One-on-one coaching is a method of imparting vital skills to employees, best offered by ICF-accredited coaches. While this personalized form of coaching has historically only been made available to upper management, new advancements in learning technology have created platforms and programs that make one-on-one coaching available for all employees or specific subsets or teams.
What is One-on-One Coaching?
One-on-one coaching is a structured process of one person, the coach, helping another, the coachee, overcome a specific challenge or learn a specific skill. Through their sessions together, the coach helps the coachee by sharing knowledge, identifying any blockers to overcome a challenge, and showing the coachee different ways to approach situations or challenges. The personalized nature of one-on-one coaching enables the coach to tailor the sessions for the coachee and approach things in the way the coachee will best understand and learn. The traditional coaching model is based on a group setting. In sports, for example, a coach attends to an entire team because they must function together. Many companies also use coaches who provide workshops, seminars, and other events for L&D objectives where numerous employees are engaged at once. These settings are logical when a group of people all have the same learning goals and/or needs.
However, in a business environment, there are certain skills that are vital to the performance of a team but are best taught in a one-on-one situation. One-on-one coaching can cover nearly any topic that helps people reach their professional and/or personal goals by creating a roadmap together with the coach that the coachee can follow on their path to success.
One-on-one coaching is ideal for teaching soft skills, of which everyone has a different grasp. A good example of this is leadership skills. Such skills are multifaceted and complex. Each leader naturally has strengths and weaknesses, so the most effective leadership training programs are individualized. This requirement naturally lends itself to one-on-one coaching. It is important to note that “leaders” can include employees at all levels, from the CEO to production line workers who take initiative.
Why is Coaching Used?
In the GrowthSpace lexicon, learning and development programs are led by experts, who fall into three groups – trainers, mentors, and coaches.
- Trainers – optimal for short-term instruction, often for hard skills
- Mentors – experienced people who take others under their wings to help develop them through discussions and on-the-job training.
- Coaches – external experts hired to implement learning and development programs for a contracted period
Looking again at leadership skills, one can see how the most viable method of instruction is coaching. Leadership relies on a set of skills that not everyone will have when they become a ‘leader’ in any sense, and requires the personal, tailored approach only a coach can offer. Although mentors are a good choice for an employee who needs to understand a specific company function, they are not always familiar with the skills that are currently in demand. This is particularly true for the soft skills that are essential for good leadership.
Instead, these skills require tailored, planned instruction. With the close observation of a one-on-one coaching program, employees are best situated to learn complex skills.
For Which Employee Types is One-on-One Coaching Used?
With growing recognition of the extensive benefits of employee development, one-on-one coaching is being increasingly allocated to all levels of an organization. According to the International Coaching Federation, 51% of professional coaches had clients at the team leader level, while 34% had clients who were individual contributors.
The Benefits of One-on-One Coaching Programs
One-on-one coaching is an asset both for the organization and for the individual. It can have transformational effects on coachees, helping them overcome their challenges and be better team members. By investing in employee development through coaching, employees are more likely to feel valued, be more productive and motivated, and increase their overall performance.
In terms of ROI, the International Coaching Federation reports that 86% of companies were at least fully compensated for their investment due to the improved performance of the trainee. To this end, the same study showed that coaching provides:
- 70% improved work performance
- 57% improved time management
- 51% improved team effectiveness
For the employee, coaching enables higher levels of goal achievement, contributions to the organization, confidence, work satisfaction, and productive relationships.
A good reflection of the total effect of coaching on the organization is levels of engagement and retention. According to the Harvard Business Review, a strong learning culture improves these factors by 30%-50% compared to companies that do not emphasize L&D.
GrowthSpace Optimizes One-on-One Coaching Programs
Coaching can be an expensive effort, so companies want the best coaches available in order to maximize ROI. GrowthSpace’s specialty is connecting employees who need specific skills to the leading coaches in the field. Through our L&D platform, organizations can find top coaches for their top employees and implement scalable L&D programs in minimal time.