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Career coaching can yield champions

Published on Thursday, 26 Jul 2012
Pallavi Anand (pictured), of Robert Half Hong Kong and career coach Winnie Chiu help managers motivate staff and benefit their firms.
Photo: Edward Wong
Pallavi Anand, of Robert Half Hong Kong and career coach Winnie Chiu (pictured)help managers motivate staff and benefit their firms.
Photo: Edward Wong

A survey by recruitment firm Robert Half of more than 500 employees in Hong Kong about their thoughts on career coaching has revealed that 88 per cent indicated that career coaching helped improve their job performance.

At the same time, 94 per cent of respondents said they felt that having a manager with good career-coaching skills was crucial to their overall job satisfaction.

Meanwhile, 74 per cent of respondents thought that their managers were effective coaches, suggesting a direct link between managers’ behaviour and the positive impact they make on employees and, ultimately, clients and business partners.

Pallavi Anand, director, Robert Half Hong Kong, thinks that team leaders who want to improve their coaching success should understand that coaching is part of their responsibilities as a senior professional. “A good leader and coach should make time during their busy working day to communicate with the team. Coaching is about ‘showing’, not just ‘telling’. It’s all about being an effective role model, so a coach has to amend some of his or her behaviour to meet individual needs,” Anand explains.

The research also reveals some important attributes for a career coach, with 45 per cent of respondents in Hong Kong believing that knowledge and expertise are most crucial. Other attributes of an effective coach include mutual trust and respect (35 per cent) and a positive attitude (12 per cent).

The importance of having a career coach is not only to keep employees motivated but also to improve productivity, allowing organisations to pursue growth strategies, drive revenue generation and keep the company competitive.

“Effective managers have ongoing communication with their employees regarding performance and goals. Coaching need not only be negative; positive feedback and coaching reinforces good performance and encourages employees to work more smartly and efficiently,” says Anand.

“More importantly, companies who embrace and cultivate effective leaders will not only get the most from their existing teams, but will also earn a reputation as a great place to work, helping their attraction and retention strategies.”

Career coach Winnie Chiu, of Healing Hearts Psychotherapy, mostly offers coaching to managers from middle to senior levels.

“The two main groups that I serve are middle managers who want to enhance their performance, and senior managers who are looking to learn coaching skills to become better leaders,” says Chiu. “There are also fresh graduates who consult me about their career choices but they are in a minority,” she says.

Chiu’s clients mostly come from the finance sector, information technology and luxury brands. “I will meet with the senior management beforehand to discuss the objective of the coaching, but coaching is done mostly one on one due to privacy issues,” she says.

Apple Hui, a marketing manager for a luxury brand, says career coaching has made her a better person. “We all have blind spots. Most of the time, we do not even notice it. The even more difficult part is to acknowledge and deal with it. Career coaching not only shows me where I fall down but also guides me towards a new way of viewing myself. Now, I am a much more professional employee at work, and a much happier person in my private life. It is definitely no exaggeration to say that career coaching changed my life.”

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