Coaching and succession planning

143Coaching and delegation are closely related. They are both used to transfer skills, and assist in the growth and development of the team.

We discussed Coaching and succession planning in previous lessons.

Succession planning means having a plan to develop the team to replace others who leave the organisation or retire, or who are promoted. Without good planning the team may be weakened by these events, and the lack of a suitable replacement may lead to good people being unable to move up the career ladder.

It is inevitable that the team will change, and skills transfer should be a constant in the development of a strong team.

What are the skills need by a coach?

Coaching is in itself a skill and requires certain competencies and attributes including , patience, a firm, assertive manner , the ability to establish rapport, spell out concepts, listen actively, interpret , sum up , comment on events , evaluate and offer feedback , inspire , and have diagnostic skills. Some managers are natural coaches and should be encouraged to develop their staff. Other people are not so good at coaching, either because they do not have the natural attributes, or sometimes because they feel if they pass on their skills they will no longer be needed!

Coaching should be structured. As in delegation, the coach selects appropriate tasks, explains it and the objective to the learner, delegating when appropriate .They advise and offer guidance to the learner , allowing for mistakes to occur , compare results with goals, and give feedback, explaining what could have been done differently, and why.

Improvement or development?

There are two main reasons for coaching – coaching for improvement and coaching for development.

Coaching for improvement is appropriate if a team member is not performing satisfactorily so needs help to reach the required standard, and possibly to retain their current position.

Coaching for used when a team member has been identified as ready to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities. It may be as part of a formal acceleration or training programme

When coaching for improvement in an employee’s performance the coach will first of all examine current performance and define the improvement required. They should spell out the implications for the learner of failure to improve. They will develop an improvement plan, and seek the learner’s commitment. They will support and monitor the learner through the process, and offer review and feedback on progress.

Coaching for development will include building a relationship, explaining the reason for the coaching, putting it in context for the learner. They will identify the competencies and knowledge that will be required, identify any gaps in knowledge, set targets, get the learners buy in and commitment, advise and guide them , monitor and review with feedback.