I have just read a report by the World Economic Forum called 'The Future of Jobs – Employment Skills and Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution'. As a Learning and Development professional, consultant and coach, part of my role is to prepare my clients for the future trends which could impact on their business, and the individuals that work in that business. This report together with the CIPD Megatrends report paints a picture of the future where changes in technology, emerging markets, the ageing population, together with a rise in robotics, mean that the jobs we hold dear may not exist in the future. There may also be a shift in the skills required from technical expertise to interpersonal, soft skills.
The Future of Jobs report predicts that, by 2020, some of the core work-related skills will be overall social skills such as:
- Emotional intelligence
- The ability to teach others
- Active listening
One of the most effective methods of preparing leaders, managers and individuals for the future is coaching. Coaching targets high performance and improvement at work, usually focusing on specific skills and goals. As an experienced coach, I see coaching particularly impacting on social interaction and confidence.
A great deal of my work involves delivering training to managers and leaders; so emotional intelligence, influencing and persuading skills are often neglected. Because of the years of austerity and ‘making do with less’, managers have had to focus on achieving goals by delivering on KPIs and aligning all efforts to the organisation's strategic objectives, ultimately ensuring that growth targets are met demonstrating return on investment (ROI). Sometimes, but not always, this can mean that the softer 'people' side of management is neglected.
Why coaching is an effective technique
- It focuses on improving performance and developing skills. The starting point is getting the person being coached to look objectively at all aspects of their present situation. This includes looking at home life, personal life, friends, family etc. as often these impact on their ability to perform well at work.
- Personal issues may be discussed, but for business coaching, the emphasis is on performance at work. It is useful at the beginning of the relationship to use a profiling tool, which helps the coachee to better understand themselves and others. This often helps to clarify that the conflict they may be experiencing with others may be because of different personal values and beliefs.
- It provides people with feedback on both their strengths and their weaknesses. Working with a coach means that there can be a free and frank discussion, which helps to focus on how the person is perceived by others and their impact and presence.
- A good coach will work with you to achieve your goals, whether business or personal. They will sometimes hold you to account, allowing you to push out of your comfort zone to discover your true capabilities. Goals can become just written aspirations without a coach to keep you on track and provide support or challenge when necessary.
- The right coach can make the difference between success and failure. Coaching is a skilled activity, so it is important that the person doing the coaching has been trained to do so. Many organisations use internal coaches such as line managers - this can be a benefit or a liability depending on how committed they are to the coaching relationship. As an external coach, I am engaged specifically to coach a member of staff. Often, coaching is bolted onto a manager's job role with no training, so coaching becomes a chore that must be done.
Coaching is not the only way to develop the skills required for the future. In the Learning and Development profession, we recommend a blended learning soluton - this could include classroom, shadowing, a webinar, eBooks, etc. The possibilities are endless.
However, to achieve real behavioural change - particularly when focusing on the soft skills required to build strong relationships and influence others - I feel that at least one of the techniques used should be coaching.
To discuss your coaching requirements, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 161 209 3950.