Future coaching trends to look out for in 2023
It’s no surprise: today’s employees expect training as part of their benefits package. But they expect more than the once-yearly training course in a hotel conference room: they want to learn and develop in a way that fits their unique context, skills and ambitions.
There are many ways this can be done, such as implementing mentoring schemes to match junior employees with more experienced ones, providing on the job development to formal programmes. But when it comes to learning in a personalised way, coaching is one of the best tools in HR’s arsenal.
At Let’s Talk Talent (LTT) we are seeing that, in addition to providing coaching as a learning and development (L&D) resource, businesses are now expecting their managers to adopt a coaching style as part of the day-to-day management of their people, their processes, and their projects.
Sounds like a big ask? Maybe, but it’s important to remember that the bulk of learning happens on the job, which is why using coaching on a regular basis can have a much bigger impact on your entire employee experience than a few sessions would.
So, how can organisations implement a culture of coaching that will help managers give better feedback, and make employees feel engaged and motivated? Here is a list of the latest trends currently defining the world of coaching, so you can use them to leverage the impact of your business’s approach to coaching.
In this article, you will discover the following trends:
Trend 1: Specialists over generalists
The general thinking used to be that coaches had to be neutral in order to best help employees reach a solution in their own way. As a coach, the idea is not to bring personal opinions or solutions to the table, and therefore coaches could guide coachees on any topic.
But if managers are expected to coach their team members on the job, how can they remain neutral? And do employees even want this? Think of the young mum looking for some guidance on her return to work after maternity leave: could a young male coach truly understand their reality? Wouldn’t it be more effective for the person offering support to have gone through something similar themselves?
“Some events are so life-changing that it may help to have a coach who understands the coachee’s reality; someone who can be truly empathetic,” says Catherine Wilson, Senior Consultant at Let’s Talk Talent.
What can organisations do to answer the particular needs of their employees? Provide specialist coaches on specific topics, such as retirement planning, career development, wellbeing, mental health, executive coaching or even niche areas including menopause coaching.
At Let’s Talk Talent, we now regularly offer coaching focused on health and wellbeing, a direct result of the pandemic leading many people to rethink their priorities or their definition of success.
Are managers and team leaders expected to become experts on each of those topics? After all, we have stated that managers are often expected to become coaches themselves. “No,” says Catherine. “Managers should actively listen to their people, show care and empathy, and help them identify the right resources so they can reach their goals,” she adds.
Trend 2: Coaching services for all
Coaching is longer reserved for the leadership team or high potential employees tagged as the next CEO, and demand is on the rise. Thanks in part to the changing hybrid/remote landscape, coaching has become much easier to deliver through remote channels. This has in turn driven the cost of coaching services down, making them more accessible to a much wider audience. And employees know this!
Individual coaching is regularly requested (and expected) by candidates as part of their benefits package (read more about the importance of a blended L&D approach to both attract and retain talent in our free whitepaper on how to design the best L&D offering).
Through our Coaching on Demand service, we have certainly noticed that requests for online coaching in the post-pandemic world have skyrocketed, with people reassessing their priorities and wanting to find out how to best progress their careers in a way that fits their lifestyle.
Is remote coaching less effective than in-person coaching? Research shows that’s not the case, which is great news for organisations wishing to supplement their L&D toolkit with both internal and external coaching. Great news for managers, who can connect with and guide their team members even when they are not in the office; and great news for employees, who are now given increased access to the resources they need to progress their careers, no matter where they are located or when they are available.
Online coaching also provides the added benefit of making team coaching much easier. In a hybrid working mode, it can be tricky to coordinate an entire team of people and ensure they are on-site together at the same time. This can lead to a feeling of alienation and to team members feeling disconnected from each other.
Remote team coaching is a great way to promote team development and help business departments move forward from their current stage (be it forming, norming, or storming) towards performance. “Remote team coaching is yet another way to foster a culture of coaching within your organisation,” adds Catherine.
Trend 3: Using coaching to drive positive change
Whilst coaching is recognised as a contributor to the success of organisations, it is no longer viewed as a tool solely focused on individual career progression. Its purpose has evolved, and is now much wider.
Coaching is used by businesses everywhere to help drive positive change and implement organisation-wide action, as well as ensure staff model the right behaviours at all times. This could include improving a company’s internal culture, improving its environmental impact, or making sure each employee feels psychologically safe at work by supporting equality, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I).
Changing behaviours is a tough endeavour and, when faced with difficult situations, many leaders will revert to old patterns. Being aware of an issue such as unconscious bias is one thing; developing the skills needed to address it is another.
This is what makes coaching an effective way to implement long-term changes, as leaders are given the freedom to set their own objectives, whilst still being held accountable for their results. Leadership coaching has become one of the main tools available for an organisation wishing to generate and promote a culture of psychological safety.
The foundations of coaching remain
Technology is now enabling wider access, making it much easier for organisations everywhere to foster a culture of coaching. Whilst the landscape has changed in the post-pandemic world, the foundations remain the same.
Managers, leaders, and external coaches need to lead with care and empathy, actively listen to their people, and guide them towards the best way to reach their objectives. Providing successful coaching is all about the skills and attributes required to help candidates unlock their full potential.
We all know that the command and control management style doesn’t work: it’s up to HR departments to make sure that managers and leaders are given the opportunity to hone their soft skills and make coaching an essential part of their career path.
If you’re already further along and starting a mentoring programme, you can also enrol in our Mentoring briefing workshop to help maximise that investment. All of these resources (and more) are available on our Coaching Services page.