This week, we’re featuring a piece from our friend and strategic advisor, Wagner Denuzzo, LCSW, on how leadership coaching impacts the employee experience – and how to measure that impact with data.
Elevating the Employee Experience through Leadership Coaching
The importance of leadership coaching when it comes to designing a modern employee experience.
Future-ready organizations are investing in creating a frictionless employee experience where members of the workforce have access to the resources needed to accomplish their work in the most effective and efficient ways. In the current context of the workplace, it becomes imperative that employees, managers and senior leaders are aligned on enterprise priorities and strategic initiatives with transparency and access to data and knowledge in the flow of work.
To design a modern employee experience, one where change is led by all and adaptability is a core skill in the organization, coaching becomes a channel for conversations that activate a higher performing culture. It is through the design of coaching at scale that organizations can maintain the highest level of clarity of purpose, communicate real time decisions impacting the business, and execute on continuous learning as an integral component of the employee experience. Structured coaching conversations lead to clarity, which leads to performance and business results.
The importance of coaching for leadership during times of organizational culture change.
The power of structured conversations can’t be underestimated in times of uncertainty. Leaders, managers, and employees are collectively working towards adaptive behaviors and systems of engagement with partners, customers, and stakeholders to maintain sustainable performance.
Human Centered Leadership becomes a solid foundation for an unpredictable reality in which employees must share adaptive coping skills. Harnessing the power of this style of leadership ensures employees feel supported by an inclusive culture that fosters human connections and well-being as core values of the organization.
In addition, it is during these times of uncertainty that leaders and managers are co-creating with all employees to find new opportunities for the business and cutting-edge ideas for the management of dilemmas that are becoming more complex in today’s business world.
Human-centered leadership provides the psychological safety required for innovative ideas that inclusive teams can generate when provided the conditions to be at their best.
Coaching in this context is the energy that allows for people to enter a state of working in which they are challenged and using their skills at the highest capacity possible.
The value of leadership coaching for enterprises is exponential when the organization is in the process of a transformation that’s impacting the workforce at large. During a major shift from products to services, a large global technology company applied best in class practices in communicating the change, establishing the “why” and disseminating information about steps the organization was taking to achieve their goals. But it was not until they set up team coaching (coaching circles) with change champions leading these sessions, that other employees in the organization became united. They now shared the same goals and made changes that were impactful throughout the business.
These coaching circles deployed at scale became a topic of conversations and participants became champions of change themselves and served as multipliers of the transformation’s key strategies, and direction for all involved.
Measuring the effectiveness of coaching programs.
Coaching is a disciplined approach to creating value for the individuals engaged in this process of development. As such, mastery of skills and capabilities are achieved during the conversations between coach and coachees through insights and knowledge that are often internalized and applied through practice, habits, and behaviors. Despite the complexities of such an engagement, it is possible to measure the effectiveness of leadership coaching when you set clear goals. This way, leadership coaching becomes a channel for the organization to attain desired results.
In this context, coaching can be measured by introducing the program with a baseline questionnaire to assess level of awareness and adoption of the topics by participants, who will be assessed once again after a set number of sessions. It is important to note that leadership coaching fosters community cohesion and alignment towards specific cultural norms, values and strategies. When deployed to people managers, the best way to assess the impact of coaching at scale is to assess direct reports’ perception of changes in their communications, connections, and care behaviors managers demonstrate as a result of their involvement in coaching.
In summary, the impact of coaching can’t be measured as we usually do in learning programs based on skills acquisition of the learner. Instead, coaching measurement must be assessed by those who are directly or indirectly impacted by the behaviors, habits, and attitudes of participants of the coaching process. This type of qualitative assessment allows you to understand the true impact of coaching at its core.
Wagner Denuzzo is the former head of Future of Work Talent CoE at Prudential. As a Latino HR leader specializing in Future of Work, Talent Strategy, and Leadership/Management Development, he is energized by the challenges of the current global business environment. He is thrives in developing business leaders engaged in organizational transformation, innovation and world class management practices.