The making of a successful sportsman or woman involves skill, persistence and practice. But how many top athletes could achieve success at an international level without the help of a really great mentor or coach?
As the world gears up for the biggest sporting event of the year, new international research from recruiter Robert Half suggests that elite coaching may not be permeating the workplace.
The study was conducted by an independent research firm; including responses from over 6,000 office professionals in 12 countries around the world. It found 78% of the professionals surveyed believe career coaching improves their job performance.
More than half (56%) of those surveyed believe their manager is an effective career coach; however 29% said they currently receive no career coaching from their direct manager.
Megan Alexander, general manager for Robert Half New Zealand, says providing support as a career coach not only keeps employees motivated but also helps to improve productivity.
These findings mirror what she has experienced during her many years working with New Zealand businesses. Alexander reiterates that as departments are being increasingly tasked to do more with less, the increase in productivity for employees under an effective career coach should be a primary consideration.
"Career coaching requires a specific skill set that goes beyond pure operational management tasks, focusing more on helping teams grow and become truly productive. When we look at our top athletes, their coach is that one person they can count on for absolute attention to detail and focus - helping them become stronger, faster and better.
"In many New Zealand workplaces, those with responsibility for a team are often so focused on delegating and managing workloads, that proper mentoring and coaching is an afterthought.
"Leaders who share knowledge in a mentoring environment and view staff coaching as a crucial part of their job will be more productive and enable their teams to achieve to higher standards," she says.
The survey found the top three attributes employees look for in a career coach are knowledge and expertise (35%), mutual trust and respect (33%) and a positive attitude (13%).
So what can New Zealand businesses do to plug this gap? Alexander suggests the following tips that can help managers improve their coaching prowess:
� Understand that coaching is part of your responsibilities as a senior professional and make time within your busy working day to communicate with your team
� Understand the personalities of your team and match these against your coaching style: who will respond best to which of your qualities?
� Accept that you may need to amend some of your behaviours to meet individual needs
� Recognise coaching is about 'showing, not just 'telling'. It's about being an effective role model
� Look for inspiration from the resources available to you: your boss or HR professional will be happy to help.
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