By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

Human beings, by our very nature, are cooperative individuals. We also constantly strive to become the best versions of ourselves. When you combine these two traits, it’s easy to see why a concept like peer coaching is beneficial for so many people. It gives co-workers a chance to work together towards self-development. This makes it a good foundation for many productive business processes. 

Let’s explore the top reasons why now is the right time for organizations to adopt peer coaching:

 

Peer coaching combats a lack of trust in peers outside the function and/or an over-reliance on familiar faces

We, humans, are susceptible to a phenomenon called tribalism. Simply put, this is what creates that strong feeling of loyalty towards one’s tribe or social group. While this is useful for building bonds within one’s function, this is also what creates distrust or feelings of unease towards those we feel are not a part of our tribe or group. Since peer coaching brings individuals from different functions together, it helps eliminate this tribalism within the company. It helps foster trust and bonhomie amongst different processes. 

Peer coaching co-creates shared goals and priorities and reinforces them with metrics and accountability

Making a time-bound schedule with goals for oneself is easy, but when you have a partner co-creating one with you – more reliability gets added to the mix. While it’s true that there are many people out there who can be accountable to themselves, most others would prefer a partner to keep them in check. Peer coaching is exactly that – it’s a way to have someone you trust to help you reach your goals, without compromising on your normal daily work. 

Peer coaching helps create forums that build competence and interpersonal trust that establish the value of group goals

Do you know what a trust fall is? It’s a game that many children play as well, albeit the trust-building benefits may not be their motivation. A trust fall is when a person deliberately falls, believing someone from their group will catch them. Similarly, one’s peer coaching partner is expected to catch them when they fall off their schedule or goals. Now, can your partner catch you if they don’t know the rules of the exercise? The trust fall has the same end, no matter who plays it. That’s why one would prefer a partner who has experienced a structured peer coaching session before to help guide them. Peer coaching creates a platform where all the different partners or groups can create peer-coaching goals, both personal and organizational, along with rules and guidelines.

Peer coaching helps break down employee clusters of like-minded teammates

Another tendency of ours is to build an echo chamber around us. This is when everyone just agrees with each other when a conflicting or difficult matter is being discussed. In an echo chamber, everyone has the same opinions. While it is comforting and helps avoid conflict, it’s toxic behavior that hampers growth. This leads to group-think and even groupism, which can lead to creative rot. If no one is challenging each other, then why would anyone push for innovation? Peer coaching helps diversify such groups.

Peer coaching combats distrust or competition amongst team members

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said that competition is useful up to a certain point, but cooperation is what we must strive for today. What he meant was that competition, while an agent of action in many, has destructive tendencies. Especially when it’s between members of the same team. But peer coaching fosters understanding and builds mutual goals. This creates a cooperative and collaborative environment, which creates trust and promotes healthy and creative work.

Peer coaching helps teams focus on outcomes from a customer and stakeholder perspective

As peer coaching involves more than one person, it’s easier for those involved to start thinking from outside their perspective. This helps in considering situations from the POV of a customer or even an internal stakeholder. This is because the team goals that are created are ultimately beneficial for the company’s most important relationships. Every action becomes more meaningful and has the interests of the customer in mind.

Peer coaching helps everyone to get transparent about workloads and competing priorities collectively

Sometimes, it’s tough to stay on routine but employees feel obligated to put their best face forward. This can lead to creating unrealistic goals for themselves or being dishonest about how much they’ve completed. As peer coaching creates a safe space, it’s much easier for employees to be honest about their workload. They can then create a new schedule to reach their goals. This is much better than waiting for everything to snowball at the last minute and doing substandard work.

Peer coaching helps reconfigure, re-optimize your pitfalls, strengths, and spikes in the workforce behavior and skill landscape

The best part of this process is the feedback loop. This is what encourages honest feedback and constructive comments from one employee to another. It helps refine plans and ideas, as well as skill sets and choice of tools. Peer coaching keeps each process fresh and constantly updating itself, thus ensuring no team is left with outdated skills or plans that simply don’t grow along with changing situations. This also helps create a safe space to evaluate and grow from failures.

Peer coaching helps craft tangible “measures of success” and quantified impact across your Learning and Development budgets

This process requires interactions and actions whose success and effectiveness are measured by benchmarks. The success or failure of these can be viewed by those responsible for creating learning and development programs. This is much better than paying exorbitant amounts on sessions and coaches who may not have any impact whatsoever. It’s more reliable as it’s been tried and tested. It’s also easier to break down the processes and assign a cost of training to each section.

Peer coaching helps combat the lack of norms/policies to guide WFH/remote work

Although WFH/remote working isn’t a new practice, many companies are unprepared for a framework to help navigate through this structure. But peer coaching creates an environment where norms and policies can be created collaboratively. This is because those on the same team will be in constant touch with each other. They will share the challenges they’re facing and brainstorm a possible solution together. Collaboration such as this will help create the foundation for a formal framework.

These are the reasons why it’s time to embrace peer coaching in your working place. Get in touch with us and take this step to make your office a more collaborative place.

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

Everyone needs an ally. Be it in your personal life or the professional space, having allies always makes the job easier. But who is an ally? An ally is a person who takes on another’s struggle as their own. They stand up for you even when you don’t. An ally is a person committed to progress, one who proactively shares growth opportunities, identifies and mitigates micro-inequalities, and transfers the benefit of privilege to those who don’t have it. 

Having a workforce that functions as allies of each other automatically helps in building and strengthening a culture of trust and mutual respect within the organization.

Why allyship matters

We need to talk about allyship as diversity and inclusion and organizational resilience have become important topics of conversation. 

The concept of allyship figures quite strongly to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace. Allyship can fuel diversity and inclusion initiatives as allies bring attention to those unheard voices that struggle to be heard. The concept of allyship is about using individual power and privilege to elevate co-workers, team members, and colleagues and move towards a more inclusive and diverse workplace that is well aware of all bias – both conscious and unconscious.

While all this is true, research shows that while more than 80% of white women and men see themselves as allies to colleagues of other races and ethnicities, less than 50% of Blacks and Latinas feel that they have strong allies at work. If diversity and inclusion initiatives are at work then we need to be concerned about this startling gap.

Building allyship should matter to organizations today because 

  • Elements like diversity and inclusion have a crucial influence on the narrative of the workforce. With millennials and Gen Z making up a majority of the workforce, organizations need to wake up to the fact that this generation wants more than lip service to diversity and inclusion initiatives. 
  • It is vital for the inclusion of other groups as well such as those with disabilities, or mental health challenges. This aspect becomes all the more crucial as people across the world battle mental health issues with rising concerns over work from home burnout.
  • TAs we battle challenging times, organizations also realize that they need to build resilience into their DNA. Allyship can be a great driver of resilience as it helps in building trusted relationships between peers and helps them connect and care for each other. 
  • Employees and customers are both looking at organizations to become the beacons of equality and inclusion. They will not hesitate to vote with their feet if they feel that organizational values do not match their own. 

Allyship needs coaching

To build allyship, words of intent have to turn into powerful actions. 

However, words translate into action only when we truly understand the intent behind investing time in supporting and lifting others. It is consistent personal actions that work towards building an inclusive environment. If we look closely, developing allyship is about building an understanding of how systemic bias and social conditioning have influenced our belief systems and behaviors. 

Coaching can be a powerful tool to navigate the challenges that impede building allyship within the organization and help the workforce embrace the new concept and drive the necessary mind shifts to build a shared purpose towards diversity and inclusion.

Coaching works to build allyship primarily because it is:

  • Contextual and personalized  

Change only happens when people truly want to change. And people only want to change when they understand why they need to change.

For example, coaching helps people understand the underlying gaps in conditioning and how this conditioning impacts bias. Most people are unaware of their bias and need to understand how this bias affects others at work and the organizational culture. Building the understanding and context about how those different from us are not lesser than us demands a change in thoughts and learned behaviors. 

Through positive and continuous interactions, coaching establishes the context that people need to bring a shift in their behaviors. It thereby contributes towards building allyship across the enterprise.

Unlike day-long training programs aimed at improving diversity and inclusion, coaching can be highly personalized. It is targeted and specific to the challenges of an individual and helps in building the critical skills needed to build allyship.

  • Continuous 

You get a bunch of people in a room and talk to them about the importance of allyship and the benefits removing bias brings to them as individuals and to an organization. This group is greatly enthused with the talk. However, once this day-long session is over and the initial enthusiasm wears off, people go back to their old patterns.

People are creatures of habit. And changing any habit takes time and effort. The thing is, when it comes to behavioral change, this effort has to be continuous. One has to be mindful at all times to truly internalize the impact of their actions and gain the confidence to challenge behaviors that impede allyship.

Coaching is a continuous exercise. Unlike training programs, the relationship between the coach and the learner is grounded in trust and feedback. It is a non-directive method that involves inquiry and care and works with compassion and helps people understand that all beliefs are ultimately malleable. 

  • Aids growth 

Elements that impact diversity and inclusion such as unconscious bias demand that we continuously challenge ourselves and our peers to aid growth and learning. This is a process that has to be on the path of continuous evolution as well. 

The objective for developing allyship across the organization is to build the workforce such that every individual can develop the critical skills needed to become agents of change. Research shows that when we are made more aware of our behaviors, we are more likely to support issues like diversity.  

Coaching helps in building this awareness amongst people that aid intellectual growth. It keeps the right conversations going to support advocacy for issues like diversity and inclusion and traits that build resilience.

  • Builds Trust 

All employees want to feel like valued members of the organization. That is why most employee engagement initiatives focus on creating a sense of belonging, community, and connection at work. It is especially important for leaders and managers to actively demonstrate helpful and positive behaviors that build trust. 

Not giving employees a voice or being selective about it, lacking listening skills, command and control leadership, etc. are all signs of non-inclusive and untrusting behaviors. Coaching helps people identify the right behaviors that build trust and brings awareness towards behaviors and microaggressions that impede allyship. 

We have moved towards a hybrid work environment. With a certain section working remotely, it becomes all the more important to lead responsibly and help employees feel valued and trusted. Since coaching is a highly accountable process, it helps in bringing about the required change in actions and thoughts that contribute to increasing the trust quotient across the organization. 

In Conclusion 

Plato said, “Reality is created by the mind. We can change our reality by changing our minds”. For a long time, organizations have leveraged the ‘command-control’ strategy to drive productivity and profitability. But with the evolution of time and intellect, people no longer respond to these strategies. As the business landscape becomes more complex and challenging, and as workforce demographics change, organizations have to shift their workforce management strategies. Allyship is that tool that can help the workforce connect in meaningful ways and bring about real change in mindsets and behaviors. 

Connect with us to see how our AI-powered coaching platform can help you develop allyship in your workplace. 

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

‘Quit Leadership’– The two words together sound like an oxymoron…like two words that do not belong to one another. After all, the world of business is replete with stories of bold CEOs like Steve Jobs or Henry Ford who built successful businesses through their charisma and their sizably ruthless business streak. While examples like these are fairly common and make for some interesting anecdotes and outcomes under the right circumstances, there is another kind of leader who doesn’t hit the headlines just as often. This is the ‘quiet leader’.

What is a ‘Quiet Leader’?

Firstly, there is nothing meek or shy about quiet leaders. A quiet leader can be just as effective and powerful as their outspoken counterparts. The quiet leaders are a breed of leaders who exercise their power and their leadership through their actions, rather than their words. 

At the heart of the quiet leader lies confidence. They usually are people who adopt solution-driven approaches, and leverage collaboration, logical thought, and encouragement to solve problems Quiet leaders are open, approachable, compassionate, and understanding. They assume leadership positions because they have a reason to care, they are passionate, and committed and not because of a loud voice or a larger-than-life personality.

The Challenges facing Quiet Leaders 

Empowering quiet leaders is essential for organizations since this genre of leaders does not intentionally seek leadership. Their quiet nature can often also be misconstrued for arrogance and their quiet confidence for ego

Quiet leaders are also often introverted and evaluate decisions thoroughly rather than rush into a decision fast. While this is a great trait and is actually a hallmark of good leadership, it can also often be misunderstood as slow decision-making. 

All kinds make up an organization. While there are employees who thrive under quiet leadership, there are also employees who only respond to a hotshot leader who dominates the spotlight and talks a good game. The bias towards dynamic and alpha leaders has been ingrained as a part of the social conditioning. But just like how we had Steve Jobs, the charismatic guy who could make everyone believe in the miracles up his sleeve, we have Tim Cook, the quiet leader who leads Apple’s success story now. 

Simply put- while we might not be used to the idea of the quiet leader, but that doesn’t mean that these leaders don’t exist, or don’t lead well. If anything, quiet leaders can actually be better leaders. And it is the responsibility of the organization to identify, encourage and enable these leaders to improve organizational outcomes.

Coaching and the Quiet Leaders 

It may seem that the loudest voice in the room is the one that gets heard, the quiet person may have a lot more substantive to contribute. As such, organizations have to identify ways to help these leaders excel by helping them define their style and assist them in understanding how they can improve it to make it more effective.

But how can organizations identify these quiet leaders and help them? Clearly, these are not the people who will be vocal about their skills or aspirations. They probably will be unaware of their leadership qualities.

Here is a look at how organizations identify and capitalize on the power of their quiet leaders:

Identify the quiet leaders 

The first step to this puzzle is to identify those quiet leaders. While managers and organization leaders can keep their eye open for the employees who display the qualities of quiet leaders, taking a data-driven approach makes this an easier and effective process. 

Tests such as 16 Personality Factor self-evaluation tests or Behavioral Skill Analysis provide dependable, data-backed analysis of skills of employees. Those high-performing employees with quiet leadership traits can be easily identified using this data-backed strategy. 

With this approach, organizations also get insights into the areas that these quiet leaders need help in. Organizations can then effectively connect these employees to the right coach and set them on a path of successful leadership.

Connect them to the right coach 

Managing the complexities of today’s organizations, global, distributed, hybrid, or remote teams, and the like needs quiet leaders to develop their communication styles and build authentic connections. Connecting the right coach to quiet leaders especially becomes important when our definition of normal has changed. Ensuring the right coach-learner pair augments the quality of outcomes organically.

Organizations have to help the quiet leaders identify, understand, and reach their true potential. Having the right coach guiding them along this path is imperative for success. As such, organizations have to connect their quiet leaders, both potential and existing, to the right coaches who can help them learn to be better leaders by harnessing the qualities that they have and developing the qualities that they need.

The chemistry between the coach and the learner has to be right for it to deliver the right outcomes. Taking a data-driven approach and employing a technology-enabled, AI-driven coaching platform can make it easier to connect the right coach with the right learner and ensure better coaching outcomes.

Discover the leadership style

Coaching is a great tool for organizations to help their quiet leaders identify and develop their leadership styles. The leaders and those across the organization need to learn that ‘quiet’ does not translate to ‘ineffective’ and ‘loud’ does not always mean ‘effective’. 

A leadership style is essentially the path the leader uses to communicate, influence, or guide others. Connecting the quiet leaders to the right coaches helps them build on their self-awareness, identify their natural tendencies, and evaluate and understand how these can help or hinder their efforts. 

Coaching does not take a cookie-cutter approach to leadership development but rather, it takes a more individualistic approach to leadership development. By doing this, it helps the quiet ones learn and internalize executive skills like influence, inspiring confidence in all stakeholders, networking, stress management, strategic thinking, managing a diverse team, and visioning, etc., and helps them develop a leadership voice of their own. 

Quiet leaders need engagement too

It is a misnomer that employee engagement activities have to be directed at the employees only. Leaders too, are essentially employees.

Just identifying high-performing employees and prompting them to leadership roles does not essentially guarantee great outcomes for the organization. We need to remember that even at the highest levels, leaders need the same things that the everyday employee needs to stay engaged – acknowledgment and growth opportunities. 

Giving leaders, especially quiet leaders, an opportunity to enhance their career paths and providing them with the right tools to move ahead in their careers shows that the organization values them and their contribution. 

It is also an active way to show that the organization is invested in their career progress and their long-term growth and success. This can hugely contribute to the engagement levels of the quiet leaders as they are not the ones who are too vocal about their needs and yet, would like the same level of acknowledgment and growth as any other leader would.

Build leadership presence 

Many top-level executives are great at their jobs, are hard-working, and have team members who like them. And yet, they are not able to step in firmly into leadership roles. Not only does this impede this executive’s growth, but it also impacts their team members and impedes their opportunities for growth and learning. 

These top executives, the quiet leaders, continue to deliver value through their work but they continue to adhere to the ‘worker persona’ and find it hard to adapt and adopt the ‘leader persona’. This attribute is very commonly seen in women leaders who continue to work very hard, try and avoid mistakes as they feel mistakes can impact their careers more strongly than a man’s, or even avoid delegation or seeking help lest it is seen as a sign of weakness. 

Coaching can play a big role in bringing in the right mindset shift here. Coaching helps individuals identify and understand the root cause of issues and behaviors and increase self-awareness. It helps them understand and accept their personal challenges, and evaluate how to harness the power of the strengths that they have. This approach helps the learners enhance their leadership persona and consequently drives them to perform better as leaders. 

In Conclusion 

Quite leaders might not be the norm, but given the direction the world is moving towards, the rise of the global workplace, constant change, and the millennial and Gen Z as the dominant demographic in the workplace demand leaders who are more empathetic, resolute, and resilient. Coaching these quiet leaders to find their style of authentic leadership not only benefits them but also benefits the organization immensely. Since being quiet and the qualities that come with being quiet are behavioral, coaching proves to be a valuable cog in the wheel because it is only with coaching that it is possible to drive behavioral change.

Connect with us to see how you can help your top executives become effective leaders, irrespective of how quiet they are, by using an AI-powered coaching platform. 

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

Offices with the best environment are those where the employees want to work together to share their skills. This kind of collaborative spirit makes the environment productive for everyone involved. It stimulates both personal growth and organizational growth. It’s just a nice and friendly way to grow accountability and mutual respect between employees. This is why it’s a great practice to instill amongst team members in a remotely distributed group as well.

How do you recognize whether peer coaching is for your organization? Let’s explore its meaning, who it’s useful for, and what its benefits are for a remotely distributed team.

What is peer coaching?

Peer coaching involves employees giving and getting constructive feedback from each other. These are trusted people who have interacted professionally, therefore they have the relevant experience to share such feedback. A succinct definition for the same is as follows.

Peer coaching is a confidential process through which two or more colleagues work together to reflect on current practices; expand, refine, and build new skills; share ideas; teach one another; conduct classroom research; or solve problems in the workplace” – Robbins, 1991

Peer coaching refers to colleagues working together to reflect on each other’s capabilities and skills. It allows them to collaborate, build new skills, and teach one another. The third aspect of peer coaching involves employees solving workplace problems as a team. 

Who is it useful for?

According to the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, “Peer coaching is used in a variety of environments, including collegiate and professional athletics, nursing, physiotherapy, and education. In the field of management and organizational behavior, peer coaching is a relatively new form of coaching that’s gaining recognition and respect due to its positive outcomes and cost-effective nature.” 

We can derive from this that many organizations stand to benefit from peer coaching. 

Remotely distributed teams can gain the most from peer coaching. It can be a good solution when the physical and geographical barriers of remote working are a disadvantage. Lack of constant interaction, team-building opportunities, and low motivation are some issues that come to mind. 

Let’s explore the main benefits of this style of collaborative coaching.

Benefits of Peer Coaching for Remote Distribution Teams

Accountability

The main advantage of peer coaching is building accountability within employees. In this setup, it can be difficult to create a sense of responsibility and accountability when people are not physically around each other. Peer coaching establishes a connection between the employees. It also forms a channel between them and the company. This encourages them to be accountable to each other and the company as well.

Builds Leadership Skills 

Peer coaching helps build leadership skills in two ways. First of all, it gives employees the chance to learn how to give constructive feedback. It aids them in learning not to shy away from pointing out flaws or highlighting strengths. These are important leadership and management skills. The second way is by allowing colleagues to watch and learn from each other. In a conventional office environment, it’s easy to watch leaders and imitate their behavior or learn from them. One-on-one coaching such as this creates a similar opportunity between colleagues in a remote working environment, which they might otherwise miss out on.

Accelerated Learning 

According to a 2019 Workday-Bloomberg survey, organizations are 42% more interested in building skills that improve bench strength, grow the next generation of leaders, and effectively compete in the future of work. These are crucial to building a good rapport with customers and colleagues both. When one receives a continuous feedback loop, their self-reflection increases. It’s only natural that one would take measures to improve themselves based on the information they’re receiving. Therefore, learning becomes faster than ever. 

When employees work remotely, there is little to no incentive for them to pick up new skills. Peer coaching gives them the motivation and encouragement to do so. It also gives them the chance to learn from people they have built a rapport with.

Helps in Personal Development

While there may not be a coach physically present, a continuous feedback loop compensates for that. This includes questions that investigate many deep and underlying behavioral motivators. Topics such as personal growth, learning, mindset mastery, and overall motivation are covered. Probing of this nature can transform the individual in such a way that professional development morphs into overall personal improvement. 

Fosters Teamwork 

When colleagues are physically situated far apart, it’s close to impossible for them to create a sense of camaraderie. There are no shared tea breaks and the like when it comes to remote work. But peer coaching creates an opportunity for employees to get to know each other better. It takes it five steps ahead by allowing frank communication about each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. This leads to creating a strong sense of trust, spurring on teamwork, and improves the quality of group projects overall.

Gives Fresh Perspectives

Employees are bound to create fresh perspectives when they exchange information and communicate with each other. If there are individuals situated in different cities or even countries, the chances of learning new things are even higher. Not only is this refreshing, but it’s also exciting.

Practice and Reflection

Such programs give employees the chance to ponder over their place in life. They’ll be compelled to analyze where they would like to fit into the corporate structure, and how they want to grow in their careers. Additionally, they get a partner to discuss these complex thoughts with. This helps guide them to create actionable plans to reach their professional and personal goals.

Peer coaching for remotely distributed teams also creates a way to objectively assess an individual’s skill. Since they are going to be measuring each other on certain parameters – it becomes easy to give points or scores to specific skill areas. 

Remotely distributed teams miss out on the benefits of face-to-face interactions between colleagues. Peer coaching helps them bridge those communication and leadership gaps. It creates accountability and a sense of team spirit. It also helps in measuring and tracking an employee’s skill sets. This will help them grow both professionally and personally. 

NumlyEngage is an AI-Enhanced peer coaching platform that enables organizations to

  • Let employees coach each other on a wide range of hard and soft skills
  • Identify, attract and retain top talent
  • Improve overall employee performance and productivity

Get a live demo to discover how NumlyEngage™ can help you.

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

The COVID-19 pandemic broke through the technological and cultural barriers that prevented remote working and Work From Home in the past and has introduced a structural shift in where work happens. With social-distancing, quarantines, and even self-isolation pushing tens of thousands of people to work from home, the pandemic simply accelerated the workplace experiment that previously struggled to gain traction.

The benefits and challenges of remote working became clearer once we went deep into the pandemic. The learnings are quite clear – while office-based collaboration continues to remain important, it is becoming increasingly clear that remote work is here to stay. A recent Gartner poll revealed that 90% of HR leaders concur that employees would be allowed to work remotely even after COVID vaccines are available. While employees might have settled into this remote work setup and organizations have made extensive sets of technology and collaborative tools available, the workforce needs more support from the organization. 

Now, as people return to work gradually as economies reopen, we see hybrid models of remote work gaining traction.

However, there are some challenges that come with this remote setup. Research shows:  

  • Mental wellbeing is a concern with work-from-home burnout becoming a tangible reality. This makes emotional support and enablement at work valuable
  • Employees are concerned about work-life balance and productivity
  • Employees need more help with productivity and engagement
  • Employee experience surveys are dated, and employees want more open conversations to address their specific (new) needs
  • There is an explosive demand for online learning as employees look for resources to settle and succeed in the new normal

A closer look shows that these issues and challenges have a direct impact on employee engagement. Along with technology tools to bolster collaboration, it also becomes imperative that organizations have new-age coaching strategies in place to enable the employees to help them stay engaged and productive. 

Here are a few areas that organizations should focus on while revamping their coaching strategies:

Identify and alleviate work-from-home burnout

Research supports the fact that employee burnout levels in 2020 have remained consistently high, with 69% of the workforce experiencing burnout symptoms. Stress, financial anxiety, and the ‘living at work’ feeling are the most obvious contributors. Anxiety regarding career paths and growth trajectories, feelings of isolation, difficulties in communication, lack of visibility, or video fatigue (yes, those incessant zoom calls can be exhausting) have all contributed to employee burnout.

Concerns regarding perception in a world that promotes ‘survival of the fittest’ go against mental wellbeing and contribute heavily towards burnout. Organizations thus need to have the right tools in place to identify concerns that lead to burning out.

Coaching can play a pivotal role to help employees manage their work and help them develop a new vocabulary fit for this remote world of work. With coaching, employees can internalize the new rules of engagement and learn how to be visible, impactful, focused, and energetic.

Coach to drive work-life-balance

Work-life balance has taken a big hit owing to the pandemic. Most employees across organizations are struggling to establish boundaries between work and their personal lives. While work-from-home might have offered a break from the commute, office environments, and regular daily routines, it has completely dismissed the mental break needed from work and technology.

A barrage of video meetings, constant ping of the email, excessive screen time, and a less than optimal work environment can significantly increase stress and burnout levels. 

Coaching can be the antidote to burnout as coach-learner relationships are open and continuous in nature. The coach can help the learner identify their stress triggers, issues that impact work-life balance, and help them respond to these with clarity.

Coaching managers and leadership also drive work-life balance as it helps the leadership understand the challenges faced by the workforce better. Managers and leaders need to revamp their management strategies and make them fit this new world of work. Coaching can help managers and leaders build greater empathy and help them understand employee challenges and concerns. Armed with the right information, they can then build communication and collaboration strategies and help their workforce manage and maintain work-life- balance.

Read: Want to Create A Pipeline of Leaders? Train Managers to Become Better Coaches

Organizational coaches need coaching

Organizations not only have to focus on coaching their employees, but they also have to put in equal efforts to coach their coaches. With so much change disrupting the world of work, organizations have to evaluate their training and coaching strategies and give their coaches the right tools and information to build better engagement with the learners.

Read: How to Coach to Create Better Coaches

It is also important that organizations identify internal coaches from their workforce – people who have the qualities to hold space, exchange information, motivate and encourage peers and team members.

However, to get tangible results from this, organizations need to employ powerful AI-driven coaching platforms that make the right coach-learner pairing. It is equally important to identify behavioral and personality traits using behavior analysis or 16-personality factor assessment tests to identify potential coaches and their learning gaps to help them move along this path fruitfully.

The organization has changed – Establish a coaching culture

2021 is the year of strategic importance as organizations focus singularly to improve business outcomes. At the same time, business transformation, operational excellence, and skill development are essential to focus areas. 

Given the quantum of change and disruption, establishing an internal coaching culture becomes imperative to manage disruption and ease change management. Establishing such a culture helps all – employees, managers, and leadership – meet and adapt to the new rules in the world of work.

Using AI-driven coaching platforms becomes essential to create such a culture since then organizations can deliver contextual and relevant coaching programs to their workforce. Relevance and context play in as critical contributors owing to the rise of the millennials and Gen Z in the workforce who are motivated by these factors.  

Build resilience

Organizational resilience is the capacity of an organization to anticipate, prepare, respond and adapt to sudden disruptions or incremental change.

Organizational resilience is directly linked to employee resilience. Enabling employees to identify robust growth plans, acknowledging and rewarding effort, and working towards delivering an enabling working environment contribute to resilience. Coaching also plays a critical role in driving resilience by helping employees identify and address factors that impact resilience.

Whether it is identifying avenues for technical skill development or critical skills like communication, empathy, collaboration, and others, coaching can play a pivotal role to enable the workforce and thereby drive resilience. Focusing on coaching to improve working relationships – between peers and managers also contributes to organizational resilience as it helps in building trust. Trust not only drives resilience but also has a direct impact on employee engagement and drives employees to do more for the organization.

In Conclusion

Old school strategies no longer suffice in a new age world. Organizations have to internalize the fact that disruption and change will only increase. The only way to stay ahead of the curve in the face of uncertainty and change is to prepare the workforce and develop them such that they are future-ready with the right skills, both technical and critical, and can ably lead the organization to success.

Connect with us to evaluate how an AI-powered coaching platform can drive new-age coaching strategies, enhance coaching conversations, and deliver tangible results.

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

Remember the time when Artificial Intelligence was just a futuristic technology meant to be movie material? Today, AI is a mainstream technology driving almost all online interactions. As AI-driven everything becomes an enterprise staple, it becomes natural to extend the power of this technology to the learning and development department to drive powerful and contextual initiatives that deliver tangible results.

Here are a few reasons why AI is the future of coaching

Battle Information asymmetry

Until recently, coaches have worked on the principle of information asymmetry – a place where they have more information than the learners. However, the world of work is no longer holding the same avatar as a decade back. The enterprise is now a living, breathing organism that is evolving each day…and with this, its needs are evolving and changing.

Given the market forces and disruption at play, the rise of the remote workforce, gig economy and distributed teams, and rising competition, information asymmetry has to reduce to drive better coaching outcomes.

While coaches will have better coaching information, that information has to be relevant and contextual to the learner. For this, it is as important to have accurate and precise information regarding the learner and clarity on their learning needs. 

At the same time, the learners have to be aware of where their learning and coaching needs lie, how these efforts translate into progress, and how that helps them progress in their job roles.

AI-enabled coaching platforms help battle this information asymmetry by providing deep and accurate insights that help build a better understanding of how to drive coaching outcomes. They can help organizations drive phenomenal business results by identifying accurate coaching needs and powering better coaching conversations.  

Smart coach-learner pairing

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”.

While this is a good philosophy to go by, in the enterprise context this doesn’t hold water. 

With constant change becoming a staple, enterprises need to increase their agility and flexibility to adapt to change. The role of critical skills such as communication and collaboration are also becoming more pronounced owing to the rise of remote working. 

A sharp focus on reskilling, upskilling, and associated learning and development activities become natural outcomes of this climate of change. However, to drive elevated coaching outcomes, it is imperative to have the right coach-learner pairing. After all, this determines the quality of coaching conversations.

Read: Power your Upskilling Initiatives with Coaching

While organizations realize the importance of the right coach-learner pairing, many still rely on archaic guesswork to enable this. Unless the pairing is right, the learning interactions and the engagement is not going to be impactful and will be unable to drive powerful results.

An AI-enabled platform alleviates this concern and makes it easier for organizations to drive transformational coaching programs. Such a platform uses advanced technology to make the right coach-learner pairings taking the learning needs and other variables at play. This approach makes it possible for enterprises to pair the right coach with the right learner, and make sure that enablement reaches their workforce when they need it.

Build a thriving internal coaching culture

The number one HR priority for most organizations this year is to create an internal coaching culture to drive organizational and employee agility. Skill development initiatives have to become more future-focused and dynamic. These initiatives have to ensure that employees develop the right skills at the right time and contribute to the development of a robust leadership pipeline.

Integrating coaching in the workplace culture is the only way to achieve goals while driving lasting change. However, to create the right coaching culture, enterprises have to replace guesswork with accurate data to identify the current and future needs of their workforce.

An AI-enabled coaching platform gives enterprises the capacity to identify potential coaches from their internal employees and assess their skill sets versus coaching needs. Using this knowledge, organizations can create an army of internal coaches and build a thriving internal coaching culture.

Drive performance management with coaching

The days of the end-of-year annual review are behind us. The millennials and Gen Z (the dominant workforce demographic) need timely and action-oriented feedback at regular intervals. Whether it is to identify performance gaps proactively or to identify new skill development opportunities to augment career paths, organizations now need to make feedback a proactive mechanism.

Read: Coaching Strategies for Millennials and Gen Z

Optimizing performance management systems to help accurately identify top performers and high potential employees are also organizational prerogatives. Data-backed insights into both technical and critical skill sets are essential to drive organizational outcomes by ensuring that employees are on the right upskilling, reskilling, or critical skill enhancement trajectory.  

An AI-enabled coaching platform helps to drive performance management with coaching and optimizes coaching interactions by providing timely and contextual nudges. The technology also gives organizations the insights they need to identify their high-potential employees and top performers and assess who should be moved into the leadership pipeline to make it more robust and vibrant.

Manage the diversity chasm

Organizations with diverse teams outperform non-diverse teams by 35%. 

Diversity is the enabler of innovation and creativity and a factor that builds empathy into the teams’ fabric. To reap the benefits of diversity, these policies have to align directly with organizational goals.

Read: The Critical Piece to Drive Successful Enterprise Diversity Initiatives

However, strong coaching programs are essential to drive diversity initiatives and to make sure that they stick. For this, it is essential to make the right coach-learner pairing, assess where diversity initiatives are lacking, identify exact skill areas that employees need help with, and develop critical skills like empathy that link back directly to diversity.

But how do organizations make sure that they are not linking their diversity initiatives to become mere affinity programs within organizations? Employing an AI-enabled coaching platform can help organizations build their diversity initiatives by creating transformational relationships that elevate the intellect by addressing relevant and contextual concerns and challenges.

Finally, and perhaps, most importantly, an AI-driven coaching platform helps organizations build contextual and relevant coaching programs by providing clear insights into performance gaps. With clear insights, organizations can jumpstart relevant company-wide coaching programs, provide actionable insights into skills development, performance, employee engagement, and much more. With overall enterprise transformational insights, an AI-powered platform helps organizations proactively identify and add new skills to address their growing needs.

Connect with our team of experts to see how our AI-enabled coaching platform can help you drive better learning outcomes and power your employee engagement and employee experience initiatives.