The Role of a Coach in The Workplace

Mar 30 2021 | Insights

Coaches are an important component in employee development and business growth, but what exactly does a coach do, and how do you define the role in the context of a typical workplace?

Coaching is something that many businesses understand, but very rarely take advantage of. Studies have shown that only 36% of organisations offer coaching-specific training to new leaders. Moving from a regular employee to a leadership position is a massive leap in responsibility, yet almost two-thirds of all companies won’t provide proper training. Why place your best employees behind the starting line?

In this post, we’re going to talk about the role of a coach in the workplace and how they can drastically improve the culture and performance of your employees and your teams.

What is a coach’s role?

Broadly speaking, Broadly speaking, a coach is defined as a person involved in the direction, instruction, or training of a team or individuals. Here are a couple of hallmarks of a coach:

  • They offer customised learning experiences tailored towards the needs of the individual they’re working with.

  • They often work one-to-one as opposed to teaching a group of people.

  • They usually work side-by-side with individuals to offer practical advice on the field.

  • They are considered guides to go from one level of competency to another instead of offering instructions or teaching.

The role of a coach is often be confused with that of a teacher or mentor. It’s important to distinguish the three so that it’s clear how coaching can be used in a workplace. 

  • Teaching is used to educate an individual on key concepts and points. This instruction is usually conducted in a theoretical environment with very little practical reinforcement. Instead, students must visualise key concepts and learn from provided examples. 

  • Mentoring often involves guidance as opposed to education. It typically involves emotional support to assist individuals in finding their place in an industry or workplace and is not as focused on practical skills. 

  • Coaching occurs in the real world within the workplace. Everything taught has practical applications, and it’s usually carried out on-the-job, meaning the individual learns as they work. The coach’s role is to facilitate learning, offer advice and analyse the individual to identify weaknesses and strengths. 

What are a coach’s responsibilities? 

The responsibilities of a workplace coach typically shift depending on the needs of the company or the individual. However, there are a few fundamental responsibilities that almost every coach is expected to follow. 

  • To open communications with the individual so that they may speak freely and explore different possibilities. 

  • To encourage new and innovative processes built around the individual’s strengths and weaknesses. 

  • To listen to the individual and find solutions to their problems. 

  • To offer regular feedback and criticism when appropriate. 

Why leaders should also be coaches  

Managers and leaders are uniquely situated to become highly effective “on the ground” coaches for their employees. Leaders often have access to a lot of the feedback and performance metrics that can be used to coach employees and improve their performance in the workplace, but they can also offer emotional support that solves challenges related to the individual’s personal weaknesses. 

Here are some ways that a leader can utilise their position to offer effective coaching to their staff: 

  • Identify weaknesses and strengths and deal with them accordingly. 

  • Weaknesses should be nullified as much as possible by establishing processes that work around them instead of facing them head-on in an attempt to “cure” them. 

  • Strengths should be amplified and highlighted to motivate employees and help them find a niche within their team. This gives them a purpose and helps them hone their talents to be an effective member of the company. 

  • Build stronger relationships by analysing interactions between team members and encouraging engagement for more productive collaborations. 

  • Boost the self-confidence of talented employees who haven’t been given a chance to showcase their strengths. 

Managers and leaders have access to many unique performance metrics regarding their workers. By accessing this data and observing the team, managers can become effective coaches who can create strong team bonds and boost productivity. In addition, it helps employees achieve a strong sense of fulfilment and can also transform underachievers into star members of the team. 

Supporting your workplace’s internal coaches 

Even if the leader or manager doesn’t personally become a coach to their team, it’s important to understand how to assist your workplace’s internal coaches and help them perform their jobs effectively. 

  • Define what your expectations of coaching are.  Coaching is a very vague role at times, and it’s hard for internal coaches to understand what they should be aiming for or how to measure their performance. Define your expectations upfront and set clear goals to ensure your internal coaches are given a sense of direction. 

  • Develop a pool of coaches.  Coaches don’t just naturally appear, they need to be nurtured, much like your employees. A strong internal coaching programme can help identify and motivate coaches in your team. 

  • Give them access to performance metrics.  Coaches can function better when they have access to different performance metrics. If they can see the data you have on various employees, it makes it easier to identify strengths and weaknesses which they can focus on. 

How to make the most of professional coaching 

Developing a pool of coaches is extremely important if you want to use internal coaches better. After all, coaching itself is a talent that must be identified and nurtured. 

If you believe that some team members are ideal candidates to become workplace coaches for the rest of your company, then it’s crucial to capitalise on their strengths and encourage them to develop these skills. An effective way is to accomplish this is to have them engage with professional coaches through technology such as an app or e-learning platform.  This helps to embed their approach to development for other employees and establish a lasting, genuinely beneficial transformation in your workplace. 

Discover why coaching can be everyone’s superpower with EZRA’s world-class employee coaching. We’ve redesigned leadership coaching for the modern workplace to help transform people through affordable, scalable and high-impact solutions, with equitable access through our world-class coaching app. Discover how digital coaching could make a big difference to your organisation. 


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