, and reputation of the person presenting themselves as a coach.
“Many coaches offer ‘miracle cures’ in their consultancies. Those that say, ‘train with me and your company will prosper in only two weeks’ are fraudsters,” explains Sandoval.
He adds that another way of analyzing whether a coach may represent a risk is to ask about the type of results that they provide. In general, if they promise results in a short time, it is probably not worth working with them.
“Social media, which is used for practically everything today, can be a good way of finding out about coaching services. Examining what kind of feedback coaches have and getting to know a bit about their story can be a good way of seeing how trustworthy a business coach might be,” says Sandoval.
Sharon Marcano, who served as a human resources development manager in different automotive firms for 17 years before taking up business coaching, explains that companies are increasingly aware of the importance of having business coaching for their organizations.
She says that companies tend to request coaching services to prepare people for new challenges, when they are going through changes that require guidance and they need them to be more agile and effective, and when it is necessary to take advantage of teamwork opportunities.
She also adds that there are more and more business leaders who are taking advantage of coaching processes at their organizations to learn its techniques. Although they may not become certified, they utilize what they’ve learned to apply it permanently within their companies.
Mario Sandoval explains that a business coaching process is useful for an organization if it does the following things:
The coach shares evidence of the results that have been achieved, i.e. evidence of recommendations being followed, together with statistics and recognition of the effort that has been made by those receiving coaching.
The coach is focused more on listening than speaking. Although they provide guidance, coaches should not offer advice as such, but rather help executives find answers and options for themselves.