Research Paper By Rena Wang
(Life Coach, CHINA)
Performance management is no doubt the most critical component and basis to an organization. The purpose of performance management is to improve the performance of the company by improving the performance of each employee. The key elements of performance management are goal setting, performance measurement, and performance feedback and appraisal. These elements are then aligned with the overall organizational goals.
Company X is a large international company with offices and factories in multi-locations. Founded in the early years of the 1980s, their presence and networks increased solid with sound and steady financial performance year by year. With recent years more severe competition in the market, in addition, with the context that the pandemic brought unforeseen disruption at breath-taking speed, the organization facing challenges in driving consistent organization performance. And by a further diagnosis of the organization performance-related metrics, it has been found that total volume on Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)increased by 10% while with successful ratio decreased (individuals improved successfully through PIP / all PIP volume case. In addition, the Grievance cases volume is increasing in the performance issue category. The increasing urgency on design any intervention to improve organization performance calls for us to think about what we could implement to improve this.
I further reviewed the Employee Engagement Survey Data in recent years, there was a critical question related to performance regarding “what you need most to improve performance”. Coaching is a perennial topic. While the satisfactory ratio in-country is 55% in 2019 and 58% in 2020, there are still rooms to improve benchmarking Groups ratio to 70%.
I have years of working experiences in the various HR function, and with recent years learning journey in International Coaching Academy (ICA) since 2019, I had grown higher interest in the coaching field as I initiated a lot of exploration on myself as a whole person through a lot of work with my coach, from which I see more clearer on who I am. Thus, I began to think about how I could support others and how it could support people’s growth in the organization. Will coaching can help Organisation X to improve performance?
Fig 3 Engagement Survey – The question about “what you need most to improve performance ” the data shows the proportion of people that selected an option as important (Author’s own work)
As we all agree that people are the greatest creators of value in organizations, then people’s delivery with a good outcome is the most important factor to an organization’s success. With Coaching embed as a tool during performance management and daily management, organization X could enhance business performance.
Main Body: Methodology (1.1)
There are 8 steps for the research process. It’s a great way to inform HR decisions.
Step 1: defining the problem. It’s critical to focus on one particular issue that needs to be resolved. It’s usually started with a research question.
Step 2: Review related literature or internal data on the defined question, through which we need to get to know the current status and current available relevant academic works.
Stet 3: Design the research approach: there are 2 types of data. Primary data and Secondary data.When researching with whatever the approach, we need to consider confidentiality and anonymity.
Step 4: Analyse the literature by finding what the similarities and differences are between the arguments given in each work and how they relate to the defined problem.
Step 5: Write down the research questions by starting a sentence or a question about the issue that needs to be solved more specifically, or a hypothesis about this issue.
Step 6: Evaluation through reviewing and assessing what we have studied, the strength and facts of the information made available to the issue.
Step 7: Interpret the results by identifying any patterns or observation or fact that was found during previous review and assessment.
Step 8: summarized findings for the audience: with a more detailed conclusion and recommendation based on findings. It’s critical to well consider what are your stakeholders and audience in this step.
Primary data is collected directly by the researcher for the first time. It is designed per aligned with the research topic.
Main Body – Literature Review ( 2.2 )
This part includes 3 sources: 1) CIPD research report on assessing what works in performance management 2 ) Coaching for performance – a book written by John Whitmore 3) An article published on Harvard Business Review
The research report was written by Dr. Wilson Wong, a CIPD advisor in 2016 December and discussed what works or not regarding performance management. The report deconstructs the performance management process to some fundamental components of goal setting and performance appraisal and then examines the evidence around these.
The research was conducted by the Centre for Evidence-based Management (CEBMa), followed the rapid evidence assessment (REA)method. The rapidness of REAs come from them being more precise about research term and inclusion criterial while maintaining the systematic process that is key to evidence-based practice. The research team was focusing on published meta-analyses for systematic review, they conducted 2 REAs to cover two core components of goal setting and performance appraisal. Doctor Wilson then evaluates available academic studies and meta-studies on this subject, and consequently, their findings and assumptions followed. Through this, it was summarized what is known about the cause-and-effect relationships that goal setting and appraisals have with performance, and how it impacts performance management.
I think the research provides a sound basis on which organizations could reflect on their current practice and may further build on the internal capability to use these tips critically to support their future interventions or choices. REAs during this research found a very good quantity of high-quality evidence. Many practical things are recommended which are useful and authoritative. However, it did not cover all aspects of performance management and has not conducted a comprehensive review of all related areas in performance management. Although this is not immune from subjectivity, while it at least approaches it with some dispassion.
“CoachingforPerformance” is the grandfather of coaching books and coaching approaches written by DrJohn Whitmore in 1992. Thousands of high-performing organizations have tapped into its wisdom and this book is one of the musts reading books for HR. Whitmore is the pioneer of performance coaching, who had made tremendous contributions to drive change and transformations through coaching and leadership. He was awarded a lifetime achievement award by ICF. Through his books, he defined the principles of performance coaching and gave birth to the profession of performance coaching. The GROW model had also provoked and enlightened the creation of other coaching models.
The book stated the essence of coaching and how people leaders could be grown as the Coach in the workplace to drive for better performance. It is the book that systematically expounds on the value of a coach, the principles of a coach, the practice process of a coach, the specific application of a coach, and puts forward the basic ideas of a coach is to enhance self-awareness, sense of responsibility and self-confidence. With these happenings, performance will be achieved ultimately. Whitmore also studied the definition of performance, he stated that performance means exceeds other’s expectations and demonstrate one’s potential, which is fully aligned with coaching purpose. What’s more important be revealed – performance, learning, and happiness are combined, that’s why learning organization is the core theme for now. If learning and happiness disappeared, there will be no substitutable performance. Learning, happiness, and performance are all impacted by self-awareness.
The book provided lots of vivid examples in the sports field and workplace. Its episodes the author’s successful experiences for a long time in the sports and consulting field, and inspiration from the books written by Callway Timothy- The Inner Game of Tennis/Golf/Work. Although this book was published more than 20 years ago, I think it still stays as one of the most important books with much practical guidance and a solid theoretical foundation on coaching.
The article “Leaders Need Professional Coaching Now More Than Ever” was published in Harvard Business Review with sponsor content from the ICF (International Coaching Federation.) in March 2021. ICF is the world’s largest organization leading the global advancement of the coaching profession and fosters coaching’s role as an integral part of a thriving society. , with its aim to serve clients on the journey to empower the world through coaching since founded in 1995.
The article is mainly discussed the big and new context that today’s leader may fact to, like how to handle the unforeseen disruption at breath-taking speed, managing ambiguity, address real anxiety, learning agility, re-examine the vision and strategy, resilience, working from home arrangement, remote management and communication. According to the PwC survey, there are 5 workforce priorities are emerging, then a leader’s approach facing challenges and needs to be re-considered. All of these required our leader to be more agile to re-create the vision and to support the company’s great asses: its people. Professional coaching provides a long-term solution to lessening increasing pressure and growing uncertainty.
The article includes a real example of a company leader who shared her story on the #experiencecoaching session, in which the leader finally found the coaching transformed the way she led. And it has also embedded some solid research including PwC and ICF regarding coaching’s value and impact. I think the article could be more convincing if could include diversified real examples and added on the part that how specifically the real impact regarding the real examples.
Below are summarized findings by comparing the 3 sources of literature,
A proper goal setting and performance appraisal conversation can deliver a more meaningful and value-adding result for all stakeholders. Leaders should focus on behavioral and learning goals, check in with employees’ reactions, and build on their strengths before fixing weaknesses.
Both last two kinds of literature are agreed the coaching approach brings high values to the organization’s effectiveness including performance, retention, teamwork, relationships and job satisfaction, wellbeing, etc.
- Literature 2 is mainly from the angle on the coaching foundation, definition, and how Leaders could do to unlock and maximize one’s potential through coaching, that ultimately driving individual and organizational performance.
- Literature 3 is mainly from the angle that under the current context, Leaders who have received coaching or trained in coaching skills have a greater ability to communicate effectively and to lead with empathy, which could better support their leadership roles in developing strategy and leading the team a new height.
Although the recommendations in the first research did not mention the exact word “coaching”, while it was highly aligned with the coaching essence including Leaders should focus on learning and reflection, drive for future success, have a growth mindset, open mind to check in what employee really matters. All of these suggestions are with coaching
It could be concluded here that:
- Coaching is the effective approach that could support and empower Leaders to do better during the performance management process.
- Furthermore, the coaching approach brings high values to the organization's effectiveness including performance, retention, teamwork, relationships and job satisfaction, wellbeing, etc.
- Embed coaching as a tool in performance management and daily management will improve organizational level performance finally.
We finally recommend embedding coaching as an effective tool during the performance management process and daily management. Its purpose is to make employees feel more highly valued through a coaching approach, thus contribute to the improvements to overall outcomes for the organization.
- Equip middle-level Leaders with the learning that allows them to receive formal coaching training, which could help them to focus on driving the team’s current performance during goal setting or appraisal/feedback sessions, or move into new directions by identifying skills to be developed, key strengths, etc. The estimated overall cost of 4 coaching sessions for more than 100 middle-level leaders is around RMB X.
- Provide professional coaches for Senior Executives and high potentials empower their leadership on developing the strategies for leading in new or more complex situations and push their goal forward. The estimated cost for more than 10 Senior Executives with a one-year professional coaching program is around RMB X.
- Creating a reflective space for all the internal and external coaches to practice and discuss coaching experience or story to reinforce the coaching skills.
- However, coaching is not the answer to every situation. The line manager must practice awareness, both self-awareness and situational awareness, to be able to apply coaching when it provides value and not to apply to coach when it does not provide value.
- Regarding expanding coaching activities to all organizational levels, it is
recommended that further studies should be conducted based on reviewing the effectiveness of what’s has been done.
All the above will address the concerns about the current performance-related issues: decreased PIP successful ratio and increased grievance cases, and then the satisfactory ratio on coaching is expected to improve.
Fig 7: How coaching impact the organization and its value(Author’s own work)
With all the implementation of the above recommendations, it will enhance the organizational performance and capability to deliver strong and sustainability through a highly engaged team despite the unknown future with consistent change. It is projected that the overall PIP cases volume remains but with the successful ratio increased by 75%, grievance cases regarding performance issues dropped by 45%, the satisfactory ratio on coaching improved 7% which will finally contribute to the overall engagement level. It is projected that the overall engagement index will see improvement in 2021 compared with 2020 or other markets.
CIPD: How to Write a Persuasive Business Report. 2015. Accessed via: www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/a-z
CIPD: Surveys and research reports. Accessed via: http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources
CIPD: The research process. Access via: https://campus.avadolearning.com/mod/book/view.php?id=294936
CIPD: Data collection methods. Access via: https://campus.avadolearning.com/mod/book/view.php?id=294938
CIPD: Diagnosing problems. Access via: https://campus.avadolearning.com/mod/book/view.php?id=294954
CIPD: Critical Review: how to write a literature review. Access via: https://campus.avadolearning.com/mod/book/view.php?id=294956
CIPD: Making something meaningful from research. Access via: https://campus.avadolearning.com/mod/book/view.php?id=294978
CIPD research report: Could do better? Assessing what works in performance management. Access via:https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/people/performance/what-works-in-performance-management-report
Coaching for Performance written by John Whitmore (4thedition)
HBR Article: Leaders need professional coaching now more than ever. Access via: https://hbr.org/sponsored/2021/03/leaders-need-professional-coaching-now-more-than-ever
CIPD: Episode 128 – Coaching: It’s a culture thing. Access via: https://www.cipd.co.uk/podcasts/coaching-culture