In many organisations there is a lack of younger executives who already have operational experience and can bring innovations into the enterprise. Executives often have to be trained within the enterprise in order to remain update and competitive in the market. A suitable method is the coaching in the enterprise.

Business coaching: is the practice of providing support and occasional advice to an individual or group in order to help them recognize ways to improve the effectiveness of their business. Business coaches work to improve, for instance, leadership, employee accountability, teamwork, sales, communication, goal setting, and strategic planning. It can be provided in a number of ways, including one-to-one tuition, group coaching sessions and large scale seminars. Business coaches are often called in when a business is perceived to be performing badly, however many businesses recognize the benefits of business coaching even when the organisation is successful. Business coaches often specialize in different practice areas such as executive coaching, corporate coaching and leadership coaching. Coaching is not a practice restricted to external experts. Many organizations expect their senior leaders and middle managers to coach their team members toward higher levels of performance, increased job satisfaction, personal growth, and career development.

Content and elements of coaching: The content of coaching is multiple as the operational problems themselves and can only be illustrated by some examples. Typical coaching tasks are: (1) Familiarisation with a new workplace; (2) Preparation for a new executive duty in the enterprise; (3) Development of a new concept to maintain quality in the enterprise; (4) Improvement of a product or procedure in the enterprise; (5) Vocational adjustments of other employees; (6) Taking on the training of employees and (7) Preparation for moderation of a quality circle.

Requirements for the Coach: The coach can be an executive of the enterprise, external expert/facilitator or an interested employee with sufficient professional and life experience. A coach must:

  • be able to motivate the group or the employee;
  • not appear to be an instructor or a know-all but see himself/herself as a partner with a special responsibility and a certain authority;
  • have a positive attitude and be able to spread optimism;
  • be able to use communicative techniques and moderation rules effectively;
  • have learned to analyse and structure the strengths and weaknesses of the employees;
  • be able to challenge personal responsibility and appeal to the self-esteem of the group or employee;
  • have the ability to lead and support the group or employee with his personality and image;
  • not necessarily be "expert" in the same technical field of the group or the employee
  • have sufficient professional and life experience in his/her own field to be able to gain confidence and recognition.

The coach plays different roles in the process of coaching and may be anything from supporter, low profile helper, and personal guide to the active listener to a "barrier" for frustrations or sharp criticism. The coach is not the psychotherapist for the group or the employee and does not discuss the life-stories of the employees. Additional requirements on in–house coaches can also arise from the hierarchy in the enterprise and their own involvements in the working routine. Conflicts can always arise between the enterprise philosophy and the personal ethical, technical or economic principles of the coach. If such a conflict situation arises, the coaching should end. External coaches have the advantage of being able to observe and assess the process of development from outside without being involved in the process. On the other hand, they cannot directly influence the process. External coaches are being increasingly called in by the management.

Requirements for the employees being coached: Certain requirements are also made for the groups or the employee to be coached. They should:

  • be highly motivated, active and willing to learn;
  • be offered an operational perspective and be career conscious;
  • have self-organisational abilities in their work;
  • have learned to initiate and steer self-learning processes;
  • be able to harmonize themselves into groups;
  • want to recognise and contribute to solutions and processes of change.

The choice of the employees for being coached is a direct executive duty and bound with responsibility, i.e. the choice should, if necessary, be made with appropriate, psychologically relevant procedures or with special outside support.

Methodological procedures in coaching: Coaching differs greatly from workplace instruction or quality circles because here the degree of personal responsibility, in particular, and the measures are considerably longer term. The following methodological steps should be observed:

  1. Contact between the coach and the group or the employee. First, a working arrangement should be built up. The relationships between partners must be explained and the demarcation of responsibility must be established.
  2. Information about the coaching and its concrete objectives; explain the thrust and introduce the contents in the overview.
  3. To request for a first opinion from the employee or group and confirm their readiness or acceptance of coaching.
  4. After this, the phase of concrete cooperation begins. The first problem areas are identified and the approximate extent of the coaching is discussed. In this way, methods including moderation techniques and visualisation can be worked out. The work phases can then be planned and brought to fruition.
  5. After that the form of control, the transfer of results and the conclusions of the coaching can be discussed and agreed among the partners.

As method, established procedures of problem definition and precision, problem structuring and solution can be implemented. Here the accumulated experience and methodological repertoire of the employees can be combined, the special thinking and modes of operation of the profession can be integrated and the coach can take on a much more active role as a facilitator.

Organisation and process of coaching:There are certain rules, given here as a checklist, for the organisation of coaching:

  • Advice in general to establish the objectives and work phases.
  • An optimistic and friendly work climate must be organised.
  • Positive results need forward planning to ensure success and new incentives.
  • One must learn to cope with failures and learn to recognise weaknesses in order to be able to turn them into strengths.
  • The achievements must continually be monitored and measured against own expectations. Objective assessments based on criteria or indicators are particularly helpful for this.
  • The coach gives only as much help as necessary and not as much as possible. He stays increasingly in the background and takes the role of a consultant.
  • The coach only supports the employee or the group further, if there is a risk that their chosen method cannot safely achieve the objective.

Conclusion and assessment of coaching

The coaching should be concluded, when the aim has been reached or if it becomes clear that it cannot lead to the desired result. Every checklist consists of an objective assessment or report on the results and a concluding evaluation. Everyone involved in coaching should be included in this to analyse any changes or amendments that may arise. The coach should ensure at this point that every employee or every member can interfere in the process and draw personal conclusions from the coaching to his own advantage and that of the enterprise.