Between the ever-increasing challenges of recruiting, creating compelling remote work environments, and accommodating new business roles and responsibilities, few roles in business have evolved as much as human resources (“HR”). As businesses across all industries continue to face these challenges, it’s important that we learn to evolve with them.
Working with executive coaches is a unique opportunity that more and more HR managers are taking advantage of to stay ahead of the game professionally. Let’s dive into an overview of what HR professionals need to know about professional coaching, the unique skills they can learn from this information, and how they can find the right partner for their own challenges.
Why executive coaching?
In business, we constantly face new challenges that require innovative solutions to overcome. While a consultant can dive into the problem and offer a direct answer, an executive coach fosters awareness of new ways of thinking, helping clients solve strategic problems.
From high-ranking business leaders to high-potential emerging employees, coaching has been a tool that business leaders at all levels have used for many years. It’s a great way for those looking to not only grow in their role, but also improve their motivation and productivity.
An executive coach is a great sounding board to encourage both innovation and the development of new ways of thinking, even for the most seasoned professionals. Consider this, many professional golfers, despite already being the best in the world at what they do, continue to work with coaches throughout their careers. By serving as strategic partners, coaches allow players to gain greater awareness of their movements and thoughts, allowing players to improve their games and grow professionally.
Why does working with a coach offer a strong opportunity for HR managers?
As new responsibilities pile up and resources continue to dwindle, many HR managers feel like they’re on an island. In fact, HR technology platform Workvio reports that only 26% of HR professionals say they have the right resources to do their job. By working with a great executive coach, they can effectively test their assumptions to find innovative solutions to new business problems.
While the core responsibilities of HR professionals have evolved in recent years, so have soft skills. Professionals need both of these skills to grow as leaders and impact their organizations. Working with an executive coach is a great way to learn and develop these soft skills, which HR professionals leverage to advance in their careers.
Here are some specific skills that can help HR professionals become stronger leaders within their organizations:
Listen with empathy
HR managers are no longer just responsible for payroll, internal processes, or benefits administration. They must now also serve as active listeners and sometimes even comforters for their teams.
Employees are feeling more stress due to unprecedented external pressures, whether it’s a turbulent economy or emerging from a global pandemic. Coaches can help HR professionals learn to better understand employees in this work environment and help them work through any sentimental challenges they have.
Connect the analytics and people sides of business
All successful businesses are about both people and numbers. For many, HR can be seen as a more involved role on the human side of business. However, the practice has been increasingly enriched with data and analysis in recent years. As the pressures for innovation continue to grow, HR professionals must be able to analyze the past to be strategic about the future. Working with a coach helps HR professionals not only think more analytically, but also better combine the data and human aspects of business to come up with better solutions for their organizations.
Know the job and learn to adapt
Due to a multitude of hiring challenges across industries, namely the Great Resignation, recruitment and retention have become high profile challenges, often reaching the highest levels of the company. For C-level executives, these challenges have similar priorities to revenue growth or product innovation. Thus, HR managers see more and more opportunities to work within the C suite.
Increasingly, positions such as human resources manager or human resources director are appearing in companies of all structures and sizes. Due to this new opportunity, HR managers must both know and understand the language and operational aspects of the business. Executive coaches often already work with C-suite members, so they’re an incredible resource for HR managers looking to hone their business acumen and acumen.
Train the leaders of tomorrow
A soft skill that has become extremely important for HR leaders is the ability to train and develop other leaders within their organizations. This often takes the form of identifying people with high potential, connecting employees with training and mentoring, or even serving as coaches themselves. Working with a professional coach can help HR professionals better flesh out their own talent thinking and processes and improve their own coaching skills.
Where can HR professionals get started with executive coaching?
The reality is that executive coaching is not a one-size-fits-all solution for HR professionals. Different styles of coaching appeal to different types of people, so you’ll need to consider both your goals and what makes a good coach.
It is important to work with a certified professional coach in his field. Like HR, there are various qualifications that coaches seek to improve their own skills. This specialization helps coaches better understand the situation and tailor solutions to the client’s needs.
It pays to work with a coach who can operate in various industries outside of your own. Talking to a coaching professional who has a diverse background can help you grow and identify new HR solutions and ideas from perspectives you might not have considered otherwise.
Therefore, when looking for a coach, always interview multiple candidates. If a candidate isn’t the right person, keep looking and getting referrals from colleagues to get in touch with the right person.
As mentioned, HR leaders have experienced significant changes over the past few years that have resulted in increased stress levels and pressure to bring new ideas to the table. Working with a talented and experienced executive coach presents incredible opportunities to both grow professionally and bring new, innovative HR solutions to an organization.