Guidance Counselors: Coaches Supplying Answers
Because the biggest companies are big — really big — it is not surprising that an employee gripe is that advice and real direction from management is hard to come by. And this is a big — really big — reason why coaching is being ushered into the corridors of many of these sprawling companies.
In all levels of education, there are guidance counselors. In grade school, high school, and college, they are in place and ready, willing, and able to help out. Exactly what are they ready, willing, and able to do? Ideally, guidance counselors are in place to answer students' questions and lend them support when and where needed. Grade school counselors' advice, however, is somewhat different from that of their high school counterparts. And college counselors, of course, dispense a different brand of advice altogether.
A coach's workplace is not patterned after the world's totalitarian states. In fact, just the opposite is the case. Coaches recognize that freedom of expression is a specially guarded right that they will defend to their deaths — as coaches, of course.
Above all else, this chapter illustrates the importance of replacing an unbending managerial hierarchy with a pliable support system. And this means placing the equivalent of guidance counselors — coaches and mentors — at all levels of the company.
Employees up and down the corporate ladder have never-ending streams of questions and concerns. They want and deserve to know so many things, from what is expected of them, first and foremost, in their jobs, to what possibilities await them in their futures. It's completely disheartening for employees in an organization to have a plethora of questions on their minds, but nary a soul to ask. So, yes, you're an answer man or answer woman as a coach. The company paying your salary is relying on you to thoroughly answer your people's job-specific questions and assuage any of their career concerns.
Among the hats that you wear as a coach is that of guidance counselor. You must have lots of answers at your disposal to the many questions and concerns of your employees. There is nothing more deflating for people on the job than having questions and nobody to pose them to.
Putting this aspect of coaching in the forefront of the support system is rudimentary if once-faceless companies desire a more human face. For it is only this human face that will resurrect reputations. It is this human face that'll also maximize employee performance results — and, yes, profits — in today's business climate.