Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Monday, 20 November 2017 10:05

Answer #8: How can Coaching REALLY Help the Unhappy Employee?

Written by Marsha Leap, Ed.D.


HERE HE COMES AGAIN. THIS IS THE THIRD TIME this month that Scott wants to “talk” to you about his job, and more specifically, the lack of teamwork from his co-workers. He’s been with the company eight years and thinks he has all the solutions to running the company more productively. He talks, you listen.

Why does everything have to be such a big production with him? Can’t he just roll with the punches? You wonder if coaching might help Scott see his role at work with a different perspective. It’s clear that he feels there is a problem and you don’t have any more ideas for helping him at this point.

How do you determine if coaching will help Scott? There are several things to consider before hiring the first person that pops up on your Google search. Coaching for your employees can be very successful when you consider the skills and resources of the coach, the attitude of the employee and the opportunities within your company for growth and flexibility. We’ll look at each one of these areas below for specific insight to create a successful coaching experience for your employees.

The Skills and Resources of the Coach Matter

Carefully review the coach’s specialty and certifications. There are life coaches, leadership coaches, career coaches, marriage coaches, communication coaches and many others that specialize in an area for which they have passion and concentrated experience. Avoid coaches who try to be all things to all people. Over time, coaches become authorities in their fields and develop credible resources and tools that they have used successfully with many clients. Depending on your employee’s needs, some of these resources and tools may be extremely beneficial in helping your employee get to the next level. Straight coaching is good, but coaching using reliable tools is even better!

There are many credible coaching certification bodies that train coaches in ethical practices and techniques. Look for the certifications of the coach that you’re considering and review the website of the certification body to ensure that it is a national certification. International Coaching Federation (ICF) is a well-known accrediting body, so look for the ICF stamp of approval.

The Attitude of the Employee is Key

Let’s face it: some people are more open to being helped than others. Sometimes deep-seated issues have been stewing for many years and the thought of changing anything is overwhelming. There may be no desire on the employee’s part to change or grow at all. This is unfortunate, but it does exist. Your conversation might go like this: “Scott, I hear you when you say that you would like for some things to be different for you around here. I would like that too, so I have an idea that I’d like for you to think about. What if we brought in a career coach/leadership coach who is an expert in helping people take their careers to the next level? You would be able to work with this person who would be an objective third party to help you make the right decisions about what is best for you. We would work with you and the coach to make whatever changes are necessary for you to be most successful here at ABC Company. Think about it and let me know what you decide.” Of course, with the coach’s help, most of the changes will occur within the employee, but no need to create undue anxiety for them at this point.

If your unhappy employee is serious about changing his or her circumstances to become more satisfied at work, coaching should be a successful solution! And if your employee rejects your offer of coaching, he or she is not yet ready to take personal responsibility for changing their environment. They may need more time to recognize that they are part of the solution.

Opportunities for Growth and Change at Your Company Support Coaching Efforts

Your employee may be unhappy for a number of reasons: some apparent, some not. If you would like to retain this person, providing an opportunity to move them into a different role may be necessary. Many of the clients I have seen over the years are unhappy because they are not using their strengths in their jobs. Or they have mastered their jobs, have become bored and are ready for new challenges. The coach you hire can help your employee discover and own their strength, and also help you develop work projects that can be challenging and interesting.

Sometimes there is a personality conflict between teammates. Coaching can help the employee learn new behaviors for diffusing the conflict, but sometimes you must move one of the teammates to another team. When your company can be flexible with assignments, it supports the growth opportunities for the coached employee and turns your unhappy employee into a more productive, happier employee who stays out of your office except to let you know how well things are going. You’ve hit it out of the park again with a win-win solution in coaching.

Marsha Leap
Marsha Leap, Ed.D, is a certified career management coach (CCMC) with three decades of career development experience. She owns Leap Ahead Professional Development, LLC., where she works with professional-level clients in need of career and leadership assistance. Visit www.