Should companies offer their employees life coaching?
Years ago, life coaching was not something that was readily available or even something that people considered when feeling stuck in a job or unsure about their next steps.
They would have worried alone or just registered with some recruitment agencies and spent time scouring the job pages in newspapers and industry magazines. Career services tended to be limited to final-year university students and occasional careers fairs at schools when parents and previous students would come in to talk about their work experience. To the younger reader, this might seem rather archaic but that was how it was.
When I was at school and university, help was very limited. We couldn’t just “Google” jobs, we had to be told about them or we could research in the library. So, it seemed obvious that a university degree would lead to one of the professions we knew about – teaching, accountancy, marketing, nursing, engineering, medicine, law, computer science etc. or something more creative in the arts sphere. We did not really know about more niche careers that existed then.
So many people ended up in the wrong career and felt trapped as it didn’t feel appropriate to move around. Disgruntled employees remained unhappy until they just left the company.
Nowadays there are so many options to provide added value to employees in order to keep them happy and stop the itchy feet! Consequently, many companies offer a wellness package which does sometimes include life coaching.
Not just career coaching but “life” coaching to help the individual grow and feel more confident and secure in their jobs and life generally.
So how can life coaching actually benefit employees?
How can coaching benefit employees?
1. Help them set clear goals
The first and most obvious benefit of life coaching is that, as a goal-oriented process, it can help individuals set clear goals for their progression through the company. But also in their lives outside work. Armed with a goal, the coachee can create a plan on how to achieve this goal which can be discussed with a line manager. This can also lead to a better work/life balance which is beneficial all round!
2. Empower them!
With goals in place, the employee will feel more in control of their career and take on more responsibility for making changes happen. Having the opportunity to talk to someone outside of their workplace can be freeing and lead to insights into what is really happening in their minds.
Often just by establishing what the perceived problems are, the coachee can start working on how to start making a change within the parameters of their current position. It is not always about taking the huge step of leaving a company, it can be about employees having the confidence to ask for what they need and what will make them more productive in the workplace.
3. Help them become more self-aware
The first step in the life coaching process is often to support the coachee to learn more about themselves, uncovering their values and motivators in life. With this information in mind, they are more prepared to make decisions on how they work and what they want out of their workplace and career going forward.
The alignment of values can be the main reason that a job works for someone and the lack of this alignment is often the main reason that a job will fail. Asking simple but powerful questions can lead to huge self-awareness eg. “How important is work to your identity – or the sense of who you are?” and “To help you define who you are, let’s look at what you value most in life and what gives your life true meaning?”
4. Help them build better work relationships (more harmony in the office)
A coach can also discuss more sensitive issues around relationships in the office. Someone from the outside listening in can offer an objective view and help improve communication skills for that employee. Skills such as active listening (where you concentrate on what the person is saying and do not interrupt or think about your next question – it’s being present for the person who is talking) can be invaluable for problem-solving and strengthening work relationships.
So, with these employee-focused benefits in mind, will life coaching actually benefit the company? Will a more motivated, communicative, caring and goal-oriented workforce increase the profits of the company and provide a return on investment in the individual?
The answer is – very probably!
There are no guarantees of course, and once you have given your employees the power to make the right decisions for them, they could decide that their best option is to actually leave your company and get another job.
This is a risk that you might need to take.
But also, replacing an employee, who believes they are more suited to a different job, with a more motivated candidate is also positive. So, it's a win-win situation.
In conclusion, companies should definitely offer their employees life coaching even though they will be aware that it will “probably” enhance their profitability!
For more information on life coaching services and packages, contact us for a complimentary half-hour discovery call.