Not an Upskill Battle: How Leadership Coaching Unlocks Workforce Agility

In today’s fast-paced world, organizations need to constantly adapt to stay competitive. One of the key challenges they face is ensuring their workforce has the necessary skills to drive business forward. But this requires a shift in mindset – recognizing that people don’t fit into a box, but skills do. This is where human-centered leadership coaching plays a pivotal role. 

Let’s explore how coaching addresses the issues of talent mobility, nurturing human skills development, addressing the talent crisis, and identifying and closing skill gaps in order to drive business outcomes.


Talent Mobility and Career Advancement

Do your exit interviews sound like the same song on repeat with a refrain of “I’m leaving because there’s no growth here?” Employees want to know that there’s a path to advancement, and when there’s not – they’re only option is to bail for greener pastures.

Professional growth and development opportunities are crucial when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. In addition, by investing in your employees you are making a substaintial contribution to the output of your business. Take it from Gallup, who found that upskilled managers had 20 – 28% lower turnover and 20 – 28% higher likelihood of performance improvement relative to their peers. 

Leadership coaching helps people (and organizations) thrive through transparency, clear conversations, and accountability. And unparalleled leadership coaching at scale encourages more meaningful strategies to support career advancement for employees, ensuring vital skill development at every level. 

In fact, 11% of those who participated in the Paradigm for Parity Profit and Loss Leadership Accelerator Program – an initiative to promote gender equity in the C-suite – received a promotion within six months of completion. These are senior level leadership positions we’re talking about, at companies like Merck, CVS Health, Novartis and more. 

When it comes to being able to foster career growth for managers and teams, there are some core skills required. Some of the key competencies to unlock include:

  • Collaborating across the organization 
  • Developing leadership presence
  • Effective communication
  • Influencing stakeholders
  • Transitioning from a subject matter expert to leadership



Nurturing Human Skills Development and Addressing the Talent Crisis

Younger generations are now entering the workforce en masse, while simultaneously, the pandemic caused baby boomers to retire or embrace the career move they’ve always dreamed of. And while tech savvy, entry-level employees may lack the human skills to manage people, there needs to be a focus on nurturing them to become the people leaders of tomorrow.

If there’s one thing Gen Z and Gen Alpha crave, it’s quality feedback. Coaching not only provides personalized, real-time feedback at scale, but it can also help these age groups harness technology as a change agent while equipping them with the emotional intelligence, communication, and coaching skills necessary for future leadership roles. 

Human-centered leadership coaching helps everyone stay ahead of the curve and is the only methodology for organizations to ensure that a multi-generational workforce is equipped for upskilling and reskilling at scale. 

Coaching managers to become coaches themselves also helps create a strong company culture for generations to come. As a matter of fact, according to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2022, professional development is the number one way to improve company culture.

Key competencies to unlock when addressing the talent crisis:

  • Growing emotional intelligence
  • Developing a coaching approach to management
  • Leading with a growth mindset
  • Managing conflicts and difficult conversations

Identifying and Closing Skill Gaps

So, how do you help employees build the skills necessary to take your business to the next level? First, you need to figure out the gaps through strategic workforce planning. While this isn’t a light lift initiative and takes many months of planning and consideration points, coaching can help fill in some of the blanks.

For starters, leadership coaching creates an authentic feedback loop between managers, coaches, and coachees that uncovers areas which need improvement and provides the opportunity to address them. 

Plus, with team coaching, individuals can connect with their peers, learn the challenges they’re facing, share ideas and experiences, and grow together. All of this helps to not only identify skills where some teams are excelling vs. others, but it also helps to foster human connections during a time when most teams feel silo’d – especially in a hybrid work environment. 

Coaching fosters a culture of continuous learning and improvement, empowering leaders to adapt to change quickly while enabling their teams to pursue professional growth. When learning and development is a part of your DNA, managers will be quick to identify the skills their teams need to succeed – and how to build them.

Key competencies to help your team identify and close skills gaps:

  • Building and leading inclusive teams
  • Leading with a growth mindset
  • Managing conflicts and difficult conversations
  • Developing a caching approach to management

Data and research support the effectiveness of human-centered leadership coaching in addressing talent mobility, nurturing human skills development, and identifying and closing skill gaps. But it’s the benefits don’t stop there. 

In “A Practical Guide to Evaluating Coaching: Translating State-of-the-Art Techniques to the Real World,” David B. Peterson and Kurt Kraiger reveal that the organizational benefits from coaching included better productivity (reported by 53% of participants), quality (48%), organizational strength (48%), customer service (39%), and retention (32%).

Embracing workforce agility through coaching allows organizations to unlock the full potential of their employees and create a lasting culture of continuous learning and growth – one that keeps top talent at all levels and pushes the business forward indefinitely.

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