Long careers in the same role are becoming extinct as people work in a variety of professions and for several different employers during their careers – sometimes even at the same time. Employment relationships that were once considered atypical are becoming the new norm, and entrepreneurship in its various forms is increasingly common. From the employee perspective, this means new kind of flexibility and the opportunity to constantly learn something new. Employers are also facing new things.
The imminent changes in working life are reflected in the popularity of coaching. In the US, it was a business worth just over 700 million dollars as recently as in 2011. MarketReseach.com recently estimated that the US coaching market will grow to reach 1.34 billion dollars by 2022. Although many jobs are disappearing with automation, machines will not replace human interaction and sparring, which will be needed also in the future. Therefore, the growth in the use of coaching services has been estimated to continue. “Coaching that is tailored to personal needs is an effective means of support in the midst of change and choices. From the perspective of organizations, it is also important to ensure that transitions from one role or career stage to another happen smoothly”, explains Dr. Pekka Mattila, Group Managing Director for Aalto University Executive Education.
Support at different stages of the career path
Self-development and career choices are no longer centered around the early stages of the career arc, but are instead highlighted at every turn of the career path. “As working life changes and becomes fragmented, more versatile tools are also needed to support personal development and the success of organizations”, Mattila says. In the current operating environment, experts and leaders are never fully fledged. “We help our customers systematically consider what they want to do and achieve. Sticking to the old is not an option. Aimlessly drifting from one role or situation to another is not in the interest of the individual or organization, either”, Mattila emphasizes.
Coaching is an effective tool in organizational transformations.”
The effectiveness of coaching is based on an individual approach that takes into account the goals and needs of both the individual and the organization. “I believe that, going forward, coaching will be utilized much more in Finland than is currently the case, and for many more purposes. It is a great way to support young supervisors or reward good performers, for example.” The benefits of coaching are multiplied when a coaching process linked with the organization’s goals is implemented with several individuals simultaneously. “Coaching is an effective tool in organizational transformations.”
In addition to individuals, coaching can also be targeted for a team or cross-functional group. Coaching of executive teams is already quite familiar in Finland. Mattila points out that group coaching works in many other situations as well. “For example, we can collect internal influencers from an organization and task them with challenging the executive team. This is often very useful for the executive team and rewarding for the influencers”, Mattila says.
The success of a coaching relationship depends on a confidential partnership and effective interaction. “Supporting, challenging, reflecting and result-orientation are emphasized in coaching. The customer must be able to trust that the process will progress and result in a positive change”, says Riina Gröhn, PhD and an Executive Coach certified by ICF (International Coaching Federation). Gröhn has worked in several management positions in Finland and abroad during her career. “Personal leadership experience helps you understand the customer’s situation and everyday life of organizations”, says Gröhn, who has been involved in the building of Aalto EE’s coaching network. “It is important to us that each of our coaches has a background in leadership and strong substance expertise in addition to coaching qualifications.”
Gröhn became interested in coaching years ago. “I am fascinated by people’s ability to exceed themselves. I believe that increasing your self-awareness is the best starting point for any change process and succeeding in it”, Gröhn says. The aim of the coaching process is to bring about changes in practices. It requires a strong commitment from both the customer and the coach. “We set goals and track their achievement. A good coach is both understanding and demanding at the same time. It is always equally rewarding to see how the process leads to better utilization of the customer’s professional potential or to a positive change in the organization.”
A good coach is both understanding and demanding at the same time.”
More effective training
At Aalto EE, coaching is also used a lot as part and continuation of training programs. For example, MBA programs include a part focused on personal development. With customized solutions to different organizations, it is often desirable to ensure that the training is naturally linked with the individual strengths, weaknesses and needs of each participant. An experienced coach helps the customer increase their self-awareness and prepare a personal development plan.
In many customer organizations, coaching is utilized as a continuation of the actual training to ensure effectiveness. Good training strengthens and diversifies expertise, thus building the foundation for change. Changing organizational practices can still feel challenging with the pressures of everyday life, and many need support at this stage as well. “Coaching is a proven way to ensure and monitor that the lessons learned in training are actively put into practice and that the results are reflected in business”, Mattila describes.
Aalto EE offers a versatile range of services and solutions and the possibility to combine different tools and methods to achieve the best possible result. “We always strive to ensure an excellent customer experience and that the customer benefits from loyalty also in economic terms”, Mattila says. He considers Aalto EE’s particular strength to be strong academic and business expertise. “We have decades worth of experience in the development of organizations and individuals. We guarantee that the customer is in good hands.”