Business Coaching

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It has been said that the role of a business coach is to get management to provide guidance, prod and improve performance, foster a climate of accountability and offer encouragement. In this respect, business coaches serve as role models, to the extent that they attempt to achieve precisely the same goals with their manager/owner clients, whom they encourage to emulate them. On this model, the manager/owner is the coach's bridge to the employees, much as a team head coach utilizes assistant coaches as intermediaries to deal with team players.

Of course, on another model, a business coach would be hired by managers and owners for guidance at the employee level, e.g., by conducting employee motivation or work-skills workshops. When considering whether to utilize a business coach, it is important to distinguish these two forms of business coaching, the former being more of a "trickle-down model" of coaching, the latter being direct engagement of the employee that leaves management out of the coaching loop.

The purposes of business coaching are diverse, and include the objectives of increasing organizational productivity, improving workplace morale, fostering a sense of responsibility and accountability, and improving a business's competitive footing, including enhancements of its image, management, services, policies and products.

Depending on the style of the business coach, there may be "tough love" kick-in-the-pants tactics and tone utilized in the coaching service provided, or, by contrast, a more "laid-back", observational style, advice offered purely dispassionately.

Moreover, business coaching is available for go-it-alone self-employed business people as well, with no employee-focused content to the coaching (unless purely anticipatory, in anticipation of hiring help).

When assisting a business with employees, a business coach will help employers train their employees in customer service, sales, better management, better marketing, etc. Subjects like fostering employee esteem, employee relations improvement and confidence building are also taught through this kind of program. They also provide tips on perfect teamwork for different assignments.

Proper guidance of a business coach can help a business-house or an organization achieve enhanced profitability. If employees of an organization feel accountable for and important in the work they do, they will try to put in their best efforts to optimize company resources and produce positive work results.

It may be suggested that, in some instances, the presence and involvement of a business coach, in and of itself, will result in boosts of productivity, morale, etc., even if only temporary, through a variation on the theme of what is called the "Hawthorne Effect", i.e., observed positive changes in employee performance merely in virtue of knowing that one is being observed, expected to improve, considered worthy of attention, treated as important and being held accountable, and offered a break from work routine ( in the form of coaching).

If the mere fact of coaching (as opposed to its content, methods and objectives) accounts for some of the success of the program, it could be critiqued in the same way as some psychotherapy approaches have been: What matters is not the content of the guidance, but the fact that it occurs at all (as a form of help). In fact, it has been suggested that some forms of (psycho-therapeutic) help matter less than the time they take, allegedly because time appears to be the controlling variable in improvement (as the proverb "time heals all wounds" timelessly suggests).

In retaining a business coach, it is important to be alert to the possibility that a Hawthorne Effect of some kind or an analogous effect will produce positive changes that may or may not be lasting, or at least account for some of those gains.
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