Is coaching the key to switching ‘business growth’ habits back on…?

Consider this – for many of our leaders and managers, operating in a no growth or low growth environment has become the norm.  As a result it is highly likely that they will have grown accustomed to being cautious, not rocking the boat and battening down the hatches.  Deeply engrained survival habits are hard to throw off.  But the landscape around our leaders is changing. New opportunities and competitors have taken root in the BRICS and MINT economies, business leaders are needing to re-consider their business models in preparation for new and exciting opportunities.  The problem is that businesses are getting ready to make the most of these new opportunities with potentially reduced workforces or at the minimum with teams who have experienced much less in the way of training and development over the last few years.

Business leaders who can reshape the workplace with greater emphasis on employee engagement, empowerment and alignment, and better management skills are needed to improve competitiveness, win new customers and raise productivity.  This presents new and exciting opportunities for HR teams.  According to HR guru Dave Ulrich getting out of the doldrums and inspiring growth requires HR practitioners who are:

  1. Strategic positioners: able to know the business well enough to position an organisation powerfully in changing markets
  2. Credible activists: able to build relationships of trust through personal credibility and having a point of view on business issues
  3. Capability builders: able to define and shape a culture that turns external expectations into internal organisational actions
  4. Change champions: able to initiate and sustain change at individual and institutional levels
  5. Innovators and integrators: able to innovate in an integrated new ways to solve business problems
  6. Technology proponents: able to access information to make better decisions.

Internal coaches are a valuable resource to many companies, but when a kick start is needed it may be time to wheel in the professionals as managers have become too embedded within the organisation and are potentially more invested in the status quo than they realise.   A good coach will start to shift the mind-sets that are limiting the management team’s or HR team’s potential.  They will be in a position to uncover the underlying beliefs about the situation and feelings and values to better help the coachee understand how they are viewing the business and their part in it.  In short  the power of the mind-sets of our leadership teams can guide an entire organisation towards positive change.  Leaders don’t reach their full potential as leaders by only looking at what is visible.  We need to be able to access what is underneath to understand and affect how remarkable leaders lead.

So to return to the question “Is coaching the key to switching business growth habits back on?” it is probably not the key but it is almost definitely a powerful mechanism that could unlock extraordinary results.

What are your thoughts on the potential for externally-sourced coaching?

To read more about Talent Innovations potential to unlock new habits within your organisation take a look at our Coaching offering here.


This article was inspired by “Lead at your best” Barsh and Lavoie (2014) McKinsey & Co and “Fly with integrity” Ulrich, Hinton, Wollard and de Botton (2014)


Nick Allen – Consultant and Coach, Talent Innovations 

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