Nurturing talent is a key to growth

Against a backdrop of continued economic uncertainty, businesses are continually looking for ways to outperform their competitors.

Nurturing existing business talent is vital for maximising business potential and is one of the key techniques for staying one step ahead of the competition.

Indeed, at the Unlocking Growth Business Conference at the start of this month, 25pc of delegates identified skills as a priority to achieving business growth.

But although coaching can make a positive difference to business performance, and organisations may have training and development policies in place, I have found that very few prioritise these guidelines.

This is despite these policies heavily stressing the importance of coaching to help staff fulfil their potential and deliver in line with the business needs.

For 2012, managers should be asking questions such as:

* Who is performing really well?

Most Read

* How can I coach these people to perform even better to keep them fully engaged and motivated?

* Who is not currently delivering a great performance and how can I coach them to improve their abilities?

This important assessment however, often fails to happen, with the task frequently falling instead into the 'important, but not urgent' category of work. One reason for this is because coaching skills do not come naturally to all managers.

Whoever takes charge of the coaching, whether it is in house or through a third party, the important thing to remember is that it should be conducted in a positive, encouraging and upbeat way; defining clear aims is a key component to successful coaching. When facilitating 1:1 sessions the coach should ask pertinent, open-ended questions and really listen to the responses. You'll be amazed with the progress it can make.

In these times of austerity it is important, more than ever to value staff.

Unfortunately in recent years staff loyalty has begun to decline. However, with continued support and mentoring, businesses are more likely to retain staff while also maximising revenue and improving growth – benefiting both employees and employers alike.

Here are my Can Do Tips for Effective Coaching

* Set aside chunks of time for coaching.

* Agree clear objectives.

* In relation to the task or behaviour you are coaching, ask the person what is working well? What can they do differently/better?

* Then give your feedback about what you think they are doing well and what they can do differently/better?

* Agree next steps.