What is coaching in the workplace and why is it important?

All too often, business tools are judged exclusively by the financial gains they offer. And while you need to profit, of course, the most valuable assets are those that provide a competitive edge by boosting productivity, streamlining efficiency, and promoting a positive culture to support employees.

Consequently, digital solutions can only go so far. Shiny new CRMs or bespoke HR tools are lovely to have, but they probably won’t help improve the wellbeing of the people at the helm of your operations. And it’s these people who can make or break your business.

This is why we believe in human-first coaching. As digital transformation efforts accelerate and we find ourselves on the receiving end of Zoom calls, emails and Slack messages all day long, it can be hard to seek guidance and support from the people around us. In fact, a poll by People Management found that half of employees do not feel supported in discussing their mental health at work — building a stigmatising barrier that prevents staff from feeling comfortable, satisfied, and able to bring their best selves to the workplace.

So, what is coaching in the workplace? Who is it for? And what could it do for your business? Here is everything you need to know about workplace coaching — and how to take the buzzword out of the boardroom and into real life.

What is workplace coaching?

Workplace coaching is a collaborative, proactive approach to improving employee wellbeing. But it’s no one-size-fits-all solution. In contrast to traditional training and courses, coaching offers an entirely bespoke alternative tailored to the individual’s unique needs.

This leads to more effective learning, development, and ultimately, a greater impact within organisations. It involves a professional coach meeting with individuals to discuss their personal and professional life.

Coaches will traditionally take on an active listening role to help employees address what’s going on at work, outside of work, and inside their heads. Through this trusted relationship with a coach, staff receive:

  • A safe, confidential space to be listened to
  • Emotional support
  • An unbiased outsider’s perspective
  • New insights, plans or directions for how to move forward

Unlike traditional performance evaluations or manager feedback sessions, workplace coaching focuses on the employee’s goals for development in both a professional and personal capacity.

Mentoring from a manager or ‘buddy’ can be a fruitful way to support staff — but external coaching provides the opportunity for a more granular level of support. It takes into account not only specific working goals, but the emotional and mental health of the individual they belong to.

This is why many high-profile organisations are increasingly shifting their focus to coaching programmes, paving the way for workplace support that goes the extra mile for employees. Our coaches collaborate with countless big names across financial services, media and more — you can take a browse of some of our partners here.

Collaboration with a coach who operates independently of the company provides a unique dynamic to help staff address their concerns, without any worry that it could harm their working relationships. Sanctus coaches, for example, are equipped to sensitively discuss emotional difficulties in a capacity that internal managers may not feel able to, as well as work-related performance, leadership and projects.

Ultimately, workplace coaching empowers employees to walk away from each session equipped with the tools needed to enhance their wellbeing and professional success.

The importance of coaching in the workplace

Coaching is an asset for organisations looking to invest in employee wellbeing and performance, and ultimately, drive new business growth.

Coaching doesn’t just benefit individual employees; it also fortifies an organisation’s capacity to navigate workplace challenges, such as spells of declining business or adapting to the demands of remote working.

As a brief overview, below are the top benefits that you can expect — you can also read our in-depth review of the benefits of workplace coaching here.

The benefits of workplace coaching

  • Wellbeing is protected — With holistic mental health and wellbeing support, your workplace becomes an environment for staff to thrive. By cultivating healthy responses to stress, improving work-life balance, and addressing symptoms of burnout, workplace coaching improves and sustains employee wellbeing.
  • Staff perform to their full potential — Workplace coaching helps staff overcome challenges and develop their soft skills, including their communication, self-reflection, and leadership abilities. Employees who are equipped to meaningfully collaborate will produce high-quality work, accelerate productivity, and reduce the burden on leaders and HR teams.
  • Job satisfaction is boosted — Coached employees report higher levels of job satisfaction, thanks to feeling more supported and valued at work. In turn, this supports employee retention, reduces turnover, and aligns the workforce with the broader objectives of the organisation.
  • Organisational resilience is developed — Workplace coaching equips staff with the adaptability, problem-solving skills, and positive ethos needed to navigate workplace changes. Business needs are ever-evolving, but with a support structure in place, staff feel prepared to stay abreast of demand and make meaningful contributions within their roles.

Each benefit of workplace coaching has a compounding effect. For example, as staff wellbeing improves, employees feel more engaged, and so their productivity goes up. As productivity increases, they report feeling more satisfied in their role, which contributes to greater self-esteem, and so on.

The different types of coaching in the workplace

By now, we understand a little more about the importance of coaching in the workplace — but it’s rarely a one-size-fits-all solution. There are a variety of different workplace coaching styles suitable for different teams.

Different types of workplace coaching can be deployed together to address varying needs across the organisation — from new starters to managers to the C-suite.

Here’s an overview of the types of workplace coaching that are available:

Leadership coaching

Leadership coaching is often referred to as ‘executive coaching’, and it plays a pivotal role in preparing managers with the skills they need to lead effectively. This type of coaching is tailored to nurture strategic thinking, people management and decision-making, among other abilities.

With leadership coaching, it’s hoped that it will help managers foster richer connections with their reports and other stakeholders across the organisation, helping to support employee care and cultivate the continuous improvement of workplace dynamics.

Our tailored coaching tracks for leaders assists managers at every level in developing the skills they need to excel as a leader — from empathy-building to conflict resolution.

Personal development coaching

Productivity is made possible by what happens both in and outside of the workplace — particularly as many organisations move towards hybrid and remote working schedules. So, personal development coaching is designed to address those unspoken mental health, wellbeing, and lifestyle concerns that employees may have.

This type of coaching is our bread and butter. We work to instil a sense of purpose and increase motivation in employees by providing them with the care they need to thrive.

With 1-2-1 coaching, staff can develop healthy thinking patterns and gain fresh perspectives to navigate life’s complexities. They learn to manage stress, develop their communication skills, and better their overall work-life balance.

Performance coaching

Performance coaching is designed to nurture employees’ professional growth, so they can achieve high levels of performance and harness their untapped potential. These coaching sessions revolve around mastering professional skills, overcoming workplace challenges, and guiding individuals to safeguard their wellbeing independently.

Our coaches integrate this coaching style alongside personal development coaching to facilitate a holistic journey towards higher performance.

Sanctus is an evolution of traditional coaching methods

When we first surveyed the market of workplace coaches, we found one common thread — that the vast majority were trained to help employees work towards performance goals, rather than develop the tools to sustain a healthier way of working.

In contrast, we believe that to achieve performance goals in a sustainable way, one needs to focus on healthier ways of working as the foundation. If not, you will simply churn through staff who don’t possess the internal resources and resilience to handle the pressure of work, or, at best, lose some of your most valuable members to burnout or more progressive competitors.

Sanctus coaches combine both professional and personal development into an integrative approach, considering the full spectrum of human experience that produces a productive, engaged employee.

The rationale is simple enough — when people feel safe, motivated, and well-prepared for life, they can apply those same strengths to their work. This is why we established one of the world’s first regulated workplace coaching services, putting the humans behind your business first.

If you’re keen to learn more about what we do and how we can support your business, get in touch with one of our coaches today.