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Team Intellect

Your managers are great. Why do employees still need coaching?

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Table of Content

Table of Contents

Coaching: it’s not just for the sports field anymore. In the realm of business, coaching takes center stage, providing leaders and employees with a priceless combination of mentorship, guidance, and advice. What makes coaching truly special is its future-focused and client-centered nature, ensuring a personalised approach for each person’s goals.

But here’s the exciting part: coaching goes beyond the boundaries of the professional realm. It has the power to dive deep into personal areas, too. That’s why it’s essential to enlist the help of a qualified third-party coach who can expertly navigate the intertwining paths of both personal and professional growth. With their ICF accreditation, these coaches possess the finesse to tackle everything from imposter syndrome to the complex emotions tied to tough decisions like layoffs.

The rise of coaching in APAC

It’s no surprise that coaching is rapidly catching on in Asia Pacific. A 2020 study by ICF Global Coaching titled “COVID-19 and the Coaching Industry” revealed a 74% increase in online coaching in Asia Pacific.

One reason behind the growth of coaching in Asia Pacific is its prevailing management style. According to Prakash Mathur, a Trainer Consultant with the Professional Development Centre of The British Council in Singapore, the organisational structure in this region is often characterised by a command and control approach, where management is driven by strict hierarchies.

This top-down structure shapes working behaviour: 69% of Gen Zs in Asia Pacific are pressured to keep up the appearance of being busy, as evidenced by statistics from The Truth about Culture & Covid 19 from McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific.

“But in the [volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous] world, goals are shifting. Even the most senior leader or specialist needs to rely on others to a much greater degree – and that puts the emphasis back on communication skills and relationship building,” Mathur said, emphasising that such soft skills are most efficiently improved through coaching.

At The British Council in Singapore, Mathur and his team of trainers embarked on a coaching journey to enhance the mentorship culture within their multinational organisation. Other entities such as AKLTG, Success Resources, and SEALA are also joining the fray, recognising the value of localised coaching in APAC.  

“The same caveats about generalisations hold true for using Westernised corporate coaching and mentoring methodologies in the Asia Pacific region. It is both foolish and patronising for coaches schooled in Westernised approaches to coaching to assume that they can go in and ‘fix’ organisations globally,” wrote Anthony M. Grant in the foreword to Coaching and Mentoring in Asia Pacific.

What does the data say?

Organisations who bring localised coaching programmes to eager employees will benefit enormously. Through online-based coaching, employees far away from home can connect with coaches of similar backgrounds who understand the cultural context in which their challenges arise. An improvement in employee wellbeing, however, is just the tip of the iceberg.

Employees who receive coaching and actively participate in other learning and development initiatives are 77% more likely to remain with the organisation. This is no surprise, given the 72% surge in employee engagement coaching can bring about, in the case of a provider who counts Lazada and Standard Chartered among its clients.

At Intellect, we’ve witnessed the incredible efficacy of coaching firsthand. In just six months, a whopping 40% of Intellect users who underwent six monthly coaching sessions and completed mood and stress sliders experienced a significant reduction in stress levels. Based on a five-point scale, these respondents had at least a 20% reduction in stress, while 30% reported a decrease as high as 40% to 60%.

Coaching also bore remarkable fruit for their mood levels. After six months, 33.6% of these users reported at least a 20% improvement in mood. 26.7% of them reported a mood boost ranging from 40% to 80%. 

Why do employees need coaching?

1. L&D programs lack personalisation and follow-up

Let’s debunk a common misconception about coaching – that it can be easily substituted with learning and development (L&D) programs. The truth is, the benefits of L&D and coaching rarely overlap; they are actually complementary.

We all know the importance of learning and development. When employees grow, so, too, does the organisation, which is why the latter invest an average of $1299 per employee in L&D initiatives. After all, 35% of employees who don’t receive sufficient training in their first year end up bidding farewell to their organisation.

But here’s the catch: L&D programs can’t solve all the challenges individuals face in their personal and professional development. Sometimes, generic training in areas like business writing or conflict resolution just doesn’t cut it. Part of the problem is the forgetful curve: Trainees only retain 20% of content, even just six days after the end of a classroom training. 

That’s when coaching steps in. Think of it as a lean learning approach, tailored to the specific needs of each individual. From executive coaches to behavioural health experts, these professionals equip employees with highly personalised strategies to overcome immediate challenges – nothing more, nothing less.

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, a whopping 70% of employees who received coaching reported improvements in performance, communication, and relationship-building skills. And guess what? Their employers couldn’t be happier, with a resounding 86% reporting a return on their coaching investment. In a nutshell, coaching doesn’t replace your existing L&D program; it amplifies its impact.

2. Managers aren’t formally trained to support employee wellbeing

Gone are the days when work and home life had clear boundaries, neatly separated like oil and water. The rise of remote and hybrid work has ushered in a new era where the personal and professional realms intertwine with surprising frequency.

Sure, your manager might be a whiz at giving solid pointers on perfecting a presentation or crafting a memo. But when it comes to matters that straddle the line between an employee’s work and personal life, they might find themselves at a loss. And let’s face it, these are the kinds of issues that impact all employees.

Consider a new mother nervously contemplating her return from maternity leave, or a fresh-faced graduate grappling with self-doubt in their new role. Even a seasoned mid-level employee could be haunted by the spectre of layoffs amidst an economic crisis.  While a manager might have insights to offer, they often lack the specialised expertise required to provide truly meaningful support. That’s where coaches come in, armed with relevant training and certifications from reputable organisations like the International Coaching Federation or Asia Coaching & Mentoring Academy

But let’s not forget, expecting managers to shoulder the additional burden of coaching their subordinates on personal matters can be unwise. According to McKinsey’s research, burnout is already taking its toll, with one in four employees are experiencing burnout globally. In Asia Pacific, that figure soars to one in three. Asking managers to shoulder the emotional weight of coaching on top of their managerial responsibilities will only fan the flames of burnout.

Instead, organisations can instil coaching as a pillar of foundation-level support for employees, meeting their needs for “psychological help in a private setting”  It’s a confidential space where individuals can delve into both professional and personal challenges they face, equipped with the expertise and guidance of a professional coach.

3. Coaching preserves boundaries in the organisation 

If an employee is a manager, they rose to the position by earning their stripes in a specific domain. As a marketing manager, they excel at crafting compelling campaigns, or perhaps as an accounting manager, they possess an unrivalled mastery of numbers. They’re specialists who can help subordinates hone their technical abilities. 

But here’s the twist: Success in the workplace extends beyond our niche expertise. Oftentimes, we find ourselves mastering the art of upward management, or manoeuvring through the maze of office politics while remaining true to our values. Every employee grapples with these interpersonal issues, and managerial involvement can sometimes create a conflict of interest.

Imagine an employee consulting their manager on ways to beat the competition to a coveted promotion. Or asking another team lead for advice on handling their own manager. This not only puts both parties in an awkward spot, but it also places workplace relationships and culture in jeopardy. 

Enter the third-party coach, a trusted confidante detached from the web of organisational dynamics. With no stake in the company, they bring an objective perspective, tainted by bias or personal agendas, so employees can approach them freely on a myriad of topics without reservations.   

How coaching has helped our clients

Intellect, one of the fastest-growing coaching providers in the region, connects employees with ICF-accredited practitioners in their respective countries. We know that time zones and geography matter, and it’s not just because it makes scheduling in-person or virtual sessions a breeze. It’s about taking the cultural nuances of your diverse workforce into consideration. 

Organisations that have embraced Intellect have seen results within the first year. Take ShopBack, for example, where a whopping 38% of employees became active users, engaging in a total of 132 coaching sessions. And let’s not forget about Kredivo, the fintech startup that saw 81% of their active users matched with a coach in a mere four months.

But coaching is just a fraction of Intellect’s offerings as an end-to-end employee wellbeing solution. Learn more about our modern mental healthcare solution here.

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A healthy company is a happy company

Employees need mental wellbeing support now more than ever. With Intellect, you can give them access to the Mental healthcare they need, when they need it.