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  • James Eves

Why is coaching important?



Some of my experiences in my corporate career have had significant effects on my levels of engagement, productivity and happiness at work.


They also impacted how I felt about myself, my energy and motivation.


Has this happened to you?


This is not uncommon – looking at Gallup’s stats from January 2021 about US Employee engagement 39% of workers are engaged, leaving 14% actively disengaged and 47% disengaged. We can assume similar results from the UK.


In my own experiences, many companies aren’t actually set up to get the best from each person.


You’re hired to do a job.


There is a job description, and you might stick to that or even be given more on top of that to do.


There’s a carrot and stick approach, and in terms of development (if you’re lucky) the feedback given may just follow what you are bad at and how to improve that. Focusing on the negative or on your weaknesses is something that follows us from schooling and into such ways of managing people.


Skills can be developed to help you perform a role. But how often have you discussed what you are actually good at and should do more of?


Example One:

I was working in a team, under considerable pressure, so we thought that we would get our work completed more efficiently if we dished out certain tasks, based on what we each did best.


We figured that we would get the huge workload completed faster, and it would lead to happy customers (with fewer problems to sort out later).


A great solution you might think? Everyone bought into the sharing of work too, we felt like a team and could see the impact.


The result? A talking to from management.


I was told this wasn’t how we work and everyone had to do an equal share of the varying tasks. That feedback negated all the good work, took away from what we had achieved and left a disheartened team.


Example Two:

When I manage teams, I’ve always done my best to create a positive work environment. My view is that we should come to work to enjoy what we do and feel a meaning / purpose in what we achieve each day.


I know we are more productive that way. So, I use humour, get to know people, ask how their weekend was, and support others. You know, nothing ground-breaking.


The result? A talking to from management.


I was informed that my actions disturb people, distract them from doing their work and concentrating. I know the line between arsing around and building relationships and boosting others.


Despite more senior managers praising my ability to turn around the morale of a group of people, I suspect other managers without this skill sought to stop it.


Example Three:

I have had multiple “Jerry Maguire Moments” (as I like to call them) in my career. If you’ve not seen it, it’s a Tom Cruise movie where he plays a sports agent and suggests a way to improve the way agents interact and work with clients, based on improving the quality of relationships. Worth a watch!


I always work to do my absolute best for a team and organisation. I often describe it as operating and thinking like a business owner.


I naturally enjoy getting around to meet people, talking and getting to know others. When I do this, I pick up on things that may be adversely affecting team or company performance. So, with the best intentions I have written short reports for senior execs.


I’d outline the concern or issue I was seeing, suggested courses of action to resolve or improve this, and the potential impact of taking such action. I’ve even squared such things with managers before sending to top execs – you know, just as a sense check and a “should I send this?” sort of thing.


The result? A talking to from management.


In the worst case getting an absolute roasting, hearing their fear in asking how many people have been sent the report, and I suspect this leading me to being part of redundancies the following year. I was told I hadn’t earned the right to an opinion yet as hadn’t worked there for 10-15 years, plus nobody wanted the boat rocking.


This is no doubt why many organisations never change and continue to struggle.


I look back on these particular experiences and others throughout my career over the last 2 decades.


As you might expect, they all led me to feeling disengaged, disheartened, even angry and resentful. Getting to a point of feeling this is shit, I didn’t last long in such environments.


A mentor once described to me that I was just in the wrong culture. He’d said if I was working for him, he’d have recognised the effort I was putting in, realised that I would make him look good, and would have promoted me for taking such action.


Sadly, I wasn’t working for him!


Fast forward many years, and I discovered Gallup® and the Clifton Strengths assessment tool. If you haven’t seen it before, it’s a 45-minute assessment that asks numerous questions, with an output of reports and insight into your innate talents and strengths. Over 25 million people have now taken this!


Reading this and chatting this through with a coach...my mind was blown.


Reading about my dominant strengths was refreshing, and just made a lot of sense. I felt I knew myself much better and could now actually describe these in a simple way.


I can connect these strengths to my experiences described above.


The getting work done under pressure in example one – I was using my Activator (getting something moving), and Developer (in enjoying seeing and getting the best from others).


Creating a positive and uplifting environment in example two – I was using my Positivity, Relator and Empathy strengths to tap into how others were feeling, the vibe of the office, and what was needed to give a jolt of something uplifting.


Seeing what wasn’t working and suggesting improvements in example three - I was using my Strategic and Futuristic strengths to see what a different future would look like and options to improve. I used my Focus strength to determine a plan of actions to create such impact and improvement. Furthermore, my Self-Assurance with total belief in my suggestions.


I now look at these 3 examples and see how I was using my strengths and the positive impact this either did, or could have had, in my daily work.


However, I was shut down in all instances from a direct manager or more senior person.


Is that happening to you?


Or are you a manager/exec that operates like this? And then wonders why good people leave?


I have seen this a lot in my career and still do today.


If you neglect to understand and develop someone’s strengths by not giving them strengths-based feedback and or opportunities to use their strengths every day, then you will:

  • Lose your best people,

  • find yourself with more actively disengaged employees,

  • and find productivity stagnant or declining.

So, do the 3 example resonate with you and wonder how you can uncover your strengths?


Or perhaps you are a manager or exec wanting to improve teamwork, productivity and engagement levels.


Then get in touch for a free chat.


I am a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and we can explore where you are and what this means for you and your organisation. Book here: https://calendly.com/jameseves/20min


James

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