IN TODAY’S environment characterised by caution about the economic outlook and uncertainty of how long and how deep this crisis will be, organisations are bracing themselves to ride it out with less headcount but still expecting the same or greater top line growth and returns — that is, doing more with less.

A tall order when you think about it, but the picture gets even gloomier when pay and incentives are now pulled back with further belt-tightening measures.

The crux of the organisational dilemma is that while there is a need for increasing productivity, employees are potentially growing de-motivated, disengaged and uncommitted.

This is because there is no guarantee that their livelihoods are assured, and they fear the worst for their jobs.

Having worked with numerous organisations in the region, I have found that the resilience of an organisation, especially in tough times, is reflected in its leadership.

The primary reason why people leave an organisation has often been touted as something more personal: They are not leaving the company, they are leaving their bosses.

Build a coaching culture

What can organisations do to develop an environment where people feel motivated, engaged and committed even during these critical times?

The key is to build a culture of coaching.

While coaching is not a panacea for all ills within an organisation, it is critical in helping organisations deal with the dilemma of increasing productivity with less headcount and fewer incentives.

Take a look at the study conducted by Manchester Inc. Florida in the United States about the benefits of coaching. It included 100 executives from Fortune 1000 companies and lists the improvements coaching reaped for these organisations.

Create the environment

Coaching has to survive within the opportunities and boundaries created by an organisation’s culture (values and norms).

Coaching needs the appropriate culture and organisational context (strategy, structure, systems) to raise commitment and competence levels to achieve excellent performance and desired business results.

The degree to which coaching can succeed in communicating organisational context and culture and gaining the required competence from its people will be greatly determined by how successfully the coach can build trust relationships.

Equip the managers

Justin, a manager in a multinational corporation, has been coaching his team for a few years but has never been clear about how effective a coach he is.

By leveraging coaching skills from the International Association of Coaching (IAC), he has been able to consciously assess himself as he carries out his coaching conversations with his employees.

In tough times, managers have considerably less time to carry out quality conversations with employees.

Justin’s new knowledge of global coaching skills has enabled him to first connect with himself as a coach and, next, draw out the potential from his employees and deliver results.

Marketable skills

In difficult times, management can motivate employees to build a coaching culture within the organisation by providing them with marketable skills through a global certification.

This provides leaders in the organisation with a growth progression and an opportunity to benchmark their coaching practice.