I see coaching as a brand new mindset supporting all areas of business life, including human resources. This mindset brings a new perspective and way of thinking, as well as a fresh approach to strategies, policies, and actions related to people management. Integration of this mindset into people management strategies positively affects employee engagement and ownership.
Having been in the business world for almost 33 years, I write directly from my business experience. During the last ten years, I incorporated coaching skills as part of my professional toolkit and advised all my HR colleagues to become coaches. Providing professional coaching sessions is not mandatory for HR professionals, but accessing the tools and practices of coaching and the fresh insight they provide allows a new HR function to be created that top management and employees adore.
A coaching mindset supports employee engagement and ownership, which positively affects business performance.
With a coaching mindset, HR business partners, as part of the leadership team, become the architects of a brilliant HR strategy which:
• allows employees to understand the connection between their role and the purpose of the company
• includes more creative HR policies and practices that are directly connected with company vision, strategy, and values
• improves change-management initiatives
• creates more humane workplaces
How it all happens
Coaching has many benefits, and the nine ‘virtues’ detailed below critically support the strategic functioning of HR by enlarging the thinking path of HR professionals. With the help of these virtues, it becomes easier to develop systems that support employee engagement and employee ownership. A coaching mindset brings the awareness of these virtues to HR professionals’ agenda.
Holistic approach – The coaching perspective focuses on the entire picture – seeing the whole without overlooking the details. If there is an issue to be solved, or if a new policy is to be issued, the best possible result can be achieved by viewing the big picture first, exploring the real need and expected outcomes and then working on the solution or approach.
Future focus – the coaching mindset allows us to take today’s baseline and turn our attention to the future. This brings the opportunity to put the past experiences to one side, keep an eye on lessons learnt from them, and focus on things to be done towards future objectives. In other words, we do not spend much time crying over mistakes or flaws.
Solution focus – The coaching mindset teaches us to focus on solutions instead of problems. It widens the angle of the binoculars when looking for alternatives and solutions, increasing the possibility of identifying previously undiscovered ways of solving problems.
Visions and dreams – A coaching mindset helps to define vision more clearly, in three or even more dimensions. It encourages vision to be like a dream. The dreamer imagines the future like a movie, sees the colours, hears the sounds, and feels the feelings. Through this process, the brain accepts that the vision is achievable. Defining vision in many dimensions makes creating the pathway much more manageable.
Meaning, purpose, and value awareness – Before taking action, the coaching mindset creates a habit of questioning the meaning, purpose, and value of every system, procedure and practice. That is a straightforward one-word question – ‘Why?’. With the answer, it becomes easier to move into action. We find ways to create and implement systems, procedures and practices. As Friedrich Nietzsche said: “He who has a ‘why’ to live for can bear almost any ‘how’.”
Potential and strengths – An Ericksonian principle is: “People have real resources; They have many more resources than they know.” The basis of coaching is built on a belief in unlimited human potential. Coaching and potential are, therefore, two inseparable concepts.
The coaching mindset keeps human potential and strengths at the top of the agenda, allowing systems to be developed that nurture people’s innate talents and abilities.
I hope these nine virtues will encourage HR professionals to investigate coaching and the benefits of developing a coaching mindset. Professional coaches may like to reflect on how they see these nine virtues and how they appear in their business.
Curious how coaching helps HR professionals see their job from a different perspective? Experience coaching for yourself!
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the world’s largest organisation leading the global advancement of the coaching profession and fostering coaching’s role as an integral part of a thriving society. Founded in 1995, its 40,000-plus members located in more than 145 countries and territories work toward common goals of enhancing awareness of coaching and upholding the integrity of the profession through lifelong learning and upholding the highest ethical standards. Through the work of its six unique family organisations, ICF empowers professional coaches, coaching clients, organisations, communities and the world through coaching.
In India, ICF is represented by six vibrant chapters, all led by volunteers — ICF Bengaluru, ICF Chennai, ICF Delhi NCR, ICF Hyderabad, ICF Mumbai, and ICF Pune.
After completing her MSc in economics in 1991, Nazli Ermut moved to corporate life as an HR professional and spent 24 years in multinationals, mainly as a manager. She has run her own business as a management and HR consultant and coach since 2012. A graduate of Erickson Coaching School, she now provides supervision support to student coaches at Erickson. Ermut shares her experiences in her blog and Harvard Business Review Turkey Blog. Her first book Pollyanna Mutlu Muydu? (Was Pollyanna Happy?), a synthesis of her knowledge and experiences about happiness, was published in 2020.