A story in the February edition of People Management headlined " Coaching boosts people skills at accountancy firm" caught my eye recently. Actually it did more than just catch my eye it made me feel all warm inside. After all, if a hardnosed bottomline focused business like Grant Thornton invests in its people then there must be something in it surely ?
Well, according to the HR Director a firm "is only as good as its people", now i'm really excited to read these words ! " The Partners will become qualified coaches to mentor junior partners and senior managers to support their career development" continues the HR Director.
This was particulary pleasing as recent research by the ILM (Insitute of Leadership and Management) showed that employers weren't making time for training. The biggest barriers were cost and time. Then a week or so after that,Toyota admits that a lack of training caused its current problems (What a fantastic business case for investing in learning and development by the way !)
Why not put people through an MBA, or an ILM Level 7 Management qualification instead ? Coaching is fluffy isn't it ? Interestingly enough there is research that indicates that coaching provides a decent return on investment, although figures vary. The role of the coach is not to solve the coachees problems but to help them solve them through questioning and listening. It's a bit like the proverb about a man who learns to fish, he will never be hungry again. This is what makes coaching so powerful, it empowers people in an incredible way.
So, given that employee engagement has fallen off a cliff in the last 18 months and that we are, hopefully, exiting the recession - will the next Grant Thornton step forward. Go ahead make my day.