Passing on Knowledge to Future Generations
By its very nature, coaching and mentoring is a knowledge transfer facilitator. Sounds like something from a James Bond movie, but it's nothing so dramatic. It's merely a coach's tool — but, perhaps, his most important one.
With fewer and fewer alternatives at their disposal, business entities in a variety of fields will be compelled to pass down knowledge from on high. They are going to have to stop relying on lifesavers riding in on their white horses from the outside. Companies are going to have to shift their priorities and alter their battle plans — with less reliance on recruitment wars and more commitment to basic training on the inside.
In fact, business talent management approaches are in need of a comprehensive overhaul. Coaching and mentoring principles can facilitate this overhaul. Exactly how can this seismic change occur? If managers are also coaches on every level of an organization, they are, in essence, transferring vital knowledge to employees. They are advancing the skill levels of those who work for them.
In other words, they are acting as facilitators of the company's ways and means and grooming their successors. Coaches enlarge skills pools on their watches and endeavor to keep as many talented employees both on the job and happy to be there. In the bigger picture, coaches are charged with ensuring bright futures for the companies who pay their salaries (even though there are no such things as ironclad assurances).
Different Strokes for Different Folks
You can easily spot the differences between and among organizations as to how they perceive their human resources. Companies with unceasingly high turnover have this happening for very good reasons. Maybe the employee pay and benefit packages aren't too hot. Perhaps the job responsibilities are too much — or too little. Could be that the opportunities for advancement are nil or next to nil.
There are businesses that recruit and recruit, but do next to nothing when it comes to training the fruits of their recruitment. For instance, some companies recruit like mad on college campuses. That is, they hire recently graduated students — straight from the classrooms, as it were — without any hands-on experience in the thunder and lightning of the business sphere. Not a bad way to go if the organizations simultaneously train and grow the skills of these new kids on the block.
But what you get all too many times out of this kind of arrangement is college grads who are more than happy to take first jobs that they know are merely stepping-stones to better jobs elsewhere. And what so many of these companies desire are not long-term employees rising up their ladders, but — to put it bluntly — cheap labor instead. Hey, it's not only wine makers who are on the hunt for cheap labor to pick grapes in their vineyards. Many white-collar outfits function with the same exploitative principles. Pay out as little as possible to new hirers, let them move on to greener pastures, and then repeat the process all over again.
What Do Employees Really Want?
Aside from a competitive salary and all that obvious monetary stuff, what do employees really want from their employers? They want to be fully developed as talents. They want to do important things with the understanding that they can go places where they can do even more important things.
All too many companies miss the boat when it comes to acquiring and maintaining the best talent. They concentrate so much on finding qualified personnel on the outside, but then give short shrift to developing them to their fullest potential when on the inside. Above all else, these development possibilities on the job are what employees want.
Consider the things that you look for when seeking a job. It's probably not all about money and the things that money can buy. Very likely, you want to work for a company that cares enough to put its money where its mouth is. That is, when you go to the office, you want to go to the office. You want to work in a place that both values and expands your existing skills.
There are many individuals who happily assume entry-level positions in companies because they know they will be afforded opportunities to move up the corporate ladder within them. Indeed, businesses that root themselves in cultures of opportunity and advancement are the ones that are poised to thrive in this new reality of scarcer and scarcer skills in the labor market. Companies that ignore this reality do so at their own peril.
Qualified coaches in managerial positions are, in effect, talent detectors. By unearthing the myriad talents of the men and women on their staffs, they save companies oodles of dollars that would otherwise be spent on costly recruitment efforts. Good coaches develop, and develop some more, the talent on their watches. This is their supreme legacy.
Organizations that allow talent — often undiscovered — to languish in lowly positions are not going to survive in the competitive labor climate that permeates the twenty-first century. When companies neglect developing talent from within, they regularly bypass talent at their disposal — because they don't even know that it's there. Often they are recruiting talent — at a huge expense to them, by the way — that is already on their payrolls.