Building Capability

How Formal and Informal Coaching Can Build Organisational Capability

formal and informal coaching

Coaching is a form of development where a more experienced individual provides insight, guidance and advice to a less experienced employee. It usually involves the coach taking on a listening role and providing empathy, observational feedback and questions to coax growth out of the coachee. 

The benefits of formal and informal coaching in building organisational capability 

When it comes to organisational capability, coaching is just one of the methods you can use to build it. There are two types of coaching: 

Both forms of coaching are legitimate coaching methods for building organisational capability, and whether you use formal or informal (or both) is up to you, your managers, your coachees and your business culture. You’ll find both methods of coaching will benefit your company in building organisational capability. 

Personal benefits are the coachee’s gains. These benefits allow employees to gain confidence and efficiency in their roles, feeding into your overall organisational capability. 

Personal benefits of coaching include: 

On the other hand, the organisational benefits of coaching is the value brought to the company as a whole, increasing your business’s performance and bottom line. 

Organisational benefits include: 

What challenges do you face when using coaching to build organisational capability? 

Coaching certainly looks good on paper, but actually practicing coaching in your workplace can be a challenge. 

Using the wrong coaching method 

We mentioned already that neither informal nor formal training was better than the other, and that it was up to preference. The challenge here is that some people just don’t respond well to certain forms of coaching (in fact, even some coaches might not be comfortable providing certain forms of coaching). 

If your coach or coachee is uncomfortable with or disengaged from their coaching, they won’t get much out of it and you’d be hindering, rather than helping, the building of your organisational capability. Ensure that the coaching method chosen is something all parties are comfortable with to avoid this pitfall and its consequences. 

Issue vs. person 

The main purpose of coaching is to let the coachee find the answers for themselves. This doesn’t mean throwing them in the deep end and letting them flounder, rather, a coach needs to coax the coachee towards finding the answer themselves through questions and guidance. The challenge here is ensuring that you’re coaching individual and not issue. (That is, don’t just tell the coachee everything they need to know.) You want the coachee to grow and develop over the course of their training process by being able to form the answers to issues themselves. Handing everything to them directly will stunt that growth and won’t allow them the success that builds organisational capability. 

Unclear goalposts 

Particularly in formal coaching, there will be a clear end goal that both parties are aware of. They know what outcomes they intend to meet by the end, and they know what they need to do to be on track for that goal. But if that outcome isn’t clearly defined at the beginning of the coaching period, both the coach and coachee will be dissatisfied. Dissatisfaction breeds disengagement, and disengagement means a lack of learning and development of capabilities. 

What are the impacts of not using coaching to build organisational capability? 

Without coaching, the chances of your workforce drifting away from your business’s strategic goals (and the capabilities needed to meet them) high. If your employees’ capabilities, behaviours, and actions are out of step with your organisation’s beliefs, values and priorities, it will take a toll on your business. From your performance and bottom line to the morale and motivation of your workforce, failure to coach your employees will prevent the development of your organisational capabilities. Your workforce needs a combination of focus and a set of clear organisational capabilities to sync with your business strategy, but they won’t be able to achieve it without coaching to guide them in the right direction.

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