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7 types of employee coaching (and why you can’t afford to miss out)

August 26, 2022 - 18 min read
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    Coaching is the ticket to human transformation. 

    As betterment seekers, we strive to grow and build our skills. We want to tap into the parts of ourselves that we didn’t know existed. We want to bring value and contribute in meaningful ways.

    Even with high motivation, it isn’t always clear what the most effective approach is to help a team member develop or what route we should take ourselves. Bettering yourself doesn’t mean just working harder. We want challenges and opportunities, but few people enjoy going in alone with no safety net.

    For any organization, coaching is a critical component of success. Employee coaching opens up doors and opportunities for your employees to build in-demand skills that can help your organization thrive.

    Informal coaching usually sprouts once an organization has established a strong coaching culture. Instead of transactional relationships, managers and their direct reports shift into an evolving relationship, one that is a constant development of skills. 

    But oftentimes, the coaching culture stems from having programmatic culture deeply embedded into the fibers of an organization. Implementing a formal employee coaching program like BetterUp can help establish a much-needed foundation for behavior and mindset changes

    At BetterUp, we’ve studied the impact of employee coaching. The benefits of coaching are plenty. Employee coaching builds mental fitness, agility, resilience, self-awareness, and self-efficacy. It benefits the individual and positively impacts the relationships and performance of the people around them. As a result, organizations benefit from investing in the transformation of their people. 

    In fact, employees who thrive with coaching lead teams that are 31% more productive, are 1.2X more resilient, and 22% more satisfied with their jobs. And with employee coaching, there are plenty of benefits for the person. After just four months of coaching, our Members report lower stress, higher purpose, and higher resilience

    Many organizations are facing tough decisions in a tough economic market — all while weathering what change is to come next. To stay agile, companies are looking for ways to optimize the potential of their people. For many organizations, providing access to employee coaching is a must-have, especially during challenging and uncertain times

    Coaching employees can unlock the potential within your employees. Let’s talk about what we mean by employee coaching — and how it can be the secret ingredient to optimizing your employees’ performance. 

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    7 types of employee coaching

    Employee coaching isn’t a one-size-fits-all program. As humans, our skills, capabilities, strengths, and areas of opportunity all differ and change over time.

    First, let's understand what we mean by employee coaching. 

    So, to truly cater to the individual, we need personalized support and different types of coaching to help the whole person develop their capabilities. We need a diverse portfolio of effective coaching to help make sure career coaching sessions are impactful as they can be. 

    BetterUp’s expert coaches specialize in different types of topics. Coaches work one-on-one with employees to help build key skills and behaviors — but that looks different for each person. Let’s talk through seven types of employee coaching. 

    Career growth coaching 

    Your employees want to learn, grow, and develop. But many organizations struggle with career mobility, especially internally. Leaders are looking for ways to empower employees to pioneer their own career planning but in personalized ways that work for them. 

    A career growth coach can help your employees plan where to invest in themselves, including their own upskilling or reskilling. A career growth coach will have coaching conversations about finding new roles within your organization. Your employees will also learn how to build their own brand and put together a roadmap to their career development

    Executive coaching

    Grooming your next generation of leaders takes dedication and work. After all, we know people simply aren’t “born” leaders

    Executive coaching is a type of leadership coaching that works with top-level leaders (usually, C-suite executives) at an organization. An executive coach works one-on-one with your leaders to help with strategic thinking, navigating change and uncertainty, leadership and management capabilities, and more. 

    Leadership and development coaching 

    There’s a difference between executive coaching and leadership coaching. If you’re a company leader, you’re probably familiar with the inaccessibility of executive coaching to your leaders.

    You might have hundreds, or even thousands, of employees in leadership positions. But it’s simply not possible to offer an executive coaching relationship for every leader in your organization. 

    That’s where BetterUp comes in. With leadership and development coaching, you can provide a meaningful coaching experience that helps develop and support your leaders' growth in leadership and management skills, no matter their level. 

    A leadership coach often works on building your leaders’ coaching skills so they can better coach their teams. Leadership coaches also help build action plans for your leaders to help increase retention on their teams, master the art of constructive feedback, and increase employee engagement. 

    Peak performance coaching 

    Every organization wants to retain its top talent. It’s a no-brainer. Your high-performing employees are likely agile, effective at problem-solving, and champions for professional development. 

    But to keep your top talent happy and engaged, peak performance coaches can help your A players reach their peak performance. What exactly does that mean? 

    With a peak performance coach, your employees can master the art of goal setting. Peak performance coaching helps your employees build emotional regulation skills, especially in a fast-changing (and oftentimes, stressful) world of work. This type of workplace coaching also helps your top employees push the envelope on their employee development

    DEIB coaching 

    Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) coaching is a must-have for every organization that values a culture of inclusion and belonging. DEIB coaching helps create a sense of belonging for yourself, your team, and your organization. 

    Effective DEIB coaching supports employees in multiple ways. First, employees from underrepresented groups get 1:1 coaching to help them develop their skills while navigating the personal and professional challenges of being a minority within the organization. Second, their managers also get DEIB coaching support to help them lead more inclusively and support their team members. 

    Finally, broader DEIB coaching for everyone provides employees with a safe space to process and discuss topics of diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging to create a work environment where everyone can thrive. A DEIB coach can help guide your employees to recognize and react to signs of exclusion — including how to build a system of best practices. 


    Communication effectiveness coaching 

    Communication skills are necessary for any role. To build effective communication skills, it’s important that employees are given access to resources to help them progress in their skills. 

    With this type of employee coaching, your team members can develop new skills that will help them refine their communication effectiveness. Communication coaching can help your employees with things like speaking up in meetings, presentations, business writing, and building connections. 

    Mental fitness coaching

    Companies can’t overlook the role mental health and mental fitness play in their organizational performance.

    For many leaders, especially those in human resources, these last couple of years have taught them the importance of developing proactive practices to build mental fitness that buffers against the damaging effects of stress and crisis. After all, mentally fit organizations are better equipped to navigate change and uncertainty, perform better, and are more resilient. 

    Like other coaches, mental fitness coaches help employees develop greater self-awareness. They also work with your employees to dig into their state of mind, values, goals, and insights.

    BetterUp coaches work with employees to build a unique action plan chalk-filled with resources, activities, and practices that help create lasting behavioral change. A mental fitness coach will equip your workforce with the tools and skills needed to reach their full potential. 

    8 benefits of employee coaching

    An employee coaching program can bring incredible benefits to your organization. We’ve studied the impact of employee coaching on organizations. Here are eight benefits of employee coaching: 

    • Increased creativity. Innovation is a benefit to working with a good coach. In the same data cited above, we’ve found that employees are 22% more creative at work with access to coaching.  
    • Increased social connection. Connections matter more than you think. We’ve found that coaching increases social connections by 90% for those Members who start out low.

      In our recent Connection Crisis Report, we know connections have a ripple effect across the business. When employees feel connected at work, they experience a 34% increase in goal attainment, a 92% increase in professional growth, and a 36% increase in well-being. 
    • Higher meaning and purpose. Especially in the last couple of years, employees want to find the purpose of their work. With access to coaching, we’ve found that employees see an increase of 28% in meaning and purpose of work. 
    • Greater locus of control supporting resilience. According to our research, employee coaching increases employees’ locus of control by 92%. Especially when things feel uncontrollable around us amid constant change, locus of control is critical. It helps employees find footing and security, which ultimately builds resilience.  
    • Increased self-efficacy. Of those Members who started out low in self-efficacy at the start of their coaching journey, we saw a performance improvement of 97%. That’s pretty incredible employee progress that helps to curb performance issues many organizations tend to run into, like low motivation, low self-confidence, and even burnout. 
    • Increased self-awareness. Our research shows that for those who start out low in self-awareness, Members see a 2.7X increase. That’s a 172% increase in self-awareness, which helps to ultimately drive greater clarity and purpose.  
    • Better job performance. Every organization struggles with performance management. But with BetterUp, you can actually increase job performance of your employees who start out low by 130%. Our research shows that those Members who started out low in job performance saw a 2.3X increase. 

    NetApp, a BetterUp customer, talks about the benefits of coaching for its organization. With BetterUp, NetApp has invested in building high-performing teams that support investing in employees’ mental fitness. 

    7 ways to level up your employee coaching process

    As a leader, there are ways you can develop your coaching skills. If you’re looking to uplevel your employee coaching process, here are seven ways to start today. 

    • Keep your company's core values and purpose front-and-center. Research by McKinsey found that 70% of employees said that their sense of purpose is defined by their work. If your employees don’t understand the purpose behind their work, you risk losing them.

      But with some coaching and clear communication from managers, employees can understand and connect with the purpose of their work. Use your company’s core values to guide decision-making and work practices. 
    • Set clear and measurable goals. In every coaching journey, it’s always important to set goals. Working with my coach, I’ve been able to gather some data on my own personal goals.

      Because I have some baseline metrics around my skills and capabilities, I’m able to set clear and measurable goals to help better myself. For example, I am currently working on setting boundaries and not succumbing to people-pleasing habits. My coach gives me actionable goals and habits to build on a weekly basis, which then translate into how I perform at work. 
    • Get good at feedback. Nobody likes micromanaging. But feedback is an important part of the coaching process. Feedback shouldn’t just be reserved for annual performance reviews. And while the word feedback can seem daunting, it’s important to master this art.

      Don’t overlook the power of positive feedback and recognition, too. Feedback doesn’t always have to be negative or constructive. You can work with your coach on ways to build your feedback muscles to make sure it’s effective for your employees. 
    • Provide professional development opportunities. Part of coaching is providing opportunities for growth. Some might find professional development opportunities through mentorship. Others might find workshops, classes, or other learning opportunities helpful.

      No matter what it is, factor professional development into the coaching journey. It can help unlock capabilities within your workforce that you didn’t know existed. 
    • Get to know your employees as individuals. Work and personal lives bleed together more than ever. And with the rise of remote and hybrid work coupled with a challenging last couple of years, it’s important to pause.

      Are you getting to know your people on a personal level? How are you building trust and psychological safety? Do you know what’s going on in your employees’ lives outside of work? 
    • Encourage (and facilitate) connections. As we know, connections wield incredible power. But it takes a concerted effort, especially in remote environments, to make meaningful connections.

      Make sure your coaching process encourages connections. It could be networking (either in-person or on LinkedIn). It could also be things like team building (or virtual team building). 
    • Provide access to personalized coaching. With BetterUp, you can facilitate a meaningful coaching relationship that has incredible benefits for your workplace. Give your employees access to personalized coaching. It can help your workforce tap into what it’s really capable of achieving. 


    Transform your workforce with BetterUp 

    If you’re looking to invest in your employees for maximum impact, an employee coaching tool alone, or any type of talent tool, is unlikely to deliver. 

    Unlocking the potential of all of your employees means meeting them where they are with personalized support for personal and professional growth. BetterUp is built for organizations looking to drive performance by tapping into the power of human transformation. 

    Coaching is an investment in your people. And when your people grow, develop, and transform, so does your organization. Tap into the full potential of your workforce with BetterUp. It’s time to create a culture of coaching in your organization. We can help bring your organizational performance to the next level, one coaching session at a time.


    Published August 26, 2022

    Madeline Miles

    Madeline is a writer, communicator, and storyteller who is passionate about using words to help drive positive change. She holds a bachelor's in English Creative Writing and Communication Studies and lives in Denver, Colorado. In her spare time, she's usually somewhere outside (preferably in the mountains) — and enjoys poetry and fiction.

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